Hacienda myths debunked
Legendary Manchester club the Hacienda turns 30 this month (21 May) - or it would if it hadn't shut in June 1997. Over 15 turbulent, often bewildering years it set the tone for the city's musical culture, lost money hand over fist and ushered in the age of the superclub.
Befitting its iconic status, tales were spun around it. Some turned out true, others pure myth. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of its foolish birth, here are some of the best.
New Order bankrolled the club
True! They bankrolled it, it bankrupted them. Well, near enough. The brainchild of Factory Records' Rob Gretton - business associate of Factory's local hero Tony Wilson - the Hacienda was a grand folly of an investment for the label's favourite sons (and daughter) New Order.
The band's bassist Peter Hook has written and talked with weary regularity about their involvement, relating horror stories of thousands of pounds ploughed into a club that habitually ran at a loss, a victim of fraud and hopeless management. The solution? Chuck more money at it.
What with Factory's own reputation for myopic business decisions - New Order's Blue Monday sleeve allegedly costing more than the price of the record, for one - you have to wonder whether the band would've been better off elsewhere. The stories wouldn't have been so great, mind.
Still, Hooky's had the last laugh. Following the Hacienda's demise he bought the rights to the name and has done very nicely, ta, working it for compilations, lurid histories and the rest.
Madonna's first UK live show took place at the Hacienda
True! At the end of January 1984, Madge made her first live appearance in this country, performing Holiday at the Hacienda. It was filmed for equally legendary Channel 4 music show The Tube, presented by Paula Yates and Jools Holland before Jools messed it all up by calling us all "groovy f***ers" live on camera. Can you imagine that today? It would liven up Later...
It was rescued by acid house
Untrue! The story goes that the Hacienda was floundering towards the end of the 80s, booking bands no one wanted to see and regularly entertaining precisely no punters. But it was managing, and still thriving as an arts space even if the mainstream wasn't quite catered for.
The arrival of acid house was a shot in the arm though as the DJs - led by future M People creative force Mike Pickering - embraced the pulse beating across the pond and brought it to the willing masses. Acid and the ubiquitous E took its toll nevertheless. The initial rush was submerged by waves of violence and drug-related casualties. The mess would eventually bring the club down.
It had a Factory Records catalogue number
True! Like all Factory product - not just records, posters too, and eventually Wilson's own coffin, for goodness sake - the Hacienda had a FAC number. FAC 51, in fact. Not a bad name for a club itself.
There were no toilets
Untrue! But only just. There was a pitiful handful of toilets, no cloakroom and vast pillars obscuring the view of the stage. While we're on fairly essential facilities, the club also had a PA system of 20 speakers. Not bad. Only two actually worked. Not good. It's astonishing it closed down, really.
Hook has also spoken, incredulously, about how it was the only club ever built with windows. We can't quite corroborate that one, but it's just another charming idiosyncrasy in the DNA of a venue that played by its own rules.
Did you ever go to the Hacienda? Do you remember those Madchester days? Is this just another excuse to wallow in nostalgia as we ignore a moribund contemporary scene? Join in on Twitter @MusicOnVM.