‘The Lapsed Clubber’ Exhibition

Dr Beate Peter has convened an exhibition called ‘The Lapsed Clubber’.


Every weekend, hundreds of thrill-seekers hit the streets of Manchester ready to indulge in the city’s full range of hedonistic delights. Twenty years ago, Dr Beate Peter (MMU) was among them, and now she has turned her experiences in Manchester’s infamous clubbing scene into an exhibition in the heart of the Northern Quarter.

By the early 1990’s, Manchester, or ‘Madchester’, had earnt itself a status as the clubbing capital of the UK, thanks to such musical influences of The Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, and the infamous Haçienda nightclub. The University of Manchester became the most popular university in the country at this time as hundreds flocked to Manchester, eager to indulge in the city’s wide range of nightlife, but where are the ravers of this generation now?

As those who decorated Manchester’s nightclubs, bars, and raves 20 years ago have grown older, and now with full time jobs to hold down, mortgages to pay off, and children to drive to football practice in the morning, for most, their clubbing days have come to an end. Nevertheless, the partygoers of the 1990’s have inevitably left a lasting mark on Manchester’s nightlife today, just as their experiences in the depths of Manchester’s darkest clubs have remained some of their best memories.

Dr Beate Peter, mother and self-proclaimed lapsed clubber, was eager to investigate the lasting effect of her own and her fellow clubber’s hedonistic history. Reminiscent of her own clubbing days, Beate developed plans for an exhibition: “I used to think that there is no better feeling than getting lost in music, dancing all night long and leaving the club with the sun shining on my face. I wanted to find out if there was more to it than just growing old”. By getting in touch with her old friends from the Madchester era, Peter has collated an exhibition of photographs of clubbers then and now. Beate reflected: “it’s remarkable to see which direction people went after leaving the nightclub one wonderful morning and never to return”. She calls her exhibition ‘The Lapsed Clubber’.

One of our Lapsed Clubbers then and now

Her aim is to show how lifestyle inevitably influences upon our understanding of who we are. Beate says: “The stories are to show how clubbing has never been just about going out to get wrecked, it is part of people’s history and their lives”. Clubbing has become so engrained in contemporary culture and our modern experience of being young, that it is no longer just a hedonistic indulgence, but an important marker for identity formation.

So when Saturday comes back around and the thrill-seekers are out again in their masses, just consider that the experiences they have tonight will shape the kind of person they become in the future. That is, if they can remember them.

Contribute to ‘The Lapsed Clubber’ facebook page here.

This article was also published on the MMU website here.

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