This photo popped up on Facebook recently, taken by Mark McNulty, whose visual documentation of Liverpool’s club/music scene of the past 3 decades is now part of the city’s cultural legacy. It’s a photograph of a record cabinet Bill Drummond made following the death of Roger Eagle in 1999, which was displayed under the title ‘Dead White Man’ in the Jump Ship Rat, an alternative gallery space in Parr Street during Liverpool’s inaugural Biennial Festival that year, but not as part of the official programme, more an anarchic fringe event.
Tag Archives | Twisted Wheel
Just uploaded the 6th digital edition of the Discotheque Archives series I’ve been putting together for DJ Mag with the help of Josh Ray. Each month it focuses on a classic DJ, a classic club, a classic record and a classic record label – these are generally a combination of US and UK, with the odd European inclusion, each concerned with aspects of pre-Rave club culture.
Roger Eagle died 15 years ago today. For those who don’t know who I’m talking about, don’t bother looking for info about him on Wikipedia, for, somewhat unbelievably, he still has no entry – yet this guy should have statues in 2 cities for, suffice to say, without him, both Manchester and Liverpool’s cultural heritage would be substantially poorer. He was a musical maven that made so much happen in ’60s Manchester and ’70s Liverpool, before returning to Manchester in the ’80s. He was there, right in the midst of things, at a series of crucial moments spanning the eras of the Mods, the Hippies, the Punks and the Ravers. His legacy was finally brought into focus via the 2012 Bill Sykes book ‘Sit Down! Listen To This!’. I blogged about it here, hopefully it will help shine some light on the true gravitas of this man:
The Northern Soul movement has marked 2 significant anniversaries this year – the launch of the weekly All-Nighters at the scene’s most famous venue, Wigan Casino, in 1973, as well as the opening of its foundation club, Manchester’s Twisted Wheel, 10 years earlier. A new book, ‘Northern Soul – An Illustrated History’ was recently published by Virgin Books, its co-author, Bury-born Elaine Constantine, also the director of the upcoming film ‘Northern Soul’. The book has been well received by Northern aficionados, Constantine (and Gareth Sweeney) congratulated for their insightful overview of the movement, which is enhanced by the anecdotal offerings of some of the DJs, dancers and collectors who epitomized Northern Soul. Alongside the music and the clubs in which it featured, the book also highlights the drug culture that played such a major role, amphetamines fuelling its development.
Last month I was over in Chicago chilling out in my hotel room ahead of my first gig in the city, at Smart Bar, a venue with a rich tradition, which opened back in 1982. Chicago is, of course, along with Detroit, Philadelphia and New York, revered as a key US city when it comes to the evolution of dance culture (and, indeed, black culture, with, way before House, a deep heritage in Rhythm & Blues, Blues and Jazz, dating right back to the ‘great migration’ of black workers from the southern states, beginning just over 100 years ago).
Whilst DJ obsessives in this country could tell you the minutia with regards to New York’s celebrated club culture of the ’70s, I’m often surprised to find that they know precious little about what was happening here in the UK at the same time David Mancuso, Nicky Siano, Larry Levan and the other NY legends of the ’70s were bringing Disco to the fore. Maybe they think that there wasn’t much happening here, and that UK DJs were simply following the US lead, whilst, to the contrary, nothing could be further from the truth – go back into the ’70s, before Disco hit its stride, and you’ll find hugely influential figures including Ian Levine, Colin Curtis and Les Spaine in the North, Chris Hill, Bob Jones and George Power in the South – DJs with a wealth of knowledge between them, who made their mark on popular culture here at root level. These are giants, upon the shoulders of which subsequent generations of British DJs stand, whether they know it or not.
One of the world’s most celebrated clubs, The Haçienda in Manchester, opened 30 years ago today, on Friday May 21st 1982. In June 2007, a little after the 25th anniversary, the inimitable Manchester-based writer / musician, John Robb, author of books including ‘The North Will Rise Again: Manchester Music City 1976-1996’ (2009), ‘The Stone Roses And The Resurrection Of British Pop’ (1996) and ‘Punk Rock: An Oral History’ (2006), did a short interview with me about the club’s legacy: