Film World Premiere
Ulster Hall, Belfast
31st May 2012
It's the morning after the night before, and I'm feeling more than a little fragile as I may have overdone the celebrating
a tinsy winsy bit. I very rarely drink at all, but I got caught up in all the razzmatazz and nostalgia last night. My head is
splitting and I'm croaking like a frog, yeah! As you've probably already guessed it was an absolutely brilliant night.
The 'Good Vibrations' movie has been a longtime coming - jeez, the film has been in the pipeline for around 13 years and it's
been over two years since the excellent 10 minute fund raising pilot film was made and then screened one Sunday afternoon
way back in February 2010 at the 'QFT'.
Always the punky fanboy, I'd made a pilgrimage last year to the Blackstaff Industrial Estate on the Springfield Road when I
heard the fake movie version of the 'Harp Bar' exterior had been built there. Sadly for me it had been removed the day before I
visited, but a friend of a friend who worked in the units gave me a photo and the faux front actually did the impossible and
looked even more grimey than the real thing lol. I couldn't wait to see this film.
Anyway, I want to try and remember everything that went down last night so I think I'll take a little nap and then maybe the room
will have stopped spinning before I continue any further. Thank god I booked those days off work weeks in advance.
(Film & After Party Running Order/ multi email)
Film starts 7.00pm approx / finishes at 9.00 pm approx-
Audience 30 mins to reach venues.
500 people invited across two venues.
Capacity Black Box 250/Black Box Cafe 60
Black Box Cafe
Jeff Doherty (DJ Set)
Stuart Watson (DJ Set)
12.20pm-1.30pm Tanya Mellote/ Stuart Watson (DJ Set)
*All DJs can mix and match according to preference
(Needless to say it all didn't run to schedule on the night)
Get on with the review. So tonight’s the night, and I'm absolutely delighted that the 'Good Vibrations' film is here
at last, and not only is the movie making its high profile red carpet debut it's also launching the Belfast Film
Festival. For the first time ever there’s a hometown big screen erected especially for the occasion in the historic
Ulster Hall which is celebrating its own 150th birthday this year.
There was TV coverage all through the glorious day on the local news bulletins,
which is not surprising as this is the true (ish) story of a most unlikely Belfast anti
hero and the hottest ticket in town for quite some time. Requests to attend the
premiere far out stripped supply, so two more screenings were quickly arranged to
cope with the overwhelming demand.
Upon entering the venue, it was clear to see that the majority of the privileged
audience was made up of media luvvies and liggers who probably never visited
any of Mr Hooleygan's shops, or even bought anything from him in their long lives
- they certainly were never part of the NI punk scene documented in the film that’s
But it was great to catch up again with the ex punks/Harp Bar regulars from that
time who were the kids that lived a confrontational and exciting lifestyle during a
very dangerous time. They did hang out in the shop, steal the posters from the
staircase wall, and we did buy our 45's, fanzines etc etc from the man of the
moment himself. The writers and producers totally understood from the get-go just
how important this movie was going to be to a generation of kids who stood
together studded shoulder to shoulder before and alongside Terri Hooley,
kicking against the pricks! They treated Terri and the punk's tale with empathy,
respect and some very dark humour.
Certain scenes in the movie were laugh out loud, while others like Gordi Owens
visiting to the shop for the first-time and then the subsequent Rudi gig in The
Pound, just lifted my heart. It was so vivid and evocative of that great time. The
sinister side of the story was Terri's beating by two skinheads, which was
very realistic, vicious and hard to watch gritty film-making.
Now the important question everyone is asking... "did the 'Good
Vibrations' film live up to all the hype and expectation?" Of course it
fucking did, and it has an exceptional soundtrack.
There was a long and well deserved standing ovation for all the main
players (without whom this movie wouldn't have happened) who were all
brought on stage together and seemed genuinely moved by the ecstatic
reaction to their little independent film, which is now set to go global.
Richard Dormer is a revelation, he is so realistic and believable. He
actually does Terri better than Terri does, and if justice is done this will be
seen as an award winning performance by the movie industry movers and
shakers. That's if Petesy Burns (Outcasts/ Stalag 17) as 'Pugwash'
doesn't pip him to the post lol. In truth there are many strong
My son Steven ($$) and I can't thank Lisa Barros D'Sa, Glenn Leyburn,
David Holmes and Chris Martin enough for giving us the opportunity to
participate in the film - they are four really talented and very nice people,
we are very grateful indeed.
$$ and his pal Chris Smith (plus my authentic punk era 'Rudi' logo
emblazoned leather jacket) got the chance to reprise their roles from the
original pilot film, only this time on the hallowed Ulster Hall stage. $$ and
me also spent a very long day back in September 2011 down in Dundalk
filming his part as the 'Rural Punk Kid', which is in the finished movie.
