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on 24 March 2017
Great subject matter but 'hooky' sounds like a bore in the end... a bit embittered by being ripped off for years at the club
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on 30 October 2009
An excellent new view on an already familiar tale. Tony Wilson has given his perspective.
Now Hooky gives us a warts and all run through of the 14 years that most of the money
made by New Order was ploughed into the black hole which was the Hacienda. Essential reading
for all prospective club owners and historians of modern Manchester. He had a lot of fun
but it cost him. Well written and full of anecdotes which I had never heard before.
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on 21 April 2015
In “The Haçienda: How Not To Run a Club” Peter Hook, bass player in two of Manchester’s greatest bands: Joy Division and New Order and also co-owner of the club itself explains how it vacuumed up the bands income and brought him to the point of bankruptcy.

This is a candidly entertaining short’ish read written in a personal and chatty style. While Manchester in the early 1980s probably wasn’t quite ready for a New York style disco it wasn’t long before the popularity of the club soared and things started to fall apart. Hooky reveals that in the 15 years it was open the club effectively cost the band £10 for every person who entered! I have to admit that I never went and I’m rather pleased I didn’t after reading some of the stories.

The book covers the drug fuelled meetings, Madchester and Acid House excesses, the influx of gangsters and subsequent violence, so it’s definitely not a tale for faint hearted. The book also has its fair share of funny passages too which are offset with stories where you find yourself shaking your head in disbelief, for example paying bands generous flat fees to perform to almost nobody and organising the bar so it required two staff to serve every customer.

I listened to the audio book and its split into sections devoted to each year the Hacienda was open. Each section is preceded with a snippet of a song which may have been played at that specific point in the clubs timeline. This device helped to set the scene and enhance the “read”. However, it’s worth trying to get a copy of the actual print version as it contains a chapter listing outlining which gigs put on during that specific year and it has copies of balance sheets which I’m guessing would make an accountant cry. You also get to see the photos of the interior and exterior of the Haçienda along with various flyers, posters and other media.

I would recommend that you read Unknown Pleasures first as the end of that book slightly bleeds into the start of this one. The Haçienda: How Not To Run a Club is a great read even if you’re not a fan of his music as if nothing else it certainly puts the evolution of the 1980s/90s clubbing scene into context.
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on 4 December 2009
Startlingly honest, takes you right into the seedy, sweaty, smoke filled, drug fueled heart of the Hacienda. Made me wish that I had had the balls to go there when I was a daft lad.
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on 23 January 2010
I was one of the first 200 to join the Hac (wish I had hung onto my membership card, would be a collecters item now) As well as being a Mancunian and being proud to be a Mank (still am, Manchester may be loosing its ID but its still fantastic).
I didn't realise what was going on behind the closed doors of the club. We loved the acoustics, the cold industrial atmosphere but what myself and my mates loved the most was the vibe , can't even explain it. I wasn't ever into the acid house stuff. I prefered the early days of the 80's, Legends on a Monday the Hac on Fridays and Saturdays. One memory that stands out was always having to queue to get in the girls loos then sneaking into the mens in the gay traitor while a bloke with no legs sat on the bar.
I was shocked to be the Hac queue in the 90's when loads of scousers charged the door with a chainsaw and machetes, that was sad and I never went back.
Peters Hooks book is brilliant... with lots of memories of the club and the building itself. It was funny and emotional, I cried my eyes out at the end!
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on 2 January 2010
From a personal point of view, my interest in the axis of this book faded from the beginning. I loved joy Division, enjoyed some of New Orders stuff and loathed the whole dance scene which followed (the House/Acid /Trance scene). Added to which, I've never been to Manchester, nor visited the Hacienda, so I was fairly neutral to say the least about this. It's therefore worth stating that the book is fascinating, leads nicely from one year to another, and paints a frank picture of the whole Madchester thing as seen from within. No excuses are offered, nor blame for the faliure of a club which could have made money as well as headlines.
If you listened to music or went to clubs from 1980 to 2000, you'll find it an interesting read, and to my mind a worthwhile one. Well worth getting.
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on 27 April 2014
Despite being a lifelong fan of both New Order and Joy Division, I was largely ignorant of the whole Factory Records/Hacienda thing for a long time. I find it to be at once the most compelling and ridiculous story in music history. A bunch of guys with great ideals and evidently no business knowledge managed to lose a hideous amount of money on the whole thing, but left behind one of the greatest legacies imaginable. The story of the Hacienda in particular is especially absurd. Of course, Peter Hook was there, so what better a person to tell the tale? You'll find yourself practically cursing the pages themselves at the ludicrous amounts of money the place was losing on a regular basis. Why they didn't just STOP as early as possible is beyond me, and by the time these genius fools realised just how bad it was they were in too deep.

Hook's writing style is great. Its the equivalent of, as others have said, sitting down and talking with the guy himself. He's very readable, and paints vivid pictures in the mind of heated director's meetings and the unfortunate gang violence that began infesting the club towards the end of the 80s. Its a very informal writing style but I find it fits perfectly. His own bits are supplemented by thorough records of profit and loss for each year, listings of what bands/DJs performed on which nights, and other such information that pads out the whole story very well. Of course, many people remember the Hacienda for the whole Acid house thing...The Mondays, nights like Hot, Mike Pickering etc but many fantastic bands performed during the venue's early gig-centric years: The Smiths, The Fall, The Sisters of Mercy, The Chameleons, even Madonna's first UK performance was filmed there...and of course New Order who's concerts at the Hacienda became essentially benefit nights to help fund the place (not to mention all their royalties from album sales...).

