Long After Tonight Is All Over: Elaine Constantine’s ‘Northern Soul’ book and the ‘Soulboy’ film

10 Sep


Everyone thinks they can write about club nights, and the music, and all the highs and lows of following that music with the people that matter most to you in the whole world, at that exact moment when everything comes together (music, clothes, people, and drugs of course), and time seems to stand still.  But almost no-one can.  Hence the long line of badly written, or over-academic, books that barely make it out of the publishers before they hit the remainder bins (or more likely the Book Depository e-warehouses these days).  Because ultimately it’s just going out with your friends, and what seemed like gold dust the night before slips like mercury through your fingers the next morning when you try to explain it…

So when things come out that at least capture part of that magic they need celebrating, and supporting.  One such is Elaine Constantine’s ‘Northern Soul’ book, released as an accompaniment to the much talked about (but little seen – is it still forthcoming?) self-produced film.  Great pictures as you’d imagine (some from the film, others from the archive but nicely blended together) and some really good interviews with a select number of players on the scene, so you get a feeling of the evolution of Northern Soul (which you often don’t get from other books, which understandably tend to be based on the authors’ experiences and as such are often wedded to a place and time).  Plus it’s very enthusiastic and really gives you a feel of how it must have been to venture out to a Burnley working men’s club on a wet Thursday night and lose yourself to this music that everyone else had forgotten about.

Great stuff, and something definitely worthy of your support (incidentally, I met Elaine Constantine about 15 years ago, something I still remember and she almost certainly doesn’t – even though she was in her ‘Face’ magazine star photographer pomp at the time, she was lovely, completely unpretentious, and at that point the most Northern person I’d ever met – and I think even then she was talking about this film!).  I hope the book, and the film when it appears, do really well.



And while you’re waiting for the film to come out you could do worse than check out (or re-visit) the excellent ‘Soulboy’ film from a few years ago.  Although saddled with a fairly lame (but probably necessary) ‘boy meets girl’ storyline, this does capture the excitement of discovering a scene you never knew existed, and it then taking over your life.  And the excitement of going to a club and literally running to join your friends on the dancefloor are really well conveyed.  Only 70 minutes long, so it’s short, sweet and doesn’t outstay its welcome, the music and dancing are spot on (though I’m sure there are those who could endlessly point out the historical inaccuracies to you – yawn!) and it really captures that feeling when a scene becomes the centre of your life.  Great movie, with a cracking soundtrack too (and some great ‘talking head’ clips with some of the original dancers at the end) – this is the trailer for the film plus the great Jimmy Radcliffe from the soundtrack (buy both – cheap as chips on Amazon and the like at the mo):


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