Tony Wilson
24 Hour Party People Paperback

A novel based on the screenplay for the movie "24 Hour Party People" and written by Tony Wilson himself. This could be the ultimate story of Manchester's best-known independent label Factory Records - or a quick cash-in on the film's relative success.

Tony Wilson tells his own story for the first time and promises to reveal "what the sleeve notes never tell you". Why does he do it now, 10 years after Factory Records have called it a day, now that he is back at Granada TV and well established as the organizer of "In The City", a yearly convention of music business people, set in Manchester? Why? Because Michael Winterbottom has recently shot "24 Hour Party People", a film on the history of Factory Records, unsurpisingly centred around Wilson. That's why - lo and behold - the book carries the same title as the film.

"24 Hour Party People" the book is meant to be a supplement to the movie and aims to present the bits and pieces the screenplay had to leave out. Wilson has tried to follow the chronological order of the film, so he starts out with the same sequence that sees him hang-gliding somewhere in the mountains of Wales. For the rest of the book, however, he keeps ad-libbing through the story, mixing fact with fiction, myth with truth.

The whole book is divided into none less than 66 chapters and features a lot of "piece to camera" sections, a sort of narratives directly addressing the reader in a TV-reporter style. All in all, the book is fun to read. Half of the time Wilson is trying to make a fool of himself, but sometimes it seems his intention is to prove he really is the arrogant git a lot of people think he is. One of the strange things about this book is that it's written almost entirely in the third person, just as if Wilson was writing about somebody else rather than his humble self.

A reference to the old Factory days is given by the book's sleeve design: it resembles the cover of the first release on the label - FAC 2, "A Factory Sample" featuring Joy Division, Durutti Column, John Dowie and Cabaret Voltaire - and sports a Factory catalogue number (FAC 424). Inside, you'll also find a couple of nice photographs, half of them real-life shots, half of them taken from the movie.

This book is not a must-have item. Most of the stories are more or less expanded versions of the screenplay, and the whole book is focused on Wilson. If a closer look at Factory from a different angle is required, then books like Dave Haslam's "Manchester, England" or Deborah Curtis' "Touching From A Distance" should be a better choice.


This book was published by Channel Four Books.

"What the sleeve notes never tell you"