Bleak Theology A post-punk counterweight to joy.

St Anthony! St Anthony! Please Come ‘Round…


…There’s something that’s lost that cannot be found.

Today is the eleventh anniversary of the death of Anthony H. Wilson, saint of Manchester, England. Read his obituary in The Guardian if you have not heard of him (most saints are known only by those who pray to them). Perennial television host and co-founder of Factory Records, he brought to so many hungry hearts and ears bands like Joy Division, New Order, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Happy Mondays, The Sex Pistols. He was tremendously influential upon those of us who find energy and solace and expression in that dolorous world.

Tony Wilson hosting After Dark – Easter 1991

The dirge above is Mike Garry’s ode to Wilson, after his death. New Order fans will quickly hear Power, Corruption and Lies‘ “Your Silent Face” underneath it. Wilson was Catholic and that fact gets a nod with the first verse being the traditional prayer to St. Anthony of Padua. Tony Wilson was a saint, performing miracles of music and culture, preaching bands that sing of absence and loss. Here is an ironic prayer to Anthony about the lost Anthony that cannot be found. Here, there is paradox. St. Anthony is an advocate who can help us find things that are lost. He spent so much time finding music that continues to mean something very deep to those for which it matters.

It is not crass to assert that St Anthony H. Wilson assembled our hymnal. I can say that because those who most loved him have taken it upon themselves to explicitly canonize him. Here is a post-Christian England refashioning prayer and sainthood for itself in secular-but-not-so-secular terms. Tony Wilson inspired us and we thank him and honor him for it. He shared with us music about loss and things that cannot be found. And he remains with us.

Wilson, talk to me. Yeats, talk to me. Zeitgeist, talk to me. Tony, talk to me.




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  • This touched my heart, thank you for taking the time to extol the (questionable) virtues of A H Wilson. I grew up watching him on Granada TV in the 70s, he was a pioneer and a charming man (perhaps not THAT charming man).

By Burke
Bleak Theology A post-punk counterweight to joy.


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