The ’80s came to an end in the United Kingdom: the boom of hooliganism and football as a phenomenon almost exclusively for working class was coming to an end. The tragedies of Heysel and Hillsborough had in fact led to a point of no return: public opinion had tired of the weekly war bulletins and the count of the wounded and dead. The government headed by Margaret Thatcher then ordered the drafting of the so-called Taylor Report, which led to the structural reconsideration of all British stadiums, transforming the old and uncomfortable terraces into places with all seats. The foundation was thus laid for the birth of the Premier League and a football that would become attractive for the middle and upper class and less and less accessible because of the costs to the working class. In addition, those who were arrested for troubles on the terraces were no longer able to cope with a financial fine, but also faced long prison sentences. Thus an entire generation of young people found themselves deprived from today to tomorrow of their national pastime. And that’s when this fun-seeking generation came across a new cult that was developing around a club in Manchester, namely The Haçienda.
The ’80s were in some aspects, years of dark and hard music, just like the economic period that the country was going through: punk, Oi! and new wave accompanied drinking evenings and brawls in pubs and clubs. But, starting in 1988, in this abandoned factory in Manchester a new type of music began to be created that became a real cult, so much so as to take the name of Madchester. A completely new sound that, starting from the rock roots of the previous decade, mixed with dance music, perfect to be danced in the clubs. Perfect symbols of the movement are The Stone Roses and The Chemical Brothers, as well as Factory Records and its leading group, New Order. Parallel to the Madchester Sound, the acid house and rave scenes were increasingly taking hold, with house music being the master.
The lads of the terraces threw themselves headlong: on Saturday, instead of following their favorite team away, they moved around the country to participate in the most exclusive weekend party in the various clubs of the nation. Here, instead of clashing with fans of rival firms, they danced all night in peace. In fact, the pints and pints of beer were replaced by ecstasy pills, the anger alcohol had made room for a desire for lysergic love. In terms of clothing, even the casual style came to terms with acid culture: bucket hats and shirts and t-shirts with bright colors sprouted everywhere.
The Haçienda was even defined by Newsweek as the most famous dance club in the world. Unfortunately everything has an end and between financial setbacks and the inevitable drug problems, in 1997 the club closed and the whole movement dissolved. The world was changing and young people’s demands were picked up by brit pop, but that’s another story.
But there are still glorious years that have left a great legacy and that are beautifully represented in the Michael Winterbottom movie “24 Hour Party People”.