After Tony Wilson Alan McGee is perhaps the best-known post-punk record label boss in the UK. The firebrand Scot, whose blog in the Guardian is brilliant and controversial reading, was the boss of Creation Records, who with Factory were perhaps the most defining indie label of the eighties and nineties. Creation broke Oasis as well as Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, Ride and a whole collection of UK indie with attitude in a stunning twenty-year history. McGee is still involved in the music scene frontline running his cutting edge Death Disco club nights and managing The Charlatans and The Hives.
The man who designed the Hacienda, Ben Kelly put his stamp on Manchester creating a look and aesthetic that dominates the landscape of the city to this day. Kelly's iconic use of the black and yellow stripes on the Hacienda's pillars is a design classic, and is just the tip of the iceberg in the approach that was so revolutionary at a time when all other British clubs were sticky carpet dumps - dark and dingy places with terrible music. Just about any bar you go to now either has mercilessly ripped off Kelly's vision or unwittingly copied it, and arguably the whole of Manchester's city centre is now a pale facsimile of the man's vision.
Ben Kelly Design are currently working on the conversion of Stubbs Mill, New Islington into shell apartments and commercial units for Urban Splash. They are also converting a bank vault in the City of London into a gym / health club as part of a series of gyms called Gymbox, and are in the final throes of completing an interactive digital art gallery project in West Bromwich called The Public.
Radio DJ Mark Radcliffe currently hosts a show on BBC Radio 2 with Stuart Maconie in one of those all too rare corners of modern radio where there is no bullshit but plenty of wit, opinion and great music. Radcliffe made his name on Radio 1 in the mid nineties with his idiosyncratic breakfast show with Marc ‘Lard’ Riley- one of the few occasions that the BBC allowed anyone interesting onto mainstream radio.
The pair had already made the evening slot their own, with their down to earth humour and intense musical knowledge that struck a chord with listeners bored of the humdrum computerised playlist of most radio. Born in Bolton in 1958 Radcliffe has managed to become one of the top DJs in the country without having to move to London. His radio career started on Piccadilly Radio before he moved to Radio 1 in 1991 to present ‘Out On Blue Six’. When he left Radio 1 in 2004 he was armed with awards and a credibility that made the transfer to Radio 2 easy to accept. He has also presented Glastonbury’s live TV coverage and Channel 4 music show ‘The White Room’ and has written the succinct and funny account of his musical career ‘Showbusiness: The Diary Of A Rock 'N' Roll Nobody’.
Mancunian Matt Greenhalgh is the best young screenwriter in the country. He wrote the stunning screenplay for ‘Control’, managing to perfectly capture the humour and darkness of Joy Division. His award winning script fleshed out the characters with a pithy, down to earth, Northern realism and a believable dialogue that is so rare in the cinema. ‘Control’ beautifully reproduced the damp, grubby world of post punk Britain with a script that was acutely observed.
Before ‘Control’ Matt already had an impressive CV. He created and wrote the BBC series ‘Burn It’ and TV film ‘Legless’ as well as winning awards for his contribution to ‘Clocking Off’. He’s currently working on a new film project.
Peter Hook was the iconic bass player in New Order and Joy Division whose bass lines were more than just the backbone of the bands' sound. Hook lifted the bass guitar into lead position and his harmonic, soulful and beautiful bass playing contrast magnificently with his bluff down to earth Salford personality and has seen him recognised as one of the finest players of his generation. Hook is also a noted spokesmen for Manchester – his 'tell it as it is' manner and hilarious anecdotes are known for getting straight to the truth of the city.
He is currently carrying the Factory Hacienda legacy around single handed with his DJ sets, whilst working on a new band project called Freebass with bass players Mani (ex-The Stone Roses) and Andy Rourke (ex-The Smiths).
