As readers of last year's blogs from Labour Party Conference in Manchester might have guessed, I was a huge fan of the Manchester music scene in the early 80s. It's why I went to university in the North West, although I ended up in Liverpool rather than Manchester because Manchester wouldn't let me study Russian from scratch. (I became set on studying Russian after reading Dostoevsky's 'Crime and Punishment' - and I only ended up reading that because Paul Morley mentioned it in an NME review of Joy Division's 'Still'.)
It's impossible to put into words just how important Tony Wilson was to Manchester: not just to the independent music scene, as founder of Factory records and the man who insisted 'the Hacienda must be built', but to the cultural, architectural and economic regeneration of the city. He took his music seriously, and his politics seriously, and applied the same, slightly anarchic but fundamentally socialist, principles to both. Peter Saville summed it up on Newsnight just now, saying that Tony 'saw the importance in things and he talked up the importance of things'. Above all, he was enthusiastic and passionate and excited about what could be achieved, which, in an age of cynics, made him a very special person.