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In another, parallel, universe, ‘…Yes Please!’ was different. There, Tony Wilson sent the Mondays to a drug-free Singapore. There, they stayed relatively clean, got on, and made a workmanlike fourth that kept them churning out minor hits throughout Britpop.

In this alternate world, Factory Records still exists. Maybe even Tony is still healthy. It could so easily have been otherwise. After all, we all know how many tragic maybes there were within the recording process.

Shaun Ryder had enough methadone to make it through the month without smack. That is, before he accidentally smashed all his jars of the stuff at Manchester airport. Tony Wilson chose Barbados as the recording location because it was free of heroin. But no-one had warned the Factory boss that it was the gateway to America’s crack trade. To cut a long, expensive story short: Ryder becomes a one-man rock epidemic.

Sells Eddy Grant’s furniture. Forgets to write any lyrics. Holds the master tapes ransom until Factory give him more drug-wonga. Ultimately turns in the sound of five Mancunians going beyond the druggy-woozy sound of E into the druggy-crazy blank, confusing boredom of listening to crackheads jabber about nothing.

Massive flop. Label goes bust. Ryder dines out on the anecdotes for the next 20 years.

 

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