Peter Saville is one of the most influential designers of our time. As a co-founder of Factory records his defining artwork on a series of album covers for Joy Division and New Order helped create the concept behind the label. Saville has also worked extensively in the fashion and art sectors with clients including Stella McCartney, Yohji Yamamoto, Kate Moss and Kilgour. His clients in the cultural sector have included Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Barbican Centre and Whitechapel Gallery in London. He is at the forefront of developments in conceptual design, and exhibits his work in museums and art galleries all over the world.
An international authority on design and creativity, Saville is a regular broadcaster on design issues, and lectures all over the world. He is also playing a leading strategic role in the economic regeneration and cultural renaissance of his home city, occupying a unique consultancy appointment as creative director to Manchester City Council.
Manchester’s best known comedian, actor and impressionist, whose depiction of Tony Wilson in ‘24 Hour Party People’ comically captured the no holds barred extrovert Tony in full flight, presenting the hilarious rise and fall of Factory Records film. Coogan is also known for his brilliant comic TV creations like Paul Calf and the grotesque and genius invention Alan Partridge- perhaps the most accurate and cruel depiction of the desperation involved in media survival. Coogan is currently making waves in Hollywood, with a number of big releases to be seen over the summer.
Alongside Henry Normal Coogan also established Baby Cow Productions and is still instrumental in the company’s endeavours to nuture new British talent and produce highly acclaimed, and many award winning, TV programmes.
Wigan born Maconie used to write for the NME before moving on to Word Magazine, Elle, The Times, The Guardian, the Evening Standard, the Daily Express, Select and Mojo, before transferring his dry wit and enthusiasm to the radio. It was his shows on Radio 2 that have underlined his reputation for knowledgeable, insightful and a very Northern, down to earth, fan’s take on music.
Maconie has also written two great books, ‘Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North,’ which humorously tore apart the clichés of the north and the autobiographical ‘Cider with Roadies’ detailing his Wigan youth. Both books detail his generation’s obsessions translated through the erudite eye of a pop culture fanatic trapped in a small town.
If Tony was Mr Manchester, then surely his female equivalent must be Sue Woodward, OBE, the former Managing Director of ITV Granada in the North West of England.
Woodward began her career as a journalist working on the Liverpool Echo, then after a short stint in Fleet Street on two national daily newspapers she moved into television as a reporter with Granada Television. She moved from reporting to production and was part of the senior management team who opened the UK’s first state of the art TV news station at Liverpool’s Albert Dock news complex.
In 1998 Woodward was made Director of Broadcasting and Head of Regional Programmes at Granada Television in June 1998. She was then seconded to the Manchester Commonwealth Games as Creative Director where she was responsible for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, press and PR, media and marketing.
Her new job will see her work directly with Mark Gallagher, Director of Corporate Affairs for ITV, to evolve ITV’s long-term campaign strategy.
Grant Gee is a filmmaker. His music films have been twice nominated for Grammy awards: in 2000 for "Meeting People is Easy" about Radiohead and in 2006 for "Demon Days: Live" about the Gorrilaz shows at Manchester Opera House. Most recently he has completed the short film "The Western Lands" (about climber and writer Jim Perrin which was awarded best short film at the Banff and Vancouver international Film Festivals) and 'Joy Division', a feature documentary about the group which was recently released in cinemas to considerable acclaim.
Caroline has been a key part of the Manchester scene since the late eighties Madchester era when she was co- managing World Of twist and Intastella – two of the best bands on the scene. Caroline made her name with her enthusiasm and organization in a time when the Manchester scene was collapsing and managed to get both bands good deals as the ship was sinking.
With her vast musical knowledge, enthusiasm and uncanny knack for being totally on the money she moved over to A and R for and is now head of Publishing at BMG has recently received the Music Week award for A&R person of the year whilst still being based in Manchester and being a woman in a still very male dominated world.
Proving that having a good ear and a bit of confidence still exists in the music business she made her name at BMG by signing Coldplay and Keane for their publishing when they were completely unknown and is still at the very cutting edge of indie music.