The sad end at Cromford Court


Roger Eagle behind the bar - Image courtesy Maggie Backhouse.


Image courtesy Maggie Backhouse



Lancaster group Obediah Heap on stage 21st Oct 1967



 


Courtesy Alan Houghton - who adds that it has Peter Green's phone number on the back.


1969 - Courtesy Brain Marks (Grit Band)




Courtesy Marshall Jarman


Above and below: Lennox Avenue

 

Magic Village
Cromford Court, off Market Street

See also Manchester Cavern and The Jigsaw

The manager of the Magic Village was the late Roger Eagle, the owners being Vera & Ted Barry. Regular DJ was Paul Ashworth. Bar staff were two Johns, names forgotten or never known (see John Constantine's letter below).

They sold soft drinks, coffee (well something they called coffee) & an insane selection of sandwiches & rolls, not to mention unmentionable other things, well it was the 60s.

The resident little girl dancer was Juliet Begley.

Occasionally the whole team would decamp over to the Holdworth Hall on Deansgate to put on a special concert.

Country Joe & the Fish is one I remember, but there were many others. Locals other than Dave Backhouse were Chris Lee (now CPLee of Salford University), Mike King, the late Martin Hannet, Bruce Mitchell (Durrutti Column & any number of other Manchester band, inclusive of Greasy Bear)

The underground magazine sales man was Mike Don (a totally insane Scot who later started Mole Express), there was the team that ran Grass Eye magazine, Dave Clark, Keith Jones & Chris Dixon.

Chris Dixon later became the DJ at Mr.Smiths as well as doing a one night a week concert at MSG.

When the Magic Village was finally closed down an attempt was made to move over to the empty Jigsaw club, but the idea never really got off the ground & died after a very short time. Roger Eagle went on to run the Liverpool Cavern club & for a time also put on some really big concerts at the Liverpool stadium.

Info on Mark Stone and Allan Prior

Although Dave Backhouse gets mention on the Oasis page it was infact the Magic Village where Dave perfected and performed most of his Fantastic Light Shows.

I first met Dave on a summer night in 1967 at the Village, and would from time to time see him working there dressed in his mad scientists white lab coat (white where there wasn't spilled coloured ink from the projection slides he created as he puffed on a roll-up under the brim of his black bowler). Oh and the spinning disc Strobe.

The first time we met we had a heated, deep and meaningful about life the universe and worms, but I didn't think much more about him until in 1969, I saw him walk into the dining room at Hornsey School of Art (London) Where we had both, unknowingly to each other, just enrolled. We became great friends/flatmates and Dave is one of the very few remaining friends from my teenage years.

He recently did a '60s style Light Show, for a young band in Stockport, who were amazed by the technology. He still has all the authentic lighting gear and is available for similar events.

He now lives in Fallowfield, so if want A REAL LIGHT SHOW and you can't find his phone number, email me and I'll get him to get in touch with you.

Martin Sievey


I know they say that nostalgia is not what it was , but the memories that I have of those times I would not swap.

For instance , one saturday night in Cromford Court at the Cavern or whatever name was being used at the time, The Groundhogs are playing live on the tiny little stage. They were promoting the Blues Obituary album and were playing up a storm.

There was sweat running down the walls, the music was loud, Tony T.S. Mcphee playing his red Gibson S G like a man possessed, (something he has done to this very day) however there was one slight twist to the evening. The drummer Ken Pustelnik I believe was suffering from a severe attack of the squits and at the end of every number the band played he shot off the drum stool and disapeared backstage, only to emerge a few minutes later.

Gradually over the course of the evening the the colour drained from his face he became a shadow of the guy that started the gig and by the end of the gig looked like a trainee corpse but while he was onstage he never missed a beat, now thats class.

Jim Massie


Loved the walls, the shows, the alternative feel.

Mustn't forget an unsung hero at the M Village (and elsewhere) for me whose name apparently was Rowdy (Yates even). For me he was a good man, helping 'strangers' to feel at ease, and also help find a source of decent smokable.

I believe that he was eventually harrassed and became depressed, I was told that he had died. I hope the information is wrong.

Roger Baker
10/1/09


I remember going to the Magic Village to see a band called The Burning Bush simply because they had a Sitar player. My enduring memories of 'The Village' are of a girl who always danced wildly and of emerging into a Manchester Sunday morning blinking and happy.

Neil Jackson
15/6/09


I remember the Village with great affection. I was one of the 2 Johns behind the bar.I was 16 in 1967 and was a would-be soul DJ, playing discs at Merlins Cave in Stockport, also a Saturday night in, of all things, a Methodist youth club,and VERY briefly Rountrees Sound in Manchester.

I wrote Roger a letter asking for a DJ audition. He already had 2 Jocks - Simon Foster and Paul Ashworth but he gave me a job behind the bar and a concession running the cloakroom!

I recall hanging David Bowie's coat up one Friday night and charging him six pence!

I think the guy that painted most of the artwork on the walls was Allan Jones. I knew him from school, and he was a fine artist, and we started but never finished, a Foundation course together at Stockport College.

I recall dancers being the beautiful Juliet and Carol. I think Carol moved to Holland and had some sort of career as a dancer/entertainer.

God, I saw some great bands,and joined my own 1st band with Mike Bowden and Joe Roberts as a result of jamming late one Saturday night. Mark Stone taught me a few basic chords.

In later years I went on to become a singer-songwriter, broadcast on the BBC and Picadilly Radio, and record several albums.

I think the freedom, values and wonderful perspective on life I found at the Magic Village guided the rest of my life.

Thank you Mr. Eagle and everyone back in those heady days.

(Incidentally, I remember meeting Rogers mum, Dorothy, one Saturday night, she was rather posh but very open and charming.)  

John Constantine
15/7/09


The 2 DJs were Simon Foster and Paul Ashworth. 

Alan Frost went on to become Roger's main helper in Liverpool, also he very successfully managed the Magic Village through its death convulsions, after Roger had left.

There was also a lovely black girl named Cathy who often danced.

I remember getting off a 192 bus in Piccadilly Gardens and noticing a lot of long haired people hanging around in a vaguely lost fashion. They turned out to be The Missunderstood, booked for that Saturday night. We walked down to Cromford Court together.

They had arrived by train while their instrument and PA came in a transit van. The light shows were fantastic.

I recall one, especially,one Friday night, not a lot of people in the club,and Bridget St John on a bar stool in the "middle room", walls clad with white canvass - magic.

One of the disagreable jobs on the Sunday morning after the all-nighter was cleaning the toilets, we used to sit in the bar, have a smoke and then draw lots for it.  The Ladies was usually the worst but not always!

Love and Peace, jc

John Constantine
15/7/09


I'm the completely insane Scot who ran the magazine stall. Abiding memories of the place for me include the night we had The Nice, and about four times the official fire limit number of customers arrived: there were people literally standing on each other's shoulders. Then there was the night David Bowie turned up as a punter and was almost refused admission until somebody in the office (Roger?) recognised him.

Perhaps the weirdest incident happened at about 4am on an allnighter. A registered junkie (well known locally but I've forgotten his name) made arrangements with the DJ at the time - possibly Mike Marshal l- who played the Velvet Underground's 'Heroin', and shone a blue spotlight on the junkie coolly injecting himself on stage. When Roger found out the chap's feet barely touched the ground, despite protesting that he'd done nothing illegal. Which technically he hadn't.

Running the magazine stall had its problems, not least a permanent leak from the gents toilets immediately above which became increasingly obvious towards the end of an allnighter.

By the way, I'm almost sure that the artist, who Roger considered to be a genius, was called Chris Clover.

Mike Don
21/8/09


I remember Keith Emerson of the Nice playing whilst climbing all over his organ, in the style of Mozart in the film Amadeus.I also remember a fantastic night with a band that seemed likely to be huge (but instead disappeared) called Clouds. They had a drummer who could have played all night.

It was a great experience going to the Magic Village with some people taking their sleeping bags with them.

Geoff Greeen
15/9/09


I lived in Wigan until 1970, if we went to see a band at the Free Trade Hall we usually had to leave before the end, legging it to Victoria Station. Then we discovered 'The Milk Train' which left at 1 am and joined up with a similar Liverpool train at Wigan at 1.30. It was boring hanging around till 1 am but at least we saw the Free Trade encores.

Then we discovered The Magic Village and it became our waiting room. I have fond memories of the rope swing with which you could traverse the questinable pool of liquid leaking from the ceiling.

Did I see The Peddlers there? A bit square for The MV but they were great actually. Roger Eagle should get a credit for starting Eric's in Liverpool, a club much more important than late era Cavern. 

Alan Maycock
25/9/09


In reply, and hello Mike Donn, and with extra info regarding your comment on David Bowie's visit to the Village, that was the night I was on the cloakroom and charged him sixpence (as in my previous letter).

I knocked on the office door to inform Roger that Mr. Bowie was in the club (which may have put an end to a game of cards with Vera!).

Roger rushed out to greet him and I recall Bowie playing a great acoustic set to about 30 people in the bar, just for the fun of it,and as a warm-up for his concert at the Free Trade Hall the following night. It was fantastic!

I agree,the gents toilets and general dampness was awful, but, at the time, we didn't seem to care, wonder why?

Love to all Villagers.

John Constantine
30/10/09


Hi there!

Well I never, browsing the internet and vainly put my own name in. Blow me down with a feather I found this little gem, a blast from the past. I am glad there are other people out there still alive that remember those days. Resident dancer Mmm didn't know I had a title!

I remember going down there from the age of 16 to dance my little heart out - yes, I even paid to get in. Big Roger protected me fiercely from predators and even convinced my parents once that they served no alcohol and he would make sure I got home safe! I do remember the fantastic light show gloopy coloured blobs.

