New Order Question One: How do you replace a dark genius like Ian Curtis?
A: You get the drummers wife in.

New Order were – as everyone knows – formed from the ashes of Joy Division. Now I don’t know whether you have ever seen anything made out of ashes but they are pretty insubstantial and dull. Grey, bland and flaky – all words which happily describe the Order – especially mid-eighties. There was only so far they could trade on the reputation of being that tragic band whose mate topped himself. After all, people started wondering why he topped himself when the reason is plain to see that he was trying to get away from the other three. Of course Mr Curtis there is no peace in heaven (or to be more precise “suicides hell”) – especially not now the drummer from Feeder and Zac from EMF have joined you too.

New Order Question Two: Your singer has killed himself. Who do you get in to replace him?
A: The fella with the dullest voice in the band

Blue Monday is a truly stupendous record. It is so audacious it should be called a piece of conceptual art and put in a gallery – preferably one with a very good lock on the front door. Still everything made by Factory Records was art, from the bongs knocked out of a Panda Pops bottle by Shaun Ryder, to the Brylcream stains on the leather upholstery from Tony Wilsons hair. Manchester was a great place to be in the eighties, as long as you had the right kind of firepower. Blue Monday came out of this period of experimentalism, and is a unique collaboration between a drum machine, a drummers finger and a typical Barney Sumner stream of consciousness burble. If indeed he was conscious. I have it on good authority that not only was Sumner asleep during the recording of Blue Monday, but he had actually been replaced by the prosthetic head out of the lousy BBC TV version of The Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy. You know, the one that could only say “hey” and then broke.

New Order Question Three: How Does it feel, to treat you like I do?
A: Fucking terrible Barney. Stop singing.

A song which is merely a man reprogramming a drum machine constantly is not my idea of the most successful 12″ single of all time. And nor would it be if this did not prove an early example of my own influence on the British record buying public. You see I found out that due to that whizz of economics Mr Tony Wilson’s incompetence – Factory Records actually lost 49p for every copy of Blue Monday they sold. This was due to its unique packaging which made it look like a floppy disc. Only four times as big (still Wilson never had a sense of scale). So out I went, telling the kids to buy, buy, buy – in a vain attempt to bankrupt the bastards. I failed on that attempt, but my trip to Manchester did at least introduce me to the source of the final downfall of Factory. Shaun Ryder’s first wrap of cocaine.What I like to call Fac 666 – ha ha ha….