Happy big 4-0 Hacienda! The night I entered Manc Mecca…

1982 was a very special year. My brother was born in the January, the Hacienda was born in May. And the rest is history.

That said, history came alive Saturday night when the shutters flew up on what is now the Hacienda apartments car park, and 1000 of us flooded in (note a last minute ‘glitch’ meant this ended up being 500 at a time split over two sessions , but pretty sure Tony Wilson would have had a wry smile on this face at this aptly chaotic turn of events).

Finally I could say…

I was there

Me

Raising funds for The Legacy of War Foundation and The Christie , FAC51 Hacienda put on a huge party where thanks to Stream GM and their fabulous live…well, stream, everyone was invited!

On the early shift, 6-10.30pm (the hardcore attendees scheduled for 11pm – 2am) I rocked up about 6.30pm, obviously in broad daylight. A curious concept, and I wondered how this would translate into an evening which was designed to celebrate the wonderfully hedonistic era of Hacienda.

With an amuse bouche of a vodka and energy drink mixer in me (wild) courtesy of another Manc city centre gaffe with legendary status, (The Britons Protection), I entered the fray.

My blog is named Honorary Manc, a self bestowed title, having taken up residency here in 2000. Whilst I’ve lived and breathed the Factory Records era (granted mostly retrospectively), age and geography meant I was never to be an OG.

I did however earn some entry level stripes, having worked at Granada TV in the first half of the 2000s, which granted me first hand ‘access’ to working with hero Mr Wilson on occasion. Following him round the news room one afternoon, notebook in hand as he multi-tasked, printing and photocopying whilst regaling me with tales of wearing sarongs on holiday, I was in my element.

My element only got better as I took quotes from him as he sat in the back of studio during a commercial break on Granada Reports in 2002, having his hair quickly quiffed into a Hoxton Fin, to emulate Beckham’s famous World Cup look, all in time to leg it back behind the news desk ready for part 2.

Using this as a metaphorical passport into such hallowed turf, alongside my ‘Actual Manc plus 1’ who had regularly frequented the Hacienda in the 90s, I entered Mecca on Saturday.

Dancing to music I grew up with and loved (whilst still at an age where I didn’t have a hope in hell of getting into a licensed venue) was a dream and the fact that it was still daylight outside mattered not.

Actual Manc would go to the Hacienda every Wednesday. Looking around he was feeling the old days. Everyone was there to dance, everyone was happy. No pretension, not a single upward inflection was to be heard.

What may or may not have helped stimulate that happiness back in the 80s and 90s (“every drink was £1 including the huge displays of water”), Actual Manc theorised (theorised) that whilst the nature of a drug can contribute to or create a culture, whatever was going on back in the day, people were remembering that night exactly how they used to feel when they entered that club and heard that music.

Like a form of muscle memory, everyone around us was happy to be back, like they’d never been away (even if they’d never been before), and that feeling was infectious.

Saturday was a mood and like one I’d not experienced out in town in a long, long time.

Everyone around was interesting, full of life, nice, joyous, charismatic, dressed diversely and gloriously. Like yesterday, it was the Hacienda and to completely misquote one of Tony’s past programmes, anything goes.

Indeed we made some friends for life (at least in that moment), but I either didn’t get their names or can’t remember them and so all are ‘assumed’.

*Mabel* and friend sat with us, asking if we’d been back in the day. She shared her memories and and excitement to be back.

“It’s scary, surreal being back amongst the stripes. The concrete, the ceilings; all creating that same acoustic that I remember.”

She didn’t look old enough to remember the acoustics to that degree but I didn’t say so. I couldn’t work out whether it would come out the compliment I intended. And we were all getting on so well.

Meanwhile over in the portaloo queue some time on, Actual Manc found himself privy to chat about the fast approaching cut-off time for part 1 of the party and pending requirement to depart to make way for those attending part 2.

“I’m not leaving, no way,” postured erm *Kev*. “Nah mate me neither! “ agreed *Rob* in solidarity.

“Let none of us leave!”

Needless to say, portaloo pact aside, everyone left obediently when the lights came up and it took only 15 minutes to clear the space ready for the next shift. Most of us back to the Britons Protection beer garden. Like I say, a nice bunch.

A repeat guest star in our evening was *Daz*. Daz on occasion couldn’t find his mates and Daz was appreciative of the 90s club classics blasted out so far, but was hankering after the “mental acid house shit” you used to get. Still Daz was having a top time regardless and the three of us had a lovely bonding moment as we embraced, and sang along that it was gonna be alright. Daz? It really was.

No more so for me than when K-Klass came on and Let Me Show You kicked in and it was 1993 and that piano and that beat and I could pretend that I was here at the time rather than 14 and having to make do with tapes, CDs and my bedroom. I realised my insane grin matched those around me.

And oh here’s Actual Manc back from anther trip to the bar, the portaloo, probably both.

“Mike Sweeney’s over there.”

He was. And eh up, here comes Terry Christian. Having rubbed shoulders with him at Mcr-based festivals and events before, we took it as a positive that he didn’t recognise us as obsessive groupies and once again gifted us a pic. Which he happily exclaimed was “a good one!”

It is isn’t it?

And with a projector streaming original black and white CCTV footage from the club, a wall hosting a tapestry of pictures, flyers and posters, the place was a living, breathing, pulsating shrine to an era where a club could pull no profits yet still become part of the fabric, if not the fabric, of our wonderful wonderful city of Manchester.

Highlights vid:

The (what was) live stream from the night:

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