Indie Originals: The New Hormones Story

The story of New Hormones records 1977-1983

Posts Tagged ‘Manchester

“An open house to derelicts”

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Richard Boon began renting the office at 50 Newton Street when he was managing Buzzcocks. “I was living in a shared house and it didn’t seem appropriate to be working from it. So I found a cheap office,” he recalls.

“The offices were hardly salubrious. You knew they weren’t exactly rolling in it,” remembers Lawrence Fitzgerald. “Looking back, it could have been the 1930s, the architecture of the building and our maverick but impoverished lifestyles somehow became blurred,” says Ian Runacres.

“Chaos,” is Paul Emmerson’s memory of the New Hormones HQ. “Just insane really,” says Lix Naylor. “Random was pretty out of it quite a lot of the time.”

Boon had invited Naylor and Cath Carroll to run their City Fun fanzine from his office. “Richard’s invitation of free rent and phone was not just generous, but a great opportunity to perch and gripe whilst watching the scene go by,” says Carroll. “We liked drinking as well. And Richard liked drinking and speed and they were probably the things that bonded us,” believes Naylor.

“Richard Boon’s kindness” is Carroll’s favourite memory of 50 Newton Street: “He used to buy us halves when we were broke, even though he wasn’t too far behind owing to a failure to put out Wham!-style records. Least favourite memory but still entertaining was the incredibly bad tempered lift operator, Tommy. He seemed to be well past retirement age and had a grudge against the world that going up and down in a lift all day did nothing to wipe clean.”

“He was a complete cunt,” says Naylor. “A one-armed armed, belligerent Irish ex-soldier.” “Grumpy old sod. Probably had a very interesting story,” says Boon. Was he a potential New Hormones signing? “I didn’t have Bob Last’s wit.”

To add to the general mayhem, Boon also let out a large connecting room to self-styled doctor of theology, Alan Wise, and Nigel Baguely (“his waster sidekick” – Naylor). Together they promoted a lot of new wave and art rock gigs under the banner of Wise Moves. “Alan Wise is one of the most bizarre people you’ll ever, ever encounter,” reckons Naylor. “The James Young book about Nico is fantastic on Alan Wise – it nails him exactly.”

“Ideally they were supposed to be there to pay half the rent, because I couldn’t afford the whole rent,” explains Boon. “Did they pay? Now and again.”

By 1982, Wise was also managing Nico. “She was an extraordinary presence,” says Naylor. Boon’s favourite recollection from Newton Street involves the German chanteuse: “She comes in the office to wait to be picked up by the road crew – the van’s running late. She’s sat reading this book, she keeps bursting out laughing: Nico, what are you reading that’s so funny? And she says, ‘Bleeeak Houuuuse’.”

Another bohemian figure lurking in the shadows was Steven Patrick Morrissey. “He just used to sit in the corner ogling Linder – Starstruck,” laughs Eric Random. Lawrence Fitzgerald recalls seeing the future Smith in a “trilby and long trenchcoat.” Others have no recollection of his being there at all. “In those days Morrissey was a bit like Zelig – he was present at all these major events – at the Russell Club, at the New Hormones offices – but no-one noticed him,” says Runacres.

“He was in and out the office quite a lot, because he was big mates with Linder,” says Boon. “He gave me a cassette of him singing very quietly fragments of songs. And I’m sure some lyrics ended up on Reel around the Fountain and the Hand that Rocks the Cradle. And there was a Bessie Smith song, a blues called ‘Wake up Johnny’. And the trope, which I quote myself on endlessly, is a couple of months later Johnny knocked on Morrissey’s door and woke him up.”

The tape may still exist: “If only I could find it,” says Boon. “He would kill me if I put it on Ebay!”

COPYRIGHT JUSTIN TOLAND 2007/2008 – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Written by justintoland

