Dir: Glen Leyburn & Lisa Barras D’Sa
Good Vibrations is a homegrown record label and something of a legend to the people of Belfast. A movie based on the “true” stories of Terri Hooley can only be anarchic, punk, homegrown, out of control and playing fast and loose with the facts much like Hooley himself will do after the third or fourth brandy.
The world outside of the city until now has in the main been blissfully unaware of the existence of Hooley, his record store, his label and legacy. This movie is the permanent marker scrawl on a dive bar toilet wall that says ‘Hooley was here’. Set against a backdrop of social depravity and mindless violence in the midst of Northern ireland’s bleakest years, Hooley’s sometimes aggressive charm and unwavering passion for promoting good music carries us through emotionally drained but otherwise unscathed.
Northern Ireland’s own Richard Dormer plays Hooley, the chairman of this empire of chaos with other notable roles filled by Adrian Dunbar and Dylan Moran. Directed by Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glen Leyburn, it’s a truly Belfast based enterprise with cameo’s from local music industry reps and young musicians alike. The soundtrack is one of unadulterated bliss with inclusions for the likes of Rudi and The Outcasts as well as The Undertones as they get that memorable double-play on John Peel’s Radio One show. To keep you folk fans happy there are little glimpses into Hooley’s past with tracks from the Shangri Las and Hank Williams’ ‘I Saw The Light’ before the closing irony laden singalong of Sonny Bono’s one hit wonder ‘Laugh At Me’.
And that is perhaps the finest ending we could expect. Some may have laughed through the years at Hooley as the Good Vibrations store opened and closed it’s doors. The entire tale itself may be its own one hit wonder but what a tale it is. From the moment of glorious revelation in the Harp bar, surviving the paramilitary beatings, hitting the big time, losing it all, putting out another record, another tour and waxing lyrical about another tall tale, this is not just Terri Hooley but perhaps Belfast at it’s best.
A teenage dream, so hard to beat.