The place was dark damp and dank. The music was always brilliant, dark figures skulking in the shadows wearing old army and navey coats smelling of mold and sweat, even worse when Afghan coats became trendy. Argh!

I remember chatting to this shy young guy in a demin jacket one night called himself  Dave. He wanted to know what "the scene was like". They said his name was Bowie or something.

Yes, I danced a lot to numerous bands. I was actualey practising to fly, with or without the mushrooms.

They were good old days and you'll never get anything like them again, sorry folks you just had to be there! T
hanks for the memory, realy miss Roger.

Bye love and may the long time sun shine upon you, the pure light within you guide your way on.

Juliet Begley
6/11/09


My favourite bands to play there were Clouds and Blossom Toes.

Sorry I didn't get to thank Roger for such formative influences while he was still with us, music still plays a huge part in my life and I will never forget the Magic Village.

Rene
25/12/09


I am brother of Dave Backhouse, if anyone wants info about him do email me at bob@backhouse.info  He currently lives in Fallowfield.

Rob Backhouse
3/1/10


I remember seeing St Louis Union at the Magic Village, I suppose it was just before they split up. They'd gone all hippy and bluesy, they were pretty good but I suppose 'Girl' ruined their underground cred. They should have stuck it out.

I DID see them at the Village. They'd gone long haired. They were all living in a house in Moss Side. They had a black guy playing a beat up, white-painted Hammond organ that made the floor shake.

Anon
6/2/10


Anyone remember Aunties Kichen? I often used to go there before hitting The Magic Village.

I remember seeing Jethro Tull at The Village before they were famous. I also seem to remember 'Love Makes Sweet Music' by Soft Machine on the jukebox.

Sally Coombes
7/2/10


Manchester's answer to The Roundhouse, Jethro Tull, The Edgar Broughton Band and The Liverpool Scene were Village regulars. It was good to see them build a following as word got round. Their audiences grew from about 50 people to full houses.

I saw Tyrannosaurus Rex there, Steve Peregrine-Took came back on after their set to jam with Mark Stone, using a drum kit they'd cobbled together from bits and pieces left behind by other bands. Marc Bolan went off to sleep in a corner somewhere.

I saw Slade there too, in their pre-glam skinhead days. Plus John Mayall, Captain Beefheart, Ten Years After, Tim Rose, Roy Harper, Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera... and many others my poor old brain can't recall. 

The large picture on the stairs was by Chris Clover, Alan Jones painted the walls and I'm pretty sure it was Dave Backhouse who did the pillars.

I was lost when it closed, I can still smell the incense.

Linda
12/2/10



I was only 16 in 1969 but I used to go to The Magic Village. I remember seeing Edgar Broughton, Glass Menagerie, Ace Kefford Stand, The Misunderstood ... and I went to two gigs at The Holdsworth Hall on Market Street ... one was Country Joe & The Fish ... the other was Family. I was a huge fan of Captain Beefheart and the first time that I heard 'Trout Mask Replica' was at The Magic Village.

The DJ must have got an advance copy, cos it wasn't in the shops ... I remember him playing it over and over.

When I moved house 4 years ago, I found my old membership card.

Marshall Jarman
16/2/10


Only made it twice to the Village, mid-68. Wish I'd gone more. Amazing light show, resident long-hair Mark Stone playing his harmonica like a man possessed. On the jukebox, Freak Out by the Mothers of Invention. As for the bands, my mind's a blank... but I did see Country Joe and The Fish at Houldsworth Hall soon after.

Alex Skorecki
4/3/10


I remember going to watch The Nice with Keith Emmerson rocking his hammond organ.  It was a great place to go to.  I went there every weekend and saw many top bands.

Those were great days when I look back.

Margaret King
9/3/10


My friend Paul Ashworth was always the first person to get what I would call "funny music" not your regular sort of music.

Paul had polio as a child which meant he had one leg shorter than the other but he never let it stop him living life to the full. When I first knew him he would play cricket and he was a prodigious spinner of the ball. He was excellent at batting, a lot better than me anyway. He told me he had had trials for Lancashire and I can believe it. He did try to play football but his legs wouldn't allow him to be very good which left him frustrated. He got a job down south at the SMC shirt shop in Watford and would be always bringing back records.

He would come up with things like the Doors and a group called the Seeds. I remember one of the songs went, We're the Seeds starting to grow."  They didn't get anywhere but I remember the singer had the longest hair I had ever seen! Paul was the first person I met who had a Frank Zappa record, Absolutely Free. I remember one of the lines was "Only 13 but she knows how to nasty" and I thought "Wow, how can they get away with that?"

My brother, Frank was a member of a blues group the Kingbees and told me tales of Banjos and the Sovereign club were the seating was car seats laid out on the floor. One night I was supposed to go to the Twisted Wheel to watch Sunny boy Williamson but my dad stopped me at the last minute. It's not surprising really because I was only 15 years old.

I was a regular in the Crown Pub in the sixties. It was the only pub in Manchester that would serve people with long hair and it became known as the long-haired pub. I had long red hair then and I have long hair and now only it's mostly white. My first experience of smoking dope was in a pub called the Assize Court which was across the road from the Crown. We were watching a group called the New Religion and I noticed something large and conical being smoked on the next table to me so I moved little closer and let it be known that I wouldn't be averse to having a drag on the suspicious looking object. They duly passed it to me and I gave it a prodigious suck. In those days my lungs were pretty good due to me being a sporting type. At the end of the drag smoke came out of every orifice, I am sure including my ears! I sat for a few minutes before staggering to the back door and was violently sick in the car park. After that I had a go when ever I could find it and was violently sick for the first six times but I persevered. It was only after the sixth time did I realise that every time I smoked dope I had consumed at least six pints of alcoholic beverages. I smoked some dope without having a skinful first and have never looked back since!

Around 1967 or 1968 Paul got a job as a DJ at the Magic Village and after that when the Crown closed at 11 o'clock we would go to the Magic Village. I remember there was a pinball machine just after you came through the door. I was never that good at pinball but I was good at that machine. It must have been Roger Eagle's own special machine because I always manage to get free games on it. It had cards Ace King Queen Jack in a row and if you managed to get it in the Ace pocket it flirted the ball across to the King and the Queen then the Jack and you got lots of points for it. You could do this manoeuvre several times and it was great to hear the phut sound signifying free games. It wasn't unusual for me to get 20 free games at a time.
 
I saw some very good bands there, Jethro Tull played there and I remember Ian Anderson saying halfway through the set that it was Mick Abrahams 25th birthday and thinking , "gosh he's still making music like that at his age!" The bands would sit with the audience between sets and Ian Anderson and Mick Abrahams were sat with me. I told them enthusiastically that they were the best band I had ever seen and they said they had a record contract and there would be a record coming out soon.

One night I remember this guy in a blue silk caftan and saying to my friend, "who does he think he is" but really I suppose I was a bit jealous. About three o'clock in the morning he got up and started playing music with somebody else. There were only about 20 of us still awake and I can't say I was that impressed. He was Peregrine Took and his mate was Mark Bolan. The only song I remember as being quite good was, Deborah.

One of the best nights I had there was when Roy Harper played. He was continually smoking dope on stage and his guitar playing was amazing. I couldn't believe that he was the only person who was playing guitar because there was so much going on and he was also so funny. It was a Friday night and he was on the next night so I went again. Later I went to live in Colne and Roy Harper was a regular at Colne Municipal Hall until at least 1990 when I moved and he always smoked dope on stage. People in the audience would throw him joints.
 
In 1968 I went on "the road" and was away for the summer. When I got back Paul told me I had missed a really good gig, Captain Beefheart and the Magic band. I did actually meet him later one memorable night in 1972 at the Bickershaw music festival while under the influence of psychedelic drugs. I wrote about it on my website http://lotties.brainiac.com/ceegee/loop.htm

I saw him three times during the Clear Spot tour of 1973 which I wrote about my website again. http://lotties.brainiac.com/ceegee/loop2.htm

I always wanted to get in touch with Paul Ashworth again and many times put his name into Google but unfortunately he had the same name as a character in Fever Pitch as well as it being a very common name. I listen to Sounds of the Sixties, Saturday mornings on Radio 2 and I asked for a request of Fat Angel by Jefferson Airplane because that was a song I remember shaking my head to often at the Magic Village while sitting next to the speaker. It's a wonder I can hear at all these days! I don't know if they played it because I don't listen to every minute of every program. I learned that Paul had died in 2008 and it prompted me to make another request for Captain Beefheart singing Electricity. I told them a little tale about going to Magic Village and how Paul had been very influential in my life. They didn't play Electricity, they played Abba Zabba. They must have thought that Electricity was too weird!

It's strange Captain Beefheart has multiple sclerosis and I also have multiple sclerosis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsLnvRwBJhw
http://lotties.brainiac.com/ceegee/parapet.htm

He gave up making music in 1981 probably because of ill health and has since become a successful artist who sells paintings for vast amounts of money.
 
After the Magic Village closed I had to find somewhere to spend my late-night weekends. I tried the Continental club and at ??? Pantry on Cannon Street and didn't like. The place that finished up being my late-night Saturday place was Auntie's Kitchen. It was good but it wasn't an all nighter. It went on until 2 a.m. and it seemed too organised for me. I did miss the Magic Village but I had lots of nice memories.

