I'm back on my feet after being down sick a couple of days. The internet is a wonderful thing. It delivers a substantial fraction of all human knowledge when you want it. It also delivers intellectual treacle and pablum when you don't feel like thinking so hard. Though beware of not thinking so hard; it can get you in trouble.
I read The Haçienda: How Not to Run a Club because Jamie Zawinski liked it (and he hates nearly everything). It's about running a nightclub. It's about being a musician who signs contracts trustingly, not realizing that he's sending most of the income from bands you've heard of (Joy Division, New Order) into running a money-hemorrhaging nightclub. The Haçienda was a nightclub in Manchester. When it started out, it was slow. Then for a while, it was the most happening place in Manchester; it helped steer the course of dance music for a while. Then it was taken over by gangsters.
Some interesting things along the way:
- Macclesfield. Back when I worked at Geoworks, we (acquired? were acquired by? I kinda forget the details) this other mobile phone software company that was based out of Macclesfield. From the photos, as near as I could tell, Macclesfield just consisted of sheep fields. It didn't seem like the sort of place you'd expect to find computer programmers. And yet there they were. And apparently Ian Curtis moved there. So it's really not just for sheep.
- Dry, a bar run by the same folks as the Haçienda, had internet access for customers back in 1989(!). "The concept was revolutionary. Unfortunately, when people booked a session on the computer to get online, we charged them much less per minute than we paid to the internet service provider—internet service was very expensive at first... We lost money every second that people logged on, but Tony wouldn't let them raise the rates, saying that would price it out of the budgets of our customers. He used to say, "The computer is the new hearth for the family." Eventually Leroy told people the computers were out of order, just to save us the expense. Good boy."
It's the story of a cultural institution. It's a cautionary tale. It wasn't much like the stuff I usually read, and more the power to it.