PRESENTER Claire Bueno opened this entertaining evening at the Curzon Soho in London with a poignant thought.
We were about to watch a film, she said, about a building that despite making a profound impact on people’s lives had been demolished. A fate, she added, that awaits the Curzon Soho if Crossrail 2 gets Government approval and funding.
Yes, the Curzon Soho was the perfect venue for a screening of first-time director Chris Hughes’ documentary Do You Own The Dançefloor?
There was a noticeable change in atmosphere from the restrained cinephiles who had packed the same venue a week earlier for a Q&A with Manchester By The Sea director Kenneth Lonergan. This audience radiated a boisterous excitement and electricity that felt fitting for a film about a nightclub famed for its rave music.
Do You Own The Dançefloor recalls the story of the Haçienda, which rose to prominence in Manchester during the 1980’s, only to fall to bulldozers in the early 2000’s.
The premise of Hughes’ documentary was to track down people who had acquired parts of the deceased nightclub at a charity auction held in 2000. These items, ranging from bricks, urinals through to pieces of the dancefloor, were then used as a gateway to tell a distinctly personal history of the Haçienda.
Hughes, who made this amazing film on a voluntary basis, donating the profits to charity Kidneys For Life, assembled an impressive collage of voices. They include interior designer Ben Kelly, DJs Dave Haslam, Graeme Park and Mike Pickering – and Oasis star Liam Gallagher.
But it is the lesser-known voices that add an affable spirit to Hughes’ documentary.
One of those people, Suddi Raval, spoke during the Q&A with the same exuberant warmth and humour that permeates the film.
He said: ‘I went there [the Haçienda] and it completely changed my life. I had heard about it, this mythical nightclub down the road, and I was mad about house music for years before I went. At the time there was nowhere like it, it was just unbelievable. The Haçienda was everything.’
Do You Own The Dançefloor does a wonderful job of capturing this passion, this transformative moment in time and this iconic place that meant so much to those who were a part of it.
Perhaps the highest praise I can give this film is that I left feeling as though I had been given my own piece of the Haçienda. And with it, a renewed appreciation for the places that are special to me in my life – everything from football grounds (The Hawthorns) through to special cinemas (the Curzon Soho and Picturehouse Central).
So, what is next for Hughes?
The audience voiced their approval when he was asked whether he would continue to make films – how could he not after this remarkable debut.
But Hughes said he would be taking a step back from the stresses of piecing together a feature-length film. Instead, he plans to make short films on the unlikely topics of women’s Roller Derby (roller-skating around a track in order to lap the opposing team) and people who have Union Jack flagpoles outside their homes.
Whatever he decides on making next, I will be first in line to see it. Do You Own The Dançefloor is an authentic film and oozes charm.
Boogie on down to see it. You will not be disappointed.