As a postscript in the 1980s when I was living in Colne and Roger Eagle turned up and he seemed a little down on his luck. He had a relationship with a friend of mine called Janet Cook. He started playing records at the Union which was just across the road from a club called Francs who had bands like the UK Subs playing and lots of pogoing going on. Roger still had all his old singles, Smokestack Lightning, Green Onions and Help Me by Sonny boy Williamson. He played  Sometimes a Woman Gotta Hit a Man by the Captain for me. It finished after about three weeks. I enjoyed it but obviously I didn't have enough friends! Roger disappeared after that and Janet told me he had gone to live in Leeds.

Charlie Gee
19/3/10


It was without doubt the best time ever. Like all the other people on this site, I think I must have seen pretty much all of the bands that have been mentioned.

I do remember the guy who sold posters just below the stairs as you got down, bought my very first Hendrix poster from him also many copies of IT paper, some of which I still have somewhere in the house. The place wasn't licensed but who needed beer all you had to do was breathe.

Fantastic - Keep on Trucking.

Andrew Gibbons
17/4/10


I started going to the MV in 1967, when I was 15 and continued until about 1970/71. Remember Simon Ashworth, me and my friend Dave Street were quite friendly with him and visited Simon's Dad's pub, which I think was just off either Deansgate or Cross St, a few times. Can anyone rember the name/address of it ? Remember Roger on the door, would talk with him about who were the up and coming bands. I remember once we said Pink Floyd but he said he couldn't afford them but had a group called The Nice booked for a few weeks in the future and had we heard of them ! Their appearance was phenomenal.

Remember Mike Don and buying various magazines off him. Also CP Lee, who seemed to be some kind of organiser of 'events' that were always to cool for me to attend.

Saw too many great bands to name them all but 'highlights' include the Incredible String Band playing all night until about 6am, and asking John Peel (who was appearing with Tyranassaurus Rex, who didn't turn up)to play Cream's single, Anyone for Tennis, and him telling us to piss off.

The MV also seemed to become an arts lab on week days when it was free entry with the hope that something would happen. It rarely did but I did meet the one and only girl I got off with from the MV, Carmel Brown from Blackley.

Rob Marston
20/4/10


I think the pub that Simon's parents had was,maybe,the "Star and Garter",anyhow it was on Fountain Street behind (what was at the time )Lewis' department store.I think the buiding is now Primark,but as far as I know the pub is still there. A Victorian mock half timbered affair. Mind you it is a long time since I have been there.

John Constantine
21/4/10


I used to go to the Magic Village with Juliet Begley and Martin Sievey and Nigel Fowler.

Me and Nigel got a job stuffing teddybears for Adrian Mulquean  - paid in hash, lying in a pile of foam rubber. Roger used to have a poster for Richard and Mimi Farina behind the DJ booth. Celebrations for a Grey Day. Dave Backhouse was a mate too. Haven't seen him since 1978 when if memory serves me right he was wearing a brown paper bag on his head!

Love to hear from anyone there.

Paul Astles
5/5/10


Met many friends at the Magic Village,it had a great influence on my life, pity there were no digital camaras then, would love to see all those old faces again.

Russ Stevens
25/5/10


The village was magical and an oasis/refuge.People forget that back then long hair and strange clothes were the preference of the few and frowned upon by most people.

I saw many bands at the village and seem to remember that they would play the uni's and then do a 12.00 am slot and then one at 3.00 am after which we would find our way home.

My curiosity for the past drew me to the site and I send my best regards to Juliet Begley, Paul Astles and Nigel Platt.  

6/6/10


Hi to everyone out there in the ether-----is it really 40 plus years since the halcyon days (when it was always summer)of the magic village ?

I was one of the "regulars"------remember Juliet Begley well------used to dance a la Isadora Duncan in my red dress along with her and Carol. Remember Steve Gee who sometimes worked behind coffee bar(sadly he died way back in 1970 ).

Went out with chef Matthew Norton from Sale and actually met my ex husband Rob at MV Good friend Dilly from Middleton /Joe Roberts whom I still bump into from time to time and others who I can`t put a name to-------abiding memory of spilling coffee over Roy Harper - happy days!!!!!!!

Love to all Tina x

Tina
22/7/10


Went to see Van der Graaf Generator there in '69 or '70. They did 'White Hammer' and 'Red Shift' amongst others. Happy days - or rather late nights and very early mornings. Someone else on this page mentioned gigs at Holdsworth Hall on Deansgate (200 yards from the Village) around that time. I remember Country Joe and the Fish supported by Liverpool Scene.

Peter Heywood
24/7/10


It's incredible - and a joy to know that Mike Don is still alive. No disrespect to you Mike;but I thought you would never make it to "old age". You wouldn't remember me. I once wrote a stupid article for your magazine. Can't remember what it was about. You certainly added to the alternative scene in Manchester.

I remember you selling your magazine outside Manchester University Student Union.

A pub called the Salutation (off Siver Street)served fantastic beer.

There was a bookshop in All Saints - the "8th Day" - close to where Manchester Ploytechnic (John Dalton Building) was. The guy running it at one time was Pete Cockcroft. I wonder whatever happened to him?

Stay well Mike and be happy.

Peter McEwen
1/9/10


Well, I was there a lot between 1968 and 1970 and think I can add a few things where memories have understandable gone rather hazy.

The DJ Simon Foster was in my class at school at that time - the determinedly uncool Manchester Grammar - and his dad ran a pub called the Coach and Horses in a back street behind the Sawyers Arms (still there) on Deansgate - think it is Mulligan's now. 

Cos I was Simon's school mate, got the opportunity to hang around gormlessly by the cramped carboard box that passed for the DJ booth when John Peel did a guest spot; he was in a bad temper I recall.

Simon also went out for a while with a woman called Cathy who worked at Rare Records in John Dalton Street at the time: a relationship made in vinyl heaven...

The Nice played there twice with the before and after midnight sets and were quite exhilarating - a bit of geordie drama and danger before all the pomp that followed on for Keith Emerson. 

Was at the back and saw bugger all of John Mayall though it sounded great with a full band blasting out and Mick Abrahams was always good value - both with Jethro Tull and after. Oh, and for what it's worth me and my mates thought the Clouds were crap - and they were always on!

Happy times indeed...   

Ian Cole
5/9/10


John Peel was in a bad mood because his records had been stolen from his car.

Irene Partington
9/10/10


Oh, names to conjure with, reading this has triggered all sorts of memories.  

I knew Juliet Begley, I don't know if she remembers Tim the electronics geek from Sale.  She almost had learned to fly: one day I met her while riding my push-bike, and could only admire her running alongside me as I rode, keeping up effortlessly and virtually floating over the ground, barely touching it in a long-striding dancer's gait.

Janet who worked on reception at the Magic Village pointed me at this site, but was too shy to post herself.

Mike Don might remember me as the guy who printed a students' "what's on" free-sheet and carted it around in a motor scooter and sidecar, while my housemate silk-screened gig posters for Salford Uni.

We were all absolutely broke and stretching a few pence as far as they would go.  A princely 7/6d got me to see the Nice; Keith Emerson sticking a knife into his keyboard to wedge down a key while he cavorted.  I think Roy Harper was 2/6d, I spent most of his performance sitting on his amplifier holding together a broken jack-plug.   Often I didn't have the cash, but managed to get in one way or another, carrying speakers for Greasy Bear or something.

One night eight of us rode into Manchester in a seriously overloaded Triumph Herald belonging to a local drummer who had turned 17 already. As I recall little Juliet lay across the knees of the back-seat passengers, and I rode in the boot.  I think we killed that car.

I too was an MGS kid, I also knew Simon Foster slightly but not from there, I had been his classmate in primary school.

Tim Jackson
21/10/10


This is for Pete Heywood:  The bookshop was called Grass Roots Books. Originally on Upper Brook Street, same block as Adrian Mulqueen's headshop (Gold Seal). Moved to 100 Oxford Road (site now part of RNCM)when Pete Cockroft and I got involved with it.

We were in the same building as Music Force, the music co-op with Bruce Mitchell and Tosh Ryan.

Eventually after another two moves the shop came to 109 Oxford Road, All Saints  (site now On The 8th Day). About that time (I think) Pete left, he emigrated to Australia. 

I remember a good deal about Grass Roots, I worked there for twelve years!

Mike Don
19/12/10


Just found this site and it's brought back loads of wonderful memories. I remember the music, the people.

There was one guy who came dressed as one of the 3 musketeers. Very handsome very cool.

I remember being in love with the girl who danced trance like through the night and the swing in middle of the room I remember Mike Don and Mole Express. Mike published my very first cartoon (cheers Mike), followed by cartoons in Grass Eye. They gave me albums for the cartoons, which was cool because music was my life and still is.

Bands I remember... Groundhogs, Blossom Toes, Blodwyn Pig, Edgar Broughton and his mum who was their roadie,Tyrannosorous Rex, think I saw Floyd. Saw Jethro Tull sold as the best blues band in the North.

At dawn we'd go to a cafe on Oxford Rd and drink coffee with all the Skins from the Twisted Wheel. So many great memories, would love to go back in a time machine and sit there watching myself all those years ago.

Mustn't forget the amazing light show and DJs.  Even now when I play Steve Millers Sailor or Jefferson Airplanes Bear It takes me back to 4 in the morning, lying in my great coat on the floor of the Village.

Anyway love to all you villagers, perhaps we should have reunion!

Tony Husband
29/12/10


Reading the above posting think a reunion would be great except we would all have to wear little name badges--! 59 today and still "drift around " as I once danced at The Village---not in public heaven forbid and a little more stiffly !!!!remember the excitement of Friday nights coming round and the whole weekend of The Magic Village ahead."Requiem for the rockets " /"White rabbit" and so many other recordings make the years just fall away.

Love to all of you out there.

