Catching Vibes


Belfast Punk History and the Terri Hooley Film Good Vibrations

A few years ago, engrossed in a re-discovery of the power inherent in the music of my youth, I wrote a piece for MRZine expounding the merits of Julien Temple’s movie about Joe Strummer, viewable at  

The Future is Unwritten expressed how much of a channel for liberation music can be, especially the raw, gut-filled rhythms of punk rock, and how motivational and uplifting a medium it is for many. While on the one hand, this music was and is just about the joy of being, on the other hand there is always a politicised dimension. And I mean politicised in an archetypal, humanitarian sense of the word, not the dogmatic, ideological constructions we tend to think of as politics.

Punk music is about a lot of things: freedom to express the experience of life in all its peaks and pitfalls, without constraints of family and culture. It is about identification with other disaffected people. All energy and electricity, it awakens, enlivens, carries away. Most of all, it takes music right back to its bare bones and wallops you about the ears and heart with it.

It is that sense of penetration to the quick that made another more recent cinematic experience so poignant for me. Last night, on the 31st May 2012, in Belfast’s Ulster Hall, the 12th Belfast Film Festival was launched with the world premiere of Good Vibrations, a film based on the ‘life stories’ of Belfast’s ‘Godfather of Punk’ Terri Hooley. Hooley defied the sectarianism of 1970s Belfast by establishing a cult record shop that cut across divides of religion and even generation. Meantime he recorded local bands such as Rudi and The Outcasts and launched Derry’s The Undertones onto the next stage of their climb towards world renown via London DJ John Peel.

Good Vibrations picks you up and won’t let you down – I’m still there. And can’t wait to watch it again….and again……..

Here’s a link to the facebook page – it’s worth catching up with,!/pages/Good-Vibrations-The-Film/185645362307

 Have fun and keep it friendly. 🙂


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. esotericembers
    Apr 15, 2013 @ 04:24:50

    I like how this brings up archetypes related to punk rock. On my blog, I wrote about Pussy Riot in Fall of 2012 in order to do the same.



    • Roberta McDonnell
      Apr 15, 2013 @ 09:13:29

      Hi and thanks for your encouraging comments – yes punk rock is a very archetypal force as the movie shows- in 1970s Belfast and across Northtern Ireland, punk rock liberated a generation and united young people across a false divide. We were lucky enough to be at the premiere of Good Vibrations last year and the production team spoke out in support of Pussy Riot then too, urging the audience to add their voices to the petition for their release. Thanks again for taking the time to look in on my work and by the way really like your post and reference to Pallas Athena and the Age of Aquarius 🙂



  2. Roberta McDonnell
    Apr 14, 2013 @ 11:11:30

    Reblogged this on Subliminal Spaces and commented:

    Had to re-post this as I’m going to see it today for the second time – saw it at last year’s premiere. A real humdinger as all the reviews have said!



  3. Here
    Sep 21, 2012 @ 02:51:36

    great post. Neer knew this, thanks for letting me know. 19159



  4. Roberta McDonnell
    Jun 26, 2012 @ 08:51:31

    Sorry for late replies, still finding my way around the dashboard! Working on it so please keep visiting 🙂



  5. URL
    Jun 21, 2012 @ 14:46:29

    Very efficiently written story. It will be useful to anybody who employess it, including me. Keep up the good work – can’r wait to read far more posts. 952794



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