ATMOSPHERIC – A Graphic Novel About the Post-Punk Manchester Music Scene

Manchester-based writer/artist Brian Gorman has a new book out. ‘ATMOSPHERE: A GRAPHIC NOVEL ABOUT THE POST-PUNK MANCHESTER MUSIC SCENE’ is the follow-up to the acclaimed ‘NEW DAWN FADES: A GRAPHIC NOVEL ABOUT JOY DIVISION & MANCHESTER’, and Brian has just launched a new crowdfunder to finance the independently produced book.

Brian Gorman by David Gleave
Brian Gorman by David Gleave

This new graphic novel covers the late 1970s and 1980s Manchester music scene. It will also encompass Manchester’s entire history, leading up to the present day (and, tantalisingly, beyond!). Featuring old favourites New Order, Mick Hucknall, The Fall, The Drones, V2, The Smiths, Buzzcocks, and many more.

The legendary T J Davidson Rehearsal Studios, on Little Peter Street, was the hub of the Manchester music scene, and many iconic bands honed their skills within its walls. The foreword for this new book will be written by none other than TONY (TJ) DAVIDSON himself, who was an advisor on the 2019 tour of the stage version of ‘NEW DAWN FADES’. ‘ATMOSPHERE’ will feature a mixture of Brian’s original black & white artwork, and full-colour illustrations and paintings.

In 2013 Brian wrote & produced ‘NEW DAWN FADES: A PLAY ABOUT JOY DIVISION & MANCHESTER’ for the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival.
Directed by Neil Bell, the show premiered on Ian Curtis’ birthday, 15th July, at The Lass O’Gowrie pub. It was the middle of a heatwave, but the show sold out every performance and received rave reviews.

There were quite a few familiar faces in the audience that week, including the mighty Rowetta from Happy Mondays. She described the experience: “I was crying. It was very emotional at the end. It captured everything perfectly. I loved it; it had everything – the music and the emotion… there was such a buzz in the building.”Another well-known Manchester musician (and journalist) John Robb absolutely loved it. He actually saw it twice and reviewed it for the website Louder Than War:”…a spellbinding and brilliant play about one of the greatest bands of all time. I totally urge anyone left out there who believes in music to go and see it.”With co-producer Giles Bastow of All Roads Meet, Brian has since toured the play across the UK and played to full houses and standing ovations at bigger and bigger venues.

Ian Curtis by Brian Gorman
Ian Curtis by Brian Gorman
Tony Wilson by Brian Gorman
Tony Wilson by Brian Gorman

Over the years, the theatres have included The City Varieties in Leeds, The Epstein Theatre in Liverpool, Dancehouse Manchester, and Jackson’s Lane in London. Internationally renowned photographer Kevin Cummins, who took many of the iconic shots of Joy Division in the 1970s, came to see the show in London.

ViceVera Tamsin Middleton
ViceVera Tamsin Middleton

Brian was cheeky enough to ask him if he would take a shot of the actors in character as the band. He did. He came to see the show twice and even gave Brian a press quote:
“An evocative piece that beautifully captures the heart and soul of Manchester in the 1970s. This is the way, step inside …”

The graphic novel adaptation of New Dawn Fades (with a foreword by acclaimed music journalist Mick Middles) was published in 2018 and was equally well received. Emily Oldfield reviewed the book for Louder Than War:

“Open ‘New Dawn Fades: The Graphic Novel’ and what you have is a packed portal into the turbulent and transformative historical layers which make up Manchester; encompassing public figures, key moments, chaotic creativity – and of course, Joy Division. The depth of Gorman’s sensitive, skilled drawing– by his own hand – creates not just a book, but a visceral experience. His skill for capturing likenesses is impressive, and when combined with his artistic technique of intense, symbolic imagery, it brings the place alive on the page. See for yourself.”

About the crowdfunder, Brian says: “I am raising funds to enable me to work full-time on the book and to publish it independently. It will take me several months to complete, which will include extensive research, writing, artwork, design, and PR. This graphic novel would simply not be possible without using a crowdfunder, plus it gives me complete freedom as a creator. As well as signed and personalised advanced copies of the book, there is a range of exclusive perks that contributors can sign up for. These include having their name in the ‘Thanks to’ section of the book, and VIP invitations to the book launch and afterparty, at an iconic Manchester venue. They can also be immortalised with their likeness as a character in the story, and there is a range of original ink sketches and pages of artwork from the book.”

Brian Gorman with Tony Davidson
Brian Gorman with Tony Davidson

If you’d like to contribute and help make the book a reality, you can find more details here: igg.me/at// Brian Gorman was born in 1964, in Wigan. He is a freelance writer, artist, and actor.

He has written for The Liverpool Daily Post, The Big Issue, Starburst Magazine, and Revive Magazine.

His artwork has featured in a variety of publications, and in ITV’s ‘Martina Cole’s Lady Killers’.

Recently published work includes ‘BORDERLINERS: TRUE REALITIES’, ‘EVERYMAN: A CELEBRATION OF PATRICK MCGOOHAN & THE PRISONER’, and the upcoming ‘ANIMUS’, (written by S M Worsey, with artwork by Brian), which is described as ‘The Expendables’ – with animals! Brian’s graphic novels have attracted a lot of attention in recent years:

For ‘BORDERLINERS’:“‘… delivers a totally engrossing storyline enhanced by an admirable art style. Bring it on, Brian!”- Dez Skinn (ex-editor at Marvel UK, creator of V For Vendetta)“ The effort that’s gone into this is clear on every page. It’s a joy to read something that doesn’t treat the reader like an idiot.”-

Liam Sharp (artist on DC’s Wonder Woman)”Profound, obscure, weird, confusing, humorous, and entertaining. 8/10″- Starburst MagazineFor ‘EVERYMAN’: “The attention to detail is evident within the superb dialogue and the moody, atmospheric style of the artwork. The art is striking, vivid, and engrossing, with panel after panel of shadowy and iconic motifs carrying us forward on a journey through the great man’s life. It is presented in such an invigorating manner that it manages to pull all of the strands of his life together into what feels like THE definitive story of Patrick McGoohan. 9/10”

Starburst Magazine
“Brian’s artwork is superb from start to finish and to my mind is a project which has been created with care and attention to detail of the highest order. ‘Everyman’ not only tells the story of one man’s life in an accurate and interesting way but is presented with care and talent in equal measure. It did not only meet my expectations of being a well crafted, scripted, and executed piece of work, it surpassed them, and deserves a place on every ‘Prisoner’ fan’s bookshelf’.”- The Unmutual Website Brian has acted for over 35 years, and appeared on stage, tv, film, and in online web series.

He won the 2018 Salford Star Award for ‘Best Performer’ for ‘ONE MAN BOND: EVERY BOND FILM IN 60 MINUTES’ (which he has toured across England, and performed at Pinewood Studios and the Starburst Media City Festival).“Brian performed to an audience of hardcore 007 fans at Pinewood Studios, and they were totally enthralled. Thoroughly recommended show.”- Bondstars.com”An acting tour de force – brilliantly capturing the essence of each Bond actor and the non-PC absurdities of the Bond series. It’s a show that definitely keeps the British end up!”- Robert Sellers (Author of ‘The Battle For Bond’)

Brian is never bored.

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