Tina x
7/1/11


Perhaps if we get a bunch of us interested we could have a Magic Village reunion somewhere in town, as near to the original site as poss. It might be fun it might fall flat. I can be contacted through my website www.tonyhusband.co.uk. if anyones interested.

Love Tony 
21/1/11

Great memories of MV, it was thru meeting people and International Times and the like that you learned so much about this changing period and its possibilities,.

We used to start the weekend with the flashers at the Cinephone, move on for a couple of pints at The Shambles and then down the Village.

Nights I remember include soon to be best mate Geoff Hyland somehow obtaining a lift home for us at 3am in a converted ambulance with a sofa in the back.

Best nights include Mayall with new guitarist Mick Taylor and Dick Heckstall Hyphen Smith as my mate used to call him (for years I thought Hyphen was his name), Liverpool Scene with a poignant 'Aberfan' from Andy Roberts and Tim Rose with John Bonham on drums (he stood on my toe I remember).

A strange night one Xmas eve when only one of Jethro Tull turned up with a sick note for the rest, I think it was Mick Abrahams.

Still the greatest jukebox known to man with the french single version of Interstellar Overdrive and just the great feeling of being amongst friends even if you didn't know them.

Someone else mentioned Rare Records in John Dalton Street, it seems incredible now that I would travel an hour from Leigh sometimes to buy a record based solely on the label and cover...e.g. Clear Light on Elektra.

Anyway Love to All ...all that for 5 bob as well ...

Alan Houghton
13/4/11


I used to go to the Magic Village Club in the late 60s. I saw John Mayall in the Magic Village and his lead guitarist was Mick Taylor, who just a few weeks later, I saw with the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park, London and I appear on the DVD! And if you look at the images on the left-hand side, you will see the poster for the Magic Village for the June/July period and just look at the bands who were appearing for just a few shillings.  Interesting stuff eh?!

The influence always stayed with me, I DJ now for Salford City Radio (http://www.salfordcityradio.org) and Radio Seagull (http://www.radioseagull.com), which is broadcast from the last working radio ship in the world!

Eddy Mann
11/5/11


This site brings back a few memories. I only started going about a year before the place closed. Best acts I saw were Duster Bennett, Jethro Tull (seem to recall Ian Anderson busking on Cromford Court before the gig). Used to enjoy Lennox Avenue, and, for something different, Anton Farmer.
Seemed to spend most of my Fridays in "Sean's cloakroom" jamming on acoustic guitars. Someone mentioned Cathy, and she used to come and sing Dylan songs with us sometimes.

Played a couple of times with Mark Stone under the name of "Purple Stone and the Alchemist" which was apparently the name for any band with Mark in it. Did a solo gig on the last Friday before closedown. Only about a dozen people listened, but I did have the distinction of being the only person ever to do the full version of "Desolation Row". Later on, Carl Brown played some electric stuff, but not in a structured way.

Does anyone remeber when a guy showed up with a primitive video camera with John Lennon's name on it? He said he was shooting documentary footage of clubs, and just gave the camera (and large,heavy reel-to-reel recorder) to my mates and I to shoot scenes in the Village. How trusting was that?? Wondered is the tapes ever saw the light of day. Or if the guy ever finished his film.

Pete Olsen
21/5/11


My memories of the Magic Village are very happy ones.

I became involved from the outset when Roger Eagle commissioned me to paint the sign above the front door along with the mural on the landing wall at the bottom of the stairs. I was given a set of keys to enable me to continue working when the club was closed.

I arrived one morning to find a beat-up Ford Transit parked outside, the rattling of the keys must have alerted the inhabitants of the van to my arrival, as I began to unlock, I was startled as the rear doors were noisily kicked open from within. From the cloud of smoke that billowed out emerged Ian Anderson followed by the rest of Jethro Tull. They'd been parked up since the early hours (I think they'd played Liverpool the previous night)... I helped carry some of thier kit in so that they could set up for rehearsal... I didn't get much work done that morning as there was a very good line in 'jazz woodbines' doing the rounds.

I was very priveleged to meet so many very talented musicians, especially during the hours before the club opened, many of them were later to become 'Rock Stars'.

I remember comparing and sharing exotic substances with Marc Bolan and his friend Peregrine Tuck who seemed to be surgically attached to a pair of bongo drums. Marc was very softly spoken, as was the trend with 'hippy-speak' in those days, they were good company, Marc would strum on his guitar and chat (Peregrine said very little)... The last time I saw them in the flesh, they were of to do a gig in London, I had an exhibition running in a private gallery (Berry & Gillmore) next to the City Art Gallery, They'd promised to take a look before they left town.
The next time I saw 'T Rex' was on TV, Marc had his own show!... A metamorphosis had taken place, gone was the soft,sultry 'hippy-speak' which had been replaced by a much brasher, even 'aggresive' tone of voice! I presumed the powers that be thought it would be more befitting his new status as 'Showbiz Super Star'

I never did get paid for the mural or the Magic Village sign I painted... Roger Eagle presumed Ted & Vera would be paying, whilst they thought it should be Rogers responsibility.... It was finally agreed that I was give an honourary nmembership with free entry to all the gigs... This 'payment in kind' worked out quite well for me in the long run!

I mustn't sign off without thanking Mike Don for the gratifying information that Roger Eagle considered me to be a genius (something he never told me to my face), although he more than made up for it by sometimes phoning me at my studio when he was in the company of someone that he knew I admired... On one occasion he was with Barry Melton of Country Joe & the Fish and handed me over for what turned out to be a very pleasant little chat.

Love & Peace to all those who made the Village 'Magic' ....


Chris Clover
20/6/11


Just watched BB King at Glasto and thought the last time I saw him was at the village in 1967 or 68 and he is still rockin. Love to all.

Jock
24/6/11


I have no idea what prompted me to type "Magic Village" into Google today and even while doing so I never thought that I would find anything of consequence. But what have I found?

Myself (half) mentioned in the first paragraph followed by a whole collection of weird and wonderful people I once knew. I am the "other" John (Lanigan) behind the bar. Yes, John Constantine and I spent many, many long hard nights keeping you all supplied with the most incredibly delicious coffee and food made with our very own hands. Not to mention other treats to help everybody through those long Friday and even longer Saturday nights.

Juliet, it wasn't only Roger that spent all his time protecting you from the sharks, we all did, and sometimes your dancing was a little like blood in the water.

Mike (Don) it's good to know that you are still out there somewhere, though I'm sorry I have to admit that I too didn't think that you would last this long. Do you remember Victoria Rd.? You seemed old even then. Mike Don, Mike Anderson, Dave somebody and I all lived in the same house in Fallowfield for a time and played our parts in the short lived and very disorganised "Arts Lab" along with Dave Backhouse, Chris Lee and others whose names I apologise for having forgotten.

Maggie (Backhouse) thank you for not getting me in any of the photos you took. As far as I know there are none of me from that time and I am more than happy about that. By the way is that Sandra in the centre of you bar picture?

I did rather like the idea that Tina X and Tony Husband had about a reunion when I first read it. I am now having doubts, maybe 40 plus years is too long a time and we surely can't be anything like we were. To mis-quote a song from the time, I might be curious but I am not sure I'm brave.

However, Tony, if you do decide to arrnge something please give lots of warning, I haven't lived in the UK for a very long and would need to make arrangements,assuming I overcame my doubts.

Interesting idea though.

It was a very special time and a time of change. I think it was of those important times in our lives and I am more than pleased to have known so many of you. Time and life style have sadly taken so many of our friends from that time so it is good to know that so many of you are still out there and remember the Village.

I hope you are all happy and well.

John Lannigan
10/7/11


I'm sure I went along to MV a couple of times with my dear friends Jill Eborall, her brother Rob and her husband Pete (Pete was a bass player and worked in the music shop opposite the Palace Theatre - what was it called?, before working at Wasp music in Rusholme and the Golden Garter club).

There was a real excitement about the music scene in Manchester at the time and I also remember going to Aunties Kitchen, Mr Smiths, the Poly disco and Free Trade Hall. I am sure I saw Juliet dancing at a number of pop festivals around the UK and remember her dancing at the Buxton Pop Festival which had Hawkwind and Edgar Broughton band playing on the bill.

Escaped to London in 1973 to work with homeless men. Happy days! 

Keith Chadwick
12/9/11


To all those wondering aboutthe Friday night when David Bowie turned up, it happened like this.

I was outside the Village talking to my very good friend, the late lamented Steve Gee (RIP), who was on the cash desk, when this guy comes walking up to me and says "Hi, I'm David Bowie and I've just played a show here in town for the teenyboppers (I think that Space Oddity was in the charts at the time and he'd played the Appollo) and I'd like to play some music for the real people. All this was directed at me. Steve Gee said "What, THE David Bowie? Wait there." He ran inside to tell Roger and they both came running out of the club, grabbed Bowie and dragged him inside.

When Steve reappeared, I stayed outside chatting (he still had to attend to the cash desk). Some minutes later there was an almighty row between Roger and the artist who was supposed to play that night, someone from Bolton, I seem to remember. In those days they'd have a local act on a Friday and a big name on a Saturday and it was obviously this guy's big chance and he wasn't going to give it up without a fuss. Roger paid the guy off and Bowie did a show which I missed because I stayed outside talking to Steve Gee.

I remember a lot of people from those days who are mentioned on here - Mike Don, Alan Frost (what became of him?) and Dave Backhouse (he lived in a flat on Palatine Rd next to my girlfriend of the time (now wife). Once we'd made a large pot of really spicy lettuce soup which was too spicy to eat - he wasso hungry that he finished the lot!

