PAUL Cons, promoter of Flesh night - a popular gay night at The Hacienda, will be at MOSI on Friday 8 February to share memories of this groundbreaking night over cocktails inspired by the menu at the ‘Gay Traitor Bar’.
"This Friday at MOSI I’m curious to hear peoples’ memories of the night, how it affected them and what they are doing now."
Paul will discuss the legacy of Flesh today for the gay community, while MOSI’s current exhibition about the history of Manchester’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, ‘Behind the Scene’, including publicity material from Flesh, will also be open. The event is part of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender Month.
Although there had previously been a gay night at The Hacienda, it had never attracted a large crowd, but in the early nineties, attitudes started to change. Flesh, held every month at The Hacienda nightclub from 1991-1996 became central to a confident and vibrant new gay scene in Manchester and contributed to wider legal and social reforms that led to lowering of the age of consent, and gay marriage.
Flesh launched in October 1991 with an in-your-face ad campaign all around the city, using political-sexual phrases such as ‘Queer as Fuck’ and ‘Practice makes Pervert’. This was the first time that the phrase ‘Its Queer Up North’ was used, which later became the title of the festival, and the TV series Queer as Folk essentially came out of this too.
Flesh was an instant success, with 1200 people turning out on the first night and consistent sell-outs through the years it ran. There was a mix of DJ sets and a variety of gigs and shows, while bands such as Take That, M-People, Adeva, the Pet Shop Boys and The Communards played at Flesh, and celebrities who were in town would routinely drop in to the night.
Features included an alternative Miss World competition called Miss Flesh and drag shows, such as Kinky Galinky’s Brazilian carnival scene. Once there was even a fairground in the club, complete with a carousel outside.
Paul Cons said: “I think everyone realised that something revolutionary had happened with Flesh. Despite the fact it was on a Wednesday – people just used to take the next day off work. It was the first time that there was a really fashionable gay club at the cutting edge of the music scene and the night was very much part of the scene that paved the way for some of the legal reforms that came later.
“This Friday at MOSI I’m curious to hear peoples’ memories of the night, how it affected them and what they are doing now. I am now married and live in London and run a chain of cake shops called Konditor and Cook in London with my partner. So I’ve made a bizarre transition from club to cake.”
What are your memories of Flesh and what’s your experience of the legacy of the 1990s gay scene? ‘Remembering Flesh’ night at MOSI is held from 6.30pm-8.30pm on Friday 8 February. Tickets cost £5 and are available here.
For more information about all events at MOSI as part of LGBT History Month and booking details click here.
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