PSV Friday Nights

When everything got too hectic at the Hacienda post-1988, lots of Hacienda regulars decamped to The PSV Club in Hulme. I was told at the time that PSV stood for ‘Public Service Vehicles’, and the club was originally a social club for bus service staff. (It was also called The Russell Club, The Factory or The Caribbean Club depending on who you spoke to.)

Many Hacienda regulars lived in Hulme anyway; the no-rent, close-to-town lifestyle meant that even the unwaged art students and bohemians went out regularly. The PSV was really convenient; there was no queuing nonsense, the music was varied and interesting, and it was only a short walk home.

The PSV was near the Henry Royce Pub, at the junction of Royce Road and Bonsall Street, on the 85/86 bus route into town. For years the pub’s owners kept Doberman dogs on the flat roof – we would peer down at them from the top deck of the bus as we went past. Only once, I went to the Royce for a drink before going to the PSV, encouraged by an older friend that it was a safe place to meet. It was very laid back in there, much better than the exterior suggested. But most of my friends didn’t want to go there so I didn’t make a habit of it.

The PSV itself had a large ground floor, with a smaller first floor which could be reached by 2 staircases at either end of the building. The upstairs bar was directly above the downstairs bar. Upstairs, they played mainly reggae; there was a small dancefloor which was quite well-lit, and large glass windows, through which you could see the darker dancefloor and stage-area downstairs. The DJs downstairs used decks on tables on the stage; sometimes vibrations made the needle jump and skip bits of the records. One of the DJs was my friend’s boyfriend, Paul Vesty, who moved to London in the early 90s.

The music downstairs was really varied; I remember hearing this downstairs early on, on more than one occasion:

Funkadelic – One Nation Under A Groove

I was made up because I had no expectation of hearing this anywhere other than The Man Alive in those days. They also played Jocelyn Brown ‘Somebody Else’s Guy’, InDeep ‘Last Night A DJ Saved My Life’, Gwen Guthrie ‘Nothin’ Goin’ On But The Rent’ and ACR ‘Shack Up’.

Gwen Guthrie – Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But The Rent

As well as Hacienda refugees, there were locals of all ages at The PSV so the crowd was really diverse. There was a guy who said he knew me from school but I didn’t recognise him at all. It turned out he was Roger… the ‘cock of the year’… ‘top boy’ in other words, not ‘biggest idiot’ as you might deduce from that ridiculous phrase. I remember saying how odd it was that he remembered me and not the other way round, because he had ‘ruled’ the corridors, his red streaked afro visible from a distance above the throng, while I was a nobody at school. Now his hair was in neat plaits and we appeared to be about the same height, which was unexpected. He told me he’d been into some dodgy stuff in the past but he was businessman now… all above board… and did I want a drink? I said, no thanks, my mates were getting me one, but it was nice to have met him again… A few years later he was murdered not far from my house.

I once saw an old woman in the PSV dancing around in her nighty just feet away from a really great break-dancer who was mid-windmill; we all hoped she wouldn’t attempt a copycat manoeuvre. (I made a mental note – never feel so at home in a club that you think it’s ok to go there wearing your night clothes.)

Musical highlights of the last hour included:

Ce Ce Rogers – Someday

Joe Smooth – Promised Land

Sterling Void – Alright

And of course Black Box, Ride On Time, which was Number 1 for six weeks in 1989:

Black Box – Ride On Time

We discovered that the vocals were taken from Loleatta Holloway’s ‘Love Sensation’, but it didn’t stop this track from being one of the most exciting songs I’ve ever heard on the dancefloor. When this was played at the PSV, it was the last track of the night and everyone went completely mental!

There was sometimes trouble at the PSV, so we all had to submit to being searched on the way in. I remember atleast one night ending early because of violence, although I don’t remember the details. But I think these incidents became more frequent so that people eventually stopped going. If you can remember whether these nights fizzled out or stopped abruptly, please let me know. (

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  1. Paul Vesty

    No mention of Joyce Sims All in All! played that tune every Saturday night at the PSV! – fond memories and LOTS of stories to tell…

  2. i was a regular at the psv on saturday nights in the early 90’s.
    it pissed all over the hacienda, everyone was chilled, no gangsters (at first) and no attitudes. the nights were called bounce, one of the main dj’s was doctor D, anyone remember this?

  3. Nick Hussey

    I was the Dj on sat nights Along with Derick C,Dj H & Mc ten (Jon O’Donnell).I also Dj’ed there years before when i ran a place called the kicthen in the flats just above also djing at the kicthen was Derick C (& Dj Tomlin)…..Good times.

    • Oh that was you? I don’t suppose you gave a second’s thought to the people who lived below? Thought not. I had next to no sleep for nearly a year because of the Kitchen. I nearly lost my job for sleep deprivation and when I tried to complain, I was threatened. Oh yeah, the Kitchen: a real legend. Hulme WAS gerat, but when I see the Kitchen treated like some kind of paragon of artistic greatness it makes my blood boil. You were vile selfish bastards making poor people’s lives a misery.