Glad I found this site - lovely days.

Nigel Hand
16/9/11


@Keith Chadwick
The music shop across the road from the Palace was called Reno's. I bought a nice Fender there, which I've still got. Also bought a few harps there - Hohner Echo Super Vampers - which, sadly are no longer available unless you can find them in the back of a really old-fashioned musical instrument store. The ideal one to have was, of course, a B flat.

Nigel Hand 
7/10/11


I used to go to the Village too, about 1969. I was in my last year at school (Hollin High School. Middleton) and called in Friday nights.

Later friends and I discovered Auntie's Kitchen: I mostly remember sliding across the glass, underlit dance floor on my knees. There was never anyone else there those nights.

Brown Street (New?) and then there was On the Eighth Day - I remember the day it opened. A little further along the street was The Wishing Well coffee house: a down stairs place: drug raids, getting ripped-off ... ah, those were the days!

Michael Murray
10/10/11


Just discovered this site - a few names and memories I recognise.

It was a very significant time for me - connections with people and a culture I was very drawn to. I am still in touch with some of the people I met there. Roger continued to be part of my life after the Village closed - he managed a band I was in - Drive In Rock and the Rockettes in the early 70s, and he used to stay at my house in Longsight in the late 70s/early 80s when he did an R&B night at Rafters.

In response to Nigel Hand's post about Allan Frost - our paths crossed about 10 years ago - I was working for English Nature in the Peak District and an Allan Frost with a Wythenshawe address booked on a guided walk. I couldn't join the walk, but I asked the leader to ask if the Magic Village meant anything to him. And of course it did! - we had a couple of long phone calls, but sadly I heard he died a few years ago.

I still have the telegram a friend sent to me to tell me Steve Gee had died. But there were many happy times too - music, dance, the amazing juke box - and Mike Don, if you are reading this - my A is for Apple poster by the Fool that I bought from your stall is much loved by my now grown up children!

I used to dance with Allan Prior. Because of Roger I got to go on tour with Captain Beefheart. I danced at the Rainbow to open an Edgar Broughton Band concert. Exciting times.

Nicky Crewe
6/11/11


How very strange that I should be thinking about the Magic Village and actually look it up the day after my old school friend Nicky Crewe posted!! I was thinking about Chris Dixon for some reason and found this site.

Ah yes I remember it well, well kind of. Sad to hear that Alan Frost had passed. I remember him very well and of course Steve Gee; he died tragically young.

I remember Juliet, Roger Eagle, Chris Dixon and Adrian. What happened to him I wonder? Also I think Ian Wilson who went on to Greasy Bear.
When I think back I just can't believe how innocent it all was and yet so avante garde at the same time!  

Gerry Dauncey
15/11/11


WOW! Just wow. I remember Mike Don too. Alive! Me too!

And the "Arts Lab" people - just. (They were endlessly trying to write an opera which never, er, actually happened, man.) I remember being at the old Piccadilly (London Road) station with the smell of paraffin lamps and fog, waiting with Mike Don and co. for the London night train to come in with the latest underground magazines: IT, Gandalf's Garden...and others equally impossibly printed with purple ink on dark green paper, all long forgotten. And the all night coffee bar (was it Oxford Rd?).

One of the other coffee bars had a jukebox which for a while, if you tried to play "On the Road Again", kept on coming up with "Cinderella Rockefella". Source of endless amusement to those who weren't in the know: swaggering up trying to look cool while putting the jukebox on and then - style disaster!

And everyone tried to avoid wotsisname, the brother of the bloke who became leader of Manchester council - Stringer, was it? Because he just hung around and ate all your food and smoked all your cigs and WOULDN'T LEAVE. (Sorry if younger Stringer bro is reading this now but hey - I'm only telling it how it was.) Once, to my eternal shame, I was actually banned from the Village for smoking dope behind the stage with whoever was DJing that night. I spent the next weekend weeping outside and pleading until I was let back in again.
Is it my false memory, or did we once hear Fleetwood Mac do Albatross to a lightshow of dolphins? We all went "mweh" (or whatever the late 60s equivalent was then): "it'll never catch on, too boring."

I also have memories of quite a scene in Chorlton - there was a couple called I think David and Jane who were very into CND and had 4 wild children and ran a kind of commune-type household?

I wasn't the notorious woman who danced, whom I vaguely remember, but I did dance and wore many many scarves as was the fashion. So many I once tried to climb over a small wall while under the influence (ahem), got stuck, and announced that I was paralysed. Was told in no uncertain terms by friends that in fact I was standing on the ends of my scarves.

Extremely fond memories. Great music, great company, good times.

Carol Wooler
15/11/11


I must admit that I don't remember seeing any bands at the village. I saw Family, Edgar Broughton, Third Ear Band at Holdsworth Hall but after reading about all the bands that appeared at the Magic Village how did I miss them?

I can remember the magazine seller and getting my hand stamped so you could come in and out. I think one of the best gigs I saw in Manchester was Jimi Hendrix at the Palace. As I remember he stayed on stage longer than the theatre wanted him to, in the end they unplugged him.  

Chris Liston
28/11/11


Stumbled over this after finding Chris Lee (CPLee) of Greasy Bear etc on Facebook and his website.

Hello, Mike Don. Great to see you are about. You sold copies of my magazine Supersnazz back in 1971 (thank you again), and I and my friends used to be the Mind Alchemists lightshow at George's (Electric Circus) back in the day. The Grass Eye guys kept that thing going for quite a while (Hi, Dave and Chris).

I remember trying to get the Alchemists the lightshow gig at Magic Village - we took the train in from Warrington to persuade Roger Eagle to hire us (but he didn't.) I recall we stood outside on the street and showed him a piece of rainbow diffraction grating, which was a rare commodity back in 1970... 

I also recall that dreadful hiatus that would occur after Village nights between 5am and the first train home on Sunday mornings... Tired, bleary, and nothing to do until stuff opened much later.

The good old days :)

Dave Neale
28/11/11


I too remember the great saturday night's at the Magic Village. Am I right in saying there was a guy there playing guitar with hair to his waist. I think he was called Magic Sam.

I was told while there I was locked up in the bird cage. If true I don't remember.

I remember the dancer  - small and very thin. dressed in many colours.

I saw NICE there, briliant. Also JETHRO TULL. We were all sitting down waiting for them to come in from the back and we were all told to make a gap for them to walk down. So we all did. But what did Jethro Tull do? He walk across everyone, briliant.

Then the time my mates and i were talking ti Mick Abrahams. After one off our mates went to the gents, he said "who's  he,  HE'S BLOODY MAD, Briliant.

Alan Jones
2/12/11


Gerry Dauncey - in answer to your above question. Adrian died after being very badly beaten up in a mugging in Hulme. Somebody thought that he was still in business, he wasn't. Hence the attack.

Chris Dixon was working for an independent TV company in (I think) the Midlands. Nigel (Hand) - Good to hear you are well.

A little like another life isn't it?

John Lanigan
3/12/11


I stumbled across the Third Ear Band on YouTube whilst looking for something else. I'd forgotten how good they were. That set me thinking about The Magic Village, which is something I do surprisingly often.

I loved the place - pretty much irrespective of who was playing. I was a student at Lancaster in '68 and came down whenever possible. I had an indirect (and coincidental) connection to Roger via Patsy who worked at Barry's Record Rendezvous - another wonderful place.

The atmosphere at the Village really was magic. Compared to clubs in London (my home town) no one ever seemed to look down at you for having hair an inch shorter than theirs. No one was aloof or pretentious. It just seemed we were all there for some common but undefined purpose - experiencing something. Probably we all experienced something different but we did it together.

One other thing I'll always remember was how you could spot the cops, if you stood at the back. They all seemed to have square heads. In those days the DS hadn't figured out how to look like hippies I suppose. Or maybe they didn't care?

Anyway, it's great to see this board and I'll keep watching.

Stuart Boardman
7/1/12


The name of the owner of Magic Village was Ted Barry.  He used to run a football team which I played for in the late sixties.  One of life's characters. I think he also ran a club in shudehill.

Peter Byrne
21/1/12


John Lannigan Yes, exactly like another life but then the past always is isn't it? Sad about Adrian, good to know that Nigel Hand is well.

Gerry Dauncey
12/2/12


Thanks for the opportunity to add some mental images on this site of the Village and those magical times. I did not realise that they were then... but they were!

Some friends and I used to commute from Stockport to the Village, mainly on Saturday nights. Some nights were rammed and others really quiet. We were at school then and did not have much cash, but we still managed to see an amazing number of bands both at the Village and at the major venues in the city.

I can remember most of the gigs mentioned on this site ... talking to band members ... all very natural.. something that could never be repeated. I walked home all seven miles back to Stockport at 3/4 o'clock in the morning on several occasions without seeing another soul ... that's never to be repeated these days either!

Years later, I discovered that my parents were members of the Cromford Casino across Cromford Court and they could have saved me from most of my travel problems as they were wining and dining 10 feet above and yards across from their son who was enjoying having his auditory responses rearranged!

I took my future wife on our first date to the Village ... I forgot my money so she paid for the night out. She must have loved me even though we split-up a year later ... as we met-up again years later and married.

A couple of school mates and I used to go into Manchester and pick up bundles of Grass Eyes from their office and sell them on Saturday afternoons in Merseyway, Stockport. I distinctly remember going to the brilliant Country Joe gig at Holdsworth(?) Hall and trying to record it using some borrowed portable stereo recording gear. All went well until the lights went out and I screwed the recording levels... resulting in around 80 minutes of distorted unlistenable entertainment.

