In 1968 I used to go to a club called the Twisted Wheel in Manchester. They played American music from the Tamla Motown genre.
This music scene eventually became known as “Northern Soul”. Peculiar to Northern England. Twisted Wheel, Wigan Casino, Blackpool Mecca, Bolton Va VA club,. were all venues where enthusiast of this music would gather and dance their own strange kind of dancing ( bit like a puppet on a string) wore their mod type fashions, button down shirts, crepe soled shoes, wide skirts that would flare out as the dancers twirled around.
They formed their own social groups, paired off, and took drugs to keep themselves awake for their all night sessions. This drug use eventually led to the demise of the Northern Soul scene and clubs were eventually shut down in the 1970’s..But also, young people grow out of the music scenes of their youth, People got older and more sensible, grew up got married and the scene went quiet for a couple of decades.
Then in the 1990’s, these now middle aged people revived the scene,.
Northern Soul sessions sprung up again and these now older rockers would go from one venue to another at weekends, dancing their puppet dance to Tamla Motown music from the 1960’s and ’70’s.
Nearly twenty years alter the revival the scene is still going strong, but of course the people are now aged 50 to 70. I often wonder if Northern soul is regarded as the new ballroom dancing by the young.
Of course lots of Northern Soul enthusiasts had married each other in the 60′ and 70’s many of whom were divorced or widowed 30 years later, so this new movement provided a wonderful social outlet for these now older people.
I was never really a full part of the Northern Souls scene, it was just one of the many types of music I enjoyed in my youth and I couldn’t be bothered to joined in the drug taking or all nighters, alcohol was my drug of choice and that didn’t keep you awake all night!
. In the 1990’s, newly divorced I flirted briefly with it, with my friends Partygirl and M, but by that time I didn’t even drink and after midnight I turn into a pumpkin,( and everybody else seemed to get silly!) so It was not for me. But Partygirl, now 55, is still really into the new Northern Souls scene, which has been a life saver for her as she stumbled through several doomed relationship in the past few years.
Last Saturday night I was transported back to 1968. as I danced in the aisles at the Royal Concert hall in Glasgow at a concert labelled ” Magic of Motown”.
I had lasted about twenty minutes in my seat, before I just had to get up and dance.with the friendly Glaswegian Lady and her daughters sitting next to me. I found my self dancing as if I had just come out of the shower, naked, with my hairbrush in my hand! The music was so good.
It was one of those memorable nights that happen accidentally. In Glasgow on my own for a couple of days, I had idly gone on the internet and booked a ticket for the Royal Concert hall that night and it turned out to be one of the best concerts I have ever been to.
All through the concert I was thinking of Partygirl and texting her as she was on a train coming back from London
All credit to the British orchestra and black American performers.
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