Less than a decade ago, I worked in a nightclub. Throughout the grand and grimy halls of the ex-Odeon complex known as ‘Sol Viva,’ I would scamper, incredulous, retrieving bottles, detritus, extraneous filth. My memories of the time are colourful, and include couples emerging sheepishly from toilet cubicles, sachets of white powder among rolls of twenties found and pocketed, any number of mobile phones, hammer-brawls, screaming, bloody handprints on the walls.

I visited Sol Viva, yesterday, as I prepared for the Light Night, in Bury. The old mecca of joy-seeking-hell is now in disrepair, and the front door bears a sign:


Personally, I’d say it was the occupants, not the building.

They tell me twenty thousand people came out to see the streets of the town transformed, last night, for no occasion, no purpose, but delight. Between inciting existential quandries in young children, bellowing poetry at the wonderfully bewildered, and fetching a brew for the soundman, I had a chance to marvel at the effect of a bunch of poncy artists and performers on the streets of Friday-night-Bury, and indeed the terrifying complacency of my prior cynicism.

The ‘Light Night’ originated in France. More recently it visits cities around this country, and I’m told is funded largely by the EU. This is the first time it’s been introduced to a town. It was a great success.

My memory of it will certainly stand forward, of my memory of the night-club where I once held the trash of that same small town.

Light Night

Some of the performers/artists:
Kirsty Almeida
Louis Barabbas
Liz Green
Mari-Ruth Oda
Genevieve Say
Dave Mitchell