The Hacienda In 1982

Written while Liz Naylor and Cath Carroll ran City Fun, this informative article is steeped in scepticism. Factory is viewed as corporate and highly suspect; men with lots of money and questionable agendas. And closet hippies are apparently no less disturbing to the writer than glib property developers!

Howard Jones (not to be confused with the ‘New Song’ singer of the same name) is one of the less well-remembered figures associated with the club. I only have a mental picture of him thanks to Carol Morley’s film The Alcohol Years.

It goes without saying that the Jimmy Savile reference is most peculiar.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

City Fun Fanzine 1982
February: Hacienda Is Nigh

“The key phrase is access to information” chirruped Howard “Ginger” Jones, the manager of the extravagantly-proportioned Factory culture complex that is destined to open on April 16th to members only (more about this later).

Ginger, or “Howard” as he was hailed by the familiar workmen on the site, looked surprisingly carefree considering that he had invested a great deal in the project undertaken in conjunction with assorted members of Factory Communications Limited.

The site is the former Marine Centre on Whitworth Street West, Manchester, and is on lease to Fac 51 Ltd from a US Publicity Company. How much is it all costing Mr Jones? “!!” and he tweaked the ear of a passing architect… on one of many plans he indicated a cocktail bar (“the décor is going to be something very special”) with one of 3 100” video screens – a close circuit camera will monitor events in the dance hall – a generous upper stage and DRESSING ROOMS – and the lower stage?? Uhh.. you are dancing on it, honey…

“Functional”, states Ginger indicating the cavernous skeleton that will be the dance hall. Remember that “lower stage” business? Fac 51 isn’t just about bands… there’s room for theatre on the dance floor… it can be either official performances or just the audience spontaneously creating… or performing sea-lions. And videos that reach further than the traditional promotional capacity – “here’s the V-J box…” In America they have people who show videos in conjunction with records.

A little more of New York creeps in. E.S.G., Factory’s US recording artists, will appear on the opening night. Ginger enthuses on behalf of the board about the vibrant spirit of New Yorkers.

This is not just a Manchester club… it’s a north west club, he emphasises. A welcome move in the direction of escaping the provincial introversion that plagues every city that is not London. Imagine!

It’ll be just like Batley Variety Club, what with the coach parties ‘n’ all…

They hope to give the north west chances to see things they would not otherwise get to see… European/US artists… all performances will be videoed, so if members missed it on the night they can watch the action replay – free!

This is one of many advantages derived from membership… (which had to be made compulsory in order to secure a license.) Factory are charging £5.25, the legal minimum. In return you get free entry into a New Order and an ACR gig… It will be open at lunchtimes… a sort of audience-participation-drop-in-bohemia. On the other hand, seeing as self-contained leisure units are very with-it places to open nowadays, (rather like a dying father gathering his sons about him, a symptom of national anxiety)…

what’s to say this isn’t just an Arty Arndale…

Well for a start there are no plans for sunbeds and poodle parlours, but moreover… I do declare I detect a note of sincerity in the voice of Howie Le Rouge…

And all of a sudden it’s May 1968 again…

HJ points out that he and his colleagues furthered their education in the years of hope and “Arts Labs”, when the state had the resources to nurture the creativity/enthusiasm of its children.

Once a visionary, always a visionary… deep down… (let’s not be polite! What we really mean is HIPPY!) They want to see Fac 51 become a new focus for the idealism that blossomed all those years ago.

Do we believe them? Does it matter?

It is only to be hoped that young Mr Jones’ enthusiasm is contagious… anyway, he’s done lots of work for charities, a sort of latter-day Jimmy Saville, so he must mean it.

“Even if it has to close after a year… if we can say that for 12 months we had the best club in Europe it’ll’ve been worth it.”

The club’s capacity is estimated at 1600. And whilst we were on the subject of Savilles… the club was designed by Londoner Ben Kelly, a contemporary of Peter Savile, Factory’s resident artist who was discovered after the revolution of ’77… Isn’t life poetic?

And the name? “The Hacienda” which means a kind of home… more of a social centrepoint… and again Factory have coyly plundered a Situationalist Compilation Tract “Into The Twenty-First Century”.

“WHERE IS THE HACIENDA? THE HACIENDA MUST BE BUILT…”

And there they are building it… right here , man.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

City Fun Fanzine 1982
August: Question Time At The Hacienda – How Do You Manage It?

First for the benefit of our squarer readers who do not know what or where the Hacienda is; it’s a club-complex that lies behind the pull-down metal door on the corner of Whitworth Street West, Manchester, opposite the railway viaduct. It is the proud conception of the local independent record company, Factory Records, a members only club that is intended to allow members (anyone over 18 can join… if they are willing to submit a passport photograph…) greater participation in influencing the activities of the club. The difference between the Hacienda, or FAC 51, its catalogue number on the Factory Communications output list, and most other clubs is that the owners of the establishment are also the promoters of the events; this allows them control over admission prices / bar prices / acoustics etc etc. One big happy family. Heartwarming, eh?

