"Many thanks for the book; it was in the post
waiting for me when I got home last night.
to read a couple of chapters before going to
sleep but ended up reading it all ! (did speed
read last few chapters).
Some of it made me laugh and some made me cry."
the memories chapter one awakens. The Cona,
Sergeant Plummer's purple hearts drug squad,
"blocked" the ever-changing vents and top jacket
button...and the ability to swallow a dozen
blueys in one gulp.
Enjoying the book........... a flash back
on every page".
Harry from Sale
too young to have visited Manchester and its All
Night R&B and Soul sessions in the
1960’s.However, Dave, in the novel The
Manchester Wheelers made me feel like I was
actually there in 1964 at the Brazennose Street
Twisted Wheel with its special atmosphere as in
Dave’s own words “the sound of a wailing
harmonica in that dark cellar had a magical
effect on me”
The book is described as a novel, with all
circumstances, people and events being entirely
fictionalised. However, The Manchester Wheelers
written in the first person, has the feel of an
The author writes with an intimate knowledge of
the subject, the places, the times and last but
not least, the music, which only someone who has
been deeply immersed in Mod culture and with a
passion for the music bordering on the obsessive
would know. The following passage from the book
sums up the prevailing attitude of the
Manchester ”In Crowd“..
”No-one claimed to be a Mod if they really were
one-it would have been unacceptable. You had no
need to claim what was self -evident to the ones
that could determine such status”
The book begins in October 1967 with the
narrator, Dave, a Manchester Soul Mod at the
“new” Twisted Wheel on Whitworth Street. Junior
Walker is on live and Dave has the lot. A
gorgeous girlfriend, a fantastic record
collection and he is a member of the elite Wheel
crowd. Girlfriend trouble and non stop drug
abuse along with changes in the Scene that he
holds so dear cause Dave to examine his own life
and the direction it is taking.
The results of this inward examination and the
problems that caused it will be strikingly
familiar to many who have followed a similar
Soul path and in reading the story of Dave and
The Manchester Wheelers they will find many
parallels with their own Soul experience.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and read all 300
pages in two days. I am fascinated by the
period, its styles, attitudes and music. The
Manchester Wheelers transported me to Sixties
Manchester which I now feel I understand a lot
File The Manchester Wheelers on your bookcase
next to CENtral 1179 The Story of Manchesters
Twisted Wheel Club by Keith Rylatt and Phil
Scott and Brummels Last Riff by Alan Fletcher"
Mark “Oggie” Orridge
"Enjoyed every line of it, brought back so many
memories of how Manchester was back then, not
just the wheel.Things like the whit walks and
proddy dogs,and especially fancying Julie
Driscoll. I was still buying anything on vinyl
20 years later, even if she was just a backing
I have recommended it to a few mates already, as
the best book I have ever read on the genre.
Thanks for the ray of sunlight you cast on those
"A great book
written on two levels;
As a biography this book tells you all you want
to know about how mods thought and postured,
both within their group and to the outside
world. Dave’s reminiscences are perfect with the
exception of Chapter 12 – Night train , when he
goes off on his own Quadrophenic trip and is in
danger of losing the reader, but this is
recovered with some great memories of life as an
apprentice engineering mod in the ‘60s.
As a reference book there’s a great depth of
history of the Manchester scene from the clubs,
the music, the lifestyle and the people. Anyone
who can recall Red Hoffman and The Measles has
an encyclopaedic memory and proves he was there
Get it – Read it – Relive it."
"The Manchester Wheelers a book about the Twisted
Wheel in the 1960s
Manchester is famous for its music scene and
night clubs, the most famous of which was the
Hacienda. But what was it like in the 60s and
70s, when people danced to American soul music
and the city's most famous - or infamous - club
was the Twisted Wheel? The Manchester Wheelers
tells the grim and gritty story of the young
people who went to the 'Wheel'.
The Manchester Wheelers tells the story of the
crazy characters, the rival gangs, the shady
geezers and the groovy girls and who were part
of the soul mod scene in Manchester. It's
presented in the form of a novel but is based on
real events. Names of characters have been
Beware, some of the content is adult in nature
and there is a lot of bad language as well as
detailed descriptions of drug use. But that's
how it was. Nothing is left out, so prepare to
The Twisted Wheel opened in the 1960s in a
basement in Brazennose Street, close to Albert
Square. Later it moved to Whitworth Street next
to the Old Fire Station and Piccadilly railway
station. The Twisted Wheel continues today as a
regular club night.
