The Manchester Wheelers: A Northern Quadrophenia - Review
THE MANCHESTER WHEELERS -A Northern Quadrophenia
ISBN: 1-4392-2163-4 13:9781439221631
A Review by Mark "Oggie" Orridge.
I am 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 autobiography.
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 better.
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
Available online via Amazon (link below)
Enter the world of the ups and the paranoid downs of week after week of amphetamine fuelled all night dancing; duplicated later on the seventies 'Northern Soul Scene' but this was the beginning and where it all started.