It is if you consider the little saints that operate this project are all putting themselves out like nobody’s business yet still getting the odd oaf lurching up to them and calling them “rich bastards”.

Here, reader, use MY hanky. Admittedly City Fun has done more than its fair share of bleating, but we reserve every right to do so… bristle.

To hammer home another point that some of our senior citizen readers are a bit puzzled about; the club has to be ‘members only’ because of licensing regulations. The price, £5.25, is the lowest possible, and for this, members get free admission on Monday and Thursday nights – unless there is a live act when members can buy lower-priced tickets, usually about £2.00. Guests have to be signed in by a member. Are you with us so far, Gran?

Good. Let us introduce the inquisitionees.

Representing Fac 51 are Howard Jones, the general manager and Mike Pickering, the booker and one third of the DJ rosta.

The club now has around 3000 members and there has been the occasional complaint that some members could not always get in on a very crowded night, notably for the free-to-members New Order gig.

“Membership does not guarantee admission, it only guarantees priority. All members had the opportunity to buy tickets for that event, and on that night there were very few people who did not get in.” Moral, chums; be on your toes.

The management have had problems with the inspectors of the Town Hall. The capacity of the club, which they determine by taking into consideration the number of fire exits, floor space (excluding the separate bars and stage area) and toilet facilities, keeps officially fluctuating. One week, the official capacity was down to 600, now it lies around the 1200 mark. Patrons from outside the Greater Manchester area can reserve tickets if they telephone beforehand.

There are now about 500 members who use the club regularly i.e. they go whether there is a band or not. Incidentally, the management wish to point out that they have become hardened to the tricks of conniving members trying to buy extra tickets on capacity nights by pleading loss of original ticket, playing around with cheques, etc. Anyway, YOU know who you are, so smack wrists.

The launching of so grand a vessel has caused staff many a headache and there are still problems to be cleared up.

“The design of the club limits the choice in modifications. As its going to be around for a long time, it’s important that we do it right.”

The improvements to the sound system have already commenced, Howard stated that the sound quality has improved by 60%, Mike went “Hm…” One of the problems has been that it is difficult when playing unknown, new records, to grab peoples’ attention when the sound is not absolutely perfect, which means clients are only dancing to records they know, which doesn’t do much for the progress of culture, does it?

Surprisingly, there has been no response from members to the invitation to submit videos. Mike and Howard pointed out that even video ideas could be submitted or good quality TV montage, etc. Mike also listens to all the tapes sent in but as yet none have been of high enough quality to survive passage through the sound system. Tapes of ‘mood music’ for the cocktail bar were also cited as a means for members to contribute something. Also if anyone wants to use the space within the Hacienda constructively to stage their own ideas, they should contact the club.

But as Howard said, anyone who was committed and keen enough to take advantage of such an opportunity – and they are usually the ones with the best ideas – would have lost no time in investigating possibilities. Dance group, The Jazz Defectors, lost no time in asking to use the club during the daytime for rehearsal space. There must be a few more talented little snowdrops out there, blooming unseen, who could contribute something worthwhile. The club has already employed seven members with a specific skill who were enterprising enough to ask to take part. In case you haven’t noticed, there is a Members Notice Board inside the club, and it is meant to be used, preferably for display purposes, please.

Future plans: The Monday Video Night should be in operation by September. The club has amassed hours of live Hacienda footage including Liasons Dangereuses. According to our pals in the Hot Seats, if you were not among the 200 who went on July 7, you really missed SOMETHING. Once a good, non-week end night has been established, lesser known acts will be promoted. Mike states in particular that the Secret Seven will be worth seeing. They are also trying to get a fairly well-known theatre company up from London. Only one artist has been approached and who refused to appear – and they refused to say who, but apparently he misunderstood the aims of the place. We think it was Lassie. Are we right? Another obstacle they have to overcome is, or are, agents, who are not always pleased by the low admission charges at The Hacienda. There were problems with the Club Zoo visit to Fac 51. The agents insisted that The Teardrop Explodes should not be advertised as such since they were playing in Leeds around that time, although the group themselves knew nothing of this. Consequently Julian and his copains did not pull in as big a crowd as usual.

They are also considering opening on Saturday lunchtimes, they’ll need an average attendance of 50 to get the old vibes going, though. Plus renovations to the restaurant area to shut off the hustle and bustle of the dance floor, and improvements to the reception window, as shouting through the grills is straining staff throats.

