rob gretton

The Haçienda Must Be Built

Ivan Chtcheglov

Book :

Judith Hopf
Up
Mousse Publishing
2016

CD :

Factory Dance
Factory Records 1980 - 1987
Strut Records
STRUT87

Design by Peter Saville

iTunes :

New Order
Everything’s Gone International Orange (Ben Kelly Remix)
Factory
FAC53

GMA51 …

H is for the Haçienda

The Haçienda, probably the most famous of Factory’s properties, was founded in the early 1980s as a place for people to go if they didn’t have much money or didn’t want to play games with the shirt-and-tie crowd.  As well as being revolutionary in terms of the music scene itself (playing whole genres never touched by other clubs), the Haçienda also started rave culture, the concept of DJs as artists, Flesh (the most successful gay club night in England, so much so that people would pretend to be gay to get in), and, unfortunately, drug and gang culture.  It was this that eventually killed the Haçienda; drug users didn’t need to buy alcohol and the massive overhead of running the club couldn’t be recouped any other way.  Ultimately, the Haçienda was forced to close down, and though it’s now a block of upscale flats, there’s still a plaque in the lobby (placed at Pete Hook’s insistence) explaining the building’s roots and Rob Gretton’s part in the club’s formation and success.

R is for Rob Gretton

Manager of several Factory bands (including Joy Division and New Order), partner in the label, talent scout with a list of credits to his name, punk fanzine author, DJ before the DJ scene even took hold, generous funder of the Manchester punk scene out of his own pocket; Rob Gretton did everything.  He helped to build and run the Haçienda, started the Dry Bar, and founded his own label, Rob’s Records.  He’s also the marketing genius who forbade Pete Hook and Barney Sumner from speaking during Joy Division interviews because, as Pete says, “he thought we were a couple of cretins.”  And he did, in fact, make bets on his bands’ singles, famously losing to New Order when a single he’d guessed would be in the Top Ten only made it to number eleven.

The other highlight of ‘The Tube’ day was an interview with Morrissey and Rob [Gretton]. Now I don’t know why, but Morrissey had always hated Joy Division. Maybe Rob got it right when after a lively debate as the cameras were turned off he turned to Morrissey and said, “The trouble with you, Morrissey, is that you’ve never had the guts to kill yourself like Ian. You’re fucking jealous.” You should have seen his face as he stormed off. I laughed me bollocks off.
—  Peter Hook, The Haçienda - How Not To Run A Club
The sound of Rob screaming his head off and trying to persuade Steve to run over anyone who gets in the way provides a cheerful, if somewhat noisy, backdrop to my conversation with Ian and in no time at all, it seems, we have picked up Hookey and are pulling up outside Oldham’s Pennine Studios.
—  “A Day Out With Joy Division” by Alan Hempsall