The Hacienda – Where It All Began…

At one time dubbed the most famous nightclub in the world by Newsweek, the Hacienda in Manchester had a noted impact on the music scene not just in the city but across the country as a whole. Spawning books, a film and inspiring countless bands, the Hacienda played an integral part in the Madchester scene and its legacy is still recognised today.

The club was opened in 1982 as Fac 51 The Hacienda, created by Factory Records boss Tony Wilson and the label’s star act New Order. It first opened as a private member’s club and didn’t make any money, but was luckily kept afloat due to the chart success of Blue Monday.

It played host to a number of iconic gigs in the early 80s. In January 1984, Madonna’s first UK performance took place in the club which was broadcast live in the Channel 4 programme the Tube and bands such as the Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen, James and the Stone Roses also performed.

Popularity of the club grew and by the late 1980s it was attracting large crowds to its various nights and was one of the first clubs to play house music.

The club was integral in the rise of the Madchester scene with many of the bands being inspired by the Hacienda’s innovative musical choices and the club’s community feeling. Former DJs have reminisced about musicians such as the Happy Mondays, Mark E Smith and Noel and Liam Gallagher hanging out amongst the regular clubbers just enjoying the good tunes and the atmosphere.

However, the club wasn’t without its problems and these, along with financial difficulties, eventually led to its demise. Security and drug use were major issues, with the first UK ecstasy related death happening in the venue and a number of shootings as gangs fought to control the flow of drugs. The DJs weren’t immune to the problems, with one former DJ speaking in later years about the time that he once had a gun pointed at him by a clubber who wanted his records.

Greater Manchester Police requested the closure of the club a few times, and the owners agreed to a voluntary shut down for a few months in 1991 to try and improve security. The club eventually closed down for good in 1997, where it remained derelict for years before being bought by a developer who knocked it down and replaced it with apartments. The apartments were allowed to use the Hacienda’s name by New Order bassist Peter Hook who owns the trademark, a decision which didn’t go down well with the club’s former clientele.

In 2002, the film 24 Hour Party People was released which told the story of the club portraying real events, urban legends, rumours and sometimes just the scriptwriter’s imagination. The filming in 2001 involved the producers building a temporary Hacienda in a local warehouse which was opened as a real nightclub as the filming took place, and allowed the regulars to say one last goodbye to the iconic club.

So what has been the club’s legacy? The Hacienda had a noted impact on the city of Manchester, playing its part in the development of the city’s nightlife and helping the city to grow and gain the reputation it still has today for a vibrant music scene unlike anything found elsewhere in the country. The music of the Madchester scene has also had a direct influence on a number of genres from the Britpop of the 90s to the current indie rock scene, and of course it influenced Saviour’s Hallelujah t shirt!  Not bad for a place owned by someone who later published a book called “How Not to Run a Club”.

And if you didn’t get a chance to visit the club, here’s your chance to see what the Hacienda was like in this video from 1990:

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The Dead Man’s Shoes Seven – Where Are They Now?

You might have guessed but we love Shane Meadows here at Saviour, and Dead Man’s Shoes is, of course, one of our favourite pieces of film ever constructed. Paddy Considine played Richard, the protagonist who spends the film extracting revenge on a gang who tortured his mentally-challenged brother, and went on to star in films such as Hot Fuzz, the Bourne Ultimatum and new release Blitz, but what happened to the rest of the cast after they met their fate in Dead Man’s Shoes? Here we analyse where the hunted seven went next… (contains spoilers)

Gypsy John

After some serious scare tactics, including make-up and gas masks, skinhead John was the first to meet his maker – found slumped in a store cupboard with a bloody head wound. This got the ball rolling on Richard’s trail of revenge. George Newton played John, who went on to appear as Banjo in Shane Meadow’s hit film This Is England as well as the follow-up TV series, This Is England ’86. He also showed up in the brilliant Control, based on the life on Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis.


One of the nastiest characters in the film, drug dealer Sonny is confronted by Richard and visibly unnerved about his lack of fear. Richard then kills Sonny by sneaking into his flat and lacing his kettle with drugs, before shooting him in the head. Formally a model and champion boxer before his role in Dead Man’s Shoes, playing nasty man got Gary Stretch nominated for a British Independent Film Award and a part alongside Angelina Jolie in Alexander.


Alongside Sonny, Soz becomes inebriated after drinking from the kettle laced with drugs. He is then killed in a particularly brutal way by Richard – by upward palm strike to the face. The character was played by Neil Bell, who is currently playing Billy in Coronation Street.


Scared of Richard, Tuff runs off and leaves the other members of the gang at the petrol station. He isn’t seen alive again. Instead, Richard pulls out a suitcase containing his decapitated body to scare Herbie into telling him where to find Mark. Paul Sadot played the part and now works as an artistic director of a dance programme for young offenders.

Big Al

Instead of being killed by Richard, Big Al, played by Seamus O’Neill, is killed by one of his fellow gang members. He is sent into the farm where Richard is staying to flush him out as Sonny loads a rifle. Big Al is then accidentally shot when Sonny misses. O’Neill has gone on to have parts in two other of Meadows’ productions; the comedy Le Donk and Scor-zay-zee and the TV series This Is England ’86, as well as various parts in TV shows such as Coronation Street and Shameless.


With Sonny and Soz, Herbie is also killed by Richard after being spiked with drugs. He watches the other gang members being killed and is also shown the body of Tuff to force him to tell him where to find the remaining member. He tells him and Richard pulls Herbie into a hug before stabbing him. The character is played by Stuart Wolfenden who has since had roles in Emmerdale and Heartbeat, with new projects currently in the production stages.


Mark was the final gang member Richard caught up, and unlike the other characters had reformed into a respectable family man. Richard allows him to live and instead begs for him to kill him to make him end his murderous ways, which he does at the film’s dramatic ending. Like many of the other actors, he’s had minor TV roles and recently played the lead in Salford based indie flick Poor Wee Me.

So that’s our catch up on the fortunes of the six men hunted to their death and the one who got away. Some have obviously been more successful than others, but their contribution to this iconic film has allowed them a place in cinema history as well as inspiring us to come up with the M65 Jacket.

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