What was it that motivated the soul mods of
Manchester? Youthful energy of course, powered
by drugs, but most of all it was the music, and
that music was Black American soul music.
For some reason the raw sound of often obscure
US artists found an enthusiastic following in
England, especially northern England. This
rougher, harder edged style of sixties soul
became known as Northern Soul.
For me soul was the signature music of
Manchester in the late 60s and 70s. A number of
famous soul singers played in Manchester,
including Junior Walker, whose concert is
described in the book.
I would love to have gone to the Twisted Wheel
club in the 1960s but I was too young. At least
through The Manchester Wheelers I can experience
it in my imagination, and recreate an impression
of life in a Manchester very different to the
one that emerged in subsequent decades.
The Manchester Wheelers, A northern quadrophenia,
is described on the cover as 'A Book by Dave'
and is available from this site".
Written by Aidan O'Rourke
review by Iain McCartney
published in 'United
Please click on image to the
left to read the review!
Outside London Mods flourished in many towns and
cities in the UK. Most if not all were followers
of the London trends and therefore always behind
the curve of styles and events. The single
location that did become a trendsetting place
was Manchester and the location in the city that
was the fulcrum of the Mods was the Twisted
Wheel. At the first ‘Wheel’ club in Brazennose
Street (not far from the Town Hall) the
Manchester Mod scene was going full tilt in 1964
and at other clubs too: Oasis, Jungfrau,
Manchester Cavern and others. In 1965 and 66
when the Mod scene was practically over in
London, the scene in Manchester continued
alongside a strong soul music adoration. This
was mainly due to the Wheel D.J. Roger Eagle’s
playlist; he was not a Mod role model but did
have a knack in unearthing, importing and
knowing what excited his soul appreciative
audience. The Mods in the city faded out at
other clubs but gathered and coalesced into
‘Soul Mods’ at the Wheel. Smart appearance was
the order of the day – err the All-nighter. And
they were on parade every Saturday night. Even
in 1965 a trickle of Soul Mods from around the
nation were travelling on Saturdays to the club,
by 1966 it was a torrent. The Wheel was the
Mecca for this burgeoning religion of Soul and
local Soul Mods in the city attended ‘services’
four or five times a week at the club. The only
other sanctified location for Manchester Soul
Mods was another club: the Blue Note it was near
to the second location of the Wheel, which had
moved to Whitworth Street in September of 1966.
And at the Blue Note the new D.J was the Wheel’s
own legendary Roger Eagle. More importantly his
record collection had moved with him.
The All-nighters at the Wheel in the nineteen
sixties are famous for the amazing Stateside
acts that appeared there live. However of at
least equal importance were the vinyl records on
the twin Garrard decks played by the subsequent
D.J’s behind a wall of bicycle wheels.
Amphetamines powered the all night dancing, but
unlike the myths surrounding all night dancing
at the Wheel it was in fact very much subdued;
most often just shuffling about on the same spot
due to the crush of packed in All-nighter goers.
It was later (years later) at Wigan Casino that
‘Northern Soulers’ had space to develop
energetic dancing to our records and annoyingly
claiming many of them as their own discoveries.
Drugs; large doses of amphetamines were taken by
most of the Soul Mods for the All-nighters and
then some more, at daily and evening sessions at
other Manchester clubs on the Sunday after. It
all had to end. The club itself was targeted as
the epicentre of drug abuse and was closed down
in 1971. A few years before that the originating
Soul Mod crowd had retired, no one could keep up
such a regime for more than a few years without
physical and mental aberrations. Regardless, a
great time was had by most and the vast majority
survived to have very fond memories of that
frenetic period of the original Mod Soul scene
that today is acknowledged as the genesis of
It is against this backdrop that the novel: The
Manchester Wheelers is set. It pulls no punches
in its descriptions of amphetamine overload. It
describes a D.J’s struggle to control the inner
automatic pilot of his mind, whilst his world
crumbles around him after his girlfriend leaves
him and his Soul club goes Ska.