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A Big Time Hoo-lie from Belfast!
on 4 June 2016
Don't "Laugh At Me" but this is a well made film that had all the makings of being a great one except it relied much too heavily on the make believe of one man's love and promotion of the (big) self. Here are some facts to bear in mind when following the cleverly constituted fact meets fiction storyline.
The original shop was easily the very best of all the record stores in Belfast and on the back of it's success the label was financed.
No-one from Good Vibrations was in the recording studio with The Undertones and the first time anyone from Good Vibrations heard their recording was when it was delivered to the shop, direct from EMI in Dublin. They had NO idea what the record would sound like (or were even aware it was a 4 track EP) until the boxes were opened and the disc was played. That was the original BOOM moment.
Good Vibrations issued Teenage Kicks EP but that was the only link between them and The Undertones. As with all other aspects of Hoolie's Good Vibrations set up no one was ever given a contract of any kind.
The Undertones had to post out promo copies of Teenage Kicks themselves and Undertone Mickey Bradley was the one who posted the record to John Peel at the BBC.
Teenage Kicks EP was NEVER touted around big time record companies in London. It was never rejected by anyone. To imply otherwise was absurd. Teenage Kicks EP was so good it promoted itself, especially after John Peel received his copy in the post and played it (twice in one night). That was the second (and third) BOOM moment. After that historic occasion every record company, music journalist & DJ were falling over themselves to get in on the action. All this activity put Hoolie's ego into 7th heaven.
Whatever big time record company moved the quickest (in this case it was Sire) got The Undertones signed up, and under contract, plus they got the Teenage Kicks EP tapes from Good Vibrations for a pittance. Sire remixed the original recordings and issued Teenage Kicks as a two track 7" for radio promotional purposes only.
To this day I have never heard anyone express dislike of Teenage Kicks, except in some of the many make believe sections in this film.
There was a Good Vibrations concert one evening in Belfast's Ulster Hall. It ended with a mini battle between some punk band members and a small number of so called security. One of the hired security got on stage near the end, grabbed the mike and encouraged the audience to chant "SS RUC". These events at this concert were the very essence of PUNK and perfect material for any film. Hoolie quickly vanished that night and was nowhere to been found for days after! These astonishing events were not in the film! What was in the film was a concert that supposedly ended in a harmonious hippie style manner with everybody on stage having a good old sing song. The scene in which John Peel (the real Godfather of UK Punk) arrived unexpectedly for this Ulster Hall concert was pure fantasy.
Hoolie always had a constant craving for self publicity and praise, and the mix of a little fact with a large serving of fantasy in this film helps deliver that to HIM in abundance. As a consequence of his ego many others who played big parts in helping create the stormin' vibes of the times went uncredited, but that was the way Hoolie operated, so no real surprise there really. His chaotic Good Vibrations eventually went into bankruptcy (owing different suppliers differing amounts). He re-opened (with the financial backing of people who had more money than sense) trading as Good Vibes, but that went bankrupt too, he re-opened trading under another new name but that shop folded as well. He re-opened with yet another name, changed address, got burned down/out, re-opened once again before finally closing forever. None of the subsequent shops could ever rekindle or re-create the vibes and magic of the original "GOOD VIBRATIONS Records & Tapes".
There was a book that predated this film and apparently that too was full of fabrications. When all is said and done though there can be no doubt that Good Vibrations was single handedly responsible for helping create Northern Ireland's biggest ever Hoo-lie, in what was an otherwise very dark decade.
*Incidentally, Davy Shannon (the man who single handedly produced the original Good Vibrations Teenage Kicks EP) lived two doors down from Chris Stewart. Chris was a member of Eire Apparent (whose one and only album was produced by Jimi Hendrix).