Everyone was very trusting in those days. I thought that I should be involved in promoting some gigs ... how hard could that be.. so I did... in Stockport. The biggest of which was the multi-band gig at the Poco-a-Poco .. David Bowie, High Tide, Barclay James Harvest, and the Purple Gang. Most were booked through Blackhill Enterprises (it would have been The Who as well, but they were just too expensive at £1,000 as I recall). I was 16/17 at the time so all the contracts that I signed were probaby unenforceable ... happy days!

Some postings on this webpage include David Bowie anecdotes. Mine is that he was a really nice guy..... I met him hours before the gig when he came to Stockport Station ... walked him up Manchester Road to the Fiveways Fish and Chip Shop where he bought and later consumed two meat pies. We then walked back to the Poco where he entertained me and a couple of mates by playing on some of Barclay James Harvest's equipment, singing some of his future hits. After that our lives separated most significantly....

Enjoy the memories..Happy days indeed!!  
   

David Maynard
30/3/12


Wow.. I have loved reading these comments about the MV. Vera Barry is my mum  - a truly amazing chic.  I was a twinkle in my mum's eye in the mv days but boy some of the tales she told me about the club and the scene was awsome.

Good times had by all.

Sharon
2/4/12


Sharon, from what I rember of your mum there will be one that she hasn't told you, what an incredibly brave lady she is. I was there the night of the fire at her home and can think of no sadder time. So not good times for all sorry to say.

I doubt that your mum and I got on all that well but I have never had anything other than total respect for her. A special lady, I hope she is now a grand (and healthy) old lady. Please wish her well for me.

John Lanigan
6/4/12


Spent the summer of 68 in Manchester and made several visits to the Magic Village - one memorable night seeing Chicken Shack supported by Shape of the Rain. Smokin.

Nick Heard
6/5/12


Hi Everyone, I have enjoyed reading all your stories of those Magic years. I used to live in Eccles at that time and would go into town on Saturdays with friends  our favorite watering hole was the Crowns. I could tell some tales about going into other pubs where we were not welcome because of long hair which I am sorry to say mine has nearly disappeared.

One night in 68 I went to see Joe Cocker and the Grease band,the place was packed we were siting on the floor and the Grease Band was on stage but no Joe, when he eventually turned up he stood on my ankle as he was getting on stage, my only claim to rubbing shoulders or feet with a star, they performed "With a little help from my friends" a truly Magic night.    

Derek Cheetham
17/5/12


Wow - am amazing site.

The Magic Village was THE cool club - with the best music and the best bands.
The Village and the - short-lived - Manchester Arts Lab - were the only places for hippies and freaks to go.

While the Electric Circus later filled part of the hole left...it never matched the Village - with the leaky loos...swirling dancer (I thought she was called Kathyn Woods), Greasy Bear, and Roy Harper - regular and often.

The first time I heard music like The Fugs (The Garden is Open) and Dr John (Walk on Gilded Splinters) echoing around the Village - it really was magic.

Mike Roberts
17/5/12


I was a regular at the Village from shortly after it opened.  I think my 1st gig was Pink Floyd, and another village regular provided a very basic light show.  Also remember being at the front for the John Mayall gig, and Mick Taylor's guitar hitting me on the head during one of those long moody solos we all used to love; he glared at me like it was my fault!

I went to go to the Joe Cocker gig, arriving at my usual time, and like quite a few regulars we couldn't get in as the place was already full;  he'd just hit number 1 with "A little help from my friends."

I remember Savoy Brown Blues Band playing and needing a second drummer for one of their songs.  The drummer from Lennox Avenue, Charlie Irani was in the audience, and we all called for him to go on stage.  He was a mod, and was wearing his suit and tie.  The looks he got from SB were most scathing - until he got hold of the drumsticks and showed them what he could do! When they came to the same number for an encore, THEY called for him to come back.

Talking of Lennox Avenue, I was at school with them, and was responsible for getting them their 1st gig at the Village.  And Julie Begley, the dancer, was also part of our Sale crowd.

I used to go to the Village with a family friend, a young girl called Ann Michael.  She was only 14, and I was responsible for getting her home after the main band had done their 1st set, and had to get the bus out to Sale, see her home, and then get the bus back to Manchester hopefully in time for the 2nd set.  A few times other people came with me just for the ride. She moved to Rugby when she was about 15.

Jim Land
5/6/12


Just want to add that my friend Carole and I spent many great nights at the Magic Village - we never missed John Mayall, we even got a comment from Mick Taylor asking us if we lived there!!

We had nowhere to stay in Manchester so we were always amongst the last to leave.

Lynda Grange
6/6/12


Wow! This brings back memories.

The first live band I ever saw was Jethro Tull at the MV and I was hooked ever after. I was quite a regular there with my mates John and Mick Juckes. One of the acts to impress me most was Roy Harper. I saw him once and from then on bought his records and went to see all his gigs whenever possible. It was Roy who indirectly taught me to play guitar. I learned to play so many of his songs and still occasionally play them today.

I also remember Mark Stone very well. I used to see him regularly playing his guitar by the cloakroom as we came down the stairs. Some time later I was introduced to him by a neutral party, Naviede. I played bass in Naviede's backing band on many occasions, along with Rod Mayall (brother of John)  and Mark Stone. By then Mark had short hair and due to his religious influences would not play from Sundown Friday until Sundown Saturday, which made it tricky playing gigs on a Saturday evening during the summer months.

Some time later I was playing a gig in another venue near Gorton (Can't remember what it was called) with my own band and I met Mark. During our set, he plugged his guitar into an amp and just started jamming along to whatever we were playing.

The bands I saw at the MV were Jethro Tull, Edgar Broughton Band, Roy Harper, Tim Rose, The Glass Menagerie, Joe Cocker, The GroundHogs and so many others.

Tina (22/07/10) Matthew Norton was my best friend for a while. I knew him when he was a schoolboy and he ran away from boarding school to Paris. His dad was a doctor and they lived in Trinity Road Sale, next to the vicarage.  His days of being a chef were short-lived (I seem to recall it was at The Wheatsheaf on Manchester Road, Altrincham) This would be around 1968/69. He then worked in several jobs including a boutique in the city centre.

I knew Colin Goddard from Lennox Avenue, I bought a guitar and amp from him. He used to come to my mate's house (John Juckes) and once, at a party there I remember Colin Jammed with Jim Litherland from Colosseum.

Wow! This takes me back 40 - 45 years.

Ian McNicholls
16/6/12


I can not believe I have found this site after I googled Chris Clover. I met him through a friend and was invited to an exhibition of his at Salford Art Gallery for the opening night.We also used to go to the Magic Village and it was where I first saw Roy Harper , I am still a fan and have seen him many times over the years most recently at the Royal Festival Hall November last year , still brilliant . It was so good to find this site and read other peoples memories of the singers and bands some still touring , I will click back occasionally for more nostalgia . Love to you all Linda

Linda Bucknall
21/6/12


I still have wonderful memories of several visits to the Magic Village and, not surprisingly, treasure them.

Vivid memories of sitting about two yards from Keith Emerson as he was in the middle of a knife wielding  performance that I feared would go wrong with painful consequences to, amongst others, me.

Standout memories were of performers the Dawn Rain Band, Pink Floyd, Blossom Toes, Junior's Eyes, Mick Farren and the Deviants, Jethro Tull and Chicken Shack.

Not to mention Mike Don and the late, great Roger Eagle, who is the subject of a brand new biography, "Sit Down! Listen To This! The Roger Eagle Story" written by  Bill Sykes and published by Empire at £18.95.

Thank you to those contributors who provided the photographs that brings the memories back. Much appreciated.

Ian Hinds
21/6/12


Good to see so many people recalling their days (and nights) at the Magic Village!!!My friend and I were still at school when we first started going to the "Village".We would go home without washing our "pass stamp"off and return later and stay until closing.I brought my art folder with me so I could pretend I had been out sketching in the early hours as sometimes my parents were already up and about when we got home!!!!by 4pm on Sunday it was almost impossible to stay awake !!!

Good to know that someone else remembered Matthew Norton (Ian McNicholls-16/6/12). I had my son Nicholas in the summer of 1970 and I heard the following year that Matthew was father to a son - also named Nicholas.  Love to all.

Tina  xxx
28/6/12


The Manchester music scene started for me at 11, screaming and clinging on to chestnut fencing in a park in Urmston when the Beatles played there in 1963. My parents used to manage the Left Wing Coffee bar at that time and I used to hang out in there when they didn't know what to do with me in the school holidays. My dad's claim to fame was putting on the first Jazz 'All Nighters' there.I'm proud to say i went and survived a night at the Heaven and Hell club ("I'm staying at Janet's")at 13. Now the Magic Village was my all time favourite experience ever........... That's me in the pictures in front of the bar and outside. You're right, John Lanagan, it is me, aged about 16 or 17.

I remember sitting cross legged at the top of the stairs singing with my mate Carol Potter on giutar when a long haired blonde David Bowie interrupted us.Cheek!! Juliet was my role model and led on to amazing times for me dancing with Alan Prior. We were called Primitive Ballet dancers. The memory is shakey, the times were so hot and such fun, the boys were so handsome, the music runs through me like a tapestry, then and now. I left Manchester for London aged 22 so have lost touch but names like Mike Don,Mark Stone, Roger Eagle, John Constantine, Maggie Appleyard ? Backhouse all have good memories.I also remember John Cooper Clarke was always scurrying around Oxford St like the White Rabbit.

Would love to hear from Maggie Appleyard/Backhouse if possible. Please get in touch and help rewire my memories and brain.

Still singing, still dancing, still digging music, my favourite live, psychedelic  band in London is The Green Ray but boy would I like to scoot down to the Village tonight!

