Monday 21 January 2019

1990.04.03 Graeme Park @ Haçienda Manchester

Can you believe that it is now over twenty one years since the Haçienda shut it's doors? Twenty one years! Yet the place still holds fascination for clubbers of all ages and nationalities.  Haçienda regulars, employees, DJ's musicians, innovators, designers and artists continue to keep the legacy alive with Facebook pages, websites, blogs, clothing, records, orchestrated dance nights, posters, badges devoted to the club - I could go on and on.  Perhaps this dedication is a bid to keep that party going, keeping that shared experience alive, rebuilding the Haçienda!

A couple of years ago I came across something a little special that took the biscuit.  I can still recall the restlessness that I felt at that moment.  I had to experience this!  I was captivated, intrigued and curious.  A friend had called to let me know about an exhibition in Manchester where the "Haçienda has been rebuilt!"  Excited is not the word.... Once again, I was like a cat on a hot tin roof! "What? Where? When?  My first thoughts were that the club was being recreated - perhaps similar to the rebuild for the film 24 hour party people! Sadly I was wrong, however not disappointed. The Haçienda was being rebuilt in a different way! Manchester here I come!

In life, there are devotees and there are devotees!  This was something else.  2012 was witness to Manchester and the Haçienda celebrating it's 30th Birthday - XXX.   As part of the celebrations Nick Hardy, a Haçienda regular, Model Maker, 3D Installation Artist constructed a model that was a focal point to many celebratory events throughout the city.  It just blew me away!   Taking several years to research, develop and build, Nick produced an incredibly realistic 1:50 scale model of the Haçienda!   Just looking at it not only brought back experiences,but also memories, it evoked feelings and emotions of those heady times where we were lost in the party!

The 1:50 scale model faithfully replicates the dance floor, the DJ booth, bar, alcoves, loading bay doors and projector screens.  It doesn't stop there either; tables, chairs, the Kim Philby bar stacked with beers, luminous fire exits and even glass apex roof are faithfully reproduced.  Once again I could picture myself buying a tray of chips and can of Fanta in the cafe or a bottle of Purdys or grabbing a free pint of cold water from the main bar just as I once had so many times before and so many moons ago!   I could see myself standing at the stable door behind the DJ booth pestering Jon DaSilva for the name of a tune he was playing (sorry Jon!).  I could see myself there sat on the stage as I had experienced so many times before.  Chatting, people watching, foot tapping as we watched the last of the daylight shining through the glass roof wane and the tide of beats flow over us. Looking up drops of condensation would spray  us from above, dripping through an array of pulsating colours and sound splashes, finally drowning out the harsh daylight and replacing it with soft blurry dry ice smouldering as the ecstatic, pulsating BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM of four to the floor beats grabbed us and carried us forth into the excesses of the night - 'house music all night long, on and on; on and on!'    At that moment, standing looking at the model in Manchester Library,  I was there once more, in the Haçienda, albeit for a brief moment.  It was magical.   Nick Hardy, I celebrate your enthusiasm, your passion, the amazing talent and skill that you have in recreating the Haçienda - Thank you!... I told you it was fascinating.  

Haçienda postcard set.

 One of the most wonderful things about the model though, is, that it faithfully replicated the original design by Ben Kelly (Haçienda designer) himself! The colours, attention to detail and scale were perfect and accentuated by apertures that enabled you to view the interior from so many different angles!  It draws you in, holds you and lets the past envelop the present as you imagine you are actually there in the model experiencing it as you did all those years ago! You find yourself blending into the model.  All this without the frisking and disco sludge too!

Images of the model have been captured and reproduced in a high quality postcard box.  The images show different aspects from inside the model and in my opinion capture the moments that were part of our lives.  I find myself losing all reality of time when I look at them, I am lost in the moments from all those years ago and have to tear myself away to rejoin reality!   See for yourself in the images below.   My favourite has to be the first card below.  Take a cheeky peek into the kiosk and see who is looking back at you!  

On the back of each postcard the onlooker is provided with real-life quotes, antidotes, memories, and glimpses of how the hacienda has had an impact on the people who worked and clubbed there.  They provide us with a snapshot into a world that existed, albeit for the briefest of moments , yet demonstate the scale of the impact the Haçienda had on us.  They show just how fascinated we have become with the coolest club in history.... 'the Haçienda Has Been Rebuilt'.

Just by looking at these two card, I can see myself dancing, walking, talking, sharing water, flirting, loving life and living for the night  I can hear the cheers, the hand claps, the music, the laughter.... as I said earlier I am blown away and no-one can take that away from me. 💓

To enjoy the cards, take a gaze into the history of the club and read more for yourself  take a moment to visit Nick's website and make a cheeky purchase and to quote Nick himself:


I thought it quite apt to end this post on a quote from one of the postcards.  This is what the Hacienda meant to Fran from Northampton, Haçienda regular from 1988 - 1991
 "For me it was pure dance music indulgence.  I loved it.  I miss it; but so glad I have the memories"
I sincerely hope Fran somehow reads this and I thank her for her words.  I know exactly what she means.    This download is for Fran x 😊 

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