Wigan casino, a place for teenage memories

   Looking back to the time. The way weekends where full of active content. I have never wished to change. When I was a teenager. It all seems to have less interest today. At that time I'd be in the Vic talking about the weekend. The things on at Wigan casino tonight. The alldayers on Sunday the 1 your going to. Nobody ever mentioned Monday or work. It did not get considered, we all lived for today. Plans extended to the weekend running order. Next weekend often got included but Monday to Friday. Was ommitted from it as it was work days. Life was revolved around the weekend. 

Wigan casino the venue, and attributes

   When you arrived at Wigan casino. There was always a large crowd waiting in Station road. For the doors to open to signal the start. As soon as the doors opened a mass surge of people. Headed for the entrance, it was a thing you had no real choice in. You got carried in the amount of others going in. Before it opened was a important part of the casino time. As there was very little for communication. Just phone calls really not mobile the standard call. Often a day and time where arranged. Calls where expensive, normally you had spent most your money. At the weekend on getting to Wigan and things. So there was always plenty to talk about. There was a earlier northern soul session, at onetime the Beachcomber held it. When that ceased to open it switched to mr M's. 



   The allnighter consisted of multiple parts. This was different for members home location. I would leave my Kidderminster home, mid morning on a Saturday. To go to Wolverhampton where a group of us would meet in the Vic a large hotel by the train station. This was the start of our allnighter. The Vic had the crowd who went to Wigan casino. It had become a ritual to meet there Saturday lunch time. Most weeks it was 9 or 10 pm before you left. But after 9 hours in the bar nobody was drunk. It was the community atmosphere that was the attraction. Pep had his shop next door, often time was spent looking through the things. Pep had for sale, He had always been given the greatest respect in Wolverhampton. He was a dj at the Catacomb's. His wife Helen was a local hero for her dancing ability, unfortunately Helen died last year and a local dancing legand as gone. Another Wolverhampton legand was also lost. Local Catacomb's dj blue Max Millward. A well known northern soul person, a friend to everybody. Lived for the northern soul music scene.  




   Wolverhampton as always played a big part in northern soul. It had a very important role at the start of Wigan casino. There was aleways plenty of Wolverhampton faces at the casino. At every event it staged. No town or city can say without it. Wigan casino would of not had the  success it had. But Wolverhampton certainly contributed to it. The same way many other towns and cities did. I don't think 1 location had exclusive rights to say. That location made more of a input than another. It was the whole membership from across the UK. That created the success, not just 1 city. There was a lot of talk circulating Wigan casino of rivalry between Manchester and Wolverhampton. Looking back in my opinion niether had more input than the other. I knew more from Wolverhampton. Simply as I came from the west midlands. But I knew people from the Manchester area as well. It was northern soul that had the most input and success. The good atmosphere came from that. Everybody where there to enjoy the music.



Wigan casino, inside the club.

When you got in the allnighter

   Regular members always seemed to have a ritual. That they stuck to each week, I would go to the front left. Chuck my carrier bag containing, towel, couple of spare shirts. That was all that I took with me. I had no idea what people chucked talcum powder all over the place for. As long as it avoided anywhere near me. They could throw 2 ton of it under there own feet. To this day I have never taken talcum powder anywhere other than the bathroom. Same had them stupid beer mat towels. Whoever came up with that idea, must of liked stinking like a pub. I had a normal hand towel My usual friends where Gethro Jones, Kim Jones, Dave Fisher, Peter Kadic, Steve Harding, Cockney mac, Phil Shelton, Mandie Evans, Kim Sutton. I knew a lot people at Wigan casino. But that list are the people who knew me best, and I considered my close friends. I could give you a longer list of people who said they knew me. Who think I will just say I knew them, which I won't do.

    Wigan casino was a different world. A close bonded community, nothing today (December 2015). There is nothing like it to put a comparission. The endless list of venues that advertise an allnighter. Exactly like Wigan casino, should be taken to court. Under the trade descriptions act. Wigan casino first and more important. Was nothing like the building it is staged at. 2nd it is nothing in comparission to either atmosphere or communal feeling. There was no us and them in the casino. It was a gigantic Maplewood dancefloor. Christopher Wren couldn't of designed a better venue. With todays technology to build it. The casino tingle, the feeling you got waiting in Station road. Smashed out your head from a massive dosse of Amphetamine. Was what made it the best feeling ever. When 99% of the crowd, where the same as you. It had one thing waiting to happen. As soon as the door opened everybody waiting. Wanted to go through them at the same time. 



