We bring sad news that Nigel Morton, who was our manager from 1983 to 1991, has died at the age of 70.

As far as I remember, it was late 1982 when news of our band reached London. We were invited down to play a couple of show-case gigs attended by various music business players who wanted to check us out. The jobbing agent given the task of booking these was Nigel Morton. Our adventures in reaching the Hope & Anchor music pub can be told another time – but in short, we got there, played and nobody liked us or saw anything that interested them.

Nigel didn’t attend but came to the second show at Klub Foot in Hammersmith a couple of days later. And he DID see something – and immediately set about becoming our agent and then later our manager (immortalized by Joolz’s cartoon on the Bittersweet single). He got us a deal with Quiet Records and then Abstract Records and began getting us gigs around the country. These were sparsely attended but they were a start. Perhaps Nigel’s biggest stroke in late 1983 was to persuade Malcolm Gerrie, the producer of the Tube (the UK’s one live music TV programme that launched hundreds of bands) to come and see us. Our appearance on the Tube early in 1984 had a massive impact and when Vengeance was released a couple of months after, it went to number one in the Independent Charts. We had arrived.

Nigel set up ‘Totally Obnoxious Management’ - which was actually more chaotic than obnoxious – with offices in Kings Cross and then Old Street staffed by a random collection of interesting characters and always slightly out of the mainstream. He then negotiated our total-artistic-control deal with EMI in late 1984, introduced us to Glyn Johns and helped to shape our progress through the 1980s. One favourite memory was the Reading Festival in 1987 where we were paid (a very large sum) in used fivers by the Mean Fiddler organization and Nigel’s look of total panic, wandering round the site with that amount of cash in a carrier bag. We had our ups and downs with him, but he was always totally committed to the band.

In the early ‘90s, things began to change for all of us in both business and personal lives and Nigel handed on control of NMA to his partner and friend Nick Burnett (our legal advisor to this day), before our long-time tour manager, Tommy Tee, took over the reins in 1996.

Nigel moved to the North-east and continued to work as an agent – particularly in the Folk world – but his interest in and loyalty to NMA remained and we stayed in contact through the years since, many of which have seen him battling against ill-health.

We are grateful to him for everything he brought us, for seeing what no one else at the time could see and for being such an irrepressible character right until the very end. RIP.

Justin Sullivan

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