Punk Hooley in Belfast for 'Good Vibrations' premiere
THEY SAY that if everyone who knows Terri Hooley goes to see his biopic Good Vibrations the film will make a fortune.
The legendary Belfast music figure has finally – after 20 years of planning – seen his life story brought to the big screen. Such was the demand for tickets for the world premiere of the film last night in Belfast that three screenings had to be put on in different city centre venues.
The film, funded by Snow Patrol and soundtracked by David Holmes, documents how Hooley opened up a music shop and began a record label (both called Good Vibrations) at the height of the Troubles in the 1970s.
Hooley was famous for discovering The Undertones and recording their classic song Teenage Kicks. Nurturing punk and new wave bands such as Rudi, Protex and The Moondogs, Hooley put Belfast on the international music map.
Hooley, an eccentric, idiosyncratic and likeable character, is one of the last great rock’n’roll figures, and over the years has become a tourist attraction in his own right. The film draws from almost entirely Belfast talent: its directors are the husband and wife team of Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn, the scriptwriters are Glen Patterson and Colin Carberry, and Hooley himself is played by local actor Richard Dormer.
The red carpet was rolled out for the first premiere at Ulster Hall last night. Members of Snow Patrol, David Holmes and Hooley himself were the star attractions on a nostalgia-filled night for the city’s musical community.
Earlier in the day Hooley treated this reporter to his famed “Unofficial Belfast Musical Tour”. Speaking of his biggest success, Teenage Kicks, he said: “I really wasn’t going to sign them. They were from Derry and everyone in Belfast hated them. People used to cross the street just so they could spit at Feargal Sharkey.”
Although he remains healthily cynical about being the subject of a major motion picture, he did confess to “crying my eyes out” when he saw a preview screening.
He says the only reason he set up the record shop and label was as a two-fingered response to the sectarianism he saw around him.
“As long as I kept the politicians away from what we were trying to do I knew we were on to a winner,” he says. “The only rule I’ve ever had in my life is ‘Never have your picture taken with a politician’ and I hope none of them dare to show up at the premiere tonight.”
The film, which was the official opening film of the Belfast Film Festival, will go on general release later in the summer.