Early during pre production stage he was being lined up for a band
member part, but school hours got in the way and he couldn't commit or
devote the time required. Then there's my unseen scary cameo as the bar
manager who refuses to cough up the cash to Terri (Richard Dormer)
because of the damage caused to his venue after Rudi played. The scene
thankfully only made it as far as the cutting room floor due to time
constraints, but I think my wig went on to work on Adrian Dunbar's head in
the completed film. I'm more than happy to be in there as my teenage
punky self in a 1979 'Something Else' tv clip with the real Rudi and to be
included in the end credits vintage punk photo's reel.
Yeah! I've concentrated on the dominant musical aspects of the movie, but
Terri's non punk private and personal life during this period is also
Next screening is apparently set for the 'Galway film fleadh’ in July, with
more local one off screenings a strong possibility. I'm now back at square
one and I can't wait to see this magnificent movie again ASAP.
Congratulations to everyone involved with 'Good Vibrations', you've
delivered a movie we can all be proud of.
We exited the Ulster Hall and stopped off at the Voodoo Bar for a swift half before heading round to the Black Box for the
after party. '$pikey $teve'/'VX' were meant to play at one of the film related after party gigs, but again real life got in the way
and there was no option but to withdraw at the last minute due to unfortunate A level exam schedule pressures (maybe next
There was quite a few ghosts from our collective past hanging out post premiere in the Black Box - long lost old punky faces,
some I hadn't seen in many years. Plus there was also free beer upon entry to the club, and that always goes down well.
First off, sorry about some of the photo quality attached, I don't know what happened but the stage area was very dark
during Protex's set and I'd had a few beers by this point which probably didn't help my vision. I was surprised when I heard
that Protex had reformed after so many years. I didn't know until a week or so before the gig though that only Aidan
Murtagh and David McMaster from the original line up would be playing as Owen McFadden and Paul Maxwell had both
declined to join the reunion. I always liked the band, and just like me I remember them being massive fans of the early Clash
stuff. So for old times sake I was eager to check them out. I don't know what was wrong here, but Protex were extremely
disappointing. The band had no energy about them, they were never the most hardcore outfit, but tonight they sounded so
lightweight they made The Moondogs sound like Metallica in comparison. The new songs sounded dreary and lifeless, and
their classic NI pop punk tunes like 'Strange Obsessions', 'Don't Ring Me Up', and 'I Can't Cope' were going nowhere fast.
Hopefully this was just first night nerves and only a minor blip. I'd really like to see them crank it up a gear and hopefully
they'll get into their pop punk groove next time.
The Sabrejets are always dependable, they're so well drilled they never fail to hit the mark live. Like the TV commercial
says "they do exactly what it says on the tin". The Belfast greaser kings still reign supreme. I'm going to keep this short and
The Outcasts sounded fantastic, this was easily the best show I've seen them play since they reformed last year. The band
are really getting it together now - you can't fail to see they're growing in confidence and starting to get their swagger back.
It was now getting pretty late, so we decided to head round to the Hudson bar to check out Terri's after show party - it's a
narrow place and it was crammed, and there he was on stage accompanied by his usual guitarist, liquored and ranting away.
Like the song says "its his party and he can do what he wants to". I headed to the toilets for a quick slash and immediately
got into an argument, I was only in the door and I was nearly in
a scrap with some pissed up old tosser. So much for the
misconception about punks being violent, there wasn't a
peep out of anyone in the Black Box all evening. I
stopped for a natter with Terri who was on great form
fully enjoying his moment in the spotlight and he kept
hugging me; he then told '$$' that "I hated him" lol
(which I certainly don't).
For anyone who has never met 'Mr Hooleygan' he is a
real one off character, a storytelling socialist press
darling anarchist local legend and possibly one of the
worst business-men ever, but through thick and thin
and with eternal optimism he has kept the 'Good
Vibrations' name alive as a legendary brand. The actual
'GV' record shop still exists and resides in its current
form on Royal Avenue in Belfast City Centre, and
rumour has it the record label is set to return. The fact
that regardless of the location he's still out there doing it
36 years later is his two fingered salute to the world,
because he's never let the bastards grind him down.
Stuff the jubilee, 31.5.12 was a real celebration.
'God Save Terri Hooley'.
WORDS AND GIG PHOTO'S:
Joe Donnelly - Belfast 3rd June 2012