Saturday, August 11, 2007

Tony Wilson RIP

I was quite shocked to hear that Tony Wilson, the king of Manchester rock, has died aged just 57. I lived in the North West from 1968 to 1982 and Tony Wilson was a household name in those parts from his regular appearances presenting Granada Reports. His Granada TV series So It Goes was ground breaking and provided a glimpse of genuine punk rock at a time when it was ignored by most mainstream TV. Yet Tony was, as I recall, a complete wanker. I came across him often in the early seventies when I was a journalist on a couple of Lancashire local papers. Tony's ego was well known and it's fair to say that he pissed off both me and my journalist friends whenever we came into contact with him, which was fairly often.

My favourite memory of Tony was at a stock car meet somewhere in Lancashire when local journalists were invited to compete against each other and generally get pissed. Tony was there, wearing a deep red velvet suit and, naturally, he won every race he entered, while I and others slithered round the track in the sticky mud. True to form, Tony celebrated his success by standing on the back of his car while someone drove him on a lap of honour. And then, what joy, he fell off, and his velvet suit got covered in mud. Laugh? We had a couple more pints celebrating his downfall.

To be fair, wanker or not, Tony was a character and put Manchester on the map musically. So I mourn his passing. It's a ridiculously young age to die, but so it goes.


At 10:29 am , Blogger Nick said...

Having chatted with a friend who was there at the time, I realise that I had forgotten one aspect of Tony Wilson's appearance at the stock car day in Warrington. He finished last in the first race and said that it wouldn't look good for the cameras and insisted that the race be re-run. This time, of course, he came first.


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