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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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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Excavation work

The richly-deserved glowing review of the Jess Roden Anthology in this month's Mojo confirms what we all knew.  That one of Hidden Masters' next releases will indeed by the eagerly-anticipated Distractions retrospective box-set.  You can read Jim Irvin's review here (there's also a 5-star review in Record Collector), or better still, read it in the magazine.

"Hidden Masters is a new label and archiving service founded by former Island press officer Neil Storey, who's planning similar excavation work on other Island acts such as The Distractions and Head Hands & Feet, which based on this evidence, we're looking forward to with keen interest."

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Great lost band of Manchester

More excerpts from Mick Middles' essential Factory: The Story of the Record Label, and a rare poster advert for the first post-Factory single (from a February 1980 issue of Sounds):

(c) zocardo at ebay.

The great lost bands of Manchester, beautiful in their pomp... The Distractions, Section 25, Northside, even A Certain Ratio.  Factory bands of distinction; Factory bands unable to achieve much beyond a cult status. These were the great eclectic acts that were the heart of the record label.

[Tony Wilson is en route to a New Order gig in the US...]

Wilson's mind flashed instantly to that day, in 1979, when had had driven Ian Curtis down to London's Nashville Rooms, only to swell with pride as they discovered Joy Division's first real out-of-Manchester queue.  On the San Diego freeway that night, the feeling was almost as good.  A touch of sadness would creep in, also, not just because the jam had triggered memories of a simpler, fresher, more exuberant, more naive, more optimistic Factory Records.  That feeling had surfaced, temporarily, that afternoon, as they argued in the hotel bar.  But it was only temporary.  Wilson glanced around the members of the band - lost really, cynical now, famous, rich, but so happy to reach the end of the tour.  And Rob, recovering but not quite the Rob of old.  Something had changed.  It wasn't just to do with success and money, either.  It was merely the passing of time.  This gig, thought Wilson, would be fun... but it wouldn't be that much fun.  It wouldn't be Joy Division and The Distractions carving up a fuss on a fag-burnt carpet in London, or giggling schoolishly over large turds at the Leigh Festival, or hitting out at Sounds journalist Dave McCullough in the Wellington pub two hours before the Stuff the Superstars event... He could glance around at the traffic jam around him and feel the rush of pride.  But he couldn't deny it - something had changed.  The magic had faded.

(c) Mick Middles (2009). 
Virgin Books: London.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Digitisation begins

News over at Hidden Masters reveals that the process of digitising all the reels, records - perhaps even cassettes - for The Distractions retrospective is about to start.  First though, a rare Distractions badge...

Folks, it’s that time again. Just as the sun starts shining we put Neil into a studio with no windows. He and the infamous Richard Whittaker of FX will be starting all the digitisation work for The Distractions retrospective very very soon.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Deeply Vale

We've featured The Distractions at the Deeply Vale Festival in 1979 before in Mick Middles' Manchester Punk Diaries.  It's also featured in City Fun, courtesy of The Hidden History of Manchester's Post-Punk Fanzines at the Manchester District Music Archive.


The site was on top of a moor.  A road ran along one side of it.  At one end was the stage, behind it come quarry workings and behind them the 'Village'.  The 'Village' is a collection of caravans, tents and stalls selling all kinds.  You can buy weird and wonderful items to wear, eat, drink, and smoke... lying on the grass in front of the stage... falling asleep in the sun... wandering about looking at things... drinking Bacardi and coke... talking to odd people... smoking odd joints... Standing in front of the stage watching The Distractions on the top of a moor, on a pointed roofed stage, a full moon rising up at one side ("It was great, seeing a really polished club band playing in the middle of a field")... 

Watching The Fall in the same circumstances doing the best gig of theirs I've seen for over a year.  The words, "And the North will rise again, no in 10,000 years..." taking on an almost tribal significance... After The Distractions were The Fall, after The Fall were Glass and after Glass were Vibrant Thigh... 

(c) City Fun.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Hippest double bill

More snippets from Mick Middles' great tome, Factory: The Story of the Record Label.

(c) Steve Benham at Joy Div.

The Distractions were like an after-dinner mint to Joy Division’s meaty casserole...

22 September 1979

The gig, that night, at London’s Nashville Rooms, would seem to be the perfect Factory blend.  The perfect rock band for the eighties supported by the perfect pop band for the eighties, or so we thought.  Joy Division and The Distractions, in town for the hippest double bill in the country.  Light and dark, entrapped in the tight, pub rock smokiness.  Such a tiny event, really, and yet so guaranteed to capture the lead reviews, later that week…  In Tony Wilson’s words, it was “One of the most satisfying and unbelievable moments of my life.”


(c) Mick Middles (2009). 
Virgin Books: London. p.168-169.

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