Friday, 28 March 2008


I've contributed something to Manchester Confidential on the myriad of Hacienda nostalgia parties that have been happening locally over the past few years. I'm not what you'd call a fan of them. But some people are and I did think it was worth asking Dave Haslam to explain their popularity and, more importantly, their relevance. However I'm still not convinced.

Anyway you can read that feature here if you like.

By the way, is that shoebox coffin-shaped or am I just projecting?


i am sam said...

the hac was the most forward thinking club in england at one point for playing punk funk, no wave, italo disco etc ... lest not forget that ESG played the opening night way before london (and to an extent new york too!) was interested in them ... at that point the hac was the shiznit and there isn't a club today pushing things forward to that extent in the whole country! mike pickering talks of playing adonis 'no way back' in 1985 and that he was the first dj to play house music in the uk (although jazzy M in london might disagree, yet to find out!)but it was still mixed with hip hop, italo, funk et al. phuture's acid trax didn't come out until 87 and from what i can gauge this was the beginning of the end. to me, all the rest is novelty - the pills, the acid house, the gangsters blah blah blah post 87 the hac was just another northern club full of scallies, and increasingly i talk to people (who weren't 5 when it was at its peak!) who eagerly tell me it was a rubbish nightclub. jon da silva talks very concisely about his time there - specifically the move away from acid house towards garage which he think killed the club. my boss at the moment was talking to me about about when he went down to see bands like caberet voltaire, bronski beat, human league before they were big - they must've been good times and should be celebrated by manchester.


That was one of the questions I asked Dave Haslam: whether these revival nights could ever represent those different chapters in the Hacienda's history. What was agreed was that the name has now become associated with one particular era and one particular sound.

But nobody is denying the cultural significance of the club. I've also spoken to loads of people who were behind the scenes at the Hacienda plus the various DJ's over the years and many, many punters about what it meant to them and I'm still not convinced that you can re-capture that in a 'themed' night in 2008. For me, it's like someone saying "Led Zep were important, let's go and see a tribute act". (I wouldn't even suggest that someone seeing a re-formed Led Zep would be close to experiencing the same band when what they were doing was 'new'.)

Personally, I have no problem with history or old records. I just think that the kind of nights that don't send out a message that "it was better in the old days" (even if their DJs are able to find inspiration in innovative music from the past) might just be more of a tribute to The Hacienda than some helvetica bold on a flyer and another airing of Alison Limerick's 'Where Love Lives'.