The Haçienda: How Not to Run a Club
Reviewed by Richard Whittaker, Fri., May 30, 2014
It/Harper Collins, 352 pp., $16.99
When last we saw our hero, bassist Peter Hook dreamed of Unknown Pleasures: his time in Joy Division, a landmark band that made no money. Manchester landmark Haçienda, on the other hand, actively pissed away money. Steering assiduously clear of the rise and combustion of his day job in New Order (undoubted fodder for his next tome), Hooky takes an investor and clubber's view of the bar his band built and lived to hate. The home of Eighties acid culture, it mirrored the transition of its grimy hometown into loved-up Madchester, then gang-violence Gunchester, all set to rave beats. He revels in the impact of Northern England's most important dance venue, and admits how ego, ambition, and ineptitude turned its financial collapse into a comedy of errors. As per the Joy Division autobiography, his pack-rat retention of every receipt, report, and set list melds history and scrap book, but they're essential to make this more than anecdotes about Shaun Ryder stealing his beer, or chasing Einstürzende Neubauten off when they attacked the building with drills. The title says it all. If you know anyone thinking, "Oh, running a club will be easy," smash them 'round the head with this.