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Let’s talk about Rob Gretton.
(And please, God, forgive Giles for the picture.  He was channelling New Order’s Play at Home.  He says he reckons that if Rob was willing to interview himself in the nude for an hour-long television special, he would probably have approved of this.)
You guys know how I feel about Rob Gretton.  He was amazing.  He was connected to every inch of the punk and post-punk world.  Rob put out fanzines, he DJed, he scouted talent, he co-founded the Haçienda and the Dry Bar, he ran his own record label, he managed bands, he managed Factory Records, he tried valiantly to manage Joy Division and New Order…
Rob Gretton was a miracle worker.  He managed to stay sane in the madness of the Manchester music scene.  He managed to make people get along and artists work together when anyone else would’ve watched things go down in flames.  He managed to get gigs organized, tours arranged, solve problems by sheer blind determination that would have felled a lesser man.  He managed to build a legacy, with Tony Wilson, with Factory, with his bands, with everything he did, that’ll never be forgotten.
I trust Rob implicitly.  If I ever see a record with his label stamped on it, I buy it, because even if I’m not familiar with the band, I know it’ll be good.  Anything with his name attached is going to be good, and even if it isn’t, it’s going to be fascinating.
You’ve heard my thoughts (and Jez Kerr’s) about Rob before.  You’ve probably seen the FAC:ABC page, R is for Rob Gretton, and heard about some of his more creative approaches to business and to life.  You know how much I respect Rob and his legacy, and how much I want everyone else to know about the incredibly important role he played in punk, post-punk, house, dance, the entire Manchester scene, with hardly any recognition.  Certainly never enough.
If you want to know more about Rob and the things he did, try 1 Top Class Manager, a collection of all of the notebooks and sundry items he kept as manager of Joy Division and New Order.  Or read Peter Hook’s books, The Hacienda: How Not to Run a Club or Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division, both of which have some great stories you won’t find anywhere else.
Or better yet, if you want to know more about Rob and the things he did and the way he changed the world of music, put on a record.  Listen to the musical world he helped to build.
You’ll see what I mean.

Let’s talk about Rob Gretton.

(And please, God, forgive Giles for the picture.  He was channelling New Order’s Play at Home.  He says he reckons that if Rob was willing to interview himself in the nude for an hour-long television special, he would probably have approved of this.)

You guys know how I feel about Rob Gretton.  He was amazing.  He was connected to every inch of the punk and post-punk world.  Rob put out fanzines, he DJed, he scouted talent, he co-founded the Haçienda and the Dry Bar, he ran his own record label, he managed bands, he managed Factory Records, he tried valiantly to manage Joy Division and New Order…

Rob Gretton was a miracle worker.  He managed to stay sane in the madness of the Manchester music scene.  He managed to make people get along and artists work together when anyone else would’ve watched things go down in flames.  He managed to get gigs organized, tours arranged, solve problems by sheer blind determination that would have felled a lesser man.  He managed to build a legacy, with Tony Wilson, with Factory, with his bands, with everything he did, that’ll never be forgotten.

I trust Rob implicitly.  If I ever see a record with his label stamped on it, I buy it, because even if I’m not familiar with the band, I know it’ll be good.  Anything with his name attached is going to be good, and even if it isn’t, it’s going to be fascinating.

You’ve heard my thoughts (and Jez Kerr’s) about Rob before.  You’ve probably seen the FAC:ABC page, R is for Rob Gretton, and heard about some of his more creative approaches to business and to life.  You know how much I respect Rob and his legacy, and how much I want everyone else to know about the incredibly important role he played in punk, post-punk, house, dance, the entire Manchester scene, with hardly any recognition.  Certainly never enough.

If you want to know more about Rob and the things he did, try 1 Top Class Manager, a collection of all of the notebooks and sundry items he kept as manager of Joy Division and New Order.  Or read Peter Hook’s books, The Hacienda: How Not to Run a Club or Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division, both of which have some great stories you won’t find anywhere else.

Or better yet, if you want to know more about Rob and the things he did and the way he changed the world of music, put on a record.  Listen to the musical world he helped to build.

You’ll see what I mean.

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It’s been a long time since I posted any of my comics work here, so this is a collage of random panels from projects I’ve been working on lately (all of which I really ought to put into my portfolio at some point).  Most of these are anthology stories or stand-alone one-shots.  Some I wrote myself; some I only lettered.  Some, as usual, are about music.

It’s been a long time since I posted any of my comics work here, so this is a collage of random panels from projects I’ve been working on lately (all of which I really ought to put into my portfolio at some point).  Most of these are anthology stories or stand-alone one-shots.  Some I wrote myself; some I only lettered.  Some, as usual, are about music.

Tags: Comics
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I’ve just spent about two solid days listening to the Buzzcocks’ forthcoming album, The Way, and I’ve got to tell you guys: wow.  I don’t do a lot of straight-up reviews, but this album is worth it.  It’ll be out this summer, supported by a nineteen-date tour, and let me assure you, you’re going to want this one.

