Northern Soul is a way of life for Morecambe

Lisa Stansfield and Ricky Tomlinson, stars of Northern Soul.
Lisa Stansfield and Ricky Tomlinson, stars of Northern Soul.

The recent Soul Casino all dayer at the Morecambe Vintage-by-the-Sea festival reignited memories of great Northern Soul nights in the North West.

The event was one of 26 throughout the UK and Ireland held as part of a soul all-weeker to mark the release of feature film ‘Northern Soul’, coming to The Dukes in Lancaster on Sunday, October 19 and Monday, October 20, and the Reel Cinema in Morecambe.

The film, set in 1974, stars Elliot James Langridge as teenage misfit, John Clark, who stumbles across Northern Soul – a British youth cult centred around rare 60s US soul music – after meeting fledgling Northern Soul DJ /dancer Matt (Josh Whitehouse) at a youth club.

Subsequently, he falls in love with the scene’s every nuance, moves up the Northern pecking order, hits reality head on and thus comes of age.

Co-starring Steve Coogan, Lisa Stansfield and Antonia Thomas, the film is an accurate glimpse into the 1974 ‘Northern Soul scene’ recreated by director Elaine Constantine.

Northern Soul began in the late 60s, was named by journalist/soul record shop owner, Dave Godin, and was initiated by a gaggle of hardcore Mod soul DJs who, predominantly from the North of England, turned the clock back to the halcyon days of great 60s US black music.

Armed with boxes of rare seven-inch soul singles from obscure US record labels, said soul obsessives started promoting their own ‘all nighter’ events at the likes of The Twisted Wheel in Manchester, The Torch in Stoke and later, The Wigan Casino, the Mecca of Northern Soul, that at one point in 1976 could boast some 100,000 members.

Here in Morecambe, Northern Soul has experienced something of a revival in recent years thanks to the Seaside Soul Club and the annual North Lancs Soul Festival, and local DJs and enthusiasts including Jason Mills, Sean O’Connor, Tim Curry, Steve Middlesbrough, Nick ‘Duffs’ Duffy, Tony Crookes and Paul Johnson.

Elaine Constantine said: “Its not just a nostalgic thing anymore. There are a lot of young people who’ve had enough of bad pop music and just like we did are turning to Northern because it’s about people who are passionate about great music, and it’s a real scene with its own way of dress and club nights.”

There seems to be a huge sense of belonging amongst this scene that stretches all over the country. I think folk like being a part of something that’s a bit special.”

*Thanks to Ian Sparkes and Chris Sullivan.

Check local cinemas for viewing times for Northern Soul.