In 2013 I had the pleasure of booking Terri Hooley for a music festival I was running to do a Q&A before a screening of Good Vibrations – the movie of, well, his life! If you’ve never heard of Terri, he’s a music loving, one-eyed, record shop owning, Unde rtones discovering Belfast legend.
In between calling every woman he met ‘the future Mrs Hooley’ and taking out his glass eye, setting it on his mobile phone and inviting random strangers to check out the new iPhone (geddit?), Terri regaled the rapt audience with tales of hearing Teenage Kicks for the first time, standing up to the paramilitaries in 1970s Belfast and punching John Lennon. Yes, Terri Hooley really did punch John Lennon!
Terri hasn’t been well lately, having undergone bypass surgery and it is testament to how well he is loved in his home city, that a fundraising concert was held to help him out, with Ash, Duke Special, Bronagh Gallagher and Gary Lightbody performing for free.
If you haven’t already, read Niall’s review below and then do yourself a favour and watch Good Vibrations. It’s the sweetest film about punks you are ever likely to see.
As Terri would say, ‘One Love’.
How can this be? How can a film set in Belfast at the height of the Troubles – about punk music, of all things – be so sweet?
Good Vibrations is a warm, wonderful film about Terri Hooley, the Godfather of the Belfast Punk Scene, who in the 1970s opened a record shop in Great Victoria Street (or “Bomb Alley” as the locals called it), and who soon became a champion for the city’s burgeoning punk musicians.
While Northern Ireland was being torn apart by sectarian hatred, punk and new wave bands united their audience. Catholic kids and Protestant kids played and listened to music together, and Terri Hooley’s record shop soon became the scene’s heart. Bombs go off. The Army and the RUC hassle people. Loyalist and Nationalist gangs threaten Hooley and his cronies. He’s roughed up by skinheads. He can’t pay the bills. He doesn’t seem to care: he cares only for…
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