It’s amazing to hear how these guys have matured as a band.  The ‘old’ Buzzcocks are definitely still driving, musically-speaking (“It’s Not You,” “The Way”), but it isn’t just them you hear in the music; there’s The Stranglers, Gang of Four, Crispy Ambulance, The Jam.  Some of the songs are almost mod-influenced (“In the Back”), as if The Lambrettas had joined them onstage for a song.  Others harken back so well to the start of the Manchester punk era, with Martin-Hannett like soundspaces (“Virtually Real”) that he might as well have produced them himself.  Some don’t belong to any one category, any one genre, but grab you by the ears right away anyway (“Chasing Rainbows Modern Times,” my personal favourite track on the album).

The entire album is gold and I could – though shan’t – go on for ages about each song, but the long and the short of it is that if you’ve ever liked the Buzzcocks, you’re going to want to keep an eye on The Way this summer.  (And if you’re lucky enough to be able to get to one of the gigs?  Do it.)

Tags: Buzzcocks
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I like this song for a lot of reasons, but I’m becoming more and more impressed with the use of percussion.  Not just drums, but listen to the other things that are going on - the triangle, the güiro, all kinds of awesome sounds that people don’t hear often enough, or don’t take enough notice of in the soundscapes of songs.

(I know that what is effectively a pop song is an odd choice for talking about things like “soundscapes,” but really, I think The Divine Comedy sort of transcend pop, and genre classification in general, a bit.)

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All right, lads, we’re on the air!  Tune in anytime you like over the next fourteen or so hours for punk, post-punk, house, dance, groove, Madchester, baggy, electronica, Britpop, rock, mod, world, Northern soul, and whatever else we end up feeling like.  Good music, (intermittent) good conversation, and a half-decent consolation prize for not being able to be at the actual Haçienda Good Friday party.

Update: we’ve played the Three Before Eight and Frank Wilson’s “Do I Love You (Indeed I Do),” so that calls an end to this all-nighter.  It was a brilliant time and we’re definitely going to have to do this again one day, but for now, thanks for dropping by, and we’ll let you know next time we do a DJ set over at the Festival of the Twenty-Eighth Summer.

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Right, so it’s that time of year again.  Tomorrow is Record Store Day 2014 and music shops all across the world will be getting exclusive releases, selling regional special editions, hosting events, and generally having a fantastic time.  And, of course, if you’re anywhere near a record shop of any kind, you should get in on it as well!  Don’t know what to get?  No problem – read on!

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As promised, tomorrow into Saturday, Giles and I will be DJing a Haçienda-themed all-nighter over at my broadcast channel, the Festival of the Twenty-Eighth Summer.  We’ll be doing a quasi-chronological progression, starting with punk and classic rock, moving into post-punk, house, dance and Madchester, electronica, Britpop, world, you name it.  We’re expecting to start at about seven o’clock Eastern Daylight Time (or midnight at the Haçienda), and we’ll probably run into mid-morning Saturday

As usual, you’re welcome to tune in anytime and come hang out with us.  As usual, song, artist and genre requests are welcome – just shoot me an ask or a submit, or use the suggestion tool on Grooveshark while we’re broadcasting.  And as usual, if you want to know when we begin or if you want to be tagged in future updates, just like this post or let me know!

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the-blues-brothers said: hey ^^ would you kindly make me a songlist of motivational songs? I'm about to face a really tough boss battle in a video game and I need motivation to not die like I did in the other bosses... WHY HAS THIS GAME TO BE SO HAAAARD?! Thank you :D

Life’s tough and video games are tough and I know things have been difficult for you lately.  I made you a short mixtape, but it isn’t as much of a “mix” as mine usually are.  Instead, I chose some bands and musicians I know you like (The Clash, The Jam, Carbon/Silicon) and put together a few of their most inspirational songs, or at least, the songs that I reckon make you feel a little better about its being “you against the world.”  At least, they make me feel better.

Here's your mixtape.  And remember, as much as it might feel like it, you're never alone.  You've always got mates who'll look out for you if you're feeling down.

Video game bosses you might have to handle by yourself, though…

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This entire album is massively underrated, but this song is one of the most underrated tracks on it.

Rushing through the rush hour on an all-nighter
Never seen you look so young
The world really looks from this doughnut store
Such a funny colour in the sun

There are some of Joe Strummer’s lyrics that take my breath away, and while the vocals on Earthquake Weather may be rough and out of practice and less well-mixed than they could have been, the imagery of Joe’s words is enough to make up for all of it and more.

For once the traffic’s been conquered by the streets
Listening close the waterpools
You can hear the hiss and the leaks
And the rattling cans of the shuffling bands
Down the avenues of spare change
Forty blocks north in your memories