Forty years ago, back in 1981, Francesco Mellina, a dashing young photographer from Italy, received a phone call at his Liverpool home from a journalist at the New Musical Express. “I’m doing a piece on the end of an era,” said the journalist, “and I need you to photograph it for me”. The brief was to take a couple of shots of Wigan Casino’s last all-nighter for an article in the music paper marking its closure. Francesco turned up at one of the world’s most famous music venues at the start of that momentous Saturday evening and stayed till eight o’clock the following morning.
With his Pentax in hand, he documented the entire event from start to finish. Two of his photographs accompanied the NME article, a couple have been used on Northern Soul compilation albums and some used in television news items or documentaries. But the rest have been stashed away as 35mm black and white negatives never to be seen again – until now. This anniversary year sees the entire set of these evocative photographs of the Last Night at Wigan Casino together in chronological order with comments from the photographer.
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Released July 2021.
UK P+P free