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24 Hour Party People

Movie review

24 Hour Party People

This month we celebrate British culture, in all its weirdness and wonderfulness. But since this is Penta, you won’t hear about the Queen, and you won’t be sipping tea. What we are bringing to the table instead is the 20th anniversary of “24 Hour Party People”, a brilliant little movie that has done a massive job of telling the crazy story of Tony Wilson. This is the story of Madchester.

So who the hell is Tony Wilson, and what is Madchester? Tony was a man of many talents and careers, who started off as a TV presenter in a small local network, but soon found himself at the intersection of momentous changes in the music scene. After witnessing a firebrand 1976 performance by the Sex Pistols in Manchester, Tony smelled opportunity and embraced the punk rock revolution that started sweeping Europe. He launched a weekly club night and founded the iconic Factory Records label, signing up Joy Division as their first band. From then on, things took off. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing, mostly due to larger-than-life personalities clashing on a regular basis, and the general haphazard and anti-commercial approach by most artists involved.

The music scene in north-west England was bubbling vigorously (for the second time: this was the hotbed of the British Invasion rock scene in the mid-to-late ‘60s… must be something in the water), and things didn’t stand still. As the ‘80s begin, Joy Division members created New Order, and initiated a process that saw electronic music quickly becoming more and more prominent. Like magic, in just 15 years punk rock morphed into the beginnings of rave culture.

It's the golden era of the Haçienda, the infamous Manchester club that never managed to turn a profit for Factory Records – all while being packed with enthusiastic revellers and setting the foundations for the EDM scene that still fills stadiums today. It was an electrifying time to be alive, and suddenly northern England was THE place to be.

“24 Hour Party People” is not just a time capsule: it’s an immensely funny movie, with lots of great quotes ready to be stolen and which was listed as one of the best 50 movies of the 21st century by The Guardian in 2019.

It’s also a must watch before your next trip to Pentahotel Warrington. Our hotel is located exactly halfway between Manchester and Liverpool, with fast train links in both directions – making it a perfect basecamp for all music lovers. On one side you have Oasis, The Smiths (and Take That), on the other The Beatles, Elvis Costello (and Atomic Kitten).

Now, that’s the UK we know and love.

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