One man’s love and dedication for the iconic record label Factory Records has resulted in, for perhaps the first time ever, the full Factory collection being brought together in one place, reports Carl Stanley.
Colin Gibbins, of Blackley, Manchester, has put his life into collecting the Factory discography, whether it be a rare 12″, tape or poster, and with all of Factory’s output being given its own, unique catalog number, every poster, flexi-disc and video tape ever released has had to be found in order to complete the collection.
Upstairs at the Ducie Bridge, Manchester, the most prized records and pieces of Colin’s collection were impressively laid out. Records that first caught the eye were from lesser known Factory bands such as Crispy Ambulance and The Railway Children, alongside more well known rarities like the sandpaper sleeve of Durutti Column‘s ‘Return of the Durutti Column‘ (FAC 14), which was designed to scratch and ruin other records it was stored with in record shops.
Other releases including the FAC 51 New Order flexi disc and hessian ‘Still‘ album, complete with the white ribbon Joy Division logo, stood out, while The Stockholm Monsters‘ ‘Fairy Tales‘, with its leather imitation green and purple sleeves, was present and correct in fantastic condition.
The Happy Mondays 7 inches and rarities, including the deleted live album from Elland Road in 1991, in all its formats, as well as the original ‘Pills, Thrills n Bellyaches‘ album cover, which was forced to be changed due to legal wrangles, were some of the exhibition’s stand-out pieces.
The collection also included rare posters, badges and artwork from Joy Division and Tony Wilson, contributed by artist Dean Dermody, the brother of Northside singer Dermo; it was Factory’s work in full glory and provided a treat for all those who attended.
Factory artists and well known Manchester faces like Mike Joyce, Chris Goodwin, Dermo and Paul Walsh all made appearances over the weekend, lending support to Colin’s chosen charity for the event, Cancer Research. Another big supporter of the exhibition was Doreen Curtis, Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis‘ mother, who Colin met through his work as a bricklayer. Doreen not only donated Factory pieces, but also provided one of Ian’s treasured albums – a Perry Como LP.
The weekend was a total success and a real eye opener, making it clear that although the Factory story has been documented many times, it’s through the people of Manchester and more specifically people like Colin that Factory will always live on.