Well our homage to the late great Wigan Casino All-Nighter event went brilliantly last night, if I do say so myself.
I kicked off the evening playing some tunes from early rock bands who cut their teeth playing at this venue back in the late 70’s – such as Canned Heat, with their awesome track ‘On the Road Again’, through The Stranglers, Budgie, Nazareth, Judas Priest, the Edgar Broughton Band and Motorhead.
I’d never heard of the Edgar Broughton Band. Never saw or heard of them again and then in the 80’s I was stand-in bassist for a while in band from Barnet call Sheriff Jack, went into the studio with them and it was owned by none other than EBB drummer Steve Broughton. I ended up playing in a short lived 18 piece band called Soul Tax that he put together (we played our first gig the day after the Poll Tax Riots in London and didn’t have a name) – small world eh?
The atmosphere was fabulous and I had filled the room with loads of phantom ‘dancers’ in order to give the same feeling of crowded movement as was at the original venue. In fact, anyone who had actually been at the Casino in their youth might even have recognised some of the cut-outs as I had used screen-grabs from the TV documentary which was filmed in the 70’s!
Now, as I wasn’t old enough to be properly into clubbing in those days, and I didn’t live ‘up North’ where the Northern Soul phenomenon was born, I relied on my lovely Lord Andy to be artistic director on this project. My whole reason for creating these themed sets is to make people happy, and if I can accurately recreate a place well enough that it can take someone back to a time to enjoy fond memories, then I feel that I’ve done a good job. I have been reliably informed by his Lordship that I managed to capture the atmosphere to the point where he felt like he had gone back in time and was in his late teens again.
After the first hour of rock, we did as they did back during the days of the Casino and switched over to the Northern Soul set. Andy tells me that there was a distinct divide between the rockers and the ‘soulies’ and never the twain shall meet. All the rock fans would pile out of the club as the soul dudes would be arriving for their ‘all-nighter’. But as Andy and his mates were far more musically open-minded, they would pop into the loos to change out of their rock gear and slip into their wide-legged pants and vest tops and then sneak back into the club to enjoy the second half of the evening.
Our Northern Soul part of the evening was DJ’d by our very own Gerrard ‘G-Winz’ Wistanley, who followed in the footsteps of his RL namesake, the original Wigan Casino DJ, Russ Winstanley.
A little Wiki history on Northern Soul, for those of you not familiar with the term:
Northern soul is a music and dance movement that emerged independently in Northern England, in the late 1960s from the British mod scene. Northern soul mainly consists of a particular style of black American soul music based on the heavy beat and fast tempo of the mid-1960s Tamla Motown sound.
The northern soul movement, however, generally eschews Motown or Motown-influenced music that has had significant mainstream commercial success. The recordings most prized by enthusiasts of the genre are usually by lesser-known artists, released only in limited numbers, often by small regional American labels such as Ric-Tic and Golden World Records (Detroit), Mirwood (Los Angeles) and Shout and Okeh (New York/Chicago).
Northern soul is associated with particular dance styles and fashions that grew out of the underground rhythm & soul scene of the late 1960s at venues such as the Twisted Wheel in Manchester. This scene and the associated dances and fashions quickly spread to other UK dancehalls and nightclubs like the Chateau Impney (Droitwich), Catacombs (Wolverhampton), the Highland Rooms at Blackpool Mecca, Golden Torch (Stoke-on-Trent) and Wigan Casino.
As the favoured beat became more uptempo and frantic, by the early 1970s, northern soul dancing became more athletic, somewhat resembling the later dance styles of disco and break dancing. Featuring spins, flips, karate kicks and backdrops, club dancing styles were often inspired by the stage performances of touring American soul acts such as Little Anthony & The Imperials and Jackie Wilson.
So even though the whole ethos of true Northern Soul was ‘the less well known the music, the more popular’, it didn’t matter to our evening as it still had that wonderful Motown beat that you just can’t help bopping along to. I can easily see how these evenings would have been so popular, as I would most certainly have been a regular had I been around in those days. And of course, although it’s true that the more unknown and obscure the track, the more it was liked, it was inevitable that the movement would adopt some tracks to be their keynote anthems, the original recording of Tainted Love by Gloria Jones being the primary example.
And I wanted to post this bit of video as well as although the sound quality is pretty bad as it’s a live recording from the club, it shows perfectly the very specific dance style that was Northern Soul. Lots of leg-work but keeping within your own space, because of how crowded the venue used to be. It’s really interesting to see just how almost regimented the dancing was.
And finally, a little montage of photos from our own Wigan Casino..
