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How Terri Hooley's stories led to author's idea for Good Vibrations film


Terri Hooley

Terri Hooley

Terri Hooley

Like many great ideas, it was put together over a few pints in Belfast’s Crown Bar.

But this month, Good Vibrations will star in the city’s film festival — 20 years after author Glenn Patterson first dreamed of writing the script.

The east Belfast author and documentary maker co-wrote the script for the film — which looks at the career of Belfast’s punk godfather, Terri Hooley.

It was a first for Patterson and his co-author Colin Carberry.

The writers first agreed to take on the project in the 1990s — but it lost momentum until four years ago.

Good Vibrations follows Hooley’s iconic record shop, which was moved around different parts of the city.

For Glenn Patterson, Hooley’s career is an alternative narrative of the city.

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Hooley's Good Vibrations shop was a focal point for the punk movement in Northern Ireland in the late 1970s — and a magnet for members of its leading bands, including The Undertones and Stiff Little Fingers.

Yet, Hooley’s story stretches from the 1960s — when he set out on his musical career as a teeanger — to last year’s news that the record shop would finally close its doors.

It is a particularly important story for Glenn — whose novels are rooted in his native city.

The Mill for Grinding Old People Young, Patterson’s eighth novel, is the focus of One City One Book Belfast 2012.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: “Twenty years ago I was making a documentary for Granada TV in Belfast and we were filming around Howard Street (in Belfast), where the latest incarnation of Terri’s shop was. After filming we went to the Crown Bar and I was talking to Terri.

“Some of the stories he was telling me, I just thought he had such brilliant stories that take on so many aspects of life here over such a period of time.”

He added: “I just think the film is an alternative to some of the narratives of this place. But I think in writing there is something that you can say that has not been said in this way. It gives you another angle or way of seeing things — and that’s what I hope people get out of this.”

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