Love n Peace to you all

Sandra Kapp
20/7/12


Hi all - I stumbled across this site while idly googling names from the past. I was too young for the Village, only getting into the Manchester scene some years later at the tender age of 13! A few of you mentioned some names, wondering what had happened to them. I remember some people from this site, (Nigel Hand and others) as well as  the more obvious figures of the city's music scene - Martin Hannett, CP etc. I left Manchester to go and live abroad in the  80s, only returning a few years ago to the UK and London, but I visit my native Manchester regularly.

Roger Baker on here mentioned "unsung hero" Rowdy Yates, whose real name was Dave and whom I knew very well and who used to regale me with MV tales. Sadly, Dave committed suicide a few years ago. I hadn't seen him since the 80s but made it my mission to track down people I knew after I came back to the UK. He was a highly intelligent and gentle soul, and I learned a lot about 60s and 70s music from him. Like many, he got into the evils of class A drugs. Adrian Mulqueen, another MV stalwart,  died of an overdose many years ago, so I was reliably told. He was a good guy, but for some reason many good people in the late 70s "progressed"  to heroin, with most dying young.

Raine Marcus
15/9/2012


Well, I'm gob smacked I cant believe that this website exists. I felt sure Magic Village had been demolished and forgotten.  I'm 60 and look back and can't believe that the artists I watched,cross legged on the floor (THE NICE to mention one ) the line ups by the police outside to be frisked ,the light shows on the walls,Jimi Hendrix and Gypsy eyes, all along the watch tower oh MAGIC!!

Linda Meszynski
27/8/12


Such a lot of happy memories for such a lot of people. I have so many, too.

Amazing music and bands, courtesy of the wonderful Roger Eagle, who gave the best hugs ever. Simon`s beautiful pschedelic posters, one of which was for "Carole`s Cloakroom" Yes, readers - I was that cloakroom girl.

And was I also the one who spent the nights pretending to be Isadora Duncan, a devadassi or dervish, depending on the tempo of the music. Wearing 1930s evening gowns that I`d get at jumble sales for 50p. Always barefoot, even when the floors were awash and my hems were soaking it up like blotting paper.

Meeting Captain Beefheart when he paid a visit after his gig at Manchester Uni. A lovely gentle man.

Edgar Broughton`s roadie Mum, who was always "Mrs. Broughton", and who I used to make cuppas for.

Yes, I did go and live in Holland - and five other European countries. I`ve spent 40 years as an actress/singer/entertainer and travelled round the world doing something I love.

And it all started at The Magic Village.

I will remember those days and all the Villagers as long as my memory lasts. And Juliet - you dance through my memories like a Pre-Raphaelite elf. A million blessings on you all.


Carole the Dancer
1/10/12


Mike Don - the junkie who cranked up on stage was called Glyn(n), I never knew his last name but he came from Baguley and was a registered user. I took a pee once next to Edgar Broughton in the famous leaking bog in the middle floor. I remember seeing the aforementioned Glyn standing underneath a stream of pee coming from the bog and he didn't care a jot. Many thanks to Gerry Dauncey (Gerry Seed) who saved my (and my ex-girlfriend) life on many occasions by filching tins of beans and whatnot from her parents fridge there in Didsbury. Sadly, my ex, Lesley Brannan, passed away 5 June this year.

I've found many old photo's of the time, including a magnificent one of Alan Frost. Just got to find somewhere to post it. Poor old Steve Gee died at 19 years old in Christie's from Hodgkins disease. I remember that there were hundreds at his funeral. I knew his siblings Diane & Paul?  Lovely people.

Nigel Hand
22/10/12


Me and my friends used to travel over from St. Helens to visit 'the Village' - the first time we went was after seeing an ad in Melody Maker for John Mayall playing there with his "Crusade" band - I remember we saw the band in the pub round the corner aferwards. We thought the club was great, there was nothing like it in St. Helens and we went back many times although I don't remember seeing any more ads in the Melody Maker. Amongst others I saw Joe Cocker, Savoy Brown, Chicken Shack, the Nice, Jethro Tull, the Liverpool Scene, Blodwyn Pig, Duster Bennett, Blossom Toes and the American bluesman Bobby Parker. Often if we weren't doing anything else we would travel over to Manchester to hear some 'underground sounds' without knowing who was on - it was usually Edgar Broughton, I must have seen him half a dozen times and I didn't even like him. I also remember seeing another band there called 'Blue Pig' who were very jazzy with a good guitarist and sax player, I'd never heard of them and I never heard of them again.

The DJ always played lots of West Coast music which I didn't particularly like but I also vividly remember him playing Dr. John's first LP constantly and it became a big favourite with my friends and I. Once when I went to see Jethro Tull I missed my last train home and had to stay all night, getting to see their second set. However, after they finished at about 2am(?) I remember being quite bored for the rest of the night just sitting around with everybody else in our ex-Army greatcoats. I remember a girl dancing around as we were all sat on the floor like some kind of entertainment for the troops.

Later I used to go to Eric's in Liverpool, also run by Roger Eagle, there were still no clubs in St. Helens presenting alternative music...

Graham Harrison
22/10/12


What an emotional experience this is!  Reading the names of old friends and their recollections of a wonderful part of my life.

I was one of the Village poets, taken under Roger Eagle's wing and at first with an adhoc cacophonous ensemble which included Mark Stone, was, later with my schoolmate John Pring, a regular support act under the name Purple Stone and the Alchemist.

Carole Patton,the dancer,whom I first met there in 1968 became a lifelong close friend and we still see each other as often as possible. John Constantine lives nearby and we frequently reminisce in the aisles of the local Asda. Pete Farrow,one of Alan Prior's eccentric dance troup has been in Stepping Hill Hospital ward A11 for several months now, suffering from diabetic complications.

To Roger I owe the gift of his mother's friendship; he took John Pring and me down to Oxford to stay with her, and we got a tour of the Oxford University Press thrown in. A friendship developed which lasted till Dorothy Eagle's death  in 1990. I went to Leamington Spa with Greasy Bear on one occasion to support the Edgar Broughton Band and was put up at Rob & Steve Broughton's parents' home in Warwick.

So many acts of kindness flowed from the Magic Village- it was much more than a club, and when I hear music that I specifically associate with it, Third Stone from the Sun,for instance, or The End, I'm instantly taken back to Roger's booming voice and menthol cigarettes, Dave Backhhouse's hypnotic and occasionally incendiary light shows, and so many caring, sincere and optimistic young faces from so long ago.

I hope life has been good to you and thank you all for the memories.

Iain McLean
2/12/12


One Saturday all-nighter at the Village I was at the front door chatting with others from the tribe of courtiers adopted by Roger when a group of well-lubricated toughs appeared in Cromford Court and made threats then a concerted attempt to force their way inside. As someone dashed inside to alert Roger the rest of us, all feeling distinctly unheroic, did our best to hold the line, but were rescued when the Eagle took his place at our head and roared "FUCK WITH MY STAFF AND YOU FUCK WITH ME"!  The gang vanished instantly.

I leave it to your editorial policy as to whether the expletives are deleted!

Iain McLean
3/12/12


I did some bar-work at Stoneground in the early seventies serving bad lager & black to hordes of troubled and delinquent youths, and though I saw Osibisa, Genesis and Dr. Hook (let's gloss over Leo Sayer if you don't mind) I think it was the Magic Village's lack of a drinks licence that kept it largely trouble-free. Roger Eagle, though fond of white rum in private referred to those who couldn't enjoy music without  being tanked up as "beer freaks".

The Edgar Broughton Band played one of several gigs there in the summer of 1968 supported by Greasy Bear (Chris Lee, Ian Wilson and Bruce Mitchell) Mark Stone, and Purple Stone & the Alchemist (John Pring and myself). Unusually the atmosphere wasn't right; a knot of lads had placed themselves where Carole and Juliet normally danced, and talked loudly among themselves while eyeballing support acts; the Village was a small intimate venue and overt hostility was extremely rare and easily noticed. In the interval before the Broughton Band was due on we had a council of war in their dressing room. Someone reported the interlopers had bottles in their pockets. "Here's what we do" said Rob (Edgar) Broughton "You know the Fugs' Ritual Exorcism of the Pentagon? We'll improvise something based on it, to a green Onions-type tune", and he played a few bars.

So we all went onstage grouped around the Broughton Band. As soon as they began their opening number a bottle  came flying toward the ensemble, upon which the tempo and key changed and we all chanted "Out Demons Out" and worked up a storm in which the regulars all joined, until the troublemakers fled accompanied by much cheering.

Nothing like that happened again there to my knowledge. The Magic Village was a place where people could share music peacefully.

All the best,

Iain McLean
3/12/12


My mates and I used to hang out at the Magic Village as early as 1967. We were 15 years old and we loved it. It was a great time to be alive and everything seemed possible. My abiding memory from the Village is turning up with a 5 shilling ticket to see Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd - only to be told that they had cancelled. They put Clouds on instead. It wasn't quite the same.

Alan P
30/12/12


Hi Iain - did you have a brother called Neil? Remember Purple Stone very well! My friend Val and I made a kaftan of sorts for stage wear and you gave us 2 books - I had "Jacobs Room" (I treasured it for years) and Val had "The Hobbit", I think ... many moons ago now but fond memories.!!!!

I remember Steve Gee very well, we went out together early 69 - he died late that year.  I think his brother was Phil and his sister Diane and they lived in Wythenshawe .

Spent a magical day with many from the Village and Steve at Lymme Park. One of those golden days when you are young and anything and everything seems possible!!