As the evening was such a success, we’re going to try and run a regular monthly Wigan Casino night, so keep an eye open on the Caffeine Nights group events notification either in-world, or on our Facebook page:
Northern Soul at the Wigan Casino – a Caffeine Nights themed show production – Saturday 17th September – 2 – 4pm SLT
CALLING ALL BRITS! ANYONE OF A CERTAIN GENERATION REMEMBER VISITING THE WIGAN CASINO BETWEEN THE LATE 70’s AND EARLY 80’s?
Due to popular demand (well, 2 people), I have lovingly re-created the inner club of the Wigan Casino nightclub, hopefully capturing the authentic ambiance of sweat, cigarette smoke and excitement (thank you, Lord Andy, for the technical input as artistic director on this one – me being far too young to remember ).
For those of you not au fait with such a specifically regional venue and historical gem, here’s an introduction from our Lord Andy, a regular of the club in his day…
|For a brief period in the mid 1970s the flame of popular music burnt brightly at in a small industrial town in north west England.
Between 1973 and 1981 a run down dance hall, The Casino Club, was the home of a musical phenomenon that went by the name of Northern Soul.
Although it’s famous for its Soul All Nighter the Casino wasn’t just the home of Saturday night soul music. Earlier in the evening it played host to a night of live rock. This was where I cut my heavy metal teeth.
So tonight we bring you a selection of sounds from those early days of metal, spun by the lovely Anouk, before our very own Mr Gerrard Winstanley steps up to the decks of his namesake Russ to take you on a trip through the sounds of Northern Soul.
Starting at 2pm SLT until midnight.
Yet again, I have been horrifically lax in updating with shows and events so this is the last big themed show we did, back in the summer of 2015.
I thought it would be nice to do a show where I combined the key elements of a typical English summer, so the set ended up being a 4 part creation to encompass the main elements that sum up summer in England for me.
Part 1: Cricket on the village green
What is more English than the sound of birds singing in the trees, the gentle murmur of voices enjoying the warm sunshine, the distant chime of a church bell and the thud of leather on willow (and no, that’s not some kinky BDSM reference! It refers to a cricket ball being hit by a cricket bat!)
The guests arrived at the set by landing on the edge of a typical village green, beside the duckpond to the tune of Mungo Jerry’s ‘In the Summertime’.
They strolled around the green, making sure not to get too close to the cricketers, and enjoyed a cool glass of bubbly at the picnic blanket whilst we treated them to a selection of sunny feelgood tunes.
And what can be more English than watching tennis at Wimbledon? The guests wandered through the churchyard, leaving the cricketers behind, and arrived at Wimbledon just in time to catch the beginning of a high-powered match.
But of course, this is England. And what is even more typical for an English summer than tennis, and strawberries and cream? You got it…
Fortunately, it turned out that there was a rather special spectator in the crowd who got up and led everyone in a singsong (with a little help from yours truly – any excuse to get in shot) until the shower passed over…
Part 3: Croquet and afternoon tea
After all the excitement of the tennis and Sir Cliff, I figured our guests could use a little break, so our next stop was for tea and cake. But not just any old tea and cake. Oh no. I led the guests to drop down a rabbit hole from the tennis court and they landed on a soft bouncy pile of leaves in none other than Alice in Wonderland’s garden.
We danced on the croquet lawn, much to certain people’s disgust, and had Early Grey tea from fancy china.
Part 4: The Seaside
No English summer would be complete without a trip to the seaside. The guests were led down the along the lawn and across a footbridge leading over the little river at the bottom of the garden. As the came to the end of the footbridge, they came out through a lovely Victorian bandstand at the end of the pier…
There were heated discussions about who won the sandcastle building contest, whilst others just enjoyed paddling in the water or lazing on the sand.
After years of saying that he didn’t want a big fuss for his birthday, I couldn’t stand it any more and had to give in. I decided that it was high time we properly celebrated our beloved club owner, Mr Sword Starfall, so I devised a cunning plan to throw a huge surprise party for him.
Going with the suggestion from Mr G-Winz that we do something with a nautical theme, as Sword is such a keen sailor, I may have gone a little ….overboard….(get it? 🙂 ) and purchased a rather huge party boat for the event. I did some sneaky shopping around and decided against the Titanic (not the most positive venue for a party), or the HMS Phoenix (cool sailing ship but battle enabled and a serious health and safety hazard!), and finally settled on a gorgeous ‘Yacht Island’ sold by the very lovely and helpful Aymec Millet of Build boX – BBX Yachts. Seriously, if you are looking for a yacht or boat, this is the place to go. The customer service is outstanding and the quality of the products is excellent. Great attention to details and lots of cute extras.
