Clinton's praise for punk pioneer Hooley
Published 25/04/2008 | 10:00
Former US President Bill Clinton has paid a glowing tribute to Ulster's godfather of punk Terri Hooley as he celebrates 30 years of record label Good Vibrations.
Terri, credited as the man who discovered The Undertones, is marking the special anniversary of the pioneering punk record label with a concert at the Mandela Hall in Belfast tonight.
The reformed Undertones are headlining the gig, with support from local bands Panama Kings and Shame Academy, while actor Jimmy Nesbitt is compere.
Terri's close friend, event organiser Arthur Magee contacted a number of high profile people to et them know about the concert — but was thrilled when he heard back from Mr Clinton.
The ex President, who visited Northern Ireland several times and who played a significant role in bringing about the Good Friday Agreement, sent a letter to Arthur in which he praised Terri's attempts to help Northern Irish musicians realise their dreams.
He also wished them good luck with the celebratory concert.
Mr Clinton wrote: "By supporting young musicians in Northern Ireland and introducing them to audiences in England and elsewhere, Good Vibrations not only helped individual musicians to realise their dreams but also offered listeners the opportunity to better understand and appreciate one another though the common language of music."
He added that Northern Ireland held a special place in his heart and that Good Friday, April 10, 1998 — the day of the Agreement's signing — was the happiest day of his Presidency.
"While I'm proud of my contribution in bringing about the Agreement, I know that no government policy can truly succeed without grassroots efforts of those people the policy would effect.
"I commend Terri Hooley and all those involved in Good Vibrations, for giving young people something positive to say yes to.
"Best wishes for a memorable and meaningful anniversary celebration."
Arthur said: "I'm over the moon about this. I wrote to a lot of different people about this concert and to get the backing of someone like President Clinton, well it's just incredible.
"I've let Terri hear what President Clinton had to say about him and for once in his life he was speechless."
Tickets for the concert are priced £20 and are available from www.gotobelfast.com or by calling at the Belfast Welcome Centre on 90 246609.