This audio documentary was created to mark the 30th anniversary of Manchester’s anti-Clause 28 march, 1988. Attended by 20,000 people, the protest was a seminal moment in UK LGBT+ history. The piece seeks to evoke the sounds and emotions experienced on that day through interviews with marchers, fragments of archival material and music.
It was also conceived as a tribute to the LGBT+ activists who organised and took part in the demonstration.
The title comes from the chant, “we’re here, we’re queer and we’re not going shopping”.
Section 28 or Clause 28 formed part of the Local Government Act 1988.
Section 28 of that act stated:
(1) A local authority shall not:
a) intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality
b) promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship
Angela Cooper David Hoyle Kath McDermott Louise Wallwein MBE Luchia Fitzgerald Paul Fairweather
This piece was commissioned by Manchester Pride and Superbia. Special thanks to Greg Thorpe and all who contributed.
It forms part of the Queer Noise exhibition for MDMArchive:
Produced by Abigail Ward.
Abigail Ward is a curator, musician and DJ. Her work explores the place at which music, politics and protest meet. For 10 years she has been documenting the history of LGBT+ music and club life in Greater Manchester through her digital heritage project, Queer Noise. She is a co-founder of Manchester Digital Music Archive.
‘Fleshback: Queer Raving in Manchester’s Twilight Zone’ is a Boiler Room and British Council film uncovering stories from Manchester’s LGBT+ clubbing scene.
In the early 90s, Manchester’s queer scene was blown wide open by the Hacienda’s seminal queer party, Flesh and its progenitor Number 1 Club on Central Street. Aided, or some would say ruined, by hit TV show Queer as Folk, the scene entered the national mainstream a few years later.
The film explores this history while revealing all about those carrying the torch of alternative rave culture in the new era, featuring collectives such as Homo Electric, Meat Free, Body Horror, and High Hoops. Each has a different approach and musical feel, drawing in different crowds, yet sharing the same vision. The film uses archive footage to highlight the continuum between Flesh and the parties that are happening today outside of Manchester’s city centre.
The release of the film marks the 30th anniversary of the enactment of Section 28. Section 28 was the last piece of homophobic law in the UK. It 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 and produced by Anais Brémond.