4:45am, no idea where!
Firstly, I want to introduce myself and apologise to my immediate family for the photo on the left! But I thought it should be included as it was taken at about 4 or 5 a.m. coming out of a rave, and was captured by a photographer from the Sunday Times. I have included it because I think that it is important that people are aware of how hard we partied back in '88!
I am Leo B Stanley and I was born in Moss Side, Manchester in 1955. I spent most of my youth in the family business which was Stanley’s Army and Navy Stores. Situated at the bottom of Piccadilly approach, it was the original shop front where the Malmaison Hotel now stands.
This experience led me to opening my own shop in Affleck’s Palace in 1983. Using the retail knowledge I had gained in the family business, I continued to sell army surplus gear alongside fashion clothing. We went through a few names and image changes before we came up with ‘Identity’ in 1986.
Alongside working in the shops I was a mobile DJ gigging at weddings, 21st birthdays, Mecca etc - a proper time served DJ! I eventually had enough of this and got my first opportunity to DJ in Manchester at a club called 'Devilles', just off Albert Square (thanks Jeff), followed by a stint at 'Manhattan', Spring Gardens (thanks to Peter and Dennis). But perhaps the most well known place that I worked was ‘The Venue’, just along Whitworth Street, a few doors down from the Hacienda.
When the Hacienda really kicked in I was already doing the Venue, and I thought 'How can we compete with that?' The obvious answer was we couldn't, so I just carried on doing what I had always done. My tag line was 'From Motown to Motorhead'! Anyway, what started out as a club to go to if you couldn't get into the Haçienda, soon formed it's own queue even when the Haçienda didn't have one!
I always appreciated the musical freedom Paul, the owner of ‘The Venue’, gave me, in fact all of the managers I worked for let me play what I wanted. Having been a time served DJ I felt I was more qualified to pick the music than the managers! Also, you haven't heard anything until you have heard my mix of ZZ Top and Public Enemy! Owning several clothes shops in Affleck’s Palace and the Royal Exchange, and DJing at one of the most popular nights in Manchester, gave me great insight into how the scene was changing. Read the 'Hype' section for the full story.
To sum it all up, the common denominator in everything I've done is this fantastic city, Manchester, so much to answer for!
It started here!