This month we ask what went wrong on the Blackpool club scene, as venue advertisers have deserted the once vibrant and popular Seasider Magazine. This has resulted in the sad fact that the publication is set to disappear completely at the end of the year. Mark Ritchie examines the reasons behind its demise.
The first time I ever picked up a Seasider magazine in Blackpool, the pages were adorned with images and adverts reflecting a vibrant club scene, especially during the long summer seasons and into the autumn, due to the popularity of the famous illuminations.
When writing for The Stage newspaper I discovered that the Blackpool Clubland people do not appreciate any questioning or criticism of their events, such as the once prestigious Blackpool Clubland Command Shows. Clubland can be an insular world and no-one seems to have managed to get across, to those who were in charge, the fact that any part of the leisure and entertainment business has to be welcoming of new ideas and take incontrovertible facts on their business chin.
Over the years I have hardly ever worked the Blackpool circuit as a cabaret artiste. As an industry pundit and reviewer, sometimes my name goes before me and I have lost of lot of work opportunities due to my other business activities. I used to enjoy visiting a few clubs in the area. I liked The Bloomfield Club but hated the Leyton Institute. You cannot win them all!
Recently the publisher of The Seasider magazine, local taxi driver Alan Pilborough announced that the Seasider used to receive in excess of 80 adverts every month. Now there are just a mere handful.
Their flagship event The Blackpool Command Show, staged annually to coincide with the Club and Institute Union annual conference, did not appear again post-pandemic. I was Compere for the show back in 2000 when the event was staged at The Horseshoe Bar within Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Interesting I was contacted earlier this year by agent Barrie Lucas, who asked me to Compere a new show, produced especially for the Club and Institute Union at Viva Cabaret Theatre, right on Blackpool’s iconic Golden Mile. The main man behind this new show, which attracted a huge audience, was C&IU official Nathan Clarke.
I was delighted to be invited and it was a great night. You would have to ask how the C&IU delegates rated my own humble efforts on-stage, but I must have passed muster as I have already been approached to appear on the show next year.
Getting back to the subject of The Seasider, many clubs will advertise to their members via social networking sites these days and the decline of printed advertising was perhaps inevitable. It is a shame to see The Seasider disappear, as it is set to at the end of the year. This is indeed the end of an era.
We continue to look for area correspondents who could collate and send us information across the national club scene. If you have a Clubland related story to tell, please e-mail all your Clubland information to firstname.lastname@example.org