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EYEWITNESS IN MANCHESTER PEOPLE
Anthony H Wilson
Excerpts from the Interview with Aidan O'Rourke, Eyewitness in Manchester, Thursday 30 April 1998

MANCHESTER PEOPLE: Anthony H Wilson

"My grandfather was German, he came here in 1901. First he went to America, then came back to Salford. We're the great immigrant city - foreigners are welcomed, it's so hospitable to outsiders, they thrive, and do so well, they become part of the city. Who built Whalley Range? The Germans, they called it 'Little Germany'."

"My family had jewellers shops on Regent Rd, in Cadishead and Eccles. At age 5 we moved to Marple to be in the country, my mother thought it would be a better place to bring me up, but I kept in contact with Salford - we had shops there, and I went all the time. When I was 11 I got a scholarship to De La Salle in Salford, and I went every day by train & bus to De La Salle in Salford between 61 and 68"

"I remember Manchester as a very groovy city, a club city. I remember my mum & dad coming home with the programme of West Side Story. We were the pre-run of the West End of London in those days. My mother used to go into Manchester, go for a coffee, meet friends, go to the Midland... "

"The whole Catholic grammar school thing is amazing, the whole of Factory is Catholic grammar school. At De La Salle, half the intake was clever boys from Oldham, Stalybridge, St Helens, from the diaspora, and half of them were the local lads, Salford heavies, they were the ones going out to the clubs, and we'd hear all the stories..."

"The big fight now in town* is between politicians that got their school prizes at the Free Trade Hall, and those who didn't"

(*The controversial proposal for a multi-storey hotel development at the Free Trade Hall: EWM)

"In the sixties, the main clubs were Rowntrees, at the Corn Exchange,the Twisted Wheel, opposite the fire station at the end of Whitworth St. I remember one of the non-Salford Boys was thrown out of school for selling purple hearts at the Twisted Wheel. Also Time & Place on Fennel Street and by time I went to clubs - that became Pips."

"Factory Records was five people: Peter Saville, Altrincham Grammar; myself, De La Salle; Martin Hannet, Xaverian; Alan Erasmus, ; and Rob Gretton, St Bedes."

"Every two years there's a producer and a piece of kit and they change the way music sounds. With Martin Hannet, it was the digital delay from AMS in Burnley, it made drums sound the way they sound today."

"The Hacienda is the most wonderful institution and had 15 years and 15 weeks of being unbelievable.... The police revoked our licence on the grounds of 'undesirables going into our club...'   But closing clubs isn't the answer..."

(Since then there have been several killings in the city centre, two of them on Whitworth St, near Anthony H Wilson's offices: EWM)

"I want the Evening News to print again what the Chief Superintendent of Manchester Police said in October this year, 'Manchester is a safer place since we shut the Hacienda' ".

"We're the sacrificial lamb. Because they got the wrong answer, the problem has got worse, the taxing and the protection rackets and the intimidation, have spread from the night time economy to the day time economy. My only hope is, if it's taken the price of us going down, to make them realise that closing clubs isn't the answer... then maybe it's worth it."

It's not right that the Hacienda is no longer there, that we don't have a major dance club in Manchester, the one that invented the super-club. Culturally it's bad news."

"I'm very lucky - In my early childhood, I was just vaguely aware of rock ' n roll, I was 13 in the school playground when the Beatles happened, I was 18 and went to university when the revolution in drugs happened, and I was 26 and a tv presenter with my own show when punk happened. And then I happened to still be alive when I was 38 when Acid House happened. Because it's a 13 year cycle... 1950 - 1963 -1976 - 1989... my big ambition is to be around for 2002 when the next thing happens."


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