24 Hour Party People portrays the music revolution in 1980s Manchester UK, centering around the real life impresario/TV presenter Tony Wilson (played by Steve Coogan.) The first appearance of the Sex Pistols in Manchester (1976) sparks a desire to create a new environment for the music scene, and Wilson sets about a quest to harness the energy of Manchester's emerging bands. Whilst forming "Factory Records" Wilson invites "Mad Professor" Martin Hannett (played by Andy Serkis) to be one of the co-directors and in-house producer.
Hannett was an extraordinary man, one of life's great experimenters, well loved for his brashness and unwillingness to compromise his artistic vision. Every one who knew or worked with him had a story and a fond memory of him. Bands loved and hated him, but they all respected him.
Originally trained as a chemistry student, Hannett joined a music cooperative and then co-founded his own Label "Rabid records", before moving to Factory and producing Joy Division. He later fell out with Wilson over the Hacienda club, which he considered a waste of their music budget. Between 1986-91 he produced The Happy Mondays, World of Twist, New Fads and The Stone Roses.
He was a big user of narcotics and drink, and this was to eventually hasten his death at the age of 41. Just before he died he had ballooned to 26 stone (364 pounds) and his coffin could not fit in the ground.
He was was a total musical pioneer, always searching to create a unique sound.
Of the many "Martin Hannett" Stories, my particular favourite is about when he once fell asleep over the mixing desk, his gigantic belly spreading and pushing the faders across the board, so that the sound went berserk -- the band stopped playing, and woke him up telling him that the levels were all over the place. "Bollocks," he replied, "that's the best you've sounded all f---ing day." -- Andy Serkis, November 2002