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Monday, 5 September 2011

"Uncle" Mike Pickering Whips Up Frenzied Veterans at Gio-Goi's Hacienda Reunion Party; Local Girls Become Tired, With Achey Feet

You know you're in for a good night when your friend (and partner in crime for the evening) posts "tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1989" as their Facebook status. Nor was she wrong, for Friday night heralded the opening of clothing brand Gio-Goi's new Manchester store in the Arndale, an occasion marked with an evening of nostalgia at Moho Live in the Northern Quarter, including a screening of new(ish) film "They Call it Acid".

You also know you're in for a good night when you arrive at said venue to be greeted on the door by Chris Donnelly, one half of the brace of brothers who set up this most Manchester of brands in the late 80s, and who shows his face more than once (along with brother Anthony) in Gordon Mason's film to huge cheers from the assembled crowd (which could admittedly be down to the free bar as much as a sense of love and loyalty). The film charts the rise of Acid House music in the mid- to late-80s and features achive footage as well as interviews with those involved; I can confirm that Paul Oakenfold has never really been lucky with his hair, and is perhaps still seeking the right style to suit his face after all these years.

Film (and free bar) over, we emerged blinking into the Manchester twilight to find a range of fairground stalls being set up outside the club, and an excitable gentleman in a yellow t-shirt doing a spot of breakdancing on the gravel, totally oblivious to the sizable threat of chafing - the kind of things that Manchester does best, in other words. A quick break for dinner just down the road at Simple (where a man with excellent hair served us a very good burger and some sadly gristly lamb), and we were back for the main business of the night - the reunion party. It had been billed as a rave, uniting as it did the great and good from the Hacienda's glory days - Mike Pickering, John Da Silva and Graeme Park, but the fact that everyone is at least twenty years older now than they were then resulted in it being more of a nice dance about, with a bit of gentle air thumping thrown in for good measure.

No-one examplified this more than the now-avuncular Mike Pickering, who played an amazing set accompanied by two young dancers we can only assume were his grand-daughters; he must be very proud of their responsible jobs (both were wearing peaky police hats) but as surprised as we were to find that their uniform seemingly encompassed nothing more than a sparkly bra and pants set. This is, of course, the problem with nostalgia - everyone gets older; never in the 90s do I recall dancing anywhere near someone in a suit who looked a bit like Simon Cowell, nor do I remember there being so many women dressed for a wedding. Still, no matter; we enjoyed ourselves immensely and can only thank the marvellously ebullient Donnelly brothers for hosting such a top night - it is hardly their fault that we had danced ourselves into the (admirably sticky) ground by 1am and had to retire, tired and slightly shame-faced, to an early night and a telling-off from the menfolk and pets waiting middle-agedly at home. We promise to do much better next time.

- Gio-Goi's new Manchester store can be found at Manchester Arndale, Unit L32A, Manchester M4 3AQ, telephone: 0161 839 6546.

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