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Flashback:Parties For The People By The People tells the story of the infamous Blackburn Acid House ‘parties’, the vital part this moment of counter-cultural history has played in the social, economic and cultural lives of the area itself, and more broadly, of the country as a whole. Taking in the post-industrial landscape of the area, the impact of years of regressive politics, both local and national, the confluence of football hooligans, casuals, gang violence, and eventually, the dispersal of all that into the culture of the parties and the emergent ecstasy boom, this is a complicated rendering of both time and place, told through multiple, diverse voices, and through a combination of reportage, fiction, poetry and oral history.
This set is made up of three pamphlets and a fold-out.
Spit, Sawdust And Spirit: The Ingenious Players In Blackburn's Acid House Parties by Alex Zawadzki
Spit, Sawdust and Spirit works as a playbill of imagined characters, buried deep into the underbelly of Blackburn, and beyond illegal parties. From the ideologists who envisioned a utopian future catalysed by the raves; to the belt and braces lads who kicked in the doors to the hollow mills.
Amalgamated from real-life accounts of 45 individuals interviewed for Flashback—an oral history archive for a modern age.
Lines Written A Few Miles Outside Blackburn, On Revisiting The Site Of The Sett End Pub, April 10, 2021 by Anna Wood
Anna Wood’s Lines Written A Few Miles Outside Blackburn, On Revisiting The Site Of The Sett End Pub, April 10, 2021 is both tribute to the Romantic tradition and William Wordsworth and an exultant ode to the culture, social power and transcendence of the night life. Wood’s work is uniquely capable of communicating the complex amalgamation of sensuality, imagination and memory that imbue the experience of those ecstatic nights out, and this new poem is a wonderful addition to her singular canon.
Thesis Flashback by Balraj Singh
Thesis Flashback re-examines an academic dissertation written by Balraj Singh. Singh—a Sikh Blackburner known locally as Bob—found himself navigating the fringes of gangs, housing estate boundaries, illegal parties, subcultures and street violence through the acid house era. He explored the contributing factors in the evolution of the warehouse parties in a university dissertation completed in 2003. Here in conversation with Jamie Holman, he dissects selected passages of the original text, now a part of the Flashback archive— reflecting back 30 years on from the parties and 20 years on from his original writing.
High On Hope: Politics And The Parties by Fergal Kinney
In High On Hope: Politics And The Parties, Fergal Kinney provides us with a political overview of both the impetus behind the Blackburn parties, as well as the broader context into which they can be read. In highly readable, always compelling prose, and using the oral histories of people at the very epicentre of things as they unfolded, Kinney’s essay is that most valuable of rarities - a text as intelligent and illuminating as it is entertaining.
Howling Roughs by Jamie Holman
Howling Roughs is a literary collage, a constructed narrative created from interviews with leading participants in the arc of football hooliganism, international shoplifting and the Blackburn Parties. Jamie Holman blends these recordings with his own voice and propositions of the industrial revolution and the mills of Blackburn as a principal signifier in the manifestation of culture.
He locates the lesser-known journey of textiles in working-class creative culture and identity politics through its place in the formation of the football league, mill poetry, art, acid house and the ‘Spezial’ range of adidas clothing and trainers that memorialise individuals, locations and events in Lancashire.
A Place Called Bliss by Adelle Stripe
A Place Called Bliss tells the story of two friends and their doomed attempt to escape their own quotidian drudge and try for the ecstatic promise of the parties in the neighbouring county of Lancashire that had started to become legendary.
It is a shadow story of those Blackburn parties—a story of frustrated desire and frustrated aspiration, where the small miracles of love and hedonistic transcendence appear all but impossible.
Blackburn Love: A Blueprint by Dorothy
A brief history of the Blackburn parties set to the imagined footprint of Ewood Mill. The content on this blueprint has been largely sourced from the archive of the Acid House Flashback website—an oral history project created to capture people's memories of the Blackburn parties. As with all oral history projects, contributor’s memories can be hazy. Specific details such as dates are correct to the best of our knowledge.