G-Winz

Rock & Northern Soul Night @ Wigan Casino

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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?

Lord Andy

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.

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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.

 

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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..

 

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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:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1552813411634515/

 

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Marcel’s Pinball Wizard

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The very lovely Mr G-Winz played a magnificent set at Marcel’s last night – running through the entire album of The Who’s ‘Pinball Wizard’. It was a real treat to hear all those great songs again, and with G’s snippets of storytelling throughout the evening, we could all re-live the complex, dark and twisted tale of Tommy, the tormented deaf, dumb and blind pinball playing whizzkid.

Listening to the tunes and hearing G tell the story really reminded me of just what an outstanding piece of musical rock ‘opera’ musical this was, and it’s definitely made me want to get the Ken Russell movie to add to my collection. If you haven’t seen the movie and you’re a Who fan, I would highly recommend it.

I know I will probably get battered by the Who purists out there for saying this, but much as I loved hearing the original Who soundtrack last night, I have to say that I personally preferred the movie version of the soundtrack, where the tracks were performed by the various artists playing the roles in the story. Once you’ve heard Tina Turner belt out her version of ‘Gypsy, The Acid Queen’, the Who’s version pales in comparison.

So thank you again to Mr G-Winz for a fabulous evening, and as ever, here are a few piccies from the event. (I had a great time dressing Lord Andy for the night, so that he could come as our own pinball wizard).

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Sword bids adieu to 2014

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The final months of 2014 where a a busy time for Marcel’s and the Caffeine Nights group, .

One of the most important changes was the move from the platform recreating a Parisian street and square (la Place des Cerises…), to the sea level, which gave the whole build a bigger sense of space outside, and wonderful views, while keeping the intimate cosy feel inside that our friends have enjoyed so much as they discovered the bistro.

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We arrived by the end of Summer, which still allowed for some nice outdoors activity. fishing_001

But soon Fall was upon us, and fallen leaves suddenly where everywhere (inside the bistro too!) and allowed Anouk to add a moody feel to the whole set, (which reminds me of a perfect tune to watch these pictures by, a song about the passing of time and the changing of seasons by Sandy Denny.

Everyone tried to stay outside for quiet evening chats at Marcel’s terrace as long as there where some warmth left and before the snow settled in.

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Eventually Halloween arrived and Marcel’s rose to the occasion with some great sets from our dj’s and yet some more awesome decorations by Anouk!

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The Matelots where also active, and in true pioneer fashion sailed out to discover new lands, and were treated by team Captain (G-WINZ) to some wonderful routes, sampling all the seasonal beauty of SL’s winter wonderland. There was also an unusual trip to the Great Wall of China, where we were kindly hosted by Selena Nirvana of the Heartbreakers Entertainment group, and her wonderful Chinese pavilion venue which held the cruise party.

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And we finally got to Holiday season. Anouk once again showed her skills in decorating Marcel’s and all of Croissantville, and all ye merry group enjoyed a time of warm friendship inspired by outstanding musical shows which conveyed according to each dj’s style the spirit of the season.

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Chillin’ (literally)
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Kala in one of her astounding Christmas gowns
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Marcel’s by snowfall

So here is 2015!

We can’t wait to see what it will bring to Marcel’s and the Caffeine Nights group, and take this chance to wish you all, once again, a Happy New Year!

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Quiet contemplation at closing time

 

Sword

Marcel’s Sailing Regatta

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‘Twas a bright and breezy evening as Team Marcel gathered on the quay at the Canadian ‘Dancing Waters’ Sailing Centre and rez zone.

Snapshot - Sailing_001The route had been suggested by Sword and mapped out by G on a navigation HUD the week before – with Niamh accompanying him and happily playing the ukelele.

The numbers worked well as we had five boats and ten sailors.

Sword and Alexia were in ‘Becky’s Baby-Sloop’, Niamh and Kalanite were in a class40 Saph, Lorah and Valdez were in Motor Loon’s Oceanic yacht, Jeff and Susse in a Loonetta and G and Rhia likewise.

Sadly after the first few waypoints we never saw Lorah and Val again as they disappeared over the horizon, although they were at the Blue Pelican for the after-sail dance

 

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The rest of us though, managed to stay together with Niamh lowering the sails of her very nippy boat so we could all catch up – and Jeff performing elegant looping manoeuvres to rejoin the group further back.

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Unfortunately he ran aground on some lighthouse rocks at a tricky turning later on and with G noticing and waiting for them to get free, the line stretched out for a while before we regrouped at waypoint 11.

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A little further on from there, we all hit a bad sim and took off into the air before a relog and re-rez at a conveniant LCC rez area. The line then stretched out again poor Niamh and Kala were hit with more dodgy sims while the rest of us limped on to the Blue Peiican – where Sword, Lorah and G have moorings and small houses at the nearby Sunbird Marina.

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Club owners Benny & Runa were there to welcome us and a few other group members turned up as G hit the decks with some nautical-tropical tunes and Sword handed out participation trophies as we gathered for a group photo in the Team Marcel T-shirts provided by Caffiene Nights & Marcel’s venue creator and landlady, Anouk.

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Watch this space – or don’t click away your notices – for information on the next cruise – which we’ll now be having monthly!

Gerrard Winstanley

G plays Ray Charles

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12.04.14
Last Saturday, Marcel’s Penthouse Ballroom held it’s weekly party, and, starting at 15:00 PST (23:00 GMT).

 

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Our amazing turntablist/electroswinger G-WINZ, conducted a vibrant and swinging re-visitation to the work of the great Ray Charles, exploring all angles of the great musician’s work, either from personal interpretations or covers from his masterpieces.

 

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It was a major success and G was forced by popular demand to extend his program for an extra half hour!

Here we have some pictures from that evening.

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Be Happy,

Sword