Hot Nights were probably the most exciting club nights I have ever been to. Starting in the second half of 1988, these Ibiza style Wednesdays at The Hacienda seemed to come from nowhere and having never been to Ibiza I enjoyed them tremendously. It was most people’s first taste of what was to become the Madchester scene of acid house and ecstacy but in its infancy, at the Hot nights, it was far more enjoyable than later on when the rave culture took off in a massive way.
We knew that something totally different was going on when the acid house music started up which was new to us all, and instead of small groups of people dancing in a self conscious and restrained way there were loads of scally types just dancing without inhibition. In the beginning the members of Happy Mondays and their mates seemed to be the only ones who knew how to do this but after a week more people caught on and after a few weeks the whole dance floor was going like mad in this uninhibited trance-like manner (probably driven by ecstacy, although I only had rum and coca cola). The energy there was amazing though and favourites such as Inner City with “Big Fun” drove the crowd wild. It was unimaginable to think of anyone ever returning to dancing sedately around a hand bag again.
The scally fashion of lank hair with centre parting, trainers, baggy jeans and sweatshirt totally took over and people who had weeks before dressed as goths, rockabillies, beatniks … suddenly looked like drug dealers and their wives!
The trendy Madchester scallies wore cheap narrow-toed DMs, when not in trainers, which a few months prior would have looked hideous, but the new “fashion” took off which such force that within weeks the previously hip jazzy set were ditching their clumpy round- toed DMs and going for the scally version too. Some people that I knew seemed to undergo total personality changes due to the ecstacy. You had to look like a model though to carry off this unflattering get up. Very few people looked nice.
I made new friends at Hot nights and the added excitement of paddling pools, bubbles and other Ibiza style novelties made it all the more fabulous for me but the music and the energy are unforgettable and probably never to be repeated. I would like to time travel to experience it again one last time.