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  1. #101
    Member Bettyboo's Avatar
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    I do love the old cafe racers...


    My wannahave bike through the 90s:







    A modern(ish) day Rocker's bike?
    How do I post these pictures???

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    ^Quality pics BB, due a green when i can. Thank's for posting.

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  4. #104
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    ^what airline were these three scrubbers flying?
    Rock chicks wore tight T-shirts, had big tits and rooted from dawn to dusk.

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    Dobie Grey got it bob-on: “You ain’t bin nowhere till you’ve been in with the In-Crowd”

    On my first visit to the “new “Wheel, it took me three minutes to confirm what I was already 99% certain of: this was the home to the elite of Manchester’s rapidly growing mod population, and I realised immediately this was where I wanted to belong.
    Your first time at the Wheel was a mixture of an initiation and an inquisition which was over after your first ten minutes, often without a word being spoken, but sealed your rejection or acceptance.
    Most mods before going to the Wheel had gone to the lesser clubs, starting bottom of the pile with the ‘Frau, graduating up to the Oasis and then to the Jiggy, before they reached the Wheel.
    As soon as they set foot in the Wheel though, their look and actions were mentally noted and if they didn’t fit in they’d be blanked, the rest of the club would be insulated from them. Few, if any of these failed mods would ever try again.
    As my mate Nobby was already a top lad there, my integration was swift.

    It was early spring 1966, at the time when the music played there had graduated from blues to soul, and what was played at the Wheel was slavishly copied by other clubs in an effort to keep up with the undisputed top club.
    Trouble was, that actually finding the music was near impossible in some cases for the would-be emulators, some records being so rare and elusive. So in the words of our anthem, Dobie Grey’s In Crowd, (adopted by us as it summed up our raison d’etre) “the original is still the greatest.”
    Fashion-wise too, the non-Wheel mods were always playing catch-up without ever catching up. By the time they had adapted to 14 inch side vents, we were into 18 inch centre vents.
    Being a member of the Wheel crowd gave you an extra swagger and bounce in your step……go into any other club and you stood out for what you were.
    If you went to another club you inevitably received most of the female attention (much to the chagrin of the regular lads). There was never much bother with the lads at other clubs though; they wanted to be us, so they gave us respect (even if it was sometimes grudging respect).
    We didn’t see any point in being a part-time mod. If you didn’t go to the Wheel then you weren’t a real Manchester mod. Dave Benbow summed them up. “Ravers” was how he dismissed them, and from then on we referred to anyone not making the grade as a “raver”. Anyone not into the mod or greaser scene at all was dismissed as “straight” a term also applied to describe anyone at the All-Nighter not on amphetamines. Those who’d taken substances were “blocked”, those who hadn’t were “straight”…..some words had a total different meaning then.
    My time at the Wheel lasted just three and a bit years, but second wife, kids, grandkids and United’s treble apart, they were the best years of my life.

    What was it that made the Wheel so special? Music, fashion, camaraderie, pride of identity, and of course the legendary, and (at the time) ground-breaking All-nighters. Watch the film “Quadrophenia” then quadruple the drama and you might get an inkling of the adventure we had.

    The All-nighters were the highlight of our week……top acts for me were Geno Washington and Jimmy James, as they got the crowd into a clapping stamping frenzy, the walls were running with condensation, the floor swimming with it and the atmosphere sizzling.

    There was a ritual involved with attending All-nighters…..start off at Piccadilly Station , secure a luggage locker to stash your airline bag, score your blueys (if you weren’t already “sorted”), swallow your pills (you became adept at swallowing a dozen in one gulp, no water necessary !) make sure you had a full packet of Wrigleys Spearmint, as you’d be chewing incessantly for the next seven hours (Sunday morning always meant sore jaw time), and then enter the club.
    The rest of the night was spent frantically dancing, chopsing and socialising….the only rest your feet got was when the turn was on stage.
    At the end of it all, you piled out on to the wasteland behind and made your way to Piccadilly Station for a wash, brush-up and change of clothes, then down to the Sally Army tea stand outside Victoria Station. The Sally Army would never take any money off us for the drinks, they obviously regarded us as lost souls, but for that reason alone I’ve always been a willing giver when the SA collection box is passed round the pub.
    Then it was hang around till Rowntrees Sounds opened at twelve. Later in the year, Stax on Fountain Street opened its doors around ten, which considerably added to the experience. Of course by this time we’d topped up with pills to delay the inevitable come-down.
    When Sounds closed around two, it was make-your-way-home time, which for me meant back to “the benches” in Sale, where all the mods hung out under the watchful eyes of plod, who were permanently parked in the upstairs window of the pet shop opposite…..oh we had some wind-ups at their expense !. For a few months I had a Sunday night dee-jaying stint at St.Hughs in Timperley, which meant a further top up of pills to maintain my cool there…..come Monday morning, my employers were on a raw deal as come-down inevitably kicked in, but hey-ho, next All-Nighter to look forward to !

