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Nicky Crewe - Factory Records Memories

  by Nicky Crewe

published: 25 / 11 / 2015

Nicky Crewe - Factory Records Memories


Nicky Crewe reflects on what she both remembers and does not remember about knowing from her teens Factory Records boss Tony Wilson and working the door at the legendary Russell and Hacienda clubs

Memory lost. They say if you can remember the sixties you mustn’t really have been there. I have the same problem with 1980. I began the year living with my Dutch boyfriend in Longsight, Manchester. He had come to Manchester as a roadie for Alberto Y Los Trios Paranoias. We both had day jobs, but he was occasionally asked to roadie for Manchester bands and promoters. I started to do the door at Rafters for Alan Wise and at the Russell Club in Hulme for Factory because of these connections. There were other significant links too. I’d shared a house with Martin Hannett. I’d known Tony Wilson since I was about 15, through family friends and Catholic grammar school contacts in Salford. He was older than me, definitely going places. In fact he had already gone to Cambridge to read English. When I was torn between two universities, he quoted Carlos Castaneda to me. ‘Follow the path with heart’. I did and went to Exeter. I had left by Christmas. We met again when we were both back in Manchester and it was always a pleasure to see him. I enjoyed working on the door, taking the money, checking the guest list. It introduced me to people and music I might have missed out on. I once refused to let Mark E Smith in to venue and got the ‘don’t you know who I am ‘ treatment. I didn’t back then, and it was still no reason to treat him any differently back in those far off days, before the Fall. I’ve read the history books. I know I was around when Joy Division were playing in Manchester. I know what I was doing in May 1980 too. But I don’t have any memory of seeing them, or of the shock of Ian Curtis’ suicide. By September 1980 I had run away to Morocco and was teaching English in Casablanca. By the time I got back to Manchester in the summer of 1981 the Hacienda plan was well under way, Martin Hannett had disassociated himself from it and in May 1982 I was offered a job in the ticket office a couple of nights a week. I had a day job as a local history researcher, which I loved, so I was never going to do it full time. I was there in the box office on opening night, though I don’t get a mention in ’24 Hour Party People’. Once I did the cloakroom with Johnny Marr. I remember that, because I assumed his name was a play on the French for ‘I’m bored’. I stayed involved for about six months. I saw New Order there, in their khaki shorts and ‘tings’, looking more Hitler Youth than boy scouts. Did I miss out because I was too busy taking the money, checking the guest lists, chatting to the bouncers, guarding the cash? I’ll never know, unless someone reading this can remember.

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