After having found the perfect boat, it was then necessary to find the perfect secret location to berth it for the party. And for this, I have to thank Victor Edenfield of D’Vine Eden Real Estate for his patience in helping me find just the right parcel of land to put the large and bulky boat. Victor spent ages with me, looking at different parcels of land, shifting the boat this way and that, until we found the ideal location.
I then had a super fun time for the next 3 weeks, decorating the boat and preparing it for the party. I sent out secret invitations (individually, one by one) as of course I couldn’t put anything in the group notices or Sword would have seen it. Do you knoooow how long it takes to send 150 odd invites one at a time?!
I arranged with Sword that on the night of the party, he would take a night off from running the club so I could take him out to relax and enjoy his birthday without having to work, and whisked him away to a lovely Paris sim for a little birthday drink, whilst everyone gathered at the party boat.
Then at the allocated time, I took him to the boat and unveiled how sneaky, devious and downright underhanded I had been – and SURPRISE! Happy Birthday Mr Starfall!
We landed on a long wooden dock with a red carpet leading down to the water’s edge, where the party boat floated in the moonlit water, balloons bobbing in the doorway and Sword’s name in lights flickering above the door. You have to understand that for 5 years I have respected his wishes to not do anything for his birthday, so this is a lot of repressed party planning bursting forth here!
We walked through the boat, taking a glass of bubbly from the lower deck on our way through, and went up to the party deck, where dozens of friends were waiting to welcome the birthday boy and show their appreciation for everything he does. It was wonderful to see so many people turn up to celebrate with us.
The lovely Magda DJ’d for us with a selection of very fruity sea shanties, and even treated us to her own sexy rendition of Marilyn’s ‘Happy Birthday’. It was a wonderful evening and we partied into the early hours. Sword was very quiet for a while and it seems that there was much plotting between him and G about taking the boat out for long sea voyages – so keep a lookout for a flashing floating disco sailing past!
So once again – I would like to say a massive Happy Birthday from me, and everyone at Marcel’s, to club owner, sailor, barman, sympathetic ear and my very dear friend – Sword Starfall!
The results for the SL Avi Choice Awards were announced over the weekend, and the Favourite Group Award went to the Builder’s Brewery group 🙂
It was a well-deserved victory for a very worthwhile group who have been running in-world for years, and have thousands of members. They run regular building tutorial events and really have contributed a massive amount to the SL experience – so we would like to extend our congratulations to our worthy opponents.
Once again, Sword and I would like to thank all our dear friends and guests for nominating the Caffeine Nights group. Just being involved at all in the ceremony was a great thrill and we are honoured and touched at being nominated.
Sword was presented with a trophy as a nominated and participating group, which is on proud display at the club for anyone who wants to come and see it 🙂
And who knows……maybe next year 😉
We are deeply honoured and touched that our lovely guests have nominated our little club and it’s associated group of Caffeine Nights as their favourite group in SL! 🙂
The Avi Choice awards is an annual event where many well-known (and some not so well known) people within Second LIfe are recognised for their contributions to the grid. There is a long list of things to vote for, ranging from favourite live singers, to designers, to clubs, to educational establishments, which really gives a good reminder of just how much is still going on in SL if you look for it.
Here is the list of nominations for Favourite Group:
- “I Do” Wedding Network – Pac Lorefield, Marla Marx, HitcherPostAzure Islands Commerce – Candy Azure, Rob Azure
- Builder’s Brewery – Sensuous Maximus & Supremius Maximus
- Caffeine Nights – Sword Starfall
- Entice Info Group – Enticestore Resident, Jolene Carami, Paderborn
- Flash Dancers – Rain Allen
- Guerilla Burlesque Exclusive – chryblnd Scribe
- KittyCatS! – Callie Cline, Equinox Pinion, KittycatsMaven Homes – Cain Maven
- Potpourri Markets – chloe seljan & Taylor Flanagan
- Relay For Life Volunteers – Relayforlife AmericanCancer
- The Mountain Cave Club – SpencerBlake Resident
And here’s the link to the actual voting page Avi Choice Awards Voting Page
The section for Favourite Second LIfe Group is right at the bottom of the page. Voting closes on Monday 15th June! So make sure you visit before then, and maybe hit the button to nominate Marcel’s Caffeine Nights 😉
Thank you again for all of you who nominated us, and good luck to everyone else who was nominated!
We’ll update you of the results once they have been posted.
Sword & Anouk