Dave Haslam

Dave Haslam is a former Hacienda DJ, now a radio broadcaster on XFM and the author of Manchester, England: The Story of the Pop Cult City and Young Hearts Run Free: The Real Story of the 1970s.

77 Barton Street: Joy Division

Dave Haslam, 3 January 2008

In the 1970s and 1980s, journalists and TV producers looking to capture the full extent of Britain’s industrial and manufacturing decline would go to Manchester in search of empty warehouses, derelict workshops and canals clogged with debris. During the same period of post-industrial ruin, several influential bands formed in the city – The Fall and Joy Division in the late 1970s,...

Strangeways Here We Come: Ecstasy

Dave Haslam, 23 January 2003

The 1990s were characterised by the astonishing market penetration of products such as mobile phones, Microsoft Windows and Starbucks coffee shops, but an even more remarkable example of booming sales and global spread is the massive rise in the consumption of Ecstasy. In 1988 Ecstasy was a secret; now it’s a cliché. In the first few months of 1988 the number of Ecstasy tablets...

The artistic and creative importance of hip hop, house and techno has been clear for over a decade, but its more recent commercial strength has made dance music unignorable. Money talks. Hip hop was recently the subject of a three-part TV series which made much not just of the creativity and longevity of the music – it had its origins in New York in the late Seventies – but also its current position as the highest grossing music genre in the world. In Britain, big business has profited from the cultural changes brought about by the ‘rave revolution’: during the Nineties dance music magazines have gone from being small subscriber-only affairs to paper shop bestsellers; a premier league of DJs have made fortunes; some nightclubs have become brands worth millions of pounds, others have been catalysts in the regeneration of British cities (the Hacienda in Manchester and ‘Cream’ in Liverpool being the two clearest examples). So much has changed that the leading lights in dance music – especially top DJs – who were once considered outsiders in the music business have become a new establishment, holding on determinedly to their powerful positions but ripe for removal; like those who controlled the Light Programme in the years before rock’n’roll.’‘

From The Blog
13 November 2016

I’ve been to Paris a lot in the last year or so. When I get offered DJ gigs in the city, I usually say yes and, if possible, stay for an extra day or three. At the time of the terrorist attacks in the 10th and 11th arrondissements a year ago I was at home in Manchester, but I know the area quite well. In 2010 I saw Trentemøller perform at the Bataclan. A journalist working for Les Inrocks, a French magazine I sometimes write for, was murdered in the theatre. A club promoter I met in 2013 lost seven friends at one of the bars.

Punk-U-Like

Dave Haslam, 20 July 1995

Pop music in Britain is almost forty years old. By 1957 ‘Rock around the Clock’ had opened a generation gap, London-based record labels like EMI, Decca and Pye had started to refine the art of hit-making, and Manchester had an import record shop bringing American rhythm and blues direct to Northern youth. By the mid-Sixties Jamaican sound systems in South London, Birmingham and the North of England were playing the bluebeat and ska records that marked the ripening of reggae. In 1964, while rock ‘n’ roll, soul, rhythm and blues, and beat music were mutating into vying forms, and laying down roots in British cities, Brian Epstein had taken the Beatles over to America, and the Beatles had taken over America.

Play hard

Dave Haslam, 20 October 1994

Nick Kent is described on the cover of The Dark Stuff as ‘the living legend of rock journalism’. His status as legend is less to do with the quality of his writing than with his wilful mirroring of the self-destructive, drug-centred lives led by the rock stars he writes about. Kent made his name in the mid and late Seventies as a strung-out stringer, the suburban boy getting high with Keith Richards, hanging out at backstage drug binges, and – on one memorable occasion – being beaten about the body by Sid Vicious wielding a rusty bicycle chain.’

Hard Beats and Spacey Bleeps

Dave Haslam, 23 September 1993

In October 1991 Moby baffled Top of the Pops with a performance of ‘Go’, a dance record – a techno dance record – and solo composition by Richard ‘Moby’ Hall, created on his computer at home in New York. During its almost lyric-less six minutes and 30 seconds of fast beats, atonal bleeps and melodic keyboard lines, you hear ‘go’ shouted 37 times, ‘yeah’ 23 times, and ‘hold tight’ (I think) seven times; these words have been recorded from various sound sources, manipulated, edited and spat out again by a digital sampler. The Top of the Pops director insisted that Moby should sing the words, even though there was no pretence that it was his voice on the record. Moby was as baffled as the TV audience. In clubs and discotheques – where demand for the record had sent it high into the charts – ‘Go’ sounds like a touch of genius, but on Top of the Pops it looked like music from a distant planet: no narrative, no real instruments, no band. The kind of music Moby was playing, and the method by which it was created, are both products of the striking technological progress pop music has made in the last decade. There could have been no ‘Go’ ten years ago.’

Diary: Post-Madchester

Dave Haslam, 25 February 1993

Friedrich Engels described the scene in the centre of Manchester on a Saturday night: ‘Intemperance may be seen in all its brutality. I have rarely come out of Manchester on such an evening without meeting numbers of people staggering and seeing others lying in the gutter.’ The habits of the citizens of Manchester are unchanged. Going out is still a high priority; so is intemperance. The night life in the city has even become a tourist attraction. A few years ago you’d see coaches from Stoke, Leeds and London lining the streets outside the Hacienda, a cavernous old warehouse and Manchester’s most famous nightclub. Working as a DJ first at the Hacienda, then at the Boardwalk, I’ve met Americans, Germans and Australians drawn there by Manchester’s reputation.

On Tib Street in the centre of Manchester, in the part of the city keen to promote itself as the Northern Quarter, a new delicatessen recently opened. According to its website, Love Saves the Day...

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