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Friday on My Mind with Dave Haslam

  • Geoffrey Manton Theatre 4 Manchester Metropolitan University (map)

The Institute for Humanities and Social Science Research and Dave Haslam present...

Dance halls, music venues and nightclubs are sites rich with personal and social history. For many young people they’re life-shaping; for many communities, they’ve engendered a sense of liberation and solidarity. But the authorities have shown a perennial fear of dance halls, loud music, and nightlife’s potential dangers to young people (especially young women); music halls were often viewed as a threat to Victorian values of hard work, law and order, and self-restraint; in the 1920s, the African origins of the “jungle rhythms” of jazz and the unshackled spirit of the music caused consternation among moralists, politicians, and the press. Further controversies have attended clubs since, of course, many of them drug-related; from police raids on psychedelic clubs to the clampdown on raves, which continues to this day.

What threads can we trace through the decades and centuries to explain our addiction to living for the weekend? Despite this official suspicion, and in the face of commercial and conformist pressures, most significant activity in music venues and nightclubs over the last fifty years particularly, has come from self-organised cells of young people acting in consort to create a scene and an alternative to the mainstream. Much of this is semi-secret and unrecognised; informal and insecure. Venues are demolished, nothing stays the same. Yet, in Manchester, and elsewhere, nightlife endures, and, inspires. How?

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