February 3, 2008 at 1:39 pm

New Hormones Discography

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RECORDS
ORG 1 Buzzcocks: Spiral Scratch EP 01/77 (reissued “in unlimited edition” in August 1979)
ORG 2 Linder/Jon Savage: The Secret Public (A3 collage fanzine) 01/78
ORG 3 The Tiller Boys: Big Noise From The Jungle (7″ EP) 02/80
ORG 4 Ludus: The Visit (12″) 03/80
ORG 5 The Decorators: Twilight View / Reflections (7″) 07/80
ORG 6 Eric Random: That’s What I Like About Me (12″) 09/80
ORG 7 Dislocation Dance: Perfectly In Control (7″ EP) 10/80
ORG 8 Ludus: My Cherry Is In Sherry / Anatomy Is Not Destiny 10/80
ORG 9 Diagram Brothers: Bricks / Postal Bargains (7″) 04/81
ORG 10 Dislocation Dance: Slip That Disc (12″) 08/81
ORG 11 Eric Random: Dow Chemical Company/ Skin Deep (7″) 05/81
ORG 12 Ludus: Mother’s Hour / Patient (7″) 06/81
+No-one wanted ORG 13
ORG 14 Gods Gift: Gods Gift (12″ EP) 07/81
ORG 15 Dislocation Dance: Music, Music, Music (LP) 10/81
ORG 16 Ludus: The Seduction (2×12″ LP) 02/82
ORG 17 Diagram Brothers: Some Marvels Of Modern Science (LP) 11/81
ORG 18 Eric Random: Earthbound Ghost Need (LP) (03/82)
ORG 19 Dislocation Dance: Rosemary / Shake (7″) (05/82)
ORG 20 Ludus: Danger Came Smiling (LP) (09/82)
ORG 21 Diagram Brothers: Discordo (10″ EP) (06/82)
ORG 22 Dislocation Dance: You’ll Never, Never Know / You Can Tell (7″) (10/82)
ORG 25 Gods Gift: Discipline / Then Calm Again (7″) (10/82)
ORG 30 Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias: Cruising With Santa (7″) (10/82)

CASSETTES
In 1981, New Hormones released a series of three limited edition cassettes (500) that came with a booklet, badge, stickers and a sweatshirt offer.

CAT 1 Ludus: Pickpocket 07/81
CAT 2 C.P. Lee Mystery Guild: Radio Sweat 08/81
CAT 3 Biting Tongues: Live It 09/81

NORTHERN LIGHTS
Audio magazine, created and compiled by Shaun Moores
NL 3 10/81 (see image in Graphic Design/Packaging section for track listing)
NL 4 (Northern Lights, February 1982) 02/82 (Included two live tracks by Danse Society, a feature on Biting Tongue Howard Walmsley and an interview with original Hacienda manager Ginger a few months before the club opened. A full tracklisting can be found here).

(Shaun Moores: “There were four issues – the last two of which were distributed and funded by New Hormones (as a result of a loose contact I had with Pete Wright and Richard Boon – through knowing one or two people in Dislocation Dance). The first two issues were very much ‘home made’ and I distributed those myself, by taking train rides to Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield – and approaching record shops in person.” According to Moores, the two ‘home made’ issues included an interview with The Passage and a live recording of Cabaret Voltaire at Plato’s Ballroom in Liverpool. As this link to Northern Lights 2 shows, the second tape (a limited edition of 150) featured live tracks by Eric Random and Dislocation Dance, by permission of New Hormones. A full tracklisting for the first Northern Lights can be found here.

UNRELEASED
Records
ORG 23 Ambrose Reynolds: The World’s Greatest Hits (mini-LP) – later issued by Zulu records
ORG 24 Reserved for Ludus
ORG 26 Biting Tongues: Libreville (LP) – later issued by Paragon Records)
ORG 27 Dislocation Dance: Remind Me (single) – later issued by Rough Trade
ORG 28 Reserved for Ludus
ORG 29 Gods Gift: Clamour Club

Cassettes
CAT 4 Ambrose: 20 Golden Great Assassinations

REISSUES
Biting Tongues: After The Click (Retrospective 1980-1989) (includes tracks from Live it and Iyahbhoone, originally released on Northern Lights issue 3) (ltmcd 2371)
The Diagram Brothers: Some Marvels Of Modern Science + Singles (ltmcd 2480)
Dislocation Dance: Music Music Music / Slip That Disc! (ltmcd 2461)
Dislocation Dance: Music Music Music (Vinyl Japan ASKCD 96)
Ludus: The Visit/The Seduction (ltmcd 2333)
Ludus: Pickpocket/Danger Came Smiling (ltmcd 2338)
Eric Random: Subliminal 1980-82 (compilation) (ltmcd 2437)
CP Lee and Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias: Radio Sweat (the complete CP Lee Mystery Guild recordings for New Hormones, plus unreleased Albertos live tracks and rarities) (Overground B000005ZFZ).

COPYRIGHT JUSTIN TOLAND 2007/2008 – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED