The Hacienda: How Not To Run A Club

The Hacienda

I've just finished reading Peter Hook's book about legendary Manchester club, The Hacienda. Entitled The Hacienda: How Not To Run A Club it's mostly about the staff that worked there, the musicians and DJs that played there and how New Order/Joy Division paid to keep the whole thing running. I won't say running smoothly because now that I've read the book I know that would be a lie.

There are lot's of interesting and amusing anecdotes in the book, my favourite being that a stray cat decided to make The Hacienda its home and Tony Wilson gave it its very own Factory Records catalogue number: Fac191. Or there's the one about when they were taking the fixtures and fittings out to auction off, one of the master-tapes for Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures album was found holding up the stage.

The story of The Hacienda is ultimately a sad one seeing as it was run into the ground by bad business decisions, drugs and gangsters. However, gun crime, narcotics and police apathy aside, it ran for fifteen years from 1982 to 1997, hosted some of the era's greatest musicians and DJs - it was the first place in England that Madonna of all people performed and the list of DJs that played or had residencies there is a who's who of the world's finest - so I'd call it a success.

When you think about it, it's ventures like The Hacienda that, on paper, appear to be a spectacular waste of money and make absolutely no business sense that end up being the most entertaining, inspiring and memorable. I doubt anyone will be talking about The Den & Centro in thirty years time - unless they're talking about The End - but I'll probably still be buying The Hacienda memorabilia.