At school we get taught the history of kings and queens but the real history, for me, is the people’s history. The sweat, the grime and the toil of the people who made everything happen and it should also be about their funtime.
The Twisted Wheel is part of this and watching it get demolished to make way for a five star hotel in the centre of Manchester is another depressing example of corporate arrogance and the ignorance of our own real history.
For those that don’t know the Twisted Wheel was the coffee bar club in the sixties where northern soul started as the DJs played faster and more obscure records for the speed driven mods to dance to. For a couple of decades it has been a gay club but occasionally still had opened for soul nights. I have been there and the old wheel that gave the club its name was still on the wall and the coffee bar still in place then turned into a bar. There was still the tiny stage in the corner where Jimi Hendrix had done an after show jam. Every wall and every brick dripped damp and history, oozing the sweat and joy of a genuine culture far beyond the moneygrabbing pop machine.
This kind of history is priceless. It’s the real history in a people’s city and knocking it down for yet another glass tower for another faceless company is yet another tragedy for our culture and a triumph for greed. Why they could not be forced to incorporate the Twisted Wheel into their expensive new palace is baffling. We need our cultural sign posts to remind us of who we are and our rare triumphs where we own the culture.
Yet another club is now a t shirt and historical footnote…