Thanks to: Heritage Lottery Fund, Forever Manchester, Archives+ and...
Curated by: Abigail Ward.
Thanks to: Heritage Lottery Fund, Forever Manchester, Archives+ and all our uploaders.
Introduction by: Jon Savage
Welcome to the Queer Noise exhibition: an online project that explores the hidden history of Manchester’s LGBT music culture and club life. The key word here is hidden. Despite the fact that there have now been dozens of books written about Manchester music and pop culture - from Factory to Madchester in particular - LGBT people are rarely given space in the city’s ‘official’ histories.
Believing that this is a severe omission, Abigail Ward decided to set up an online project that would invite queer people from across the generations to share their memories, pictures, artefacts and stories – with the aim of constructing a fuller history of the city’s oft-forgotten queer scenes and their wider influence upon British pop culture.
The memories go back to the nineteen-fifties, when pubs such as The Union Hotel (now the New Union), The Cafe Royal and The Prince’s Hotel provided safe spaces for queer clientele. Then there’s the early 80s peak where, despite the attentions of police Chief Constable James Anderton, venues like Hero’s, High Society and Napoleon’s flourished.
Manchester’s LGBT scene exploded in 1991 with the success of Paul Cons’ and Lucy Scher's Flesh at the Hacienda (again an alternative story to the laddish ‘Madchester’ groups who dominate the histories of that club). The story is well covered from that point on, although there are many debates about the commercialisation of Canal Street and the dilution of the gay subculture.
But there are still many gaps and we’d like your help. If you own artefacts that you think should be included in this exhibition, please upload them to the main Manchester District Music Archive website, or email them to email@example.com. Every contribution will be properly credited.
With your support, we hope to construct a proper people’s history and to reclaim Manchester’s vibrant LGBT music and club culture from the shadows.