To finish: most of the praise that the club gets (and there is lots of it…) comes from without the Greater Manchester area, especially Leeds and Sheffield and there are reports of punters flocking in from Europe to visit.

And even Mums and Dads love the place.
What are you waiting for, Gran?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On The Legacy of Situationist Revolt, Hacienda, Manchester 28/12/96

Prof. D Bellos: Can you explain to me why you called this place the Hacienda, and whether the spirit of Situationism lives on it?
Tony Wilson: I didn’t find the name. I would give to all my employees this little green book Leaving The Twentieth Century. One day my partner Rob Gretton was wondering ‘what the fuck are we going to call this place?’ He opened the book at Chtcheglov’s essay and saw the phrase ‘The hacienda must be built.’
DB: That is an anecdote about how you found the name but does it have any meaning?
TW: No, not at all…

Ivan Chtcheglov’s Formula For A New Urbanism (Translation) 1953:

We are bored in the city, there is no longer any Temple of the Sun…
…And you, forgotten, your memories ravaged by all the consternations of two hemispheres, stranded in the Red Cellars of Pali-Kao, without music and without geography, no longer setting out for the hacienda where the roots think of the child and where the wine is finished off with fables from an old almanac. That’s all over. You’ll never see the hacienda. It doesn’t exist.

The hacienda must be built.

Chtcheglov (1933-98) wrote this when he was nineteen. He was subsequently committed to an asylum for a number of years – apparently he stole dynamite, intending to blow up the Eiffel Tower!

Even allowing for problems with translation, the essay often makes little sense, and even his more straight-forward pronouncements can buckle under scrutiny. For instance:

“Architecture is the simplest way of articulating time and space; of modulating reality; of making people dream.”

This is obviously rubbish. Architecture is one of the most arduous, expensive, time-consuming tasks you could possibly undertake if your end-goal is simply to make people dream (or modulate reality or articulate time and space.) You have to be very wealthy or very well-qualified to “do architecture”, whereas writing words, taking photographs, drawing pictures, or even making music, are activities which most people can experiment with.

(Funnily enough, this accounts for some of City Fun’s suspicion of the Hacienda project, coming as they do, from a grass roots perspective. The large sums required to fund a large scale building project, and the fact that the money was raised privately, make the project itself seem dubious to them.)

imagehac00

Note that young Ivan didn’t undertake any ambitious building projects – he just wielded a pen, and contemplated attacking a national monument.

I suspect he was delusional. And he would have been in good company… his essay contains the kind of sweeping generalisations which European artists in the first half of the Twentieth Century specialised in, as did their politicians.

But occasionally he has moments of clarity:

A new form of mental illness has swept the planet; banalisation. Everyone is hypnotized by work and by comfort.

And then at the end of his essay:

It’s patently obvious that the more a place is set apart solely for free play the more influence it exerts over people’s behaviour and the more magnetic its pull becomes.

Which is the most compelling explanation I’ve come across for the enduring appeal of The Hacienda.

A full translation can be found at the Bureau Of Public Secrets website, www.bopsecrets.org.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The venue was knocked down to make way for a block of lookalike flats also called The Hacienda. In 2002, Peter Hook did the honours and started the demolition live on Granada Reports.

Tony Wilson You’re Entitled To An Opinion by David Nolan p158

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Further reading: ‘Unknown Pleasure: The Hacienda’ Jon Savage, Corridor8 Issue 1 Page 17-18.

Many thanks to Dave Haslam for the scans of the City Fun articles.

← Previous post

Next post →

3 Comments

  1. Adam Smith

    I was at Hacienda 1983 – 1986 – memorable nights – sometimes almost empty! Thursday nude night – gigs, Smiths, JATMChain, Teardrop Explodes, New Order, Paul Haig etc- wonderful memories – do you have any pics from those years?
    Adam

  2. Hi Adam, do you own any parts of the club? I’m making a doc. about what happened to them.

    • Andrew RIley,

      Hi, I’m Andrew, I live in London, iam from Manctr, originally , I used to go in 1981. When you first opened, I remember, Frankie , on the cloakroom, was it Elle, some kind of manager, I remember seeing , culture club , play , just before their fame, I used to hang out in didsbury , a lot, I recall going to a footy match once , Hac , versus city life staff, one Sunday , don’t know how they managed tp play , lol. I used to be nicknamed , bonkin , Andrew, for obvious reasons, I used to be friendly with, Cath Berry, Tracey Donnelly, Andrew, Marc, berry, blonde Sheila, who worked at the FIourucci, shop in town, Sarria Din, East is East , etc, Marcel KIng, the band, Kalima, jazz defectors, great times, any want to e, mail me, andrewriley150@icloud.com

Leave a Reply

Confirm that you are not a bot - select a man with raised hand: