Friday, August 24, 2007

Tony Wilson: 1950-2007, RIP

About 2 years ago I caught the movie 24 Hour Party People, directed by Michael Winterbottom, and starring Steve Coogan as Tony Wilson, an impresserio who led the "Madchaster" movement in Manchester, England during the late '70s towards the early '80s, on the heels of the punk rock. Wilson is credited for [among other things] having launched the seminal '80s new wave movement, spearheaded by his backing of Joy Division, which went on to become New Order. More concretely, he helped form the label "Factory Records", and founded a club called The Ha├žienda which was arguably the nucleus of this scene.

While the story of Tony Wilson might be seen as a story of the musical universe, I think it's equal parts the business universe.

While Tony's behaviour was at times erratic, what rose above all else was his sincere dedication to the scene he was promoting. While he was as a matter of intent and instinct, a businessperson, and understood his fiduciary obligations. He believed in what he was promoting, and maintained a rare integrity to the end. Of course, to a certain extent you could argue that this was his downfall, and quite frankly I wonder if he could have had his cake and eat it to.

That said, history has judged him well, and from our perspective here and now, how can we fault him?

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