Welcome to Blackpool Social Club: arts & culture in lockdown and beyond

Claire Griffiths welcomes you back to the newly rebranded Blackpool Social Club.
You might remember us as altBlackpool back in 2018. Whilst we have been offline we have created a beautiful new logo, revamped our website and welcomed a new partnership with Big Issue North magazine.

Blackpool Social Club is inspired by Blackpool’s resilient, creative and independent nature.  Emerging from these strange dystopian times might be challenging, but we will be right here beside you exploring what’s happening and where.

Some of the old team are back and our excitement is tangible as we welcome new contributors. We’re getting ready to share opinion pieces, photo galleries, interviews and articles exploring Blackpool and the Fylde Coast’s cultural and alternative scene. We know that Blackpool is an exciting place, with lots of underground happenings; who better to tell those stories than the folks experiencing them?

As we relaunch expect to find a mix of artist interviews, news, columns and opinion. As we launch look out for a chat with with two bike riding guerrilla artists, Henry Iddon’s flashback photo gallery of Kool Herc (The Godfather of hip hop) playing Blue in the 2000, conversations around cool house plants and the first in a regular slot offering a platform for graduate artists, and Stephanie Cottle’s first In Her Place column, in which she tells us why cycling is her new normal. Our writers will also share what they’ve been up to, especially during lockdown.

I wonder how people feel coming out of lockdown. There have been strong varying emotions coming through on social media from day one and what exactly is the “new normal”? For me, I have missed having a barista-made coffee from an independent coffee shop, of course. I’ve got reacquainted with one of them, Upside Down, in this article, Deja Brew.

Luckily, I have been able to carry on with my day job as a photographer in lockdown, photographing Blackpool in its vacant state and finding new ways to work. The town, most famous for its entertainment industry, took on an initial eerie atmosphere. The empty streets of lockdown initially thrilled me, before I asked myself; what is a place without people?

The pubs, theatres and bars painted an especially lonely picture standing  void of folks, laughter or karaoke. I photographed these buildings; interested in how human beings have shared experience and what brings us together. I looked at the smaller underground venues, places where we the locals might go, away from the tourist focused bars. Places like Bootleg Social and Dirty Blondes, fairly new places which are nevertheless bringing in acts like The Sugar Hill Gang and providing a home for the skate scene of Blackpool. Some pubs are due to open on the 4th of July but government guidelines currently state that singing and dancing will be prohibited in these places, which to my ear sounds like the most Orwellian thing. Expect to find interviews with Bootleg, The Waterloo and Dirty Blondes over the coming days.

We are interested in hearing from new contributors and especially from the student community. So if you are an aspiring journalist, animator, photographer or film maker contact us with a short bio and 300 words on a subject of choice.

 

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