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In 1976, Tony Wilson sets up Factory Records and brings Manchester's music to the world.

  • Michael Winterbottom
  • Revolution Films
  • Baby Cow Productions
  • Film Consortium, The
A semi-fictional account of approximately sixteen years in the Manchester alternative music scene from 1976 is presented. The story is largely from the perspective of Tony Wilson, who, along with other characters in the story and Steve Coogan, who portrays Wilson, occasionally break the fourth wall in telling the story. As it is happening, Wilson, an on-air presenter for Granada television, believes that The Sex Pistols' concert at the Lesser Free Trade Hall should be a seminal moment in the Manchester music scene, despite there being only an unenthusiastic audience of forty-two in a venue holding several times that amount. Without highly visible outlets for punk and other alternative musical acts in Britain, Wilson and his partners go about creating such outlets. They include, in chronological order: a television program, So It Goes (1976), hosted by Wilson himself; a record label, Factory Records, which would sign at its core Joy Division, who would transition into becoming New Order, and Happy Mondays; and a live music venue, the Ha├žienda, which would feature primarily Factory's stable of talent. But Wilson wanted the experiment as he calls it to be more about the end product than the business which would keep him true to his vision. That focus, for good or bad, could be the experiment's ultimate downfall. Interrelated to the success or failure of the experiment is Wilson's slight narcissism - his name which he believes should be sufficient to get things done - and his personal relationships with what would be his two wives.


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