During his stint at Manchester’s City Life Magazine in the late eighties – photographer Peter J Walsh was in the right place at the right time as he became immersed in Manchester’s revolutionary Acid House, club and rave scene – documenting many hedonistic nights at the Hacienda.
Peter captured the early years of the UK’s Acid House explosion in the city and documented the many faces, and colourful fashions that graced The Hacienda dancefloor as the city became a cultural mecca and global export of music and fashion.
Peter “I began working as a photographer for a documentary Co-op in Manchester in the mid eighties. I learned how to process films, make contact sheets and black and white printing. The photographers in the Co-op worked individually but would meet once a month to compare and critique each others work and printing skills.
The training I received in all aspects of documentary photography during this time would prove invaluable to me as the rave scene hit Manchester just a few years later.”
“Around the same time I began shooting for City Life, Manchester’s equivalent of Time Out in London, photographing the burgeoning club scene at The Haçienda and other clubs on the city. After photographing the Happy Mondays gig on Granada TV’s The Other Side of Midnight which was fronted by Tony Wilson I was asked to work for the NME covering the North of England. I also began working regularly for The Face, ID, and Mixmag’.
As a photographer Peter would ago out into the city and document what was happening around Manchester. Nights at The Haçienda including ‘Hot’ and ‘The Temperance Club’, a student night on Thursdays with DJ Dave Haslam that fused indie, disco and house music.
As Acid House exploded Peter knew that Manchester and The Haçienda in particular were at the epicentre of a cultural movement. Aside from documenting club culture in the city he also took photos of the many bands and DJs that helped shape and define the music scene coming out of the city.
The rave generation, Madchester, whatever you want to call it – it was a revolutionary time in musical and British cultural history. On the back of a grim, economically challenging decade under Thatcher, and the last era before mobile phones and the internet, it united a generation.
Ecstasy and music brought young people together, from single mums and students, to council workers and football hooligans. Lifelong friendships were forged and ideas were created that would continue to shape the cultural landscape to this day.
All images © Peter J Walsh, all rights reserved.