Books — May 8, 2023 at 8:40 am

New book “I Thought I Heard You Speak” spotlights women’s integral role at Factory Records

A new 500-page oral history by writer Audrey Golden promises to reveal the untold, in-depth story of the women who played a pivotal role in the success of iconic Manchester label Factory Records, home to Joy Division, New Order,  A Certain Ratio, The Durutti Column and more.

“I Thought I Heard You Speak: Women at Factory Records” was published by White Rabbit Books in the U.K. on Friday, and a Kindle e-book edition is due out in the U.S. this week, with the American hardcover following in January. (If you want a physical copy sooner, order from the U.K.)

The book features interviews with New Order’s Gillian Gilbert, The Raincoats’ Gina Birch, music journalist and musician Cath Carroll, The Haçienda’s Penny Henry and more than 50 others.

According to the publisher: “The untold history of Factory Records is one of women’s work at nearly every turn: recording music, playing live gigs, running the label behind the scenes, managing and promoting bands, designing record sleeves, making films and music videos, pioneering sound technology, DJing, and running one of the most chaotic clubs on the planet, The Haçienda.”

The Guardian last week published an excerpt of an interview with Gilbert:

“It was so good how so many women worked for Factory because in those days, in most other industries, it was still Benny Hill country, with mother-in-law jokes and men running around making fun of women. Other record companies were like that, but not Factory. I remember when Factory collapsed [in 1992], we went around record companies in London, basically being interviewed by their boards. At one of them, I felt really small because someone said to me, ‘What are your ambitions? What do you see yourself doing?’ And I said, ‘writing for New Order,’ and the whole room burst out laughing. It was like, ‘You? Writing for New Order?’ as though it was a big joke. At that point, I felt like I’d come a long way and I was not someone to be laughed off.”

Read the full excerpt at





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