New Order

Vinyl Friday #26: New Order “Blue Monday” 12″ single

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The last 12″ single I wrote about was Echo & the Bunnymen’s “Silver.” The one critic I had was while it was a great song, it wasn’t a fantastic 12″ mix. This, though, this… this New Order 12″ is the fucking holy grail of early-80’s dance music. The 12″ version of this song is totally necessary, and it’s still the biggest selling 12″ single of all time.

I chose to write about this particular single today because Halloween is tomorrow. Growing up, my sister and I had a soundtrack with “Blue Monday” on it (because it was the early 90’s, we shared CD’s). My sister and I would pick out the music to listen to in our rooms, but I really didn’t know what to think of this song. I was probably only five when I first heard it. It’s a lot for a child to comprehend, especially when the only pop music they had heard was the sickly-sweet 90’s sort or Tejano music.

But this song slightly frightened me as a kid. It’s quite a dark song. Now that I’m older, I love the song for it’s lyrics and the very dark atmosphere that used to frighten me when I was a kid. This was released three years after Ian Curtis’s death, but the dark Joy Division sound still lingered (though not as much as it would in Movement), but this was clearly a hallmark of where the band was going with their sound.

When I first met my husband, we had a discussion about which records we’d like to own one day. Without a moments hesitation, he replied with “New Order’s “Blue Monday” single where it looks like the floppy disk.” Being the young couple we were three years ago, I kept the secret to myself that I already owned this baby. On his first trip to visit me in the States, I presented him with this, so now I guess it belongs to him.

It’s a well-known story that the packaging for “Blue Monday” were so expensive, that it actually cost Factory Records more money to produce than they made. Later copies pressed in 1988 and 1995 were made in more conventional styles. Peter Saville (who I love and worship everything he does) designed the sleeve with die-cut and a silver sleeve. The colour-block code that runs down the side states “FAC 73 BLUE MONDAY AND THE BEACH NEW ORDER”; this is the same code that would also appear on several releases, including the back of the album Power, Corruption & Lies. 

For the longest time, I told myself that I had an original pressing from 1983, but after researching it, I finally had to admit to myself that I probably just had a cheap US reprint (though I am no expert and never will claim to be). Everything I own with actual value was stolen a long time ago. Normally things like “value” hardly mean a thing to me when it comes to collecting and buy vinyl, but I suppose each of us has something that we just have to have.

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Vinyl Friday #7: Various “Factory Records Communications 1978 – 92”

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I don’t do Record Store Day anymore. Call me a cynic, but it has gotten way too far from what used to make it fun. But I suppose that’s what happened for me and buying records period. Too many people on a small boat. Everything is a bit obnoxious to me: the crowds, the eBay record-flippers and those ridiculous limited releases.

For the most part I have tried not to buy the exclusive releases. I hate that stupid ploy to make people pay more money than they need to for an album that will go down in price not even two weeks later without the “exclusive” title attached. Many of these records have different packaging or just use a special name on RSD until it’s official release a few weeks later (The Cure have sadly done this several times). The albums will be double the price and hardly worth paying that much more.

Okay. So rant over.

That being said, the few times I have caved I haven’t regretted it and this 2013 release is a great example. “Factory Records Communications 1978 – 92″ is a 10” compilation featuring classic artists like New Order and Joy Division. According to Discogs, “Although printed on green front sticker:  ‘All tracks taken from the 4CD Boxset Factory Records: Communications 1978 – 92 (2564-69379-0)’, only track A1 is featured on this box set.” It works like an extended mix of songs and its pretty cool for a 10″ record.

There were only 3,000 printed, but I don’t actually this this is a highly sought-after record. I believe this is technically Sampler #2 (and I’m not even sure how many of these there are supposed to be). There are much better Factory compilations around like Fac. Dance. But this little baby is enjoyable enough to keep around.

Track listing:

A1 Joy Division “She’s Lost Control (12″ Version)”
A2 New Order “1963 (12″ Version)”
B1 The Durutti Coloumn “Otis”
B2 Happy Monday “Loose Fit (12″ Version)”
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How not to run a club

Some things are so great that they live beyond their years. They become more than stories. They become the things of legends. The best of these legends are what happen on that perfect (or disastrous) night out.

Peter Hook’s Hacienda: How Not to Run a Club is the biography of Manchester’s infamous club. Hook is best known for playing bass in Joy Division and New Order, as well as now running the FAC251, continuing the story of dance in Manchester. The club had its rise during Manchester, and its fall during Gunchester – a time filled with gun violence and gangs.

For the first few years of the club’s existence, they only seemed to succeed in live gigs. The sound was pretty shit, but some really fantastic bands walked through those now iconic doors. The FAC51 website has several of these shows online to watch for free. But the shining years at the Hacienda was after they ditched the bands and took on the DJs. Madchester was born in absolute brilliance. Acid house is definitely an acquired taste, but it was the right time for a new immersion of dance and rock music.

It can be difficult to decide if the stories from Hook is fact or fiction, but that’s half the fun. Reading Hacienda is like hearing stories of the war from your grandfather. Fact can be stranger (or just funnier) than fiction. Hook is not the most likeable of narrators, but that’s possibly the strength of this book. There’s a sense of listening to a man sitting in a pub reliving the golden years. His stories might sound like tall tales, but he captures your attention with every word.