HOOKY ON THE HAC
"It's the Second World War, only on 40 Whitworth Street" laughs Hooky "Someone's always going to be fascinated by it."
And how can anyone not be fascinated by "two musical movements that went around the world", as he describes acid house and Madchester in The Hacienda: How Not To Run A Club. But anyone who reads the book will see that Salford – the city, the people and the vibe – cuts right through everything mad that happened in those so-called `Madchester' days. So how much of the mayhem was Salford?
Hooky laughs loudly… "Considering that Bernard and I are from Salford, and Tony was from Salford I think the mayhem started very early on having a big Salford influence."
So, it wouldn't have started without Salford but was it Salford that finished it too, and in particular, "the Salford lot", the term used by Hooky to describe the city's characters and gangsters who frequented the Hac?
"The Salford lot? There's the good, the bad and the ugly" he laughs "I'm not going to blame Salford for it because over the years we've seen trouble from all sorts of places and it's not like Salford invented it. They were a gang and I suppose that just by geography they were the nearest to the Hac – but there were gangs from Wythenshawe, Cheetham Hill, Gooch, that caused as much fucking trouble. But I suppose that because a lot of the doormen were from Salford it made it easier for the gang members to get in and basically they were just in there in larger numbers. It was a very odd situation because Damien [head doorman] was from Salford and he spent half his time looking after the Salford lot and half his time beating them up.
"It was funny because I knew a lot of the older ones as I'd gone to school with them" he adds "In an odd way they used to look after you, and with many of the altercations I had with them they'd think it was a joke. It was like they were playing a game with you but the game had repercussions which were unfortunately aimed at a lot of innocent people – hairdressers, students and kids who were getting beaten up all the time. It sort of tore your heart out. When all said and done, most of it was a game, a dangerous game but a game."
But Urban Splash's Tom Bloxham still blames the Salford lot for shutting his club, Home, doesn't he?
"Yeah he does and he was very antagonistic towards Salford" says Hooky "And it did make me wonder that when he built those fucking monstrosities he was getting his own back on our fair city.
"It was weird because I was there on the night the Salford lot closed it – they were actually outside fighting and the ones inside the club causing all the trouble were Cheetham Hill. But you and I know that when someone's ugly they get singled out, everybody's going to throw things at you – and for a gangster it's better to have a fearsome reputation than not, so they're happy to accept any accolade of extreme violence you can put their way. The Salford lot were very good at it.
"But the gangsters never actually closed the Hacienda" Hooky insists "it was the mistakes we all made in 1992 that closed the Hacienda, but it did get to the point in 1993 onwards where you were terrified every night that some poor bastard was going to get shot, killed, battered…it was frightening and it took all the fun out of doing it."
But it's not just the gangsters who feature in the book – all sorts of Salford characters weave in and out of pubs and streets and clubs and drug dens all over the world, from Ibiza to Langworthy Road.
The day after The Hacienda: How Not To Run A Club was launched in London, Hooky's mate Twinny took the book into the Ashley Brook pub in Langworthy and sat down to read it. As he turned the pages he realised that everyone sat round his table was in it…
"They were all running to town to buy a copy because they were in it and that made me laugh" says Hooky "The tight bastards, does that mean if they weren't in it they wouldn't have bought a copy? I should have put more of them in – I would have had a number one."
Hooky didn't need to rely on his mates buying it. The book has taken off with almost universal acclaim. It's one of those books - like that classic about Nico and Alan Wise, written by her band's guitarist - that get raved on through word of mouth. Fortunately, the first draft of Hooky's book, written by an American army journalist called Claude Flowers, never saw the light of day.
"He was the first person to come up with the idea of monitoring terrorist websites but he's also an old New Order head" says Hooky "He's done a couple of New Order books and he suggested doing this book."
The pair did twenty hours of interviews about the old Hac days but when Flowers transcribed them and sent over a draft all the Salford characters were speaking yank.
"It was all this `Hey buddy'…`And I said to the guy `hey fuck you man''…And all the doormen were speaking American, it was hilarious but I had to re-write the whole thing" Hooky recalls "I ended up doing more interviews with Ang Matthews, who used to run the Hacienda, and we put it together and tried to find a format.
"The publisher's got a guy in to do the neutral voice in the background bits but all the middle bits I wrote myself – I wrote it and edited it and I must have been through that fucking book about thirty times" he adds "It was really hard work and what's really nice is when people get it."
"It's meant to be a conversation with me. I just wanted to tell my story and the weird thing is that I didn't want anyone else's opinion in it, because everyone has a different opinion. I worked my fucking balls off to write it, three years of really, really hard work. I'm proud of it, and proud of the story and proud of the people…
"…OK" he decides "you lost the fucking money but we didn't start the club for money, none of us had that thought. It never entered our head at all so you can't really moan about it in a way. It was opened so that people like us had somewhere to go.
"One of the good things you have to say about Rob Gretton and Tony Wilson is that they certainly weren't quitters – and that's what this world needs….people who don't give up easily and are willing to work hard and put their money where their mouth is for something they believe in. This book is about those people. It's a brilliant story."
And a brilliant read…
See the review of The Hacienda: How Not To Run A Club here
See details on the special Hacienda Comes To Salford Night and book signing here