    Amphetamines were of course a necessity to attend the All-nighters and luckily I never had the misfortune not to be blocked.
    In the early days it was easy to get hold of these banned substances, as every woman in the country had been prescribed “mothers little helpers”. Every week there was a choice of parties held by hopefuls trying to be accepted by the mod crowd, or innocents who invited a few mates round, only to find ten times as many gate-crashers, so it was a scramble to reach the bathroom medicine cabinet before anyone else and have first dibs of the contents.
    Of course with the bad publicity these substances began to receive, prescriptions and inevitably supply ran out.
    Next source of supply was the local chemists….after-hours of course! Amazing how little security they had…..usually some flimsy bars on the ground floor rear window was as far as it went. Pretty soon though Insurance companies got fed up and better security thwarted the perpetrators. I took a different route to sourcing desired substances, knowing two different chemists’ daughters, who although they suspected my desires weren’t totally focussed on their minds, hearts and bodies, both obliged with the required medication, one of them very generously.
    And then God looked down from the heavens and gave the Sale & Altrincham crowd a miracle!
    A lad of our acquaintance was found to be working for a pharmaceutical wholesaler in Sale, and, lo and behold, he was able to produce large tins of blueys and dexies in amounts hitherto undreamed-of. My stash of blueys soon numbered four figures, and saw me through the rest of my Wheel career, even allowing a trade I made for a rucksack crammed with Durban Poison, straight off Bristol Docks.
    Of course this was a short-lived window of opportunity, the opportunist swiftly losing his job and freedom.
    But despite the amphetamine use, there were no drug fatalities among our circle, whereas within two years of some of us progressing to dope and acid, there were three drug related deaths among my retired All-Nighter mates.

    There are so many stories attached to the Wheel, that anyone who ever went, surely has a tale to tell:
    Being situated right opposite the cop shop was viewed by us all with a sense of ironic humour……..the much-feted Sergeant Plummer(‘s Purple Hearts Drug Squad) plotting our downfall within eyesight and earshot, like Dick Dastardly, with just as little success.
    A legendary episode occurred when Chris Farlowe on stage at the All-Nighter, halted abruptly mid-song to advise us that the drug squad was clandestinely infiltrating the audience, only for Captain Narco himself to have swift sharp words with Mr. Farlowe who promptly announced to the delighted audience that Plummer had requested he play “Buzz with the fuzz”. Game, set and match to Chris !
    With the Wheel having no booze licence, those of us with a thirst on our weekday visits (Tuesdays & Fridays) were obliged to get a pass-out and decant to the local hostelries for a swift pint. Three London Road pubs got the pass-out trade…White Hart (now Munros), Robin Hood (since demolished) and our then favourite the Bulls Head.” Never go back anywhere years after”, is a good piece of advice, dropping in to the Bull for a nostalgic visit a few years ago, I was gutted to find that most of the clientele were now of the gay persuasion….not an old mod in sight !
    One time I was chased down London Road after a uniformed copper searching me had whipped the folded silk handkerchief out from the top pocket of my crombie to scatter green and clears all across the pavement …….three hundred yards and I’d left him 100 yards behind and flagging. I was amazed and exhilarated at how fast I could run, even wearing my crombie, given the right incentive. Needless to say, I made no effort whatsoever to recover my lost property!
    One night I was stranded in Llandudno Junction due to train delays. I’d been making my way back to Pwllheli after being bailed to appear in court following a disagreement with scouse greasers in Abersoch. Going into a café for a cuppa while I considered my next move, (no more trains that night) I noticed I’d been clocked by a small group of lads over the road. When they followed me in I thought I might be in for a bit of aggro for encroaching on their turf, however they came up to me and said “You’re from the Wheel aren’t you?” and stood back as if in awe. Turned out they’d been at their first All-nighter a couple of weeks earlier and had clocked me there. Inevitably I slept under a roof that night….but such was the standing you had from being in the “Wheel Crowd”.
    After attending the 1967 Easter Saturday All-Nighter it was straight on to the Wheel Trip To Blackpool the next morning, we missed the coach back and I was unintentionally delayed in Blackpool with Marie from Salford not getting home till the Tuesday, blissfully unaware of the chaos my disappearance had caused at home.
    One Sunday evening I arrived home still semi-blocked to find my father apoplectically waving a Sunday newspaper in my face, the front page sensation being the depraved drug-fuelled Wheel All-Nighters.

