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Manchester's Favourite Club* Hits a Mighty 12 Years Old

Published on August 16th 2005.

* - Quote: Faye Pulley, July 2004

Legendary Manchester club night Tangled isn't the kind of place where you go to show off in your new Prada gear, or to sip extravagantly made cocktails under bright lights whilst hoping, in the back of your mind, that you'll be noticed by the other beautiful wannabes.

Nor is it the type of establishment that pays the big Radio 1 DJs to fly in every week in order to fill its dancefloor with the kind of “try hard” crowd that the big commercial clubs predictably attract, and the clubber rarely sees twice. Put simply, Tangled is family, it's like walking into a western saloon, only when the doors swing back you're greeted with smiles, not 6-shooters.

Over the years it's broken all known moulds. Quietly ticking away at the Phoenix (a small, slightly unfashionable nightclub on the edge of town) it has managed to notch up to 12 years of weekly Saturday nights, and that's 12 solid years, no closing down for ages in the middle for them!

But let's get this into perspective. Twelve years ago it was the IRA bombing the hell out of Britain, not Al-Quaeda. John Major and the Tories were still in power and Manchester was just getting over the collective hangover of the ‘Madchester' years and the gang problems that had decimated the city's clubbing scene. Me? I was twelve years old still wondering what I wanted to do when I grew up! Twelve years is a long time in anyone's books, but in clubland… it's a couple of lifetimes.

I asked club promoter and resident DJ Phil Morse what he thinks the secret of their success is.

“Well if it ain't broke…” he smiles.

“I think the reason we are still here is that we like what we do and we care about it.”

“We are not motivated by fame or money. We don't want to be pals with all the great DJs and rub shoulders with the famous. We just want to play good records to an appreciative audience.”

“That's all we've ever wanted to do – and we're lucky enough to still be doing it over a decade on.”

How does Phil think the clubbing scene has changed in the time he has been running Tangled?

“Well, when Terry [Pointon, co-founder and also a resident DJ] and I started the club, we were doing so after a few years of heavy clubbing ourselves, at the start of the house scene, and things are totally, totally different now to then.

“Back then we were all floundering in the dark, no-one knew what this phenomenon would turn into. Now, it is a depressingly commercial business like any other.

“Kicking against that dullness is one of the things we're proud to say we're still doing.”

So will there be any big DJs at the birthday party? Any special live broadcasts? Any merchandising?

“Ha ha, what do you think? No way! It will be just the resident DJs, playing the best records from the past twelve years.

“We will give some CDs away of the top ten Tangled tunes of all time to the clubbers, but apart from that, it will just be us doing what we do.”

No fuss, doing what they do, that's the secret and it's what's kept Tangled going for the past 12 years, and what will, with any luck, see them continue to outlast the competition for the foreseeable future. More to the point, if past birthday parties are anything to go by, this Saturday will also be a raucous, celebratory sell out!

Tristan Welch

Tangled's 12th birthday is on Saturday 16 July at the Phoenix, Oxford Road, Manchester. Doors open at 10pm, the event runs 'til 4am, and admission is £9. There are no advanced tickets – arrive early, this is one night you definitely do not want to miss!

The Phoenix
University Precinct,
Oxford Road

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