real life

Tony Wilson

Tony Wilson by Jason Slack @ flickr Tony Wilson by Jason Slack @ flickr

It’s a sad day. Tony Wilson, ‘Mr. Manchester’ as the BBC has dubbed him, has died of cancer at the age of 57.

I’m feeling a bit shell-shocked. He was a man of tremendous energy and confidence, and he led a life that regularly thumbed its nose at risk and convention.

I was living in Manchester during the Madchester era. I felt the energy that it generated, and so much of it eminated from Tony and Factory Records.

I met him a few times; about a radio licence I was applying for, and around In The City, the music conference that he brought to life. He was by turns infuriating and utterly inspirational. I wish that I’d had the chance to work with/for/against him in radio in Manchester.

When I heard he had cancer, I simply didn’t believe it would overcome him. So little has swayed his course over the years, it seemed quite reasonable to assume that he’d shrug this off to. But the end seems to have been very swift.

Many people have given their recollections of Tony, and I was pleased to see Manchester City Council acknowledging the immense role he played in the regeneration of the city.

The media and music industry needs more people like Tony. He was passionate about music, and his passion drove him to achieve and create incredible things. I’m sure the words “but where’s the business plan?’ or ‘how does this fit into our strategy?’ never passed his lips.

The world will be a duller place without Tony.

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