In and around the northern quarters of Manchester have been many names associated with its cultural movements including Peter Hook, Mani, Tony Wilson, even John Cooper Clarke. Names that might not trip off the tongue as easily as the aforenoted who have impacted on the Mancunian landscape include Rob Gretton, Martin Hannett and Ged Duffy. You might not have ever heard of Duffy previous to the year 2021 but those within certain social circles will have known of his legend, an excellent publication released via Empire Books entitled Factory Fairy Tales is his distinctly absorbing autobiography.
The book opens with some charming words by aforementioned musical heroes Hooky and Mani, both speak of Duffy in glowing terms, Mani was known back in the day in Mani the Mod, maybe something to do with his fascination around Italian Scooters and that he liked a dapper thread or 2. Duffy seemingly has a picture perfect memory, the book is awash with escapades reaching far back into the misty murky days of the 1970’s and not just to do with music. Football also played a huge part of many peoples lives back then, Duffy and his gang were caught in regular scraps with away contingents in Leeds, Liverpool and many more places of interest.
There’s also descriptions of places and people. Where now the landscape of many big and small cities are depicted with new buildings and everyone wearing the latest threads, back in Duffys day the cities he’d visit were very much downtrodden, big buildings waiting for a much needed sandblast. There’s also lessons in personal decorum; you’d get a skinhead hair cut on stage at a gig before instantly regretting the decision but then another gig was lying in wait for your attention so you’d forget all about the new crew cut.
Duffy was there at many legendary nights out in and around Manchester and its neighbouring haunts including The Russell Club, Rafters, The Hacienda and Spike Island. There’s so much entertaining content and breath-taking detail about the gigs Duffy attended including early gigs of Joy Division, Adam and the Ants, Echo and the Bunnymen, Depeche Mode, New Order, Wire, The Stone Roses, A Certain Ratio, there’s blood, sweat and tears, plus the time a member of a band was covered in flem, including the big green ones.
In and amongst all these bands that Duffy got to see he found time to be a founding member of the legendary Factory Records outfit Stockholm Monsters, acclaimed by many including Tim Burgess as a serious influence on their career, 1982 single Fairy Tales is as iconic as Sally Cinnamon, Transmission and Wrote For Luck, however the band never quite gained the attention of some of the more fortune bands from the same city. There are some humorous stories of Hannett producing their music; before any work took place Hannett would line up his drugs on the mixing desk, halfway through recording the substances would run out as would the patience of Duffy.
Nevermind which football team you follow you need this book, if your preference is The Stone Roses or Joy Division or ACR or Adam Ant, whoever your musical choice, if you were around or charmed by the 1970’s – late 1990’s there’s a story here that will enlighten your day and even your year, a quite phenomenal book, the likes of which are precious beyond their years.
Factory Fairy Tales can be ordered via the following link