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Hacienda - Manchester - Profile

In 1989 Cambridge began to establish itself on the rave scene competing with London and Manchester. Every Saturday night you could find a party happening in or around the area.

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The meet point was usually at The Fountain Inn, Cambridge city centre where you would see around 1000 people waiting for directions and it would be off to a warehouse until 6 or 7 in the morning. The vibe was fantastic that year as Cambridge had a special thing going on with itís own underground warehouse scene that before this could only be found in either London or Manchester.

I grew up in the place.  Finishing work at six o'clock on a Friday I'd jump in the car and head up the M1, at times sitting in traffic before rounding the corner to be greeted by that queue.   Sometimes I'd drive past the club at seven o'clock and there'd be a few hundred ravers already there, huddled under blankets with their maroon tracksuits on and shirts pulled over their hands.

Inside was like a sauna with the whole dancefloor joining hands and those lucky enough to be on the stage sprinkling water over the rest. Screaming when Graeme Park pulled off one of his mixes and me walking back to the car absolutely wet through.  Drenched but I didn't mind.  All I thought of the following seven days were going to be hell.

Back in 1982, Ben Kelly design looked around a shabby boat yard on Whitworth Street, Manchester with smiles on their faces.  They knew it was going to be something a bit special.  Transformed with safety bollards, steel columns and hazard stripe markings, the place soon developed into one of 'the' venues of the '80s.  New Order, The Smiths, Culture Club and Frankie Goes To Hollywood stepped onto the famous stage and even the cult Tube show ventured inside with the then unknown Madonna.

Five years on and the Hacienda started to make its mark on clubland.  The midweek Zumbar was across between a soap opera and a Vaudeville stage show.

The Hacienda"Everyone walked around laughing out loud, it was stupid," recalled a regular.  Under the guidance of Mike Pickering and Jon DaSilva the night featured bizarre cabaret acts like Frank Side bottom and Dead Marilyn.  Heck, even Vera Duckworth sang a medley of her favourite songs.  And here lay the strength of the Hacienda - it could even make karaoke seem bearable.  Then cam Hot!  It was about this time that one of the greatest meetings since Kruschev and Nixon tool place.  At an i-D photo shoot in London, Mike Pickering first clapped eyes on Graeme Park, the petit Scot he'd heard so much about via Nottingham's Kool Kat night club.

When Mike took a two week break from the Hot nights it was Graeme he invited to fill in, and the rest as they say is history.  The duo then started the Nude nights and enjoyed two years of bliss with the pair becoming heroes up north and only mystical figures in the south.

Countless club trends began here.  Flares, air horns, clapping choruses, shaking hands and acapellas.  T'was all here.  But when the national press finally caught on to rave culture it was The Hacienda that bore the brunt of it all. And with that came other unwanted interest.

The much publicised drug wars began. It soon got so bad that the owners - who included members of New Order and Factory Records - closed down the club, no longer able to ensure safety inside.  Six months later the club was reopened with new door staff, new security camera and an imposing metal detector at the entrance - it worked.

Throughout the country, perhaps the world, the Hacienda became the most talked about club that people reminisce about as though it were their own front rooms.    by IF


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