’24 Hour Party People’ – despite having Alan Partridge playing
Tony Wilson and the most unintentionally hilarious suicide
scene ever when Ian Curtis appears to string himself up because
there’s an annoying programme about horses on the telly – is the
third greatest rock’n’roll story ever told. It’s the tale of how
a small musical backwater in the north-west that no-one had
noticed for 30 years became the wild-beating heart and
pulsating nads of British popular culture and, despite
a few gaping holes in their roster that you could swing a
fieldful of Gladioli in, Factory Records and their Haçienda
club were the axle around which Manchester in the 80s revolved
(not literally of course, that would be hideous). Guns, death,
drugs, money, celebration, whoredom and despair: this
[I]Great Rock’N’Roll Noggle[/I] is rivetting, essential viewing,
the perfect date movie for that nostalgic E psychotic in your life.
The trouble with essential rock films, though, is that they tend to
have inessential soundtracks. Fact is, if you know enough about Joy Division,
New Order and Happy Mondays to want to watch the movie, you probably own
everything on this record already. It’s basically three mini-compilations
1) The Shortest Punk Album In The World… Ever! (‘Anarchy…’,
‘Ever Fallen In Love’ and The Clash‘s quite-shit-actually ‘Janie Jones’).
2) Shine Goes Nishin’ In Madchester (various Mondays club mixes of ‘Hallelujah’
and ’24 Hour Party People’ and assorted rave warhorses from A Guy Called
Gerald and 808 State for those sweaty-extras-going-“wow” Hacienda shots).
3) Joy Division: Christ, Weren’t They Important!
Inevitably, it’s Laughin’ Ian and his survivors that dominate
the collection, and it’s their tracks that the Factory
newcomers will find most rewarding. The glistening ‘Atmosphere’,
the pounding ‘Transmission’, the Walk Like A Scary Egyptian ‘She’s
Lost Control’ and the ubiquitous ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ are
culled from the pre-Noose Order days while Barney and chums donate
‘Blue Monday’ and ‘Temptation’. Oh, and the only two new tracks: a
near-metal live version of ‘New Dawn Fades’ recorded at the Area
One festival in LA last year on which – tonight Matthew! – Moby will
be Ian Curtis, and the Chemical Brothers-produced ‘Here To Stay’
which is more tippety-top New Orderish New Order doing a New Order
song in the style of New Order. Which may be an added treat for the
Madchester virgins, but for the average Factory disciple they’re
hardly an incentive to purchase akin to a tracklisting written in
Tony Wilson’s blood. If the words ‘The Other Two’ already mean
anything to you, don’t bother.