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PRINT Summer 2002

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Matthew Higgs on 24 Hour Party People

IF YOU GREW UP in the North West of England in the late ’70s it was hard to avoid Tony Wilson, by day an anchor for the local television news, by night the host of So It Goes, one of the few television programs, anywhere, to both embrace and actively promote the emerging punk scene. Equal parts Dan Rather, Malcolm McLaren, and Oscar Wilde (at least in terms of his immodesty and penchant for foppish attire), Wilson had a vision: to see rain-sodden Manchester reborn in the manner of Renaissance Florence. Early to seize on punk’s potential, Wilson (along with his friend Alan Erasmus, graphic designer Peter Saville, and record producer Martin Hannett) would launch Factory Records and introduce Joy Division, A Certain Ratio, and the Durutti Column to a largely unsuspecting late-’70s public.

A complex character deftly played by British comedian Steve Coogan, Wilson occupies center stage in Michael

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