The Durutti Column – The Return Of The Durutti Column

Can a sleeve design do more than just illustrate a Punk attitude ? In 1979, the answer from Durutti Column was yes : it can be a Punk act in itself.
The first issue of this LP on Factory Records (the 14th release of the label), were housed in a sandpaper sleeve. The idea was that it would deteriorate the other records stored in he same record bin in record shops. It was inspired by the French situationist philosopher Guy Debord, who wrapped his "Memoires" book in sandpaper in order to destroy the adjacent books.  Some sources indicates the idea was from band member Anthony Wilson, while others say it was Dave Rowbotham's ; The fact that Dave is indeed credited for the concept in a thank-you note on the sleeve, (as long as Guy Debord and Jamie Reid) seems to confirm the later statement.

According to the band, this idea illustrated perfectly the punk attitude, even if this aggressive attitude was totally opposed to the delicate and intellectual nature of the music...

The sleeve were assembled by the people from the Factory crew, including the band members of Joy Division and A Certain Ratio. The story goes that while Ian Curtis was glueing the covers, the other band members were watching a porn movie in the same room!

It soon attracted the attention (and complaints!) of the resellers : most of them were removing the sleeves and storing the records in a standard black one. Whatever, this idea successfully created strong a buzz around this album, and helped creating an arty aura for the whole Factory label.

Some copies were spray-painted with the catalog number.

Note : Jamie Reid, granted a thank-you note on the sleeve, is the famous designer responsible for lots of punk graphics and sleeve designs, (for example "God Save The Queen" from the Sex Pistols). He was thanked, according to band members, because the name of the band came from him wanting to name the first Sex Pistols LP " Where's the Durutti Column?"

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