A GUEST POSTING FROM …strictly rockers…



Another tricky ICA to distill. So much great music and over 30 albums!

I’ve focused on the Factory years up to 1990. If there’s enough interest, an ICA of 21st century Durutti Column might be forthcoming…

Ten FACTs, Ten Years, Ten Tracks:

• Durutti Column were founded in 1978 by Anthony H Wilson and Alan Erasmus. They were the first signing to Factory in 1978.

• Durutti Column were named after a mis-spelling of ‘Colonne Durruti’, the largest anarchist group active in the Spanish Civil War – followers of the grandly-named Buenaventura Durruti

• The original five-piece recorded two tracks for the debut Factory release, ‘A Factory Sample’. However, due to disagreements about producers, it soon became a solo project of ‘that genius guitarist that’s always ill’, Vini Reilly.

• The debut album ‘The Return Of The Durutti Column’ was recorded in just two days by Vini Reilly and engineer Martin Hannett. It was famously housed in a sandpaper record sleeve glued by members of Joy Division & ACR. A Situationist prank that had also been considered by Malcolm Maclaren for the Sex Pistol’s debut

• All The Durutti Column’s releases on Factory had catalogue numbers ending in ‘4’

• Bruce Mitchell, DC’s longtime percussionist and sometime manager, joined in 1980 from Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias

• A self-taught guitarist, Vini’s first recorded work was Ed Banger & The Nosebleeds’ ‘Ain’t Bin To No Music School’. When Vini left the band to join DC, he was replaced by Billy Duffy and ‘Ed Banger’ was replaced by Steven Morrissey. Vini later played guitar on Morrissey’s ‘Viva Hate’

• Brian Eno cites Durutti’s 1981 release ‘LC’ (‘Lotta Continua’. Italian for ‘continuous Struggle’) as his all-time favourite album and John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers) claims Vini is ‘the best guitarist in the world’. According to self-critical Vini, ‘it’s just tunes, innit’

• Vini recently suffered three strokes and was the subject of an appeal that raised £3000 in just one day to cover his unpaid rent

• In the film ’24 Hour Party People’ God appears to Tony Wilson and tells him that Vini Reilly is way overdue a revival, that he should consider a ‘Greatest Hits’ album and that the Durutti Column is ‘good music to chill-out to’. God was right. He usually is.

Durutti Column: 1980-1990 The Factory Years ICA

01 Sketch For Summer (Return Of…, 1980) FACT 14

Probably the best-known DC song complete with Martin Hannett‘s sampled birdsong. Its a love/hate thing

‘(Hannett) more or less got sounds for me that no one else could understand that I wanted’

02 Madeleine (Lips That Would Kiss EP, 1980) FAC BN2-005

B-side of the rare ‘Lips That Would Kiss’ EP. Released in Belgium on Factory Benelux

03 For Belgian Friends (A Factory Quartet Sampler, 1980) FACT 24

Up-beat drums by A Certain Ratio’s Donald Johnson

04 Jacqueline (LC, 1981) FACT 44

Recorded on 4-track cassette at home. The first recordings with Bruce Mitchell on drums

05 The Missing Boy (LC, 1981) FACT 44

Written about Ian Curtis with heart-wrenching, hesitant vocals by Vini. Not a dry eye in the house. ‘Same old order… Same old order… Same old order’

There was a boy / I almost knew him
A glance exchanged / Made me feel good
Leaving some signs / Now a legend
The dream was wrought / Where thoughts were heard
Love is reserved / From previous times

Like a dead bird in the dirt / Like a rusty can on the ground
I don’t believe in stardom / Machinery in action
Full of experts / Full of experts
Same old order / Same old order / Same old order

Watch with obsession / Some accident of beauty
Try to capture / As the light begins to fail
Shapes to compose / Shadows of frailty
The dream is better / Dissolves into softness
But the end / The end is always the same

06 Without Mercy (Stanzas 4-7) (Without Mercy, 1984) FACT 84

Just. Beautiful. Intended as an instrumental evocation of the poem ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’ by John Keats

I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful—a faery’s child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She look’d at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.

I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
A faery’s song.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna dew,
And sure in language strange she said—
“I love thee true.”

07 Tomorrow (Circuses & Bread, 1986) FACT 154

Another haunting, effecting vocal from Vini.

All I wanted was your time / All you ever gave me was tomorrow
And tomorrow never comes / Tomorrow never comes
People stood in a line with flowers / They were only waiting for the moment
And I know the feeling so well / I’ve been waiting for you for so long

08 Finding The Sea (Vini Reilly, 1989) FACT 244

Heaven in two parts. Vocals by Sola. Produced by Stephen Street

09 Otis (Vini Reilly, 1989) FACT 244

Experimenting with samples of singers to stunning effect. Sampling ‘Pain In My Heart’ by Otis Redding. Additional vocals by Pol.

‘Respect & Thanks to those we have sampled.’

10 Contra-Indications (Obey The Time, 1990) FACT 274

Obviously influenced by 1990’s Manchester, this initially sounds like it could be off the first Electronic album


11 I Know Very Well How I Got My Note Wrong (Bonus 7″ w/ Vini Reilly LP, 1989) FACT 244+

An out-take from the Viva Hate sessions released as a bonus 7″ with copies of the Vini Reilly album.

Credited to Vincent Gerard & Steven Patrick ‘Definitely not for sale separately. ‘

‘When they’re duff, they really are fuckin’ duff!”

“…strictly rockers…”


  1. Thanks once again JC
    The weirdest synchronicity as this post lands on Vini’s birthday! : )
    Happy birthday maestro!

  2. There is a long documentary about Wilson/Factory on YouTube, the name of which now escapes me, and in it Peter Hook refers to making all of these sandpaper sleeves, saying that Vini couldn’t help doing them – and then imitating Vini in a totally sissyish manner – “uh-oh, because of his FINGERNAILS!”. Next Scene shows Vini, just having been confronted with what Hook said about him, and he goes: “Nah,that’s not true at all, he’s a daft bugger, Hooky!”: just priceless!!!

  3. Excellent, well-chosen ICA. Definitely interested in the post-1990 biz. Thanks SR!

  4. Sorry to repost, but must say just how much I’m enjoying this comp. Listening all day. Been a DC fan ever since I took a flyer on ‘A Factory Quartet’ when I was trying to find out about Blurt. And I repeat my support for a later-years ICA as I kind of lost track of DC after about Guitars & Other Machines. Thanks again, S.Rockers, really well done.

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