Factory Records Collection Factvm: Deed Completed – Interview with Collector Collin Gibbins
In the year Factory Records turns 40 Sounds caught up with Colin Gibbins the man who owns every item number in the Factory music medium.
Sounds: When did you become aware of Factory Records, when and how did this collection start?
Colin Gibbons: In January 1979, this new record label released its first ever record, it was called the factory sampler (discography code FC2) which featured two 7″ Singles with the band Joy Division among others adorning it. Little did I know then, but I would go on to be the first person in the world to collect every item number in the Factory Records music medium. I grew up in Blackley, Manchester, my postcode was M9 and I loved music. By 1980 I had started to listen to more and more of what the great city I was growing up in had to offer and became a massive Indie music fan, I listened to Joy Division, The Stockholm Monsters and A Certain Ratio not even realising at the time all these bands were on the same label, which was Factory Records. Collecting records was not something elitist it was what all the kids did back then, I just bought the next 7″ Single 10″,12″ and the LP or whatever new medium was out. CD’s landed in the mid 80’s and they were just another medium I wanted that my favourite bands released on.
S: When did you go from being a fan collecting the various formats to a collector who was also still a fan?
C: So, it’s 1986 and I have a very large collection of music memorabilia singles, LP’s, 12″ records, Cassettes CD’s, DAT tapes and there was this light bulb moment, however I pause here, as just around the corner there was this music revolution that came to Manchester called the Acid House movement. Around 1990 I heard there was a box set being released by Factory Records called Fact400 in three different mediums, Vinyl, CD and Cassette, all nicely boxed in a large white hard card box. In this set was a booklet which gave all the Factory discography information up until that date. Disgruntled with the way the revolution of Acid House had gone so quickly with its populist restrict, but still attending the clubs regularly (Thunderdome and The Banshee ‘energy’ all-nighter’s), I then set out to catch up with some of this discography, now clearly printed for me to follow and set about accumulating this vast collection of Factory records back catalogue.
S: When did you know you were reaching the end of the collection and is it now complete?
C: I started to look for all the missing links to my collection after the shock of Tony’s passing and realised there were only a few items needed to complete the full Factory Discography in the music medium left to find, so I called the Manchester Evening News and made an appeal in 2010. I appeared on radio Manchester talking about the collection and was approached by an entrepreneur named Dave Foran who allowed me to put on the world’s first ever Factory Records Exhibition in his Public House, The Ducie Bridge July 2011. The following year I had a second exhibition in collaboration with Forever Manchester at The Ice Plant in Manchester and published a catalogue with my entire collection to date called ‘Factvm’ (Deed accomplished in Latin) and in 2016 I followed on with my own biography called ‘Manchester Music & M9 Kidz’ all proceeds from the books go to the Christie Charity & Forever Manchester Charity in the name of Tony Wilson.
S: Was Tony Wilson aware of your collection?
C: I never met Mr Wilson personally unfortunately, I’m sure if he was still around, he would have been interested in my collection and my passion for it to serve our great city for a better purpose than it being stored away, as it is now.
S: What happens next Colin? Are there any plans to exhibit on a larger scale?
C: Since my last exhibition in 2012, sadly there has been little desire from Manchester organisations to host another exhibition. I have approached many of Manchester’s Museum’s and Gallery’s with my vision of another exhibition which would tie in with the 40th anniversary date to no avail. I would still like to curate and present the collection for all to appreciate the rich history of what this great Manchester label produced and would love to show my collection on a permanent basis. I feel the collection would have appeal to a world-wide audience of not only fans of music, but those who are interested from a design, cultural, social, and historical angle.
S: Sounds would love this to happen Colin, final words to our readers…
C: As the slogan used by the Situationist International organisation who Tony was heavily influenced by and named the club after, ‘The Hacienda must be built’ and in the spirit of this I will end by saying ‘The Factory Records Collection Exhibition… must be built’.