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the official distractions website

Welcome to the official Distractions website. We will be aiming to record the history of one of the greatest, but least heralded, of all Manchester beat groups.

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Monday, October 31, 2011


This discussion on the Go Betweens forum sums up The Distractions' modern day fan base... keen and eager to spread the word; perhaps slightly obsessive.  New converts have usually had their head turned at the extraordinary Factory Records single, Time Goes By So Slow, then go on to discover the album, its beauty and its limitations.  

"The Distractions – Nobody’s Perfect.  Long-forgotten classic Manchester band from 1981.  I wish I still had the single they released on Factory Records, it's probably worth a small fortune.  Who would have thought Factory would have a power pop, '60s influenced band on their roster!  The album is on Island Records, my copy is pretty scratchy having been in transit so many times over the last 29 years or so."  

Jeff Whiteaker
"Kevin, I think Time Goes By So Slow is an incredible pop song, but I could never really warm up to their album."  

"Jeff, I know where you are coming from.  It probably sounds a bit dated now to be honest, but I think the songs are of a high quality, it's the production that dates it.  It may be more up Randy's street, I’ll send him a couple of songs on the off chance he doesn’t already have them."  

Michael Bachman:
"Time Goes By So Slow is a great pop song.  I like the guitar break; it was almost heading into Tom Verlaine territory there for a second or two.  I must admit I've never heard of them.  Why wasn’t Nobody's Perfect ever released on CD?  Were the vinyl sales too small?"  

Randy Adams:
"I had never heard of The Distractions.  The end part of Time Goes By So Slow is when it starts to really happen for me.  Thanks for sending it, Kevin.  In your mail you'll find the answer to your question about the other song you sent.  Michael, my observation is that a lot of small-selling things released in the early '80s – shortly before the introduction of CDs – never saw CD release.  Most of them were now just yesterday's news but not old enough to be revived and if they weren't earlier releases by artists enjoying continuing success they disappeared."  

Note the discussion about Occultation label-mates, The Wild Swans' Revolutionary Spirit, later in the thread.  Also mentioned is The Fall's Extrictate, which featured none other than Martin Bramah, returning founder member of The Fall and now leader of Factory Star.  To complete the Occultation links, the Go Betweens themselves are name-checked on Jonathan Beckett's beautiful EP, She's a Vampire.


Thursday, October 20, 2011


The Distractions played at Newcastle University on 17 May 1980 supported by The Members (actually listed as the "Dismembered"). There are some terrifically obscure song intros from Adrian committed to tape here. For example: "This one's about a Mexican who Steve met in a takeaway in Manchester - it's called Wonder Girl...  This is our new single. It's a song about the effect of plastic, glue and ice on the environment - it's an early ecology song.  It's called Boys Cry."  The encore is Sick And Tired, followed by a raucous version of the Velvet's Waiting For My Man and the impressive PA finishes by playing out with the new single, Boys Cry.  The set list reads as follows:

1.  It Doesn't Bother Me
2.  Something For The Weekend
3.  Something New
4.  Wonder Girl
5.  Boys Cry
6.  (Stuck In A) Fantasy
7.  Leave You To Dream
8.  Still It Doesn't Ring
9.  Time Goes By So Slow
10.  What's The Use
11.  Louise
12.  [Untitled]
13.  Waiting For Lorraine
- - - - -
14.  Sick And Tired
15.  Waiting For The Man

Song number three here is Something New, an unreleased track that will be new to those fans who didn't  get the chance to catch The Distractions live. It may appear next year in some form though...


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mystery video

There have been a couple of mentions of an alleged Time Goes By So Slow video that was filmed by Charles Salem in Albert Square (where else?). Sadly, Charlie doesn't recall filming this - but admits that doesn't mean it didn't happen!

We do know that Salem worked as Factory Records' video man during the time that The Distractions were associated  to Tony Wilson's label.  He worked with friend of The Distractions, Liz Naylor, on 'No City Fun'  with music by Joy Division.  'All Night Party' and 'Red Dress' were music videos by Salem featuring soundtracks from A Certain Ratio and Ludus, respectively.  These three videos were packaged together as FAC 9 [1].

Salem was supposed to work again with Liz Naylor in September 1979, in a video project entitled 'In Search of the Lost Chord', a "sojourn through the mathematics of Western tonal mathematics" with music supplied by Martin Hannett.  Unsurprisingly, this never happened due to "...misgivings on the part of Miss Naylor on the question of this all-pervading concept of 'product.' She wants to know when we're going to market toilet paper next.  Good question [1]."

Unfortunately, it's probably more likely that FAC toilet roll will turn up before footage of The Distractions in Albert Square with FAC 12 as the soundtrack...

Here's the original, beautiful, colour image of Albert Square by Andy Cooke that inspired Mark Cooper to take the shots which resulted in the artwork for The Distractions' two 2010 EPs, Black Velvet and Come Home. The below image is a rough mock-up of what became the Black Velvet EP sleeve.

(c) Andy Cooke (andy.cooke) at flickr.

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