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The Crack Magazine

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I Thought I Heard You Speak: Women at Factory Records by Audrey Golden

Is there really a need for yet another book about Factory records? Well, yes, there is, because as one of the interviewees in I Thought I Heard You Speak says, “The women running Factory didn’t get the credit they deserved. They didn’t get any credit for anything they did…being a woman, you don’t get credit for the things you do. I think it’s much easier for men to deny women credit than it is for them to deny another man credit”. The old story, and, yet, this oral history, brilliantly written, marshalled and edited by Audrey Golden reveals Factory Records in a completely new light. This isn’t the same men-only legend found in so many books about Factory, but one that completely smashes, then rewrites the legend and in doing so reveals more about how Factory worked on a day-to-day basis than many other histories of this period. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to claim that Tony Wilson was allowed to be the brilliant front facing smart-arse and charmer, because there were a bunch of women in the office doing the hard graft of managing a label and sorting out all the other related business activities to keep everything running smoothly. There are also countless fascinating, unheard and (sometimes) sad stories about other Factory women too: the ones playing in bands, writing and arranging music, designing record sleeves or, among other things, working as DJs, visual artists, fashion designers, live sound engineers, club managers, and bouncers (the chapter on Yasmine, the first woman ‘doorman’ in England, is so good). Myth busting, ball busting, incredibly detailed, with nary a dull page to be found, I Thought I Heard You Speak is simply one of the best books written about Factory Records (and I’ve read many of them). An instant classic. Totally recommended.

I Thought I Heard You Speak: Women at Factory Records – by Audrey Golden - publ. White Rabbit - £25.00

Steven Long