      • Jinny Martin

        I’m so glad to see this. People are so intent on seeing this era through rose tinted glasses. My sister was there at Eric’s, The PSV, Hacienda …she died a miserable death a short while later, lonely, penniless and drug addled. She was unhappy and looking for something to fill the void. Unfortunately, this was the the beginning of the end.

  4. I saw Gregory Isaacs play there in about 82, as we queued to get in I remember the window frames (that the wooden boards were fixed to) were vibrating so much you could hear them buzzing.

    • although looking at that picture maybe it was the door frame?

    • Hi Steve – I saw The Naturalites at the PSV about 1983. The people I went with were taking speed, while most of the crowd were smoking weed. I remember feeling conspicuous as my companions disrupted the easy-going vibe with strident motor-mouth chat. This is the song I remember from that night because I think they played it twice:

      I didn’t realise then that the lyrics were about Haile Selassie. I recently learned that Selassie became good friends with Emmeline Pankhurst’s daughter Sylvia, born near Trafford Bar and then buried in Addis Ababa Cathedral, Ethiopia. Very strange set of associations.

  5. So, I don’t know much about the PSV, but I recently read Peter Hook’s book about the Hacienda, and it mentioned something about drum ‘n’ bass being played at the PSV circa 1995ish.

    In the book, he offhandedly mentioned that somebody had brought a pump-action shotgun to this club and put holes in the roof, which led to flooding. The next month, a few injuries forced them to cancel dnb nights. Did this really happen?

    And, also, he said that shooting guns at drum ‘n’ bass club nights was a trend. I can’t find information to back that up anywhere. Does anyone know if that actually became a thing in the mid 90’s in London and/or Manchester?

    • scherben

      Apparently, the stories of guns being discharged in appreciation of jungle tunes are true. The club even had a fund put by for repairs to the ceiling. Of course, just because someone tells a story, doesn’t make it true.

    • I worked the lights on a jungle night there in 1995 and the audience spent the entire evening shooting pistols into the roof. I couldnt leave because skint and needed the money.

    • Yes that was true and at the jungle nights dark house they were always being fired up at the ceiling if you listen on YouTube to dark house psv bryan gee you can hear bass man saying stop busting the live round someone has just got picked up from the ricochet
      And some idiot was dancing with a sawn off in the middle of the room.. I used to go to the que club in Birmingham and they were always doing it there as well

  6. I had some great nights there in around 92. Everyone on the dance floor out of their nuts. ‘What you on, what you on?’ I’m on a Penguin, half a trip and a gramme of speed. Some kid got shot one time over dealing and another time the place got sprayed with a kind of tear gas. Everyone went outside and was still going for it. DJ Sasha was playing. It was a special place if not just for the old Rastas dancing with old white women to lovers reggae upstairs whilst the rest of us sat on the floor. Incredible pre internet times!!!!!

    • I’m guessing we were regulars around the same time Mike. God I loved PSV – still think about it now. I remember the tear gas episode, everyone still on it outside, and then when they let us back in it was the best vibe ever. Also remember someone wielding a machete right next to me, and always being hassled going upstairs by little scallies, the room where the old rastas played pool – it all added to the sheer buzz of the place. Same faces week in week out, mental tunes, everyone on the stage at the end of the night… loved it! Good times.

      • Jinny Martin

        Added to the vibe??? Sheer buzz of the place?? Best nights ever??? I hope you managed to find somewhere a little less violent to get your kicks.

      • Jason Nash

        Yeah we was the halifax crew that came to Psv ,, invited by ravers from hac ,, good times good people, stayed in the house opposite the hari Krishna house ,, bed sit land good times

  7. Zulfiqur Ali

    Thanks for this reminder about the PSV, I lived close by on Humberstone Avenue as a PhD student (1988-89). I loved the diverse range of people that it drew in as well as the friendly and unpretentious atmosphere . The music was, of course, fantastic – some particular favourites included: Bomb the Bass – Beat Dis; MARRS – Pump up the volume; Joyce Sims – Come into My Life and S’Express.

    Hulme looks so much more prosperous these days but with the passing of the PSV it lost something that was special.

  8. Late 80s, early 90s: I went sometimes – very good nights out. Am I dreaming it or was there nearly always an old guy Irish dancing on the upstairs dancefloor?

  9. Jinny Martin

    Mancky I like your post by the way, it’s not pretentious rubbish about it all being fantastic. There were some pretty miserable times when we went in the early 80s

  10. Does anyone know what year this club opened and closed down? :)

  11. scherben

    Can’t give you the years of opening and closure, but according to this link, it was demolished in early 2001.

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