If you’ve got a case of the Mondays, there’s only one sure cure: The Happy Mondays.
The Mondays were the bad-boy band at the center of the late 1980s “Madchester” scene — a trippy, dancy blend of music that was provided a cheery antidote to an earlier (and drearier) Manchester acts such as Joy Division, The Fall and The Smiths. At the center of the scene stood Fac 51 The Hacienda, a nightclub which opened in 1982 and put rave culture — and Manchester — on the map.
The club was the home of Factory Records — the beloved indie label that released Joy Division’s epic debut Unknown Pleasures, and went on to represent top Madchester acts The Happy Mondays and the Stone Roses. By the time Madchester’s Second Summer of Love peaked in 1988, The Haçienda was known around the world as the official home of “baggy”, a mix of acid house, post-punk guitar rock and lots and lots of drugs.
After drug-related death and a lot of bad press, The Haçienda shut its doors in 1997. Today, music lovers looking to make the pilgrimage will find luxury condos called The Haçienda Apartments standing at the fabled intersection of Whitworth Street West and Albion Street.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get Mad in Manchester. Manchester Music Tours offers — you guessed it — music-themed tours of the city for just £5 (thats about $7.50). The two-hour walking tour visits Manchester landmarks including The Haçienda and the original Factory Records headquarters. Along the way, tour guides Phill Gatenby, a music writer, and Craig Gill, a founding member of Inspiral Carpets, share war stories of working with some of Manchester’s most mercurial frontmen — including Shaun Ryder of The Happy Mondays and Noel Gallagher of Oasis.
For music-lovers with a more particular tastes, Manchester Music Tours also offers tours based on three of the city’s biggest bands: The Smiths, Joy Division and Oasis. No matter which band brings you to town, be sure to check out Sifters Records, the shop famously mentioned in Oasis’ breakthrough 1994 hit, Shakermaker.
Can’t make it to Manchester? You can follow the rise and fall of Factory records from the comfort of your couch with the 2002 cult classic film, 24 Hour Party People.
Manchester Music Tours
+44 0 7958 246 917
177 Fog Lane
+44 0 161 445 8697
Images of the Haçienda via the website of club designer Ben Kelly.