Despite closing its doors on the 28th of June back in 1997, Manchester’s iconic club The Haçienda still lives on in many people’s lives. For the current generation, it is just the myth and the legend. Immortalised in books and Michael Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People, The Haçienda has almost become a living breathing character of legend in the history of music, as well as being a building. But for the older generation, it was a place they knew well, and was the setting of some of the greatest nights of their lives in pure euphoric bliss. However, this film focuses on a more specific group of people. For this group, the club lives on not only in their memories and hearts, but in their homes. In 2000, the demolished club was auctioned off to raise money for charity. Bricks, doors, signs, toilets – you name it, they sold it. And of course, perhaps most importantly, that iconic dancefloor was for sale. This is the story of the people who own these unusual artefacts and why, to them, they’re more than ‘just bricks and bits of wood’.
Do You Own The Dancefloor? is many things. It is a documentary about the iconic club, of course. But it is also a love letter. To the club itself, and the people who created it and the people who went. Yes, this is a tribute to a generation. First time director Chris Hughes’ passion shines through in this flawless piece of work, and this passion is only strengthened by the interviews throughout – from legendary DJs Mike Pickering, Dave Haslam and Graeme Park, Joy Division/New Order bassist Peter Hook and Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher to ex-Haç staff and regulars; everyone has a story to tell. And every single one of these people look like they could choke up and start crying at any second, because that is what their old friend The Haçienda meant to them. But regardless of whether or not you attended the club, there is something truly special about hearing these people speak. A wide range of colourful characters tell their story, some with that wonderful dry Mancunian humour, and after spending time with them you will feel like a Haçienda regular yourself.
Production-wise, the film is exceptionally polished – especially when you consider it was made by a small team of 15 working under a filmmaker on his debut feature. The on-screen graphics are superb and appropriately Haç styled, the pacing and editing are flawless, and the sound and visuals pristine – excluding the wonderfully grainy archive footage, of course. Do You Own The Dancefloor? is an impeccable piece of work across the board. And like many documentaries, you don’t have to be interested in the subject to enjoy this delightful doc.
Author Jason Myers said ‘Sometimes life is a constant battle against the nostalgia of a time that can never be real again’ – but for these people, it isn’t a battle at all. It’s something they embrace. It’s a time that will always be real. It will always be in their hearts and minds, and it is inspiring. Passionate, moving and funny, Do You Own The Dancefloor? is a loving tribute to a generation of people and their holy land, as well as a solid documentary from a first time filmmaker.