The other night on cable I caught a movie called 24 Hour Party People (2002).
The movie is a mock documentary of the Manchester music scene in the 70s
and 80s, dealing with impresario Tony Wilson and the life of Factory Records
and the famous Hacienda Club (the Manchester equivalent of Crazy Daisy's
in Sheffield). In its length the movie features brief excerpts from a radical
musical time — a time in which (as Wilson says) one wave replaced another in
the revolution started by groups such as the Sex Pistols. This movie mainly
centers on the rise of Joy Division and its eventual transformation into New
Order, along with the Happy Mondays.
For me, all of this at the time was like a far away voice across the waters.
There were a few British groups that I was very familiar with, such as Elvis
Costello and Lena Lovich, The Clash, as well as Kate Bush (if you consider
a slightly different lineage of music). But for the most part the bands that
lit a fuse under me back then were the home-bred American groups: Devo,
Blondie, Talking Heads. Eventually, once '81 or so rolled around, I began
to catch up with other things that were going on in Britain.
So I learned quite a bit from this movie, not to mention it's always a
pleasure for me to be drawn back into that time again — it makes me
"feel young all over again."
If you haven't seen it, and if you are into the music of that time period,
I recommend giving it a view.