   I'm always getting people approach me saying. I knew you at Wigan casino. It was a very long time ago, how do people honestly think. I remember every single person I bumped into beats me. I even had a girl saying I spoke to you outside the Ritz 75 or 76. She couldn't remember the year. Yet was surprised I never remembered her. I spoke to anybody, at that time sat on train stations or outside venue's. A lot of people where right that proberly did speak to me. But don't look surprised. If I don't remember you instantly, sometimes a while later it comes back to me. If I don't remember you I'm not doubting you spoke to me, just saying I have month's or even years I cant remember. If you want to say hello and you happen to see me. At a allnighter or a night out. Feel free to come upto me and say hello.  I'm nothing special at all. So treat me that way normal is what I expect. I like to meet new people. You cant have enough friends is perfectly true. If you think this website is 100% s**t say it. When strangers start by saying your website is brilliant. I tend to think your full of crap. Or you are after something for nothing.  

  Back to Wigan casino allnighter. The dj line up was fairly constant. Almost all the people I went with. Headed for mr M's at 2 am, the main room often played oldies and newies alnight long. But mr M's had a regular group in it, so we all had a good time. I always remember a coloured chap from Wigan, called Fred. He always showed up in mr M's leaning against the wall. By the toilets at the back of M's. The balcony was a great secluded place, nobody took a bit of notice of you. It was warmer than that draughty multi-storey car park in winter. The alley at the side was dark enough. But there was more p**s in it than the toilets. Trouble with event's today, none have the mystic Wigan casino had. Now everybody goes out to smoke, a lot more outside than in most the night. In Wigan casino days the UK still ruled itself. None of this go outside to smoke. Never made it so bad it stopped you getting smashed and dancing alnight long. All the health and safety rules are killing good nights out. You start a chat next sentence they have gone for a smoke     

Some nights where like a cauldron. it was so hot

   Some allnighters the heat would of matched a furnace. The great fluid loss, was more to blame. For members absent on Monday than tiredness. The loss was never noticed in the casino's charged emotional atmosphere. Exhausted members went to bed after maybe 1  cup of fluid. But had lost many times more, which needed to be replaced. When they woke up on the Monday. It was to a flue like illness. The effect dehydration not fatigue. If more liquid had been  replaced this would of been avoided. Mostly fizzie bottle's of pop where drank in the club. Water would of been more benificial to the people dancing. There was no licensed bar in Wigan casino. But this would not of eliviated the problem either.

   Members many had consumed a cocktail of pharmasutical grade Amphetamines. Had no real knowledge of the fluid loss damage to them Almost all carried on with the high energy routine. Never stoping for a drink, if a list of top records got played. It took to long to go and get a drink. So the dancefloor remained packed. The space you had was a precious thing.  It would be gone the second you left it. So you stayed there, when the Friday oldies allnighter started. A normal attendance saw the casino rammed full. The minute a top record started a massive surge of people. Headed for the dancefloor, everybody trying to get a space.

   Even the vast area of the casino's main dancefloor. Was at times to small for the crowd on it. The later years the place changed the atmosphere went. Drugs became the reason to be there. In the mid 70's there was only 1 reason to be there. That was northern soul music, but with the media spotlight came. A voice ignorant of reason or understanding. The casino members where niether idle or drug addict's. The place was very competative, as there was no restrictions. On who was the no 1 face at Wigan casino. Everybody there believed they could be. Most took any measure available to ensure. They where not left behind  



   I created my first website in .html using windows 3.1 It took days to hand code a page. Using .net and msil interoperability an idiot could do it. I'm a bit overqualified. Now with .html 5, plus a host of new technical  advances. The online content is better easier and quicker to publish. Just takes the old school a lot longer to learn. But such is life for us old stagers. I was proud to be an innovator of UK northern soul online. It was years after my first website. That anybody else published online. I think the first contact by a name was Russ Winstanley. As online activity grew with windows 98se and XP. finally made it a user-friendly internet. I used to get so many Emails daily. From http://garrykeen.com I stopped replying, you are a liar you made it all up. To trick people into visiting your site.

     The same wa****s who crawled from under a rock. To say what a brilliant film northern soul was. Even thou I had said it 30 years before. I still have the responses so at some point. I will publish the lot, as soon as my legal advisors. Give me the no legal issues. Never get equal always get ahead.