8 Sep 2004
The following extract from The Manual: The who, the where, the why of clubland examines Fac 51 The Hacienda: "It's the early eighties in Manchester and a reporter from London buttonholes a pair of Mancunian goths as they emerge from one of the Hacienda's rival clubs. He asks them why they didn't go to the Hac. They reply: "Because they try and educate you with the music they play." No-one could have come closer to trying to explain what the Hacienda is and, moreover, what it represented that that simple, one-line damnation.

Although the Hacienda will be remembered as the fulcrum around which 'Madchester' revolved, it was much more than that. It was a brave and largely successful experiment in punk-inspired Situationism; it was a haven from the violence and sullen stares of Manchester's less hospitable nightspots. The Hacienda single-handedly (and through sheer bloody-mindedness) gradually drew black America and twisted British electronica. Opened in 1982 by Factory Records honcho Tony Wilson, maverick popsters New Order and their manager Rob Gretton (who is credited with being its driving force) everything about the Hacienda was different.

Its decor was a significant departure from the normal club. Designers Ben Kelly and Sandra Douglas had drawn on the graphic work of Peter Saville, whose sleeves for various post-punk acts had been highly influential. In Douglas's words they deliberately stayed away from, "some sort of disco extravaganza", opting instead for a quasi-industrial look that incorporated bollards on the edge of the dancefloor. Even before it opened, the Architectural Review described it as, "a significant milestone in British interior design." Heck, it was even given a Factory Records catalogue number: Haç (sic) 51."

The Manual: The who, the where, the why of clubland
Written by Frank Broughton and Bill Brewster
First published in 1998 by Headline Book Publishing
ISBN 0 7472 7636 6

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Biting Tongues

In the grey days of late 1970s post-punk Manchester, youth culture was a serious affair: every musical performance was measured mostly by the conviction of its delivery. The term 'New Wave' opened up free vistas where acquired skills could once again be exercised after punk's monochrome blur. It could be applied to anything from a James 'Blood' Ulmer record to the latest Throbbing Gristle release, Magazine to Swell Maps. Move outside that terrain into Sun Ra, Parliament, Frank Sinatra and Martin Denny, and your options were suddenly without limit...

Then came Tony Wilson's Factory Club (at the Russell Club in Hulme) offering an open invitation to experiment that was taken up when Ken Hollings, Howard Walmsley, Eddie Sherwood and a few others decided to make some noise to accompany their 16mm silent epic Biting Tongues. A further performance followed a few weeks later, when Colin Seddon and Graham Massey disbanded their Post Natals project and joined up. The film itself, a flashing series of negative images, became a memory; the name remained.

- extract from the LTM Biting Tongues biography

Factory Records

The Durutti Column