The Thing club was on Robson St off Union St Oldham. It was an old church hall with a stage at one end, used to have some good live bands on as well as great DJs. Was run by a young guy and his mother, they had a bouncer that was about 5ft 6in tall, an ex boxer.
The club was not only a great place to hear Motown but a place to dance to ska.
The owner was Barry Russell - and yes, his mother used to take the money at the door. We all knew her as 'Ma Russell'. I think the bouncer was called Derek. Barry later managed the Burnley Locarno and brought the same sounds and great nights to that place too.
The scene at the Thing (or the 'Fun House' as we used to know it) was epic, with great music (Motown, Soul, Blue Beat (Ska)etc), a great crowd, and great live bands.
The place was packed every Saturday night and you'd often have to queue around the block to get in. We were regulars between '67 and '69 / '70 and this was one of the founding venues for Northern Soul in that era and holds many happy memories. The Twisted Wheel (or The Wheel as we knew it) was, of course the pinacle of the Northern Soul scene, but the Thing had it's place in that history too (as did the Top Twenty in Hollinwood - more on that later...).
I also remember the clever marketing of the Thing Club before it opened with posters all over the town centre simple saying "The Thing is Coming" and no one knew what it was until a couple of weeks before opening.
Inside was painted black (including the wooden floor) with ultra-violet lights, the stage was at one end and the 'bar' at the other (only soft drinks served in those days!).
And, of course, it was the people that made it special - they all know who they are - and, for a few years, it was the centre of the 'Mod' scene in Oldham.
The Thing club was in an old Oddfellows club not a church.
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I remember going every Saturday as a young teenager with my older brother I remember queueing up the stairs to get in and having your hand stamped which glowed when you got inside. Had my first kiss with a girl there. Happy days. Also the guy on the door was a real character. I remember seeing him around the town in later years, always well dressed.