Thrills, pills and the school run

Graham Park, who is set for a stint behind the decks at the second Hacienda night at The Spa this year
Graham Park, who is set for a stint behind the decks at the second Hacienda night at The Spa this year
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Graham Park is shattered.

He spent last night dropping acid house classics while pretending to trade blows in a staged boxing match with Inspiral Carpets cult hero Clint Boon.

Peter Hook

Peter Hook

The slightly odd-sounding corporate gig turned out to be good fun, he claims, and a nice little pre-Christmas moneyspinner.

But just like after any good club night the Hacienda’s resident DJ is now feeling a bit groggy, although for a man who is synonymous with a club that had more chemicals than ICI, the reason behind it is as far from rock n’roll as you can get.

“I got back in at 4am but then I had to be up for the school run,” said Graham.

It’s a throwaway comment that perfectly encapsulates everything about the modern reworking of the Hacienda, the almost mythical Manchester nightclub that became, all to briefly, the centre of the musical universe.



Since it was resurrected as a touring nightclub with the help of legendary New Order bassist Peter Hook, it’s become a nostalgia trip for ageing ravers, who for one night only, get to relive their Halcyon heyday.

“I would describe it as the greatest club that’s ever existed,” said Graham.

“The fact that people are still getting excited about it 16 years after it closed shows just how important it was.”

And they do. Since rising from the ashes, the Hacienda revival has not just been a critical success, but also a commercial one - something the original Manchester venue, which was funded from the vast profits made by Factory Record bands like New Order, never was.

“Peter Hook once worked out that for every person who came through the doors of the Hacienda, it cost New Order a tenner,’ added the Scotsman.

“But it’s a lot more controlled than it was before. Back then, (owner) Tony Wilson never told anybody what to do, he realised that he was surrounded by incredibly talented people and just let them do their own thing.”

The mismanagement of the gigantic club has been well documented, most notably in the movie ‘24 Hour Party People’, which Graham says is a uncanny portrayal of how what was essentially the first ever superclub imploded.

He laments the demise of the venue, and adds that had the club had been managed properly, then it would today be competing with the likes of Cream and the Ministry of Sound, both of which became global brands following the collapse of the Hacienda.

But for Graham, the fact that the club was such a mess just adds to its legend.

“You have to remember, before the Hacienda, there was no focal point for the youth movement with clubs.

“If you wanted to listen to that sort of music, you had to go these obscure, underground places - the Hacienda became a spiritual home for people.”

He adds that for many people the Hacienda represented a movement, even a way of life. However, perhaps most importantly, it was about the music.

More specifically, acid house.

“People just had not heard anything like it before,” says Graham.

“We live in an era now where you can hear a song and own it within seconds. It’s instant..

“But there were times when I was only one of about 10 DJs in the world who had a certain record, when it was on a white label, and you would have to come to the club to hear it.

“And for a long time, coming to a club - the Hacienda - was the only way you could hear this amazing music.”

Both Graham and ‘Hooky’ will be bringing the night to Scarborough’s Spa for the second time this year on December 21.

The first event was a near sell out, and Graham promises a set of classics, with a few modern floor fillers thrown in for good measure.

“People have to realise that it can become very tedious playing the same songs every night,’ admitted Graham.

“But there’s some music that’s been made recently that sounds like it could have came out 20 years, and you have to remember that half of the crowd were not even born when the Hacienda was at its peak!”

Contact The Spa for ticket details.