Happy New Year to any landing on this page !!!xxx 

Tina
1/1/13


Tina (28/6/2012) It is with great sadness I found this online.   

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/aug/10/obituary-matthew-norton

Ian McNicholls
4/1/13


I was very sad to read this news.But what a wonderful difference he made to so many lives.He was a triumph and I am very proud to have known him.I think he is in the photographs on this page------the boy with dark wavy hair.Thank you so much for passing on this news. xxxxx

Tina
10/1/13


Amazing! I've just seen Chris Lee on TV as Professor of WoopWoop! at Salford University. There's hope for us all yet. Hey, Chris, have you got a job for me?

Nigel Hand
19/1/13


Anyone have contact details for Dave Neal who has posted here on 'The Mind Alchemists' light show ? We were 'Heavy Electric Light Show' and we joined up with them for various gigs at Stockport College, Manchester Polytechnic and the short lived Manchester Arts Lab. Other Alchemists were Dave Bailey and Bob Rigg.

mikemeakin at gmail dot com
9/2/13


One of my most moving memories of the times i spent at the Magic Village was hearing Leonard Cohen's fist album for the very first time, played in its entirety after a really loud set (probably someone like Edgar Brougton Band). Every time I hear that album it takes me right back to sitting on the bench on the side in front of the DJ box, listening in total wonder.

Robin English
30/6/13


I was just listening to one of my favourite records, ' Say a Little Prayer ' and then put, ' All Right Now 'by Free on and this brought back a memory of The Magic Village.

I used to go there occassionally in the late sixties, either by train or on my the scooter from Wigan, only 17ish at the time.

Like everbody else I remember the Edgar Broughton Band, but Free's song brings back another memory, there was a small room with a juke box in and this was playing at the time, while a young women was dancing, I was sat on the floor. She was enchanting, I never spoke to her but as she turned to me and as they say our ' eyes meet' I noticed that she had a burn on her face and then ... she was gone.

Does anybody else have a recollection of this young women,I have always been intrigued as to who she was.
Strange how these fleeting moments can live with you for a life time.

Philip G
2/7/13


Wow  - just blown away with  this page, somebody mentioned it on my facebook clicked on and saw all the comments from all the lovely people that went to the village,many happy times although some of them a bit foggie and one or two a bit pea souper i think that was caused by calling at sinclairs first, aaaah that leb gold.not a lot names I remember now although some seem to ring a bell I mean what guy's don't remember the girls dancing, impressions on a young mind ha ha dilly and her best friend colleen paul ian just love to you all glad to see you all made it through, a reunion would be amazing if it ever came to be,don't forget the parking for the zimmers, still a load of good bands playing scuse me while i kiss the sky. Love.

Graham Pickford
6/8/13


Wow!!! This is amazing. So many memories. And bands I'd forgotten. I got a bit of a shock when I read that I was dead - someone could have broken that to me a bit more gently I think. But then further down the page I realised the Rowdy Yates mentioned must have been Dave Yates and not me. There were two of us and we were both into heroin (I got clean in 1968, I think Dave was only smoking dope in those days). Later, I worked at Lifeline Project - a drugs advice agency in Moseley Street and Dave became one of my "clients". He went to a rehab in London called Phoenix House which at that time was run by David Beck-Tomlinson - another old Village face and one-time regular at the Left-Wing Coffee Bar. Sadly Dave didn't complete the programme and went back to using.

But what great music we heard there. I remember a couple of John Mayall gigs and The Third Ear Band of course. I was knocked out by Incredible String Band. I'd seen them first at Clive's Incredible Folk Club in Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow and I still occasionally include some of their stuff. Stopped playing music for more than 20 years and only started playing again about 10 years ago.

And... Just on the off-chance that you call back - my fondest regards to my old friend Mike Don. Good to hear from you. I came back to Scotland about 20 years ago, so if you're ever home - let me know. And... Nice to hear a mention for Chris Lee. Chris and Bruce later formed Alberto y Los Trios Paranoios - one of the best and funniest bands I've ever seen - and they did a brilliant benefit gig for Lifeline at the Manchester Poly. Happy days.

Rowdy Yates
12/8/13


Hi Tina ,
I also was a friend of Dilly, I still have a book that she gave me before I left to live in St.Ives , Where is she now? Last time I saw her, I was travelling to Southport and she was with Hare Krishna and I gave her a lift.

Happiness to you,

Jane Breslin
23/10/13


Hi Jane. So good to see your posting re. Dilly. I lived in Chorlton all my life until a few years ago. Some time ago I bumped into her in the shopping precinct with three  small children. She was with the Hare Krishna group at that time -her first child was in America I think -born around the time I had  my first son in 1970. I haven't seen her since then but  often think about her. Especially as I moved north to Middleton a few years ago and I remember she lived in this area as a girl.

If you still live in St Ives you are very lucky ! Carbis Bay is a long way from here but took my daughter many times. Had her 26 years after my first son so she is only 16. Probably the age I was when I was friends with Dilly. Hoping life is good for you.  Tina xxx 

Tina Campion
30/10/13


Blimey, kharma or what, I came across this forum in much the same way I came across the Magic Village itself - by serendipity. I was on the MEN website where there is an article relating to Manchester's many famous and infamous nite-clubs. And as expected there are the mention of the Hacienda (but no Factory/Russel Club, the Haciend's ancestors), Mr Smiths, Fagims, Twisted Wheel, Jilly's etc - there is no mention of the Magic Village, surely one of the most enigmatic and visionary clubs of the 60's

The number of bands that epitomosed the 60's music revolution were all there at the MV, and not only that which made it special, The Magic was a state of mind. At that time I was about 14/15 years old and the only hippy in Glossop. That means I stuck out like a sore thumb, and got bullied for it. But one day, don't know how, don't know when, I sort of got sucked into the MV, it like an ALice in Wonderland experience, going through the inauspicious entrance, where I think the bouncer was some gangly youth flopped on a beanbag playing the 'One Note Samba' on a sitar.

Once I sort of floated down stairs it was a place of enchantment, there were people who smiled and had long hair, I was amongst my own. I didn't know Roger Eagle back then but he was to come into my, more of that later. I do rememeber seeing so many fantastic bands there introducing me to music you simply didn't hear on the mainstream radio, except by tracking down DJ's like John Peel. I remember playing in the DJ booth at times, they would let you take your own albums and take over the decks and I remember joining John Peel on some occasions, until he told me to get out from under his feet - I was telling him what records to play! He sort of took umbridge about that, he could be quite irrascible at times!

I do however remember the very welcoming languid come day go day rag tag and bobtail feeling about twhole place, I remember one of the DJs enlightening me to the music of Bob Dylan, with whom I became so obsessed I vowed I woud go and find him in Greenwich Village. I was so gauche back in the day I truly believed that I would find Bob Dylan walking doen the street in the picture of the cover of the Freewheelin' album, or at least playing away in some Greenwich Village nightclub. So not having the money to go to New York, I ran away and joined the Merchant Navy, and the first ship I joined was sailing between South Africa and New York - I got to New York, but never bumper into our Bob. However did become exposed to lots of music from the African continent, which itself had quite a profound influence.

But back to the MV. I would sneak out the house at night, get the last train to Piccadilly, go to MV, and get the first train back to Glossop in the morning and sneak back in the house, I did of course get caught but by this time I was an adolescent and capable of looking after myself.

After sopending time in London and the roaming the globe in the Merchant Navy I ended up starting a band, Jo Mambo. I was influenced by the infectious Afro/Latin rhythms, the relentless pulse of the percussion, it just brought even the most langourous person to their feet. I tried to layer this on top of synth music. But it was the post-punk period when guitar bands were in the ascendent, so dance music hadn't taken root. But we came to the attention of Roger Eagle, who by now was running the International on Anson Road. Good old Roger, he held a torch for us and arranged loads of gigs for us and we were at the point of getting well attended gigs, people were beginning to discover dance. At that point I quit the band and went away to join the Revolution in Nicaragua.

I am sure the MV influenced me greatly in my formative early teenage years. The ethos of of Peace, self-discovery, and discovery in general, the fact that misfit coud fit in, and the fact that on the many occasions I had no money, whoever was o the door would say "OK, go and wash some pots then" What a very communal attitude especially nowadays when we are subsumed by consumerism and the commodification of every possible notion or concept.

I think the City of Manchester should honour Roger Eagle for his vision, his graft and self-less  endeavours in bringing the very best of music to Manchester in his inscrutable affable way. Here's to you Roger, my life would have been incomplete had I never been a 'villager'

Michael Bowkunowicz
13/1/14


Hi Tina,

So sorry it's fourteen months since your posting recalling my brother Neil (Michael) McLean and I've not replied until now.  I've been struggling to make myself write this for a good while.

Neil, who later preferred to be known as Michael- he said  "Neil" always sounded like a command, had been in very poor health over recent years and had lost his ability to enjoy life. He took news of the death of fellow-villager and good friend Brian Thorpe very badly. He died in Manchester Royal on 5th April last year following a month long fight against heart/lung disease.

He was aware from me that you'd remembered him, and If he'd been in a better state would, I'm sure, have wanted to get in touch with you and others connected with the Magic Village. For Christmas 2012 I bought him Bill Sykes' biography of Roger Eagle, and he was pleased to find both of us named in the gigography!The book now belongs to Jaimi his younger son.

Carole the Dancer came over from Hull for his funeral and two other Magic Villagers were there as well - Roger Evans and John MacMaster. Later this year Neil's ashes will be scattered on the shores of Coniston Water at Brantwood, one of his favourite spots.

Love to you and all the merry band.

Iain xxx
2/3/14


 

 




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