I was recently asked about Peter Hook’s book by Joe Rose on the Big Chill forum. He commented “just been reading about you in Hooky’s ‘Haçienda – How Not To Run A Club’… sounds like those early days at the Hac were bizarre!” To which I replied:
“I’m particularly happy there’s finally a book about The Haçienda out there that gives props to the black scene and its key influence on the club. Generally this is missed out completely when people are writing about its part in dance culture, giving the impression that what took place at The Haçienda happened out of nowhere. Tim Lawrence, in his ‘Discothèque: Haçienda’ sleevenotes, was the first person to really get to grips with this omission, but Peter Hook’s book will obviously reach a much bigger audience and it’s always good to see these things confirmed in print from the horse’s mouth, so to speak – someone who was a part of the club from its outset (and whose money kept it afloat in those early days, when it simply couldn’t have survived without New Order’s success). Anyone in the future who’s writing a book about The Haçienda, or its legacy in relation to the bigger picture, will surely read Hooky’s book as part of their reference material, so there’ll be no excuse for missing out the role of the black scene in the future.
It was pretty bizarre to DJ there when you take into account that during my time at the club I was regularly berated for playing ‘dance shit’ – that’s if people could find me, for the DJ booth was in a separate room to the side of the stage, completely detached apart from a slit I could look out of at floor level, so my view was pretty much people’s legs! Not a club designed around the DJ, that’s for sure, although they sorted it out the following year by moving the booth into its iconic position on the balcony.
It’s good to know I helped plant some seeds, but it didn’t rank alongside what was happening at Legend and Wigan Pier at the time. Great foresight though from Rob Gretton and Mike Pickering for wanting to tap into what was happening on the black scene in Manchester – their plan (influenced by some of the NYC clubs they’d experienced) didn’t come off immediately, but it paid dividends in the long run.”
So many people know about what happened at The Haçienda, whilst relatively few know anything about Legend (aka Legends) or Wigan Pier. When I started out deejaying again it bugged me when promoters played on my Haçienda credentials – I felt that this would further obscure what had happened at Legend and the Pier, which I regarded as ‘my clubs’. I obviously understood that I was still largely unknown, given my twenty year DJ hiatus, and the promoters were taking a chance by booking me in the first place – so I can see why ‘ex- Haçienda DJ’ was a good selling point for them, because pretty much everyone has heard of The Haçienda nowadays. It doesn’t bother me so much now – the association is unavoidable, given its status as one of the all-time classic clubs, which continues to generate interest and intrigue with people throughout the world. Furthermore, I can now see the positive benefits – having re-established myself as a DJ, there’s more awareness of what was going on at Legend and The Pier, with my short tenure at The Haçienda being a link point for many people to dig a bit deeper, enabling them to gain some understanding of how the black scene shaped the picture, when this might have remained hidden to them otherwise. Rather than conceal, it now serves to reveal.
Not just a good yarn, Hooky’s book educates as well as entertains, helping illuminate the bigger picture for those who want to look beneath the surface and discover the underground. Paying his respects to what went before he lists the Oasis, the Twisted Wheel, Pips, the Reno, Legends, the Electric Circus and the Factory as the Manchester clubs that inspired The Haçienda, highlighting the city’s nightlife lineage, which (as I’m always banging on about) dates right back into the ’60s, and provided the foundations for this fabled club. The Situationists may have said that ‘the Haçienda must be built’, but it had to be on solid ground with sturdy pillars already firmly entrenched.
More Haçienda memories here:
‘All Good Things Come To An End’ – a piece I wrote in 2004 about the demise of the club in the early ’90s, and its rise to prominence during the previous decade:
There’s a page covering my time at the club on the Cerysmatic Factory website, which concerns itself with all things Factory – includes my Haçienda playlist and the trivia tale of how I was assigned a Factory catalogue number:
Interview I did with Electronic Beats magazine in 2006, which focuses mainly on The Haçienda:
Tim Lawrence ‘Discothèque: Haçienda’ Sleevenotes:
The Haçienda Wikipedia:
Peter Hook Wikipedia: