The movie is due next year, although it’s still to receive a release date.
I was invited to a recent screening in London, but was unable to make it along.
Even now, almost 32 years since the final record was played at Wigan Casino, the movement boasts a healthy network of venues and DJs, not only in this country, but internationally.
With its original clientele reaching their old age, a new wave of enthusiasts would be timely, injecting fresh energy and momentum, so I’m intrigued to see how this film will resonate with a generation to whom the Wheel and the Casino is ancient history.
Although it was black music they were infatuated with, the Northern Soul audience was made up predominantly from the white working class.
There were some black people on the scene, but they were very much in a small minority.However, at clubs like Wigan Casino you could lose yourself in both the crowd and the moment, and dance to your heart’s content with nobody batting an eyelid.In the mainstream clubs it was the girls who took the lead, the boys only venturing on the dancefloor either with a girlfriend or in order to make a move on a girl who’d taken their eye.It’s interesting to note that in the early ’80s the leading DJs on the gay scene in both the North and South just so happened to be Northern Soul legends, Les Cokell at Heroes in Manchester and Ian Levine at Heaven in London.The uptempo side of the Northern scene undoubtedly influenced the style of music they played in their venues and the emergence of Hi-NRG, especially via Levine’s productions, as previously mentioned, but also thanks to Cokell and Leo Stanley’s ‘Castro Connection’ column for the early Mixmag, then called Disco Mix Mag.It was just full of needles.”“I just thought ‘these people just aren’t real Soul fans.’ I think a lot of real Soul fans who were into the Northern scene were used.I could see very little difference between the way the people who ran the Northern Soul scene carried on, and drug dealers with junkies. They had their market, they got it hooked and they kept it hungry.” He had a point when you consider that DJs who were beginning to make a name for themselves started the find they were being priced out of the market, not able to make enough money from their club appearances to keep up with the records they felt they needed to have.Ant Wilson illuminated the darker side of the Casino in the following quote from the book; “There used to be a lot of stealing, ripping off.There were areas of the Casino you’d rather not have to walk through.The Northern Soul movement has marked 2 significant anniversaries this year – the launch of the weekly All-Nighters at the scene’s most famous venue, Wigan Casino, in 1973, as well as the opening of its foundation club, Manchester’s Twisted Wheel, 10 years earlier.A new book, ‘Northern Soul – An Illustrated History’ was recently published by Virgin Books, its co-author, Bury-born Elaine Constantine, also the director of the upcoming film ‘Northern Soul’.