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hacienda squatted!
Click here for latest update (17.03.00)

from SCHNews 215, 11th June 1999

"Sire, I am from the other country. We are bored in the city, there is no longer any Temple of the Sun....And you, forgotten....without music and without geography, no longer setting out for the hacienda where the roots think of the child and where the wine is finished off with fables from an old almanac. Now that's finished. You'll never see the hacienda. It doesn't exist. The hacienda must be built." - Formulary for a New Urbanism (1953)

Two weeks in the wake of police impounding the Exodus Collective's soundsystem, which had provided sounds at dozens of their renowned free parties, last weekend just one party rocked the North. The Hacienda, once epicentre of the country's burgeoning new dance culture, revered international music venue, and mecca for those of the chemical generation, was squatted last weekend for one final blow-out bash.

The thousand or so party-goers inside were matched by almost as many again outside, as police moved in at midnight to prevent any more people from gaining entrance to the building, squatted since the previous day. When their cheeky attempt at storming the building was repelled by vigilant party people, the cops went wild outside, randomly batonning anyone who seemed most lively. One particularly excited six and a half foot uniformed officer struck someone straight across the back, before this plain clothes guy cried out "I'm a copper you idiot!"


The soundsystem eventually was negotiated out at 8am. Until then overhead, the police helicopter spotlight swept over determined party-heads getting hauled up into windows or shuffling along ledges, and all those still circling the building.

Funny how things turn full circle. The Hacienda, whose name came from an obscure political tract written in the 1950s (quoted above, and, where unattributed, elsewhere in this article) was so-called by the club's original co-owners Factory Records and the band New Order, to echo those no-compromise situationist ideals of untrammelled desire and sensory pleasure.

"There will be rooms more conducive to dreams than any drug, and houses where one cannot help but love."


Pioneering in playing imported Chicago house music, in its 1988 heyday the club stood at the heart of the acid house scene, and fresh wave of dance culture - the second 'summer of love'. Venue for Madonna's first UK concert, now for a brief time the Hacienda was he world's most famous club, featuring on the front page of Time magazine. But things fell apart. The profit motive cut in as gangsters sought to control the drug trade; guns and fear, threats of closure. Then the demons took our space: after Factory records spectacularly crashed, the Hacienda closed in '97 as that same profit motive put it in the hands of property developers. The word is they are planning to turn the building into luxury flats. Ever felt the hardcore dance energy rush in a luxury apartment?

Not so luxurious, anyhow, as the Marquess of Tavistock's gaff, holed up as he is in one of Britain's largest stately homes, Wobern Abbey. We might be content to let him fester there for the time being, but that when the Exodus Collective came to put on their last big 'do' on a out-of-the-way bit of his land last May 29, the police turned nasty. After their strategically-planned operation seized the Collective's vehicles and rig at the tail-end of the party, and nicked seven, one senior Bedfordshire officer was unusually honest; "It is unfortunate that a telephone call from the Marquess of Tavistock receives more attention from high up than a complaint from a member of the general public. But that's the way it goes."

Exodus continued to receive plenty of attention the following day when, securing the release of their rig from a compound in Leighton Buzzard, they were trailed by two police helicopters and an armed response unit(!), while another helicopter buzzed over Exodus' HAZ Manor. Spokesperson for Exodus, Glenn Jenkins commented "Once again, improper political pressure on the police at a high level has made them jump like grasshoppers. Previous to this incident, we were in a situation of dialogue, discussion and no confrontation with the police...but when there are dodgy attempts to stop the dances then the consensus of the Exodus Collective and the people who come to the dances is that the frequency of the events should step up."


"Games are forbidden in the labyrinth."

For what would be the alternative to Exodus' exemplary determination? On the same bank holiday as Exodus got busted, Homeland's 'pay-rave' took place in Hampshire. 17 hours of corporate entertainment, yours for a mere £44 +booking fee (then pints £3 a go; burgers £4). Part-sponsored by the Mean Fiddler, the event's seven dance stages were all sponsored by such dance culture devotees as Ericson mobile phone company, Bud Ice and Strongbow. Meanwhile on the hill outside the triple fencing compound, a blacked out police van carried out surveillance to watch out for any 'dodgy looking geezers.' SchNEWS has learned they had instructions to move in if people hadn't spent enough money in the past hour (OK that last sentence we made up, but you get the picture).

  • For a survival guide to free parties (including gems like 'Wherever you party, cleaning up afterwards is essential. Why should we fuck up the countryside for a party - after all, industry and roads do it much more effectively') check out the latest SchNEWS book. The 260 page Survival Guide includes issues 151 - 200 and a whole lot more. Yours for £7.20 inc p+p from the usual address.


Update 18.03.00: Hacienda Trial
(from ALLSORTS mailing list)

Background. weekend of 6.6.99, the hacienda nightclub, shut down and sold to luxury flat developers is squatted by the EF! ok cafe collective who get together a whopping great techno party as a benefit to support 11 people arrested at a manchester reclaim the streets a few weeks earlier. soon after the start time the same riot cops from the rts try to storm the building but fail to get in. in a strop they sealed off the area closing down two major roads all through the night while the party continues inside. they make sporadic arrests as they harrass and assault the ones who never made it in on time. at 8.00am the following morning the party, crew and equipment come out en masse to glorious sunshine, cheering crowds and bleary eyed journalists who bill it as a riot anyway. the arrest count is around 15.

Court update.

most people were charged under sec 5 of the public order act, the catch all 'keep quiet or you're nicked, right that's it in the van now' law (abusive or threatening language or behaviour likely to cause distress or alarm). some with no experience of police or the courts plead guilty early on and were fined. the others took it to trial. at court recently on 6th march nine defendents were offered bind overs on the first day,(a sign of a weak prosecution case) six accepted. three contested. during the following two days even the magistrate laughed at the difference between the scenes decribed in police notebooks (riot, violence and threatening crowds) and that seen on the defence supplied video ( luvd up clubbers chatting to cops, and cops smashing people to the ground and beating them with truncheons).


the magistrate gave them bind overs and fines anyway. the defendants plan to sue the cops. and jack straw plans to extend this use of magistrate non-jury trial. also, had there been no d.i.y. video evidence showing the good nature of the crowd, the brutality of the police and the blatant discrepancies in their statements there is no doubt that this magistrate would have believed the cops and most of the defendants would have got custodial sentences.

a final defendent is awaiting sentence. kennet simon's case was separated from the others. outside the hacienda as the cops tried to stop people getting into the building, he watched a friend get arrested. he asked for the numbers of the arresting cops, the charge and the police station.

he was thrown to the ground, cuffed, beaten and taken away. his charges, 2x assaulting a police officer, sec 5 public order act and obstruction. despite a lack of evidence and a strong defence the magistrate found simon guilty on all charges leaving the packed court room shocked and the barrister saying that he felt 'sick to the depths of his stomach'. sentencing will be on 22 march and simon has lodged an appeal against conviction until which hopes to remain on bail.

And the ones from the rts trial? they have a three week crown court date beginning on June 19th. More later

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