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Wigan Burns, Piano remains

All About the SOUL fragleroc

 
Posted

I've always wondered who took the infamous photo of the grand piano

at the burnt down Wigan Casino. I thought someone on here would know

who took the photo, or which newspaper it appeared in first? I would love to locate

its original source to get a decent copy of this piece of history.

Cheers

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Posted

It was dropped from a helicopter in a failed attempt to assassinate RW whilst he was posing for the cameras after the fire.

Dx

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Posted

I would imagine it was the Wigan observer or some such local paper. Good luck with your search. 

Steve 

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Posted

Cheers Steve, I thought so too, but no such luck so far. Thinking about it,

the image might not have been printed in a newspaper. If it was, I guess it would have half-tones dots

running through it? 

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Posted

It is also on the back of the Harlem Johns Reshuffle lp on Fontana 1969

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Posted

Wiggyflat, that is a great shout. Maybe the photographer is credited on the back of  lp?

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Posted

The photo is in Winstanleys Soul Survivors book where it lists the source as the Wigan Observer

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Posted

Apart from all of that......why WAS there a piano on the stage? Was the Casino building used for other things apart from the NS events? It's a haunting photograph though isn't it. Very spooky. You'd imagine the burning roof trusses would have collapsed onto it and set the thing on fire? All very......spooky!! Too spooky!!!!! Somebody may have that piano......in their dark, dank cellar.......and one night......the sound of creaking....."Eeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkk......", the lid mysteriously opens and out climbs a skeleton, wearing Spencers soulbags, and chewing manically, his muscle back Addidas shirt hanging loosely round his skeletal rib cage. It'll drag itself upright and start tapping it's feet to music only it can hear. Then.....slowly it starts to slide its feet side to side on the cold slate floor and as the beat in its head starts to thump louder and faster, its movements pick up and then suddenly it crashes down into a perfect back drop, propels itself upwards and performs a never ending spin, sending dust and cobwebs into the air....then it slows, and stops and it's shoulders lower and it drops its head to its chest and slowly makes its way back to the piano and climbs back under the lid. Just before it lowers completely, a faint voice can be heard from within......"It'll never be over for me.....".

Oooooh, shiver, shiver, goosebump city!!

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Posted
3 minutes ago, flamingemeralds said:

Apart from all of that......why WAS there a piano on the stage? Was the Casino building used for other things apart from the NS events? It's a haunting photograph though isn't it. Very spooky. You'd imagine the burning roof trusses would have collapsed onto it and set the thing on fire? All very......spooky!! Too spooky!!!!! Somebody may have that piano......in their dark, dank cellar.......and one night......the sound of creaking....."Eeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkk......", the lid mysteriously opens and out climbs a skeleton, wearing Spencers soulbags, and chewing manically, his muscle back Addidas shirt hanging loosely round his skeletal rib cage. It'll drag itself upright and start tapping it's feet to music only it can hear. Then.....slowly it starts to slide its feet side to side on the cold slate floor and as the beat in its head starts to thump louder and faster, its movements pick up and then suddenly it crashes down into a perfect back drop, propels itself upwards and performs a never ending spin, sending dust and cobwebs into the air....then it slows, and stops and it's shoulders lower and it drops its head to its chest and slowly makes its way back to the piano and climbs back under the lid. Just before it lowers completely, a faint voice can be heard from within......"It'll never be over for me.....".

Oooooh, shiver, shiver, goosebump city!!

The Empress Ballroom featured big bands in the pre-record era so there would have been a piano there. Later, the stage was used by up and coming groups such as The Beatles and other artists who would have needed a backing group. Pretty tricky getting a grand piano into the Casino via the stairs or Mr M's so maybe it was inside before they put the roof on.

Certainly an odd photograph when you focus on the piano - maybe it had been specially fitted with a flip-up lid and stuffed full of firelighters by the Director of Arson at Wigan Council... The piano now rests in a retired peoples' home in Burnley where the ex Chief-Inspector of Wigan Drug Squad practises his scales in readiness for the Christmas Concert...

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I always assumed there was a 'live' appearance planned at the next oldies niter featuring Mrs Mills ... :wicked:

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Posted
26 minutes ago, flamingemeralds said:

Apart from all of that......why WAS there a piano on the stage? Was the Casino building used for other things apart from the NS events? It's a haunting photograph though isn't it. Very spooky. You'd imagine the burning roof trusses would have collapsed onto it and set the thing on fire? All very......spooky!! Too spooky!!!!! Somebody may have that piano......in their dark, dank cellar.......and one night......the sound of creaking....."Eeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkk......", the lid mysteriously opens and out climbs a skeleton, wearing Spencers soulbags, and chewing manically, his muscle back Addidas shirt hanging loosely round his skeletal rib cage. It'll drag itself upright and start tapping it's feet to music only it can hear. Then.....slowly it starts to slide its feet side to side on the cold slate floor and as the beat in its head starts to thump louder and faster, its movements pick up and then suddenly it crashes down into a perfect back drop, propels itself upwards and performs a never ending spin, sending dust and cobwebs into the air....then it slows, and stops and it's shoulders lower and it drops its head to its chest and slowly makes its way back to the piano and climbs back under the lid. Just before it lowers completely, a faint voice can be heard from within......"It'll never be over for me.....".

