Tony Wilson, founder of Factory Records, dead at 57. Probably most well known to us as the guy Steve Coogan played in 24 Hour Party People, best known in the UK as the man who put the Sex Pistols on TV, promoted such seminal post-punk bands as Joy Division, The Durruti Column, A Certain Ratio, New Order, and Happy Mondays, and did more to make Manchester a cool and vital city than pretty much anyone.
Here’s the man himself, giving an interview to Pitchfork two months ago. Appropriate enough, because I’d estimate that sixty percent of the indie bands that Pitchfork loves, chews up, and spits out on a daily basis were inspired by music they would probably not have heard if not for the self-described “twat” and TV host.
And so it goes. And so, he went.
He was 55 when he was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Because he famously made no money from his label, in the end, his old bands and old friends banded together to help him pay the three thousand pounds a month he needed for the experimental kidney medicine that was keeping him alive. The NHS in Great Britain had decided the drug was a little too experimental to just give out, and pharmaceutical companies, being the wretched leeches they are, reaped the benefits. So, yeah, okay, maybe health care isn’t perfect in other countries either. Point is this: even at the end (and he doesn’t look good in this video) he was raising awareness about the drug and how helpful it was and how it was wrong that people were losing their homes and livelihoods having to pay for it.
In the end, it was a heart attack that got him, which according to NME was completely unrelated to the cancer.
Sod it… we need a proper song here, and I’m not putting “Atmosphere” or “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, because that’s what everyone’s going to do. So, here’s what appears to be an artsy home-made video of New Order‘s song “Ceremony”, which I’ve been listening to a lot lately. The song has the distinction of being the final Joy Division song and the first New Order song, so there’s a theme of rebirth here.
The video features a strange little guy setting fire to a whole city, which I feel is nicely appropriate.