“I just wanted to put Belfast on the map”, says Hooley

Good Vibrations Producer Chris Martin, Terri Hooley and Snow Patrol’s Jonny Quinn (executive producer)

Shelley Marsden was at the Good Vibrations DVD launch and caught up with the man that inspired the film…

GOOD vibrations were in abundance last Wednesday night for the launch party of the Blu-ray and DVD release of acclaimed film, Good Vibrations. Held aptly at Soho’s trendy Vinyl Factory, the invited crowd enjoyed a wave of nostalgia as they jumped around to the punk beats of 70s Belfast.

There’s no show without punch, of course, and the gregarious and ever entertaining Terri Hooley (Belfast’s ‘godfather of punk’, on whom the film is based) was in fine form, joking with female guests about which lucky lady was going to become the next “Mrs Hooley”.

The high-spirited music man flew in to attend from Belfast – where he has recently reopened his legendary Good Vibrations record store for the eleventh time – and, following a screening of the movie, held court with a lively Q&A which Timeout’s Film Editor Dave Calhoun was commendably able to reign in!

The night was peppered with anecdotes, such as the time he was at a party back home, misplaced his glass eye (he lost an eye following a childhood accident), found it down the back of a sofa hours later and his friend, former deputy editor of NME Stuart Bailie, said: “And thus, Belfast’s greatest double-act were reunited!”

He also spoke of hanging out with singer Pete Doherty when he was in the city: “I love Pete he’s a very sensitive man like myself. I went out drinking with him one night and ended up with a broken leg. I took him on the ‘Alternative Belfast Walking Tour’. He couldn’t drink half as much as me, now!’

Terri, who during his colourful years in music has been both threatened and physically attacked by members of both loyalist and Catholic paramilitary groups, told the Irish World: “I never thought I’d live long enough to see this film on DVD, I really didn’t! I’m so proud to be standing here today and incredibly proud of everyone involved in the film. I hardly went on set as I trusted them to tell my story.  It’s so close to what actually happened but it’s not all about me… it’s about so many people. The punks are my heroes!”

He added that the violence he encountered was actually “watered down” in the film, and spoke of the friends he has lost to The Troubles: ““I lost a lot of great friends along the way. I lost 37 friends. I didn’t realise I had that many friends.”

BBC Radio 6 Music’s Tom Ravenscroft later took to the decks to play classic tracks from the punk era as well as music from the film soundtrack, featuring The Undertones, The Outcasts, Stiff Little Fingers and Rudi. Tom’s dad, late Radio 1 DJ John Peel, was the first to champion The Undertones’ breakout song ‘Teenage Kicks’ (he famously loved it so much, he played it twice “Something I’ve never done before”).

The DJ told us that playing the track for Terri Hooley held a special resonance for him: “The scene in the film where Teenage Kicks is played on Radio 1 gave me goose-bumps, it really did. Good Vibrations brought back great memories, and so to play for Terri Hooley tonight was just an incredible honour.”

Terri Hooley was also joined on the night by cast members Kerr Logan (Game of Thrones) and Michael Colgan (The Fall), producers Chris Martin and Snow Patrol’s Jonny Quinn, Neville Staple from The Specials.

The lovable biopic, which came out in cinemas earlier in the year, stars Richard Dormer in an excellent turn as Terri Hooley, as he fights against the nasty tribalism of the Troubles through music. It was a small store but, as well as somewhere the music lover could vent his entrepreneurial spirit, it became a symbol of peace in a divided city, a new path for its youth.

Terri said: “I never wanted to start a record label, I just wanted to put Belfast on the map.” That much he can be sure of doing.

Good Vibrations (Universal Pictures UK) is out now on Blu-ray and DVD .

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