Time erodes memory. Especially when you chuck in a shed load of Drugs and mix it up with Acid House. Which is precisely why you need to (re)read this collection of Manchester’s long gone, though not forgotten Freaky Dancing. Euphoria can get lost to the cynicism of age but perhaps the remedy to that is contained somewhere inside the crazed, wild-eyed excitement that played out at the cities Nude night, as the shock of the new sent waves of inspiration charging through the minds of its creators Paul Gill and Ste Pickford. The first issue appeared for free in July 1989 and ran its course by August 1990 after eleven issues, in-between the so-called second summer of love and before The Hacienda closed for the first time in 1991 due to the surrounding violence engulfing the venue – an ironic state of affairs, even then. Billed by Tony Wilson as “the most important piece of journalism I’ve read in the last twenty years” a typically overblown pronouncement, there is however a grain of truth to that given that you feel part of the experience, living the lifestyle as it happened like a diary of events. Consequently, in ways the graphic content illustrates better than most studied books on the subject have the significant highs and lows of experience revolving around the turn of that decade. And yet in amongst all the youthful zeal and resolutely, idealistic belief in pill formed culture (alongside its institution) there lies an acceptance of the enviable downfall. That resulted, by the end, in the collapse of a dream and a demolished club. Which thankfully is now poignantly, though starkly contrasted via the evangelical conviction in the transformative powers of ecstasy celebrated throughout the pages, without the substance it would have meant a lot less content – in fine style even that is joked about in October’s Volume 5, as are students, i-D, Boys Own and ‘the south’ basically in general.
So what’s left? A document and a bagful of memories. A bunch of worn records. And that maybe you were part of something that felt important – life changing.
Freaky Dancing: The Complete Collection is published February 21, by TQLC