Grim Up North

Look – you knew we would be going to see this. If you have spent more than 15 seconds looking at this blog you will know that HOH spent much of his twenties chasing Northern Soul venues around the country, buying records and looking for somewhere to dance to them. 

So this film was eagerly awaited here by at least a proportion of the inhabitants of Martha Towers. First of all I have to refer to the cinema we had to go to to watch the film because it was on a limited release. I have never been there before. I will not fight to go there again. There was enough of that going on in the foyer as far as I could see. I don’t think I have ever been scared at the flicks before (unless you take into account how I felt when I realised that Tom Cruise’s Cocktail had another hour to go before we were mercifully released) We stood in a queue with a lot of other slightly ageing soul type people, many of whom were on sticks or had dodgy backs (probably because of all that backdropping) while about a hundred drunk, grubby hipster/biker types pushed past us to get to their film. Well it felt like a hundred to me. I have no idea what they were seeing. I don’t think that it was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 
Inside the cinema, things did not improve. I did not know that they made screens that small. HOH had to wear glasses to see the film. The hygiene was not what you would call top notch. The toilets were actually in the room we watched the film from – raising the unedifying possibility of flushing and other noises during quiet moments. Also, I think I was sitting in something sticky. I don’t know. I didn’t look and my jeans went straight into the wash. Bijou vintage it was not.

To the film then. You would probably only see this if you knew what it was about, if you get my drift. If you love the music or remember the scene, you will like this. The scenes in the dance hall were fantastic, the best I have seen. It was truly exhilarating and I would have liked to see more of them. There were some great little moments where people were learning to dance and just going for it. Lisa Stansfield shouting “I were right shown up today!” in a very broad accent is a happy moment that will stay with me for ages. I think you can hear a “but” coming. At the risk of sounding like I know what I am talking about, I think it was underwritten. It needed a better script rather than people just saying things to move the story on. You know the kind of thing…

“Whatever you do – don’t start injecting drugs – it’s a mug’s game” Cue toilet scene with needles

“If we get caught with these drugs it’s ten years in jail” Thrill to totally unexpected blue flashing siren.

Having said all that, it was beautifully shot – in Bolton, I think a lot of it and it did capture perfectly a northern town in England in the 1970s. Although it was a bit grimmer than I remember it. That’s probably because I am sooo much younger than HOH. Yep that will be it.


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