"We were just working class tossers from Salford…"
If you don't judge a book by its cover then judge this book by its first chapter – Prologue: One Night At The Hacienda, 1991…
It's about one mad day that starts at 1pm in The Swan on Eccles New Road, the pub where Joy Division first rehearsed. Hooky's there with his mates, Twinny and Cormac, and it's kicking off in the corner where "the Salford lot" have recognised some cops posing as drug dealers.
"Trapped like mice tormented by a cat, the poor bastards are pinned in the corner being made to smoke a joint while someone else chops out a line of whizz for them, insisting that they take one each" Hooky writes "…some light entertainment for the afternoon…Half an hour later the coppers are being sent on their way, stoned, whizzing, with a kick up the arse. See you."
And that's just the start. By the end of a night that sees Hooky try run the door of the Hacienda, a guy's been stabbed in the head, bouncers have stormed a corner of the club with baseball bats and there's been "four fights, one gun pulled, two bar staff assaulted, rough justice in the corner, drug dealing and drug taking on a normal scale (well, normal for us)"…
Later, on the way to an after-party in Salford - crammed into a Ford Escort driven by a bloke "tripping so much he's gone colour blind", and with "more drugs on us than Hope Hospital" - they get stopped by the cops, the driver gets carted off and Hooky has to walk home… "Top night"…
This scene revving chapter merely sets the tone of one stunning riproaring blockbuster of a book that never fails in the `fuck me, I never knew that' factor - even for those of us who were there. Like did we know that Peter Hook's main privilege as co-owner of the most prestigious club in the world was to get to piss in his own Hellman's Mayonnaise bucket in the Hac kitchens to avoid the toilet queues? And for that New Order invested £667,000 in the first two years alone.
Indeed, "the Salford lot", the drugs, the violence and the top times merely provide the beguiling background to the main story of how the Hacienda was built to fail spectacularly – from its way over budget "5000% over designed" £344,000 building costs to the only club in Manchester that actually lost money on its bar…not just because the directors had allowed themselves to be stitched by the brewery but also because the bar staff were lifting all the stock.
Everyone in the club was on the make – the dealers had their booths at the side of the dancefloor, the DJs were flogging pirate tapes of their own sets, the techies were flogging the equipment, bands were getting paid over the odds to play…everyone was making wads except the New Order investors who were keeping the place afloat in a sea of ecstasy and aggression. And there's some great chapter titles to set the mood… `1983 - `What a bunch of dickheads we were'… `1985 - `They shouldn't have let him in with a fucking drill anyway'… `1993 - `You don't pay me enough to bleed'…
Everything that Tony Wilson, Rob Gretton et al could have done wrong re the Hacienda was done wrong, and then multiplied by two with Dry Bar, and three with the Factory office shock near the BBC. Even the £30,000 state of the art sound system installed in the newly built Hacienda was only running on two speakers until Hooky built a new one. It's the stuff of nightmares – and a brilliant retrospective book.
Intercut with neutral commentary, event lists for every year and scary company accounts, what rockets The Hacienda: How Not To Run A Club to must-read literary heights is Hooky's laconic style, which takes the story almost into the cartoon world where Mickey Mouse management meets real life Tom and Jerry violence as lads get "sparkled" by bouncers and gangsters wielding baseball bats and guns. And all the time the background Madchester beat goes on at the Hac, with happy sweaty people E'd out their heads hugging each other like there's no tomorrow.
An iconic place – and an iconic book that fully does it all justice.
THE HACIENDA: How Not To Run A Club
By Peter Hook (Simon and Schuster £18.99 hardback)
Review by Stephen Kingston
See details on the special Hacienda Comes To Salford night and book signing here
Read interview with Hooky here