"I cannot live without books." -- Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Peter Hook's "The Hacienda"

The Hacienda: How Not to Run a Club The Hacienda: How Not to Run a Club by Peter Hook

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I am going through a British pop star memoir thing at the moment, and I couldn't resist Joy Division/New Order's bass player Peter Hook's book on his (well co-owned by all of New Order) The Hacienda. It's interesting that he didn't write a proper memoir of life with Ian Curtis, etc. But perhaps he feels that there is already too much literature on that subject matter. So, instead he focuses on the legendary Manchester music club The Hacienda.

As a business venture it was a total disaster. Peter Hook was too drugged out, too drunk, or too busy making music with New Order to really suss it out. This book in a way is his self-discovery of the horrible mess that is called The Hacienda.

At first it was sort of an artist/collective vision from Factory Records paid fully by New Order's income. When E hit the fans, it came a paradise. But with paradise comes violence and criminals. And in the end, all the music-loving fans disappear and were totally taken over by tough gangsters.

And this is the most interesting part of the book, is Hook's slight admiration and fear of these men (and sometimes women). Like all the other British pop music memoirs, this is also a book about how the British sees themselves. But how groovy can turn into horror within a very short period of time.

Peter Hook is a great bass player, and maybe a fantastic DJ, but his character is not as strong as others in his world with respect to his book. Various gangsters, Tony Wilson, the New Order manager - all of them have a strong individual - eccentric- even streak in their make-up. Hook is pretty normal compared to his pals and enemies. Hook is totally likeable, but at the least in his writing, he doesn't show much character - for instance like Jah Wobble in his memoir.

But in the end of the day, it is an important document for those who are interested in Manchester pop culture - but it's not the best book in the field. Tony Wilson's "24 Hour Party People is a much better book.

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Raw footage of New Year's Eve 1991 at The Hacienda

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