1988 - It's time to R.A.V.E.

Few nightclubs have sent more musical waves of influence around the world.

Yet for the first time New Order’s Peter Hook, one of the men responsible for the bliss and the blow outs speaks candidly about the misadventure, mismanagement and missing money from Manchester’s most enduring legend.

All week we will be running extracts from his new book “How Not to Run A Club”, an auto biographical account of the mayhem, excess and music that became arguably the word’s most famous nightclub.

In our third slice of Hooky’s life we find ourselves at the point of sheer relief as Acid Huse sweeps the nation and the Hacienda is ablaze in tastemaking territory as their policy of eclecticism and visionary music booking is finally endorsed with a ecstasy drenched public.

The hard work and expense paid off. It’s time to R.A.V.E.


Acid House wasn’t quite the Year Zero for the club in the way it was for nights like Shoom and Future – the way it was down south, where rare groove had ruled for years. It was a near-seamless continuation of a music policy that had begun right from the moment it opened the club opened its doors. Thanks to its prescient choice of DJs, its alliance with electro, soul and hip hop, its ties with New York, its open-door attitude to music and its lack of snobbery, it was in the position not of responding to the rave revolution but rather of having created the very environment in which it would flourish.

And flourish it did. Within weeks of ecstasy sweeping the club it was packed for every club night. The place was finally reaping the rewards of its musical open-mindedness. A Guy Called Gerald and Graham Massey of 808 State would arrive, banging on the DJ-booth door bearing just-made tapes of acid tracks that DJs would play in their entirety. Suddenly the club’s acoustics sounded perfect. Phuture’s ‘Slam’ – a favourite of DJ Jon DaSilva, boasting thunderstorm and rain effects among the squelchy acid and window-shaking bass – would fill and dominate the space as though made for it. Acid house and the Haçienda fitted perfectly together.

DJ Graeme Park had first played at the Haçienda in February 1988 and was there to witness the steadily growing popularity of house music in Manchester. After ecstasy arrived, however, things began to move more quickly; when he met Pickering for a magazine photo-shoot related to the burgeoning house phenomenon, Park was invited back to the club to cover for Pickering in July.

‘The difference in there was quite amazing,’ he remembers. ‘There was something really exciting starting to happen.’ He watched the club reach its peak over the next two months. ‘If it was wild in July, by August and September it was amazing, unbelievable.’ The legendary Haçienda queues were now beginning to form. ‘[The club] was full from the moment it opened until it shut every Friday,’ Park recalled. ‘Mike and I would arrive at eight thirty and there would be a huge queue. We would open at nine and people would run on to the dance floor.”

‘When ecstasy hit it was like a Mexican wave that swept through the club over a three-week period,’ Pickering told the Observer. ‘I could just stop a record and put my hands in the air, and the place would erupt. The whole club would explode.’

It wasn’t like anything you’d ever experienced in a club before,’ DJ and journalist John McCready told the Observer. At the Haçienda it was almost as if a generation breathed a sigh of relief, having been relieved of the pressure of the chase. The baggy clothes desexualized the whole environment. The rising heat from 2000 people dancing, even at the bar, in the queue for the toilets, damped down everyone. We all looked crap. If you held on to on the handrail on the balcony above the dance floor, your palms would be dripping in accumulated
human sweat. You could feel the down when the music stopped. The room quickly went cold as all the exit doors were thrown open and we were herded out. Back to forbidding reality. Until next Friday. The whole experience was always far more addictive than the drugs. You started wanting it all to go on for ever.


Read further extracts from the book, covering 1981, 1983, 1990


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