    Back then dress-sense was paramount. Most of the time today I’ll inevitably slouch around in levis and a hoody, but in those days the fashions altered weekly, you couldn’t afford to stand still.
    The small facesstyle haircuts favoured by our southern contemporaries were not for us. Mod lads in Manchester adopted the short crop…..suedehead rather than skinhead….and no facial hair except the optional neat sideboards.
    Mohair suits were compulsory, and most of us had to have a credit account at Burtons to keep up with the changes…and when you reached your limit, well you just opened accounts at Hepworths and Hawkers as well………..a predecessor of twenty-first century credit card crisis. Little wonder then that some of us needed ways to supplement our income !
    I used to well envy those who could shop at the likes of Abe Sacks……..didn’t take them the three weeks it took Burtons to make a suit did it eh ?
    The suits were as lightweight as you could get them, mohair mixed with silk or cashmere, or for the more impoverished like me… mohair and wool.
    Not only were the type or size of the vents changing consistently, there were other short lived innovations such as pleats and even box-pleats !
    But it wasn’t just the vents that were subject to constant change. Lapels, buttons, pockets, flaps and cuffs all went through constant update and when two tone material came in, nothing else was acceptable…..no matter how many buttons you had though, it was only ever the top one fastened….and you never wore the jacket loose.
    Shoes were either Italian slip-on or brogues and had to be leather-soled for the dancing.
    Shirts were plain and smart, although I’d developed a personal taste for Shermans by ‘68, and ties were either public school or regimental…mostly striped, and with a colour co-ordinated plain silk handkerchief.
    The expense and uniqueness of our wardrobe meant that there was little or no mod v mod scrapping, as only a total numpty would risk his threads unless there was no other option.

    The music played was a combination of motown, soul and blue-beat, and of course was the key element in the Wheel’s growth in popularity. We knew it at that time as Wheel Music, and the question was always asked of other clubs “Do they play Wheel Music there ? “ .If the answer was negative they were off the visiting list.
    We were so proud of the exclusiveness of our music that when the Four Tops headed the pop charts with “Reach Out”, it was gut-wrenching for us as it meant the rest of the country were catching on to our tastes. We considered it our exclusive scene and didn’t relish any ravers or straights jumping on the band-wagon cos of Top of the Pops.
    We all had our favourite tracks…”The In Crowd “was definitely our anthem but Cool Jerk, Roadrunner, How Sweet it is, Little Piece of leather and the faster dancing records were all much requested , and Breakout and Show me a Man were particularly popular with our lot.
    Midweek though, there were still a few unexpected tracks being played at the Wheel…Summertime (Billy Stewart) from some musical, Amen, a happy-clappy gospel song (Impressions), the falsetto Sherry (Frankie Valli)……….all good tracks I hasten to add, but not quite what you’d expect…… and of course there was Jan & Dean’s Surf City……played every Tuesday by a certain d.j.
    It all demonstrates the uniqueness of the Wheel….individuality, not conformity.

    But one horror memory I do have is of Yellow Submarine being played on the Tuesday night the day it was released…..yes the d.j. was disparaging when he announced “listen to this pile of sh*t” and he didn’t play it right to the end, and he was dissing the Beatles by playing it… but it still sullied the turntable at the Wheel.
    I’ve told this tale before to total disbelief, but I swear on my life, Yellow Submarine was actually played once at the Wheel.
    I acquired a brilliant record collection back then only to let a lot of it slip carelessly away in the mid seventies….having made the grave error of lending a workmate a hundred or so that were eventually robbed from his ”Willy Wombats Magic Disco” ( I kid you not !) I sold another fifty to a couple of Northern Soul d.j’s when my interest had temporarily waned. By then I was newly married and needed money for a washing machine !

    One think I really got into at the Wheel but never liked before or afterwards was dancing !
    Prior to the coffee bar and cellar clubs, the dance halls had been strict on dancers being in mixed sex couples only……lads dancing individually or in a crowd were strictly not allowed.
    Naturally, at The Wheel we were able to dance individually or in a group so dancing in a circle became popular. Although in my own estimation, I was a totally crap dancer, I developed a few routines …..soul dancing was not only good fun, it was a good ice-breaker with the girls. Our lot numbered some good dancers amongst us. Harry Hines, Charlie Bassett and Johnny Richardson stood out as the best. When we danced in a circle, I was always expected and encouraged to take a regular stint in the centre, but I always had the sneaking feeling my mates might have been having a clandestine laugh. Nobody ever told me I was a crap dancer and I hung up my dancing boots after the Wheel, so I’ll probably never know for sure!

