A TWISTED Wheel fanatic fulfilled a life’s dream when he got to DJ at the iconic club for his 70th birthday.

The club heralded the emergence of the Northern Soul scene in Manchester when it opened in 1963 and Barry Ford has been a devoted ‘wheeler’ since he was 16.

So Brenda, his wife of 50 years, organised for him to play at the Twisted Wheel as a surprise present for the milestone year.

Usually the coveted spots are for professional DJs only but host Pete Roberts made an exception due to Barry’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the club and the music and culture around it. Brenda managed to convince Pete after the couple appeared in a music video for Soft Cell last year.

Synth-pop duo Marc Almond and Dave Ball’s first new song in 15 years called Northern Lights was filmed at the Twisted Wheel as a nod to their roots in Northern Soul. Barry, Brenda and other members of Latchford’s Phase 3 Scooter Club featured in the shoot.

Brenda said: “They used Barry’s scooter the most that day outside the Twisted Wheel.

“So I thought after all that work and as a true Wheeler I would help him tick off the top thing on his bucket list for his 70th birthday.”

Barry only found out about the opportunity days before he was due at the club so he quickly set to work on his set.

Warrington Guardian:

The original Twisted Wheel club closed in 1971 but was revived by Pete Roberts in 2000 when it was relocated to Night People in Princess Street, Manchester.

Barry, who is still a regular, got an hour on the decks in both rooms surrounded by the club’s original memorabilia.

He said: “It was exhilarating. If I was going to have a heart attack it would have been then.

“The noise and applause I got with people wishing me well when I started was incredible.”

Barry, who has two sons Jason and Richard and four grandchildren, Megan, Callum, Niall and Ellis, brought 200 vinyl singles with him and played to about 340 people.

His set included his favourite song, Bunn Sigler’s Let The Good Times Roll and the first record he bought, The Detroit Spinners’ I’ll Always Love You.

Barry, a regular guest DJ at Warrington’s Block 1, added: “It was nerve wracking as it’s always the best DJs at the Twisted Wheel. The calibre is high as the crowd know their music and the format has been tried and tested since 1963.

“When they announced it and said Barry is celebrating his 70th birthday I had to say to myself: ‘Keep calm’.

“I had the whole set worked out and I thought it would go one way or the other. But I was astonished by the reaction. It just got better and better.”

Barry’s last song was Them’s Gloria.

He said: “When it got to my last record in the second room you couldn’t move on that floor. They all got up and were all singing to it. I knew I’d got it right. It was brilliant. Nothing could stop me. I was so focussed. That was a dream fulfilled. It was unreal. They’re keeping that kind of music alive and one of the reasons we love going is you’re catching up with old friends all the time. As soon as I’m there I want to start dancing even before I’ve got my coat off.”

Barry reckons the club is keeping him young too.

He added: “I was in hospital last week. Everything’s ok but I said to Brenda: ‘If they’re keeping me in don’t bring slippers and pyjamas. Bring my Doc Martens, turn up jeans and a Northern Soul T-shirt!”

Barry also wanted to thank Warrington friends, Phase 3 Scooter Club, Wire Scooter Club and Pete Roberts for their support.