Why Manchester?

The Creative Hub

“Manchester was dying for a change. Growing up there in the 70’s there had been a lot of inventiveness going on but it just seemed to be always following London back then. There were always things brewing in Manchester but it all just came to a head. The generation that I grew up with had been through the 70’s and early 80’s and by the end of the 80’s they’d probably had enough of Thatcher and all the stigmas then went along with that period.” A Guy Called Gerald

“Manchester was very Eighties back then. The thing that we liked about it was coming out of that horrible naff Eighties thing, that Eighties culture of big hair and acid house sounded like nothing to do with that. It was a kind of an alien type of music. When you heard that in a club, you could pledge your allegiance to this new thing.” Graham Massey

“You had a huge change in technology in 86 / 87 where 808’s, 303’s, 505’s, all became available and it enabled people to spend much less money to make that music. All of a sudden the little nippers gave us a cheap way of making acid house music and that enabled people like A Guy Called Gerald, 808 State to sit in their flats and make music. They could never do it before. You’ve got a circumstance affecting people’s creativity and that to me was like a revolution, it was like another punk. So that is sort of English Acid House.” Peter Hook

“I did a night before that on the Friday at the Hac which was the Chicago House night and that was quite early 87 with Adonis, Fingers Inc, Marshall Jefferson, Frankie Knuckles and Larry Heard and that was really fucking early. They didn’t have a clue really, they were like “Wow, people like our music outside of Chicago gay clubs” which was amazing.” Mike Pickering

“Rob Gretton and Mike put on this night in at the Hacienda in ‘87 and on this night there was every fucking acid house DJ and it was before it had all gone off and nobody came. Rob loved being ahead of the time at The Hacienda, along with Mike and everyone else so I think that to the people that mattered in Manchester that cultural change had already happened. They were just waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.” Peter Hook

“Manchester is the sort of place where you can feel like you’re part of something. I suppose Manchester imbued us with the spirit that we could get up and do stuff. The most amazing thing was that you’d hear a good record in a club and the person who’d made it was dancing next to you.” Ed, The Chemical Brothers

“There was an open mindedness about it all. People like Graham Massey. The Hacienda was a massive catalyst cos people would go socially and it would just change everything that they thought. Massey was in a band called Biting Tongues who were signed to Factory at the time and one day he just came into Spirit Studio and said he was making house now. He’d been to the Hacienda and literally 808 State was born overnight.” Kelvin Andrews

“There was an enormous civic pride at that time. You would be supported almost like a football team if you managed to get something going and there was a general energy about the place that encouraged that kind of thing. It was a very inclusive culture and it gave you a sense of self empowerment. There were a lot of people around to support you and there wasn’t really any jealousy about.” Graham Massey

“Manchester back then was about having a laugh, bouncing from this scene to that scene and as a place it seemed different. Because Manchester is so compact, you really did know everyone. You’d let on to someone and it was like a little village in a way.” A Guy Called Gerald

“I do scratch my head about how vibrant it was and the music that came out from all different directions. Manchester during that period of time, all those people getting together and it really was a movement of sound. To me it was all focused around the Hacienda, Factory Records, Tony Wilson, Rob Gretton, all those characters that made this happen, the bands and the DJ’s, it’s just amazing. For so much to come out of such a small group of people, it’s just incredible. It has to be something to do with the culture there, the people in Manchester.” Sasha

“There’s a certain sort of can do attitude about Manchester, regardless of whether it’s legal or not, and that risk taking carries a lot of weight. Like I know back in the fifties, people that I sort of associate with, people like Tosh Ryan and Bruce Mitchell had the same mindset that you saw in promoters in the late 80’s , like “why not? Why shouldn’t we do it? And you think about that from a situationist point of view, if it can be done, why don’t you do it? It’s that attitude that I think distinguishes Manchester. Glasgow seems to have had it a bit as well, and there are only a few places in the country where the club scenes had that kind of level of get up and do it and it was definitely very prevalent in Manchester.” Gary Mclarnan

“That disestablishmentarianism and the individuality of the town you’re asking me about, well Manchester’s never given a fuck what anyone else does really. They haven’t really. None of the Factory bands ever looked at any other band and said “Oh yeah, we’d like to be like that.” Even if they were shit, they still had their own minds and that was certainly true of the club as well.” Mike Pickering

Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.