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Fans of northern soul are in for a treat this weekend!

For a limited time only (currently October 18, 19 & 20), The Showcase Cinema is showing a movie that’s been described as the ‘youth culture film of the year’.

Northern Soul is considered the most accurate portrayal yet of the youth culture in the 1970’s, which changed a generation. It’s an uplifting story of two friends whose horizons are opened up by the discovery of black American soul music. Throughout the movie, the pair confront rivalry, violence and drug abuse – testing their friendship to the limit.

With big blockbusters such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dracula Untold and The Maze Runner dominating the box office, this is certainly a nice change of pace for those looking for something a little different and with the music still hugely popular in the Peterborough area we’re expecting it’ll prove a must-see movie.

This debut feature film from award-winning photographer, Elaine Constantine features performances from Steve Coogan, John Thomson, Ricky Tomlinson and Lisa Stansfield. And, of course – for a film called Northern Soul, there’s bound to be plenty of… well, northern soul. The soundtrack is brilliant and the attention to the style and look of the era is spot on. If you weren’t there, this is probably the next best thing.

Tickets are selling fast – which comes as no surprise to ESP’s Ian Gray who’s been DJ-ing at northen soul gigs for years. Our guy also hosted a soul show for several years on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and remains a keen fan of the scene.

Our expert explained why Northern Soul is so popular here in Peterborough. “Like many locations across the country, young people in Peterborough had latched onto the Motown sound which had dominated popular music in the 1960s onwards,” he said.

“In the early 70s, the charts were full of ‘pop’ music which many felt lacked the originality and soul of the Motown style. Collectors and DJs began to search out records which emulated the heavy dance beat and soulful vocals of Motown, and Peterborough was caught up in that trend. The term ‘northern soul’ was coined as many of the hotspots of the genre were in the north of England, such as Wigan, Manchester, Blackpool and Stoke; maybe this was fuelled by the challenges of the ‘north/south’ divide in the economy at the time. Peterborough caught on because like-minded people initially travelled to these northern clubs to hear the sound, and then returned to the city to set up their own versions.”

Perhaps you remember being at one of these clubs? Ian reminisced, “The big venue was the now-defunct Wirrina stadium, on the embankment, which staged the all-nighter events which had become synonymous with the scene up north. But there were also other local hotspots such as the Spinning Wheel on Bridge St, Cloud Nine in the long-gone Grand Hotel and the Halcyon on the Netherton estate. The Wirrina went on to host live performances by the ‘soul’ big names of the era, such as the Exciters and Junior Walker, to name but two.”

And why has northern soul continued to maintain such a following? “Today, the scene across the country is still going strong, with one night events or weekenders on most Friday or Saturday nights within an hour’s drive,” Ian explained. “Fans now include those who were there at the onset, to youngsters who are discovering this music for the first time. Why? It’s rare, it’s collectable and whether opting for classic northern soul dating back 50+ years, or finding ‘new’ soul, you can bet it will be danceable, it will be fresh and it won’t be production-line a la X-Factor. Music nowadays is perhaps too accessible and too disposable, whereas hearing what will be in many cases, vinyl originals is the real thing.”

Has Ian reignited your passion for the music genre? Grab your baggies and head to the Showcase to see Northern Soul – you might just see Ian there!

Visit for the latest up-to-date showtimes for Peterborough Showcase. You can also join the chat on Twitter @showcasecinemas or on Facebook by searching for ‘Showcase Cinemas UK’.

Mikey Clarke [youtube id=”GjHvqnf8fJs” width=”600″ height=”350″]


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