As it offen happens when chemicals are involved, at some point the drugs stopped working. In a few years, Madchester had become a mockery of itself. The Hacienda was plagued by drug-related violence and criminality, the bands were repeatedly pointed at for their excessive laddishness and their follow up albums were often very disappointing. To finish it all off, a new phenomenon from America was quickly becoming the new love of the British music press: Grunge.
Still, Madchester had planted seeds that would flourish a few years later with Britpop.
In part 3, Stuart Maconie recalls the swift rise of the Happy Mondays and the Stone Roses from the dormant indie scene of the late 80s.
The Happy Mondays had their club mixes and extreme lifestyle, the Stone Roses had their Smiths-influenced dreamy pop and their best-band-in-the-world attitude. Both brought the Madchester sound to the mainstream, taking pop back from corporate America to return it to the british youth, inspiring many bands to come.
This is the second part of Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches, a BBC documentary about the Madchester era. Listen to the previous part here: Part 1: From Punk to Dance Music.
Madchester wasn’t only about music: loose trousers, bowl haircuts, anoraks… relaxed and deliberately uncool, the “baggy” style was a fashion statement that was quickly adopted by the music obsessed youth.
But music and clothes weren’t enough to bring together a city notorious for its fights and rough laddish culture. Indeed, summer-of-love type nights at the Hacienda had a magical ingredient that made it all work: ecstasy.
This BBC documentary goes deeper into exploring an era of music that has already been mentioned in The Mancunian Way and The Great Bleep Forward: Madchester, or how in the late 80s, Manchester became the world capital of pop. Who could have predicted that such an industrial city, characterised by massive unemployment and bad weather, would give birth to such a vibrant and hedonistic scene?
In part 1, Stuart Maconie tells the story of how Manchester’s effervescent post punk scene inspired New Order members and head of Factory Records’ Tony Wilson to create the Hacienda, a place that quickly went from being an art space to an eclectic club venue. Its cheap drinks and no door policy allowed bohemian working class Mancunians to escape their hard lives and enjoy Chicago’s and Detroit’s all new techno and acid house rhythms. A mix of two cultures that established Manchester as the coolest place on earth and inspired The Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, and many more.