The Story Behind The Sleeve #13: The Durutti Column – The Return Of The Durutti Column
A situationist statement designed to destroy the other records around it, The Durutti Column’s 1980 debut album was released in four initial runs totalling 3,600 copies. Its sleeve had two sheets of sandpaper adhered to it, with some copies sprayed with ‘FACT 14’. Under Tony Wilson’s command, Joy Division and A Certain Ratio assembled at Alan Erasmus’ flat in Manchester. They were reportedly paid £15 each and given a pile of 4,000 sheets of sandpaper, with Ian Curtis taking on the bulk of the work while his bandmates watched a porn film in another room. Despite Curtis’s efforts, Factory creative director Peter Saville was underwhelmed: “To me, it looked like a DIY thing that was, really, the antithesis of what I was trying to do. It looked a bit homemade.” When reissued by Factory Benelux in 2014, with label curator James Nice struggling to source the right sandpaper, the design instead incorporated a die-cut of the Factory logo and a polythene bag, gaining Saville and the band’s approval.