In the end, it cost them millions of pounds and most likely their sanity too...but as a certain late Mr. Wilson said in a documentary a few years back, "who cares how much it cost? It was great".
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on 25 July 2011
Like all the very best true life stories, The Hacienda (or 'Haç') is a great tale that also brilliantly captures a moment in time. In this case, that moment is the 1980s-early 1990s 'Madchester' scene - Manchester's trippy rave scene populated with gun-wielding gangsters, cocky drug dealers and a bunch of egotistical and starry-eyed music makers who believed that by simultaneously running a record label, a band and a club they could change the world. And they did, for a time. At the absolute epicentre of all the chaos and mayhem is the relationship between band New Order and iconic club, the Haç. The Haç is both cultural centrepiece and also possibly the worst-run business venture of all time.

New Order bassist Peter 'Hooky' Hook's open love letter to the legendary club and the music scene that revolves around it is a compelling read. Hooky is refreshingly honest and openly admits his own naivety and recklessness in pursuit of a dream. The narrative is littered with story after story of irresponsible stupidity by a cotterie of well-intentioned but dangerously hopeless romantics. There are also some brilliant anecdotes and one-liners that will have you shaking your head and laughing out loud at the same time. My personal favourite is the club bouncer who decided to deter a gang of local villians from taking up permanent residience at the club by decapitating one of their dogs with a machete. Hooky's disastrous trip to the emerging Ibiza scene is also recounted in glorious technicolour, as are the eye-watering amounts of band money ploughed into keeping the club afloat in the face of all good business sense.

In the end, I found myself giving up trying to judge who was right and who was wrong, and just enjoying the ride. Which is also, I suspect, what most of the cast of characters did long ago.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 December 2013
"How Not To Run A Club" is spot on. This is a highly readable account about how Manchester's Factory Records launched a nightclub called The Haçienda, in Manchester, that traded from 1982 to 1997, reinventing UK club culture in the process. After a slow start, which saw the club half empty for most of its events, it finally became a symbol of the Madchester era, a global phenomenon, with the club's legendary nights packed out with people from far and wide.

Peter Hook, aka Hooky, the bassist of New Order was one of the investors. This book is his version of events - and it's an engaging, and lucid account, and it's well written in a conversational style.

Whilst New Order were being paid a modest weekly wage, the huge revenues they were generating for Factory Records were being ploughed into The Haçienda. By 1985, The Haçienda owed New Order £2 million. Pretty much everything the band earned went into the club. Finally Hooky, and the rest of the band, had to take more of an interest in the way the club was being run.

As Hooky concedes at the book's conclusion, ultimately he and his colleagues didn't want to run The Haçienda as a business - they wanted a playground for themselves and their friends. This amateurish and haphazard way of running a club resulted in some jaw dropping tales. Ludicrous and short-sighted business decisions, extraordinary drug consumption, violence, and local gangs terrorising the door staff and the customers, and so on. It all makes for a great read. The extent to which you might enjoy it will probably be related to the extent to which the subject matter interests you. I am interested in Factory, New Order, and youth culture generally, and thoroughly enjoyed it. 4/5
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on 24 September 2009
Fac 51 - The Hacienda - How Not To Run A Club - Peter Hook

The Hacienda - several things spring to mind when the name is mentioned - gangsters , guns, drugs, violence , acid house - we've heard it all before ..... Or have we?

Peter Hook, bass player in Joy Division / New Order and co-owner of the Hacienda candidly tells the story of Manchester's most iconic super club from its inception to its closure .

Hooky gives a unique insight into the heady days of club culture in Manchester. From the Ben Kelly design which went five times over budget, to police interference ,monotonous weekly management meetings and the financial nightmare that the Hacienda became. As if we wouldn't expect any less, Hooky writes the book in his typical trademark tongue in cheek fashion. Hooky's direct, tell it as it is, approach grips the reader from the start to finish. While it becomes clear throughout the book that none of those involved had any idea of how to run a successful club or bar, the excitement felt at being involved in the ever evolving music scene is evident through Hooky's enthusiastic descriptions and anecdotes.

A chapter is devoted to each year the Hacienda was open and includes 16 illustrated pictures of the Hacienda inside and out, posters, flyers and even a rare picture of the enigma, Alan Erasmus. The "What's On" section from each year lists the events that took place every month and will take many people back and jog memories for the ones who had forgotten they were there! Excerpts from the company accounts and committee meetings are also provided for each year, illustrating the costs involved and the difficulties faced financially.

This story is not just Hooky's story, but also the story of the many other people involved in The Hacienda, The Dry Bar and Factory records and how these initially separate enterprises became inextricably linked. We learn not only how the relationships of those involved developed over the years but how the careers of renowned club dj's were launched, such as Hacienda pot collector Laurent Garnier, John Dasilva and Mike Pickering.

In 1997 the doors to the country's most famous club closed forever, but the memory, for those who lived through the highs and lows lives on in this book ,in this story, Hooky's story.

This a great read and highly recommended, not only for the true New Order/ Peter Hook fan but for anyone with an interest in the rise and fall of the Hacienda and the evolvement of the British music and club scene of the 1980's and 1990's.

Steve Smith

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