Pits n Pots were out in force last night for the National Premier of the SoulBoy movie at the Kings Hall in Stoke Town.
Cast members were in attendance and were happy to mingle with the hundreds of Northern Soul fanatics who had turned out to see a movie dedicated to their favourite musical genre that is still massively popular decades after the country was gripped by the music.
SoulBoy, the movie, is set in the City of Stoke-on-Trent and tells the tale of local lad Joe McCain, who is living a mundane existence.
It’s 1974, a time of trouble and strife. Power cuts, and boot-boy aggro on the football terraces. Glam rock is prominent on the music scene in Stoke-on-Trent and Joe’s mate invents an embarrassing new dance while the rest of the crowd mimic Mud’s Tiger Feet 3-step crossover move on the dance floor.
Joe simply does not know what to do with his life and after a brief encounter with a beautiful girl, he finds “ËœNorthern Soul’.
He starts to go to Wigan Casino with the intention of getting a little closer to his dream girl and finds that the music playing there is like a religion and the dancers are its disciples.
The film has a great soundtrack, full of Northern Soul classics interspersed with some original footage of the infamous Wigan Casino allnighters. The Kings Hall takes a principle role in impersonating the legendary northern venue.
The script plays homage to the times, the music and the mood of Stoke-on-Trent. The characters can be related to some of our relatives of years gone by.
The lead actors give strong performances, especially BAFTA winning Martin Compston, the much sought after Felicity Jones and Nichola Burley who played the lead in StreetDance3D and Kicks.
The film has a real feel good factor to it. The ending has been criticised by some but I think in the context of the movie it is very relative.
Those critics who bemoan the ending must simply have no comprehension of the mood and importance of the Northern Soul scene. Back then, it really was about who was king or queen of the dance floor and who had the best moves, so my big sister tells me!
Directed by Shimmy Marcus, written by Jeff Williams and produced by Christine Aldersen and Natasha Carlish, Soulboy takes us back to a time of Raleigh Choppers, tinned fruit and Carnation Cream and beer at 14p a pint!
It’s a must for those who were lucky enough to witness the Northern Soul scene first hand or those, who like me, had a big brother or sister who did.
Northern Soul has never really gone away and is witnessing something of a revival right now, so much so that the new Community Radio Station for Stoke-on-Trent, 6 Towns Radio has a number of specialist soul presenters that will keep all Northern Soulers dancing around their living rooms.
I must finish by paying tribute to Stoke-on-Trent City Council who along with Soda Pictures put on a great night that was massively supported by film goers and Northern Soul followers alike.
It’s not that often that the City can claim to host National Premiers, but in this case it would have been criminal to hold it anywhere else.
Enjoy the Audio Interviews with Shimmy Marcus, Martin Compston, Nichola Burley and Felicity Jones below.