There was huge excitement in Southend when Morrissey was here to film the video for his “Everyday Is Like Sunday” video with the lyric, “This is the coastal town that they forgot to close down”. Well Southend is quieter in the winter but not nearly as seasonal as it used to be.
This was recorded from the balcony of the Park Inn by Radisson Palace Hotel. For the last 6 years The White Bus have been putting on the “Horror-on-Sea Film Festival” and this is the break between “Mortuary Massacre” and “Charismata” plus a couple of shorts, “Unto Death” and “The Gardener”, at about 8.40 p.m. The voices you hear are smokers outside, people going up and down Pier Hill, there are pubs, arcades and places to eat along the seafront open, and smokers on the balcony below who come out from the casino.
Southend has 3 casinos, all open 24 hours. The Grovsenor Casino (I don’t think you’re allowed to record or photograph in casinos), although they have fruit machines, they have the sound turned off so there isn’t much to hear there; the arcades are much noisier. The casino site once used to have bingo there. The Ritz cinema opposite, where the car park now is, had bingo for a while, to the side of the Palace. Olympia was originally a ballroom, didn’t last long, couldn’t compete with The Kursaal, became a waxworks museum and circus of horrors, followed by bingo. At the same time a lot of the arcades had bingo with callers and all the familiar patter. These days there is Mecca bingo in a shed on a retail site, kitted out but still a shed. There was still bingo on the seafront a couple of years ago, Happidrome and maybe another, one to look into later this year.