‘Fleshback: Queer Raving in Manchester’s Twilight Zone’ is a Boiler Room and British Council film lm uncovering forgotten stories from Manchester’s queer clubbing scene.
In the 1980s-1990s, Manchester’s queer clubbing scenes was localised around The Hacienda’s seminal queer party, Flesh and a club called Number 1. Aided by hit TV show, Queer as Folk, the city’s gay scene entered the mainstream in the late 90s.
The film explores this history while revealing all about those carrying the torch of alternative rave culture, featuring collectives such as Homo Electric, Meat Free, Body Horror, and High Hoops. Each have a different approach and musical feel, drawing in different crowds, yet sharing the same vision. The film uses archive footage in a way that’s voluntarily anachronistic in places, as a way to highlight the continuum between Flesh and The Hacienda, and the parties that are happening today outside of Manchester’s city centre.
The release of the film marks the 30 years anniversary since Section 28 was enacted. Section 28 was the last piece of homophobic law in the UK, and stated that councils should not "intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" in its schools or other areas of their work. Section 28 was enforced in 1988 before it was repealed in Scotland in 2000 and then 2003 in the rest of the UK.
Steffi, DJ and promoter for Meat Free in Manchester says, “People are very honest up North, and big movements don’t always wash with the northerners. We’re not about branding or excluding people. Sexual identity is not at the forefront of our parties.”
Directed by Stephen Isaac-Wilson