Oooooh, shiver, shiver, goosebump city!!

and this is on a Weds night - I will make a note to read your posts on a Sunday night! :D

Len :thumbsup:

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Posted

IMG_1807.JPG

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Would have thought they would have got the piano down the side alley (it slopes down) and up 2 flights of stairs onto the same level as the dance floor - then lifted it up onto the stage - if your standing with the record bar behind you it would have been right hand side of the stage. 

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IMG_2504.JPG.618cf224fb435ffaf698fdf61d72d2af.JPG

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The Grand Piano is alive and well today and often makes guest appearances at local Soul nights and Shopping Arcades around the North-West. It even came Runner up in the World Northern Soul Dancing competition at Blackpool last year, It's Castor movements in particular impressed the Judges.

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52 minutes ago, ZoomSoulBlue said:

IMG_2504.JPG.618cf224fb435ffaf698fdf61d72d2af.JPG

If you look under the piano on this photograph, that geezer just might be the Skeleton of Soul referred to in my earlier post. Cor blimey!

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So if the building was known as the Empress Ballroom in 1962 but had become the Wigan Casino by summer 1968, when did the name change occur ??

I know that had a decent few soul acts on live during that mid to late 60's time period (from UK acts like Harlem Jonns Reshuffle theu to US outfits like Ike & Tina Turner).

 

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The boss says it was kept behind the curtain. Dx

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im sorry but that piano had jack shit to do  with any nostalgia from that photo  , a teenage passion steeped with memories for me !!

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"The photo is in Winstanleys Soul Survivors book where it lists the source as the Wigan Observer"

Cheers Patto! I've just got to track down which day/month/year that particular article was now!

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Posted

Does anyone know the exact date of the Wigan fire? Was it March 10th 1981?

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March '82 ... 

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Thanks Woodbutcher. I'll get down the british library and see what I can find in their newspaper archive 

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18 hours ago, wiggyflat said:

It is also on the back of the Harlem Johns Reshuffle lp on Fontana 1969

I may be being dumb here, but what is on the back of the LP ?.

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@Kegsy a picture of the piano unburnt at the casino (I assume)

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@Kegsy I just realised that is impossible since the album is from 69!

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Just now, fragleroc said:

@Kegsy I just realised that is impossible since the album is from 69!

Which is exactly why I asked, maybe its the same piano in 1968ish from when the Harlem Jonns (not John's) Reshuffle played there ?.

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2 hours ago, fragleroc said:

Thanks Woodbutcher. I'll get down the british library and see what I can find in their newspaper archive 

It looks pretty obviously like a still from a TV screen so may well have been from an Imber World News report.

Dx

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24 minutes ago, DaveNPete said:

It looks pretty obviously like a still from a TV screen so may well have been from an Imber World News report.

Dx

Could it be that the piano has been superimposed onto the picture and it's just really the origin of fake news ?.

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Well I can believe that you'd put a photoshopped pic out Kegsy, coz it's the sort of prank you'd do to wind everyone on the scene up.

I like it when you go after soul folk just to get em riled-up.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Roburt said:

Well I can believe that you'd put a photoshopped pic out Kegsy, coz it's the sort of prank you'd do to wind everyone on the scene up.

I like it when you go after soul folk just to get em riled-up.

Wood Eye ?

By the way do you still have that Canadian Epic copy of Levi Jackson ?

Edited by Kegsy

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This was the scene on Blackpool seafront a few weeks later...

015_column_photo01.jpg.c10020f7fbe069b84eef91ddec6c4b77.jpg

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3 minutes ago, Steve S 60 said:

This was the scene on Blackpool seafront a few weeks later...

015_column_photo01.jpg.c10020f7fbe069b84eef91ddec6c4b77.jpg

Is that Ian Levine playing on the SWONS version of My World Is On Fire?

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Just now, Paul r said:

Is that Ian Levine playing on the SWONS version of My World Is On Fire?

Don't think the special effects budget would have covered it.

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3 minutes ago, Paul r said:

Is that Ian Levine playing on the SWONS version of My World Is On Fire?

 

1 minute ago, Steve S 60 said:

Don't think the special effects budget would have covered it.

True, I had to take my own "make-up" to the filming, and Ian wasn't really the best at applying it, to be honest.

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8 minutes ago, Steve S 60 said:

This was the scene on Blackpool seafront a few weeks later...

015_column_photo01.jpg.c10020f7fbe069b84eef91ddec6c4b77.jpg

With Ian Levine in his lurex disco onesie!

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whats with all these crap one liners

one or two yep sure, all like a laugh now and again

but lets keep them to that as in 1 or 2 now and again

not a stream of weak jokes

thanks

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