From Manchester With Love

‘From Manchester with Love’, the unofficial/official biography of cultural icon Tony Wilson, is a fitting deconstruction of the creative but chaotic life and times of Mr Manchester.

Stockport born-and-bred writer Paul Morley, who, like many of the characters in the book, appears to have endured/enjoyed a love/hate relationship with the media mogul/entrepreneur.

Morley gets his revenge and/or thanks his mentor/nemesis as he tries to contextualise the visionary who gave us Joy Division, New Order, Factory Records, the Hacienda, In the City and a whole lot more … without lining his own pocket, ripping off the artists he so admired and supported or, God forbid, becoming Richard Branson.

Paul’s biggest challenge is dissembling the mythology from the reality or as Wilson (or as somebody else) said ‘when forced to pick between the truth and the legend, print the legend.’

He does this by cleverly using large chunks of verbatim quotes from the people closest to him. This works best when those who loved him go up close and personal talking about the man not the legend. Yes, Wilson was a larger than life marmite personality. But he was just as fallible as the rest of us, even if he tried so hard to convince us otherwise. Ultimately, he stayed true to his city of dreams and ideas throughout his life and there is no better tribute for him.

Andrew Field