Manchester house music club Sankeys is to go the way of The Hacienda: It's to close and be turned into flats. It was loved and hated in about equal measures by most people I knew. The revamp a few years ago didn't sit right with a lot of people, and the change in crowd from serious clubber to wannabes and dolly birds put off a lot of traditional house music aficionados.
Plus, living in Oldham, it's hard to get any of the locals to venture out of their own town with it's shamefully and unshakeably terrible nightlife. Over the decades I've really wanted to visit Sankeys to see particular DJs in action. The club's lineups always had an array of cool groups spinning records, usually people who'd just released an absolute banger. But I've only managed to visit the club, in total, six times. Occasions when people could make it to Manchester were usually times when we had another club lined up, like Ampersand or Ohm, or when people just weren't that into house music and wanted a regular bar night.
Still today a few mates say that, when they've been to Sankeys, they've had more bad nights than good recently, or that they preferred other house music places, but I really enjoyed the times I'd spent there. I first went in 2002 with some uni mates, although I have no idea who was playing. A year or so later I went back and saw Armand Van Helden, and some of the tunes he played stuck in my head so clearly I had to Youtube them when I eventually got the chance in 2007.
After that night in '02 I didn't go back for over a decade. On a couple of occasions I strayed in on a last-minute decision, and then for whatever reason had to go pretty much the moment I got there. But in the last year I've been twice and stayed all night- to this Martinez Brothers night, and to see Secondcity. Both were packed-out, down-and-dirty, sweat-drenched superb house music events. The latter of these I ran a meetup to coincide with, so people could meet new people and attend the night at the same time. I just wished I'd been more organised and prepared more of these meetup events, particularly to Sankeys.
But nothing lasts forever, and house music- once the staple genre of high-end clubbing in Manchester- is now on its way out, replaced evermore by repetitive generic RnB in the newer popular clubs. Seasons of events like The Warehouse Project and festivals like Parklife will spring up here and there, but house music is getting harder and harder to come by. We'll have to keep our eyes peeled from now on, but Sankeys- as the narrator from Mad Max 2 says- lives now only in my memories...