    Another main attraction though was the Wheel crowd itself…..In the early days, apart from the Sale, Northern Moor, Timperley and Altrincham crowd whom I knocked around with through the week,(on a Friday night we were thirty or so strong down at the Wheel) there were the Jewish mods, who always had the best suits; Mods of West Indian descent who introduced a Caribbean cool laid-back attitude, the term “rasclat” and a taste for pork-pie hats, and the top mods from all corners of Mancunia. Back in early ‘66 we were mostly all Mancs or at least Lancs, but as time went on, mods from all over were drawn to the holy grail of the northern mod.
    Within twelve months of my first All-Nighter the ratio of Mancs to non-Mancs had dwindled rapidly……the word was spreading fast!
    We all gradually became Suchabody from Suchaplace……My soubriqet was Harry from Sale (sod the fact I was really yet another Dave, my school nickname had joined the Wheel with me and it had stuck).

    There were other facets to our life, we lived the life seven nights a week….plenty of other clubs, girls, parties, the occasional fracas with the greasers, scooter runs and random but constant mischief, but the one given in our life every week was the All-Nighter, and the rest of our life-style was structured around that.

    Nothing good lasts forever though, and come ’69 I was only going to the odd All-Nighter….I was getting older and was now into going down the pub midweek.
    Tripping on acid was the new adventure, (recreational drugs-wise), and acid and All-Nighters were totally incompatible. ….and the hippy trail was beckoning. Also, I was paying off a hefty fine after plod solved a stolen scooters insurance scam and half a dozen of us were hauled to court. Most significantly though was the fact that most of my old mates had stopped going to the all-nighters as they, too, were into new interests or relationships……the age group at the All-Nighters was getting younger, much younger, and although I still knew a lot of people there, we had less in common. The music was still as good, if not better, but the fashion standards were starting to slip. The exclusivity of being in the Wheel Crowd was gone, it seemed now that anyone who turned up could just blend in.
    As I saw it then though, the icing on the bun (or spanner in the works as it turned out) was that I was now going out with the top lass in Alty. We were about to get engaged, but her parental situation meant her attendance at All-Nighters was sporadic. I had to make the choice, and given that her beauty, personality, fashion-sense, wit and humour were unmatchable, there was no choice in the matter…..the All-Nighters drifted away (as Dobie would sing!)
    I ought to add at this point, that on top of all those qualities, she also had the good sense and intelligence to dump me some six months later!

    Later in life, I was the guv’nor of hostelries as far south as Huntingdon, Bedford and Westminster, and in all those places I met blokes or lasses who’d been up to the Wheel during that halcyon period, or later, and all shared the same opinion….it was the only place to be.

    As a rites of passage experience, the Wheel was ideal for me. I entered its doors as a seventeen year old, eager for acceptance among the elite. I emerged a twenty year old, brimming with self-confidence and belief in myself. ….and had three and a half years great experiences getting there!

    It was all forty years ago but I’m still a Wheel lad at heart…..when they finally cremate me it’ll be to Dean Parrish “I’m on my way “.
    I love Northern Soul music….always gets my feet tapping, after all it is the fully evolved version of our Wheel music, but those Northern Soulies never remotely attained our presence, style, panache, high standards or our trailblazing pioneering spirit…..and had no fashion sense whatsoever!, unlike us original Wheelers…the coolest cats in town………undisputed kings of the cool jerk !

    As Dobie Grey liked to tell us “We’re the Originals, and we’re the Greatest”


    “Harry from Sale”

    (I have to say in retrospect, that my standards today are as far removed as they could be from my standards then. My kids were brought up to be law-abiding, with good moral standards, and my grandchildren have continued down the same path.
    Just occasionally these days, I momentarily cringe when the fleeting memory of a past transgression appears, and I briefly consider some of my past antics, but inevitably, the devil in me returns and my heart swiftly quells my conscience with a grin,….cos after all…… “Those were the best years of my life”.)

  8. #108
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    Thailand Expat klong toey's Avatar
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    Love the intro music.

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    A new documentary about the clashes between mods and rockers will air on BBC One later this month.

    Mods and Rockers Rebooted will be broadcast on Friday, August 22 at 7.30pm to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the seafront fights between the two subcultures.


    Read more: Phil Daniels narrates mods and rockers documentary for BBC One - TV News - Digital Spy
    Follow us: @digitalspy on Twitter | digitalspyuk on Facebook

  14. #114
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    Poms beating the crapp out of each other, yeah, worth a look.

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    might be a silly question but how many of those lights on the scooters worked?

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    Quote Originally Posted by reddog View Post
    might be a silly question but how many of those lights on the scooters worked?
    They have to all be wired up by law to pass the MOT test.
    Most just take them off before the test and put them back on after.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chittychangchang View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ChookRaffle Jones View Post
    ^what airline were these three scrubbers flying?
    Rock chicks wore tight T-shirts, had big tits and rooted from dawn to dusk.
    You meet the nicest people on a Honda

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