19 - March - 2010

The Manchester Hacienda Club

Post by Mike C
Ixis Service

Ixis worked with Manchester based agency Worship Digital to produce a great multi-media based community site for the legendary Haçienda club brand in Manchester (UK).

The project included the usual News section for promoting upcoming activities and history of the nightclub, and alongside this an events area which allowed pinning an event on the world map using a custom Drupal CCK field.

Media from the past and present was a big requirement to present an archive to the public. Old video footage from as far back as twenty years ago was collated from YouTube and presented as a thumbnail gallery through the use of the YouTube API. The photo gallery provided a categorised collection of the 'then' and 'now' clubbing photos with the fans, artists and DJs which performed. We built the gallery using Views, Attachments, CCK and some custom jQuery for the meta data pop-ups.

Ubercart was used to sell digital downloads of audio singles, mixes and full albums, as well as physical products such as CDs and books. We combined Ubercart with affiliated links to off-site suppliers for some products but kept the look of the Shop as streamlined as possible.

The Haçienda has been well known for its music, so it was important to give visitors a taste of past and present mixes from the famous artists. Using some custom code we provided a voting count as people listened to the audio mixes on-site. Mixes are categories and include links to the artist/DJ bio which also ties in with the same Artist bio for the future events.

The project was a great experience in doing a lot of custom theme building from the many superb page designs. It shows how you can make Drupals output look a lot different from the normal linear web forms and blog-like content lists.

The project needed to cater for spikes in traffic as events are promoted in addition to the 24/7 streaming of hour long audio mixes. It was recommended that the project was hosted on transparent scalable hosting from Rackspace in the cloud. To help with the slower speeds of Cloud based hosting in the US we provided additional performance enhancing using the Boost component for Drupal.

http://www.fac51thehacienda.com/

Mike C

Managing Director

12 years of Drupal development wrangling and a background in digital project architecture.

Comments

How to make the hovering effect of the left navigation menu ?

Adrian

The left menu was created using the http://drupal.org/project/textimage module to ensure the type face matched the brand. The images were created as transparent PNGs and then a custom jQuery effect added to fade the background colour in and out during a mouse roll over. To make it work as best possible in IE6 we used the iepngfix.htc.

Mike C

In reply to by Adrian

Nice site! Like the look of the textimage module menus. So it actually does work. I was too scared to try it, half expected to spend the next few weeks bug-fixing it. ;-)

How does that work? Presumably you need to have a copy of the font used in the menu on the server, so textimage can create the graphic? I guess you just need to buy a single license for the font (if it's not open source) and stick it on the web server.

It's an interesting one - going forwards, I wonder how type-face designers will react to fonts being used in this way. It's all coming with CSS 3 anyway, fonts being served in real time to client machines from a server, so this module is kind of a precursor to that. When the client doesn't need to have the font any more to have custom fonts render normally in their browser I think it might raise all sorts of questions. I wonder if people like Monotype will start selling more expensive server licenses for fonts which can be used in this way, to account for the wider audience?

Greg

If you just want to get nice typefaces on a page, and none of the jquery colour effects, then http://drupal.org/project/cufon is a much nicer solution. It uses the HtML canvas tag instead of images or Flash though.

The Textimage + Jquery solution was to meet the clients requirements of a fancy menu, without resorting to the murky muck of clunky Flash based navigation.

Mike C

In reply to by Greg

I remember spending every cold, dreary, Friday night at the Hac back in 83 before it became treandy and notorious. After its final closure and before it was finally demolished to make way for city centre apartments, I also was one of the thousand or so who squatted the club.

I'd heard that something might be going on earlier on the day before so come kicking out time I ambled down to Whitworth street, dropped all my shrapnel into the donations bucket and parted the industrial plastic blinds to reveal a packed dancefloor with audio and visuals powerd by a generator.

At around 11.30 the music was cut. Someone gabbed the mic and announced that the doors had been barred, and that the Tactical Aid Unit (riot police) had turned up with dogs, batons and shields to make sure we vacated the premises. There was no going back. If you left now there was every chance that you were in for a good beating.

And then the DJ dropped a Derek May track. Hard, industrial, loud. The crowd went mental. I was pressed up against the barricades when Oasis came home to Main Road. I was in the mosh pit when Body Count tore up Heaton Park. I was at Glastonbury when The Prodigy lit up Somerset with Firestarter.

None of these compared to the last night at the Hacienda.

An hour or so later I wanderd through the derelict former club offices to the roof of the building. To my right fire eaters and jugglers. To my left pilled-up punters dancing to the music rising up through the floors below. Across on the railway embankment, a 100 metre-long line of police with powerful flashlights and video cameras. And above India 99, the police helecopter hovered, picking out 2,000 rioters engaged in pitched battles with police.

That final night captured in every aspect the original Mancunian spirit; edgy, celebratory, triumphant, anarchic, arrogant, and defiant.

I finally left at around 6am with a piece of the dancefloor in my pocket and a police escort. Just like many great venues The Hac had it's time and place. It was a great adventure while it lasted and some lifelong friendships were forged in that space.

Can this be encapsulated in a website? If it throws its doors open and allows contributions from its regulars, most certainly.

Great job. :)

B.A

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