READING the news this week that The Arches in Glasgow is set to re-open, my mind was catapulted back to sweaty, euphoric nights on that dancefloor, stripped to the waist, T-shirt tucked in the top of my jeans, when water not beer was the order at the bar.

Strangely, and perhaps surprising to some who thought the venue only served as a club, I also recalled quieter, more emotional nights, when I witnessed some of the most exciting and innovative theatre productions and exhibitions I’d ever witnessed.

This we should remember; The Arches was first and foremost a creative space which used to host club nights to fund its other, more meaningful work.

That’s not to say the club nights weren’t meaningful. To a couple of generations of the city’s dancers, DJs, musicians, and music promoters, the club nights – Slam, Pressure, Colours, Inside, Death Disco, Octopussy, to name just six – were every bit as important as the art and theatre the venue produced, they were just louder, more colourful, and eventually, more controversial.

To understand that heady and alluring mix of boundary-stretching creativity, art, and music that emerged from Midland Street (not the most welcoming of thoroughfares even on one of Glasgow’s rare sunny days – even more malevolent and tinged with “something of the night” after dark) we have to have a quick history lesson.

READ MORE: Census results show Scotland has record high population of 5.4 million

Opened in 1991 to host the “Glasgow’s Glasgow” exhibition, as part of the city’s Year of Culture celebrations, Midland Street – dank, gloomy, with a vague pong of stale piss and disappointment – was so far off Glasgow’s cultural map that the exhibition, a brilliant look back across the city’s history, with pointers towards its potential futures, never really attracted the audience numbers it deserved.

The exhibition’s accompanying large-format book, Glasgow’s Glasgow: The Words and the Stones, edited by the late and much-missed Carl MacDougall, is well worth tracking down, and stands as a fabulous, sardonic, gallus counterpoint to previous city histories. Following the success of the Garden Festival, and now, wearing the crown of the City of Culture, the city had its swagger back – we knew the world was watching.

After the exhibition’s run, the venue was taken on by Andy Arnold, to launch The Arches Theatre Company.

With Glasgow’s once daring Citizens’ Theatre beginning to feel a bit safe and staid, Arnold turned The Arches – all 7800 square metres (84,000 sq ft) of it, into a machine for making magic. Realising that theatre productions required substantial funding, Arnold decided to stage nightclub events to support his projects, and this practice continued until the venue’s closure, the clubbing revenues helping to fund what became one of Europe’s leading cultural venues.

The Arches Theatre Company performed interpretations of work by playwrights including Samuel Beckett, Tennessee Williams, David Mamet, Harold Pinter. Local writers also got in on the action, with two works by author James Kelman being premiered at the venue.

READ MORE: Majority of Scots view immigration as positive, poll finds

I remember a spectacular, promenade version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, and a particularly moving production of John and Willy Maley’s Spanish Civil War drama, From The Calton to Catalonia, with my late best mate Colin Vetters playing the role of the imprisoned, International Brigader James Maley.

But, back to those club nights.

By the time the venue was building its reputation for Techno and House nights, I’d already moved away from Glasgow – to Dundee, but on every weekend foray home, all roads led to The Arches.

Just as previous generations of clubbers had quit the city’s more mainstream venues for the then-new Sub Club, the next generation moved, almost en masse, to The Arches. It was as if all our parents had gone out, we had Glasgow’s biggest “empty,” and boy, were we going to party hard.

And that’s just what we did, helping to build the venue’s national, then international, then global reputation for great music, and  good times.

Yes, pills and powders were often involved in that fun, but this was the height of rave culture, and there wasn’t a club in the country that wasn’t “Sorted for E’s and Whizz”. And, if people are going to do drugs – and people are always going to do drugs – where would you have them do them – in the relatively safe environment of a club, with trained medics and door staff on hand, or in a muddy field somewhere, with no help or facilities?

READ MORE: Scotland would vote Yes to independence, new poll finds

Indeed, it was the club’s own honesty about drug use – reporting every incident to the police, where other clubs might have turned a blind eye – that led to its eventual demise.

Coming, literally, steaming out of the venue at 3am, Midland Street a heaving mass of hot and sweaty bodies, all looking for an afterparty, was a formative and bonding experience. Some nights, if you were lucky, come closing time, the Desert Storm Soundsystem would drive their armoured personnel carrier under the bridge, blasting music from their speakers, and the party would continue in the street until police and security staff would eventually clear us.

Other nights, come closing, long lines of talkative clubbers would straggle across Jamaica Bridge, all heading for the all-night Change at Jamaica, to refuel on endless pots of tea and coffee, and rounds of toast. How the hard-pressed staff put up with us, I’ll never know.

Now, with the music set to return, will I? I doubt it, at 57 I am perhaps a bit too long in the tooth, and stiff of sinew, to relive those heady, life-affirming, nights.

Since then, the music scene has changed, the city, and its club culture have evolved but, surely, Glasgow, this city that loves to dance, can find some room on the floor for The Arches?

My hope is that a new generation of clubbers and creatives lay claim to that now silent space, and that, once again, it becomes the crucible where new music, new art, and new friendships are forged in the white-hot heat of the dark Glasgow night.