Mike Garry and Joe Duddell – St Anthony: An Ode to Anthony H Wilson

• “St Anthony: An Ode to Anthony H Wilson” set to the music video. Thanks to StAnthonyVEVO.

9.7 “All-time classic Poetry from England”

This fantastic work of art, complex and evocative, was voted #8 in the 2015 Festive 50 – how wonderful to hear Tony Wilson’s name echoing in the mid-2010s.

The ever-enthusiastic Journalist and TV presenter was a great champion of the Arts in the North West, particularly in Manchester, and his support made a huge difference in the region’s profile on a national, and even international, level. He was a man who put his money where his mouth was.

I used to say ‘some people make money and some make history’, which is very funny until you find you can’t afford to keep yourself alive” said Tony wryly with reference to the fact that he was denied access to the £3,500 treatment cost per month necessary to keep him alive.

Tony lost his battle with cancer in August 2007, aged 57. Terry Christian made a tribute programme which was broadcast on BBC Radio Manchester on Christmas Day. The programme ended fittingly with a brilliant poem by Mike Garry, who had been invited to write an ode by Terry, who was a big fan of the Mancunian poet.

The poem had been popular in Mike’s readings for several years when he met Joe Duddell, who thought it would sound great set to music. The creation, some two years in the making, was released to commemorate what would have been Tony Wilson’s 65th birthday in August 2015.

It’s a beautiful orchestral piece, based on the melodies from New Order’s 1983 Power-Corruption epic, “Your Silent Face”. Original co-writer Bernard Sumner gave the project the big thumbs up:

“St Anthony is an ode to the memory of Tony Wilson who was no Saint but he was a good man who did good things by using his position in the media to help musicians, artists and poets to grow. He didn’t need to do that and he didn’t do it for the money, he did it because he was trying to do good for the culture of the City he lived in and loved and that’s pretty saintly to me.”

Tony’s friends and acquaintances were queueing ‘round the block to take part in the video, filmed over two days. The cast includes: Steve Coogan, Iggy Pop, Shaun Ryder, Christopher Eccleston, John Cooper Clarke, Philip Glass, Bernard Sumner, Gillian Gilbert, Stephen Morris, Richard Madeley, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Paul Morley, Peter Saville, Miranda Sawyer, Rowetta, Terry Christian, Kloot’s Johnny Bramwell, James guitarist Larry Gott, The Durutti Column’s Vini Reilly, as well as Mike and Joe themselves.

It’s quite the turnout for an incredibly special piece. All profits from the single and video will go to Manchester cancer hospital The Christie, where Tony was treated.

Every City would love to have a Tony Wilson. Manchester got lucky.

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