In 1976, Tony Wilson sets up Factory Records and brings Manchester's music to the world.
Tony Wilson: And tonight something equally epoch-making is taking place. See? They're applauding the DJ. Not the music, not the musician, not the creator, but the medium. This is it. The birth of rave culture. The beatification of the beat. The dance age. This is the moment when even the white man starts dancing. Welcome to Manchester.
Tony Wilson: Jazz is the last refuge of the untalented. Jazz musicians enjoy themselves more than anyone listening to them does.
Ian Curtis: [listening to their recording of "She's Lost Control"] I sound like Bowie. Tony Wilson: That's good. You like Bowie. Ian Curtis: [annoyed] I hate fuckin' Bowie! In "All The Young Dudes" he sings about how you should die when you're twenty-five. Do you know how old he is? He's thirty, twenty-nine, something. He's a liar. Tony Wilson: Look, it doesn't matter. A lot of great artists produce their best work when they're... older. You know, W.B. Yeats... Ian Curtis: I've never heard of him, mate. Tony Wilson: Yeats is the greatest poet since Dante. If he'd have died when he was twenty-five... Ian Curtis: I would have heard of him, Tony!
Tony Wilson: Every band needs it's own special chemistry. And Bez was a very good chemist.
Boethius: It's my belief that history is a wheel. "Inconsistency is my very essence" -says the wheel- "Rise up on my spokes if you like, but don't complain when you are cast back down into the depths. Good times pass away, but then so do the bad. Mutability is our tragedy, but it is also our hope. The worst of times, like the best, are always passing away".
Tony Wilson: This morning I was doing a story about an elephant being washed by a midget. Charles: He's a dwarf. Tony Wilson: It doesn't matter! Charles: Well, it matters to him.
[last lines] [Tony Wilson has just had a vision of God - who looked exactly like Tony Wilson] Tony Wilson: Well, it's written in the Bible, isn't it? 'God made man in His own image'. Rob Gretton: Yeah, but not a specific man. Tony Wilson: No, but if you'd have spoken to Him, He would have looked like you. But you didn't, I did. And he looked like me. Rob Gretton: [smoking a joint] Fucking top gear, man.
God: It's a pity you didn't sign the Smiths, but you were right about Mick Hucknell. His music's rubbish, and he's a ginger.
Martin Hannett: Well, this is goodbye. I mean, we obviously have nothing in common. I'm a genius, you're all fucking wankers. You'll never see me again. You don't deserve to see me again.
Yvette: And what do you do? Tony Wilson: How do you mean? Yvette: You know, your job? Tony Wilson: Well, I'm Tony Wilson.
Ian Curtis: [shouting across the bar] Wilson, ya fucking cunt! Tony Wilson: That's original. [to Rob] Tony Wilson: Your drink's coming. Is he a friend of yours? Rob Gretton: Yeah, he's our singer. Ian Curtis: [crossing the bar to approach Tony] Out of the way, Steve. Tony Wilson: Hi, Tony Wilson, pleased to meet you. [Ian just glowers at him wordlessly] Tony Wilson: ... Is he gonna hit me? You're quite close to me there. Ian Curtis: Yeah, I know, I wanna be. Tony Wilson: Why? Ian Curtis: 'Cos you're a cunt, mate. Tony Wilson: I know, I heard you the first time.
Tony Wilson: The smaller the attendance the bigger the history. There were 12 people at the last supper. Half a dozen at Kitty Hawk. Archimedes was on his own in the bath.
Bez: Can I offer anybody like the best drug experience they ever had?
