Saturday, August 11, 2007

Tony Wilson - Gone but NEVER forgotten...

I first met ANTHONY H WILSON in Castlefield, Manchester - when I was about 11 years old. There had been a segment on Granada Reports for kids to help out on an archaelogical 'dig' in the center of town. It was one of those 'youth awareness' schemes centered around local history and if you showed-up, you got a free T-shirt. I remember that it was Tony Wilson who handed me my free t-shirt.

Then as a Grammar School boy, I would hear about 'Wilson' putting on gigs at The Russell Club (which he called 'The Factory') in Moss Side. I remember the posters, vividly - which were pasted all over the area. The one that sticks in my mind the most was when Throbbing Gristle played on May 19th, 1979. I tore one of those posters off a wall and kept it.

In later years, I would see Wilson all the time in the Hacienda. His signature 'drop shouldered' Armani suits made him appear especially unique. He would alledgedly buy them from a store called Jack Creme. I didn't know anyone else at the time who could afford to wear Armani - however, I did know Jack Creme's daughter - Caroline.

The second (and last) time I would meet Wilson was on a pilot for a late night Arts Show that Granada was producing - I can't quite recall the name - but it was along the lines of THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT. My college friend Andy Humphries was either Producer or Head Researcher on the show and he booked me as a guest. Another friend, Jason Jules, blagged me an outfit to wear from Paul Smith. So I was sent a train ticket and they reserved me a room at a decent hotel. Backstage I hung out with the guys from 808 State. Somebody from the band had his dad there. I drank beer with this guy and we wandered around Granada a bit. It seemed vast and cavernous.

Later, that afternoon, around tea-time Wilson interviewed me about TRIP CITY. He was very slick and the consummate pundit. On my way out, I told him about getting a Granada Reports t-shirt off him, when I was 11. He smiled at me, but didn't really comment. I never actually saw him again until his cameo appearance in 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE - which doesn't really count as it was on DVD. And then, yesterday, I got a myspace bulletin from Dave Haslam which simply said: "Tony Wilson R-I-P."

I still can't quite believe that Anthony H Wilson is gone. I'm sure that he will be sadly missed by many people. Still, his legacy will live on. And for me, I will always remember that little smile from him as he handed me my free t-shirt, all those years ago.
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