Caught In A Game Of Chance

Caught In A Game Of Chance

Robert Rubbish takes Cathi Unsworth on A Drift through Soho…

…then to Archer Street, site Charlie Chester’s Casino (Caught in a Game of Chance)…

CU Named after (though not run or owned by) the popular 1940s-50s comedian, Charlie Chester’s casino was at 12 Archer Street and once had a laudably Pop Art exterior… The trainee dealers were called ‘Lumpies’ and debuted their skills at the 10p per stake ‘Lumpy Pit’. The place was described by a former of their number, Chris Moore as: “an incubation chamber for the London gaming industry,” that was: “aimed squarely at the bottom of the market”. Like The Flamingo, a melting pot of Soho sinners and no doubt a handy stop-off point for the Dirty Squad…

RR I like the fact that building still has the casino sign on it if you look up! This to me is another ghost of Soho’s past. This artwork was the meeting of three different influences. I read Francis Bacon in Your Blood by Michael Peppiatt and it was so good it really gave me the feel for Soho at that time, Bacon’s attitude to life and his gambler’s instinct that lead me to re-watch John Maybury’s Love is the Devil and I loved the film even more from reading Michael Peppiatt’s book – and they both use Charlie Chester’s. I like how John used the real outside of the building in his film, with all the neon and dice. At the same time, I have been in love with the song Madame George by Van Morrison – its other-worldly vibe made me riff a reworking of it as poem for this artwork:

Guided and wired by the pink moon
You slip into a trance intoxicated by a game of chance
And the sweet smell of men’s perfume fills the room
In a subterranean bar you take another drink
Just to see how far you may fall
And you fall
In love again

Archival Giclee print on German etching paper
signed and numbered by the artist
limited edition of 100
A3 297 x 420 mm

90 GBP