[watching Vini Reilly of Durutti Column performing "You've Heard It Before"] Ryan Letts: Got to stop him singing, Tony. Tony Wilson: It's avant-garde, you wouldn't understand it. Ryan Letts: It's very poor. Very poor. Tony Wilson: It's provocative. Ryan Letts: Provocatively poor. Appallingly poor. They're not calling you the new George Epstein, you know. Tony Wilson: [getting annoyed] ... It's Brian Epstein. Ryan Letts: George Epstein, Beatles manager. Tony Wilson: That's Brian Epstein, you dickhead. It's fucking Brian Epstein. Ryan Letts: [overlapping] George Epstein. It's Brian Martin. Tony Wilson: It's *George* Martin, you knob. Ryan Letts: Brian Martin the producer, George Epstein the, er... manager. Alan Erasmus: Tony, tell him to fuck off. Lindsay: Come on, let's sit down... Tony Wilson: [to Letts] You're just fucking *wrong.*
Tony Wilson: What're you doing? Martin Hannett: Recording silence! Tony Wilson: Recording silence? Martin Hannett: No, I'm recording Tony fucking Wilson!
Rob Gretton: You know your trouble, Tony? You don't know what you are. I fucking know what you are, but you don't know what you are. Tony Wilson: Well, my curiosity's got the better of me, Rob, tell me, what am I? Rob Gretton: You're a cunt. Tony Wilson: Well, you see I knew that, you see, that was something I did know.
Tony Wilson: When you have to choose between the truth and the legend, choose the legend.
Tony Wilson: It looks fucking great actually - yeah, really nice. It's beautiful - but useless. And as William Morris once said: "Nothing useless can be truly beautiful."
God: Tony, you did a good job. Basically you are right: Shaun is the greatest poet since Yeats.
Tony Wilson: Most of all, I love Manchester. The crumbling warehouses, the railway arches, the cheap abundant drugs. That's what did it in the end. Not the money, not the music, not even the guns. That is my heroic flaw: my excess of civic pride.
Tony Wilson: [points to a scrawled note with his name signed in blood, framed on the wall] That is the closest thing we have to a contract, here.
Tony Wilson: This scene didn't actually make it to the final cut. I'm sure it'll be on the DVD.
Tony Wilson: Energy, energy? Energy is, is, it's nothing more than a lot of new age hokum masquerading as spirituality.
[first lines] Tony Wilson: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's the latest craze sweeping the Pennines, and I've got to be honest, I'd rather be sweeping the Pennines right now.
Tony Wilson: Can I get you half a lager? Rob Gretton: You can get me a pint.
Tony Wilson: You know, I think that Shaun Ryder is on a par with W.B. Yeats as a poet. Yvette: Really? Tony Wilson: Absolutely. Totally. Yvette: Well, that is amazing, considering everyone else thinks he's a fucking idiot.
Tony Wilson: You can't threaten me, Martin. You're a big man, but you're out of shape. Although you could sit on me.
Tony Wilson: Factory Records are not actually a company. We are an experiment in human nature. You're labouring under the misapprehension that we actually have a deal with, er, with our, our bands. That we have any kind of a contract, er, at all, and I'm afraid we, er, we don't because that's, er, that's the sum total of the paperwork to do with Factory Records, deal with, er, their various bands.
Tony Wilson: I'm being postmodern, before it's fashionable.
[after Shaun Ryder fires a gun in his general direction] Tony Wilson: You want to be careful with that, Shaun. You could take somebody's eye out.
Tony Wilson: I am not a lump of hash. I'm in charge of Factory Records. I think.
Tony Wilson: I'm a minor player in my own life story.
Tony Wilson: What's wrong with London Records? Rob Gretton: The name, for a start.
[singing "Louie, Louie" drunkenly] John: Pogo like a bastard!
Tony Wilson: We're still together, so whatever you're thinking you're wrong.
Tony Wilson: [First address to camera; after his hang-gliding news report] You're going to see a lot more of that sort of thing in the picture. I don't want to say too much, don't want to spoil it. I'll just say one word: 'Icarus'. If you get it, great. If you don't, that's fine too. But you should probably read more.
Tony Wilson: It was like being on a fantastic fairground ride, centrifugal forces throwing us wider and wider. But it's all right, because there's this brilliant machine at the center that's going to bring us back down to earth. That was Manchester. That is the Hacienda. Now imagine the machine breaks. For a while, it's even better, because you're really flying. but then, you fall, because nobody beats gravity.
Roger Ames: Tony, you're fucking mad. Tony Wilson: That's a point of view.