The Other Side of Midnight Returns | Features | MN2S

Danny Rampling and A Guy Called Gerald to join Boiler Room in recreating an episode of Tony Wilson’s The Other Side of Midnight programme this Sunday. We take a look at the episode, the series, and the Madchester era.

If you tuned into Granada TV one Sunday Night in November 1988 you would have seen a presenter in a swimming pool analysing the dance moves and fashion sense of a group of clubbers writhing on the kind of giant inflatable floats you find at your local pool’s “Kids’ Splash Time” hour, right between aquaerobics and “lengths”.

The presenter was Tony Wilson, the pool was Manchester’s Victoria Swimming Baths, and the clubbers were just some of the thousands of acid house heads in the North West region at the time. The show was an episode of Wilson’s The Other Side of Midnight — a regional culture series that seems to have given the music guru 23-minutes-plus-adverts to do whatever he wanted with a TV programme.

If you missed it, you can watch it in full here:

The episode features analysis of different kinds of wetsuits with a group of wetsuit models, an earnest discussion of wetsuit fashion with the anthropologist Ted Polhemus, an interview with unlikely acid house fan Pete Waterman, and a performance of ‘Voodoo Ray’ by A Guy Called Gerald — possibly the first live acid house performance on television.

For a variety of reasons, this just isn’t the kind of thing you would see on TV any more.

Five years after Tony Wilson’s visit, Victoria Baths closed down. (The two incidents are not thought to be related.) The pool has sat empty for thirty years. Its own website describes it as “closed since 1993 awaiting restoration.” The restoration is still ongoing.

During its closure, Victoria Baths has continued to grace our TV screens as a filming location for Life on Mars, Cracker, and Antiques Roadshow, but it has never again seen anything like The Other Side of Midnight. Until now. On Sunday, Boiler Room will stage a recreation of the 1988 episode, featuring the return of A Guy Called Gerald himself, and a host of other acid house legends including Danny Rampling.

The event will be streamed live via Boiler Room TV here. It is set to be one of the biggest non-branded Boiler Room events to date, with much effort being put into the painstaking recreation of ‘Madchester’-era Manchester, focusing primarily on the then-brand-new subgenre of acid house.

The team at Boiler Room has collaborated with folks from The Hacienda and The Warehouse Project to give the event an unprecedented level of authenticity.

The artists playing at the project have been picked for their strong ties to that era (and to this specific party in A Guy Called Gerald’s case). And the music they play on the night is likely to be period-accurate to the kind of thing you would hear in Manchester’s dance music heyday, at which Tony Wilson was at the forefront, depicted brilliantly in the film 24 Hour Party People.

Around the middle of the episode, Wilson holds up a copy of the compilation album North: The Sound of the Dance Underground, which features a collection of tracks that capture the zeitgeist—’Voodoo Ray’, Annette’s ‘Dream 17’, two tracks from T-Coy, Megatrip’s ‘Masters of Acid’. The Deconstruction/RCA Records release describes the northern club scene at the time in its liner notes, penned by Nottingham DJ Graeme Park:

In the north the house scene now resembles the Northern Soul scene in terms of its
dedication and fanaticism. Almost three years ago the north adopted house and “North”
sees it coming of age. As long as house music packs the dancefloors with sweaty bodies
then the story of “north” will continue….this one will run and run….

Park also declares Manchester’s Hacienda venue to be at the centre of this new cultural scene. But though many of us celebrated the reopening of London’s Fabric months ago, we must think of the clubs which were not so lucky. The Hacienda, unfortunately enough, was one of them.

The northern club scene certainly looks different to the one Tony Wilson, A Guy Called Gerald and Danny Rampling knew in the late 80s. But the spirit of the Hacienda lives on, and for one night only, the magic of The Other Side of Midnight will return.

Watch Boiler Room x WHP x Fac 51 Hacienda pres ‘The Other Side of Midnight’ here.

Book Danny Rampling and A Guy Called Gerald to bring the spirit of Madchester to your venue.

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