first on soul source in 90s
The northern scene mentioned in this review is now up in the video section
Thanks to Pete Smith of Planet Records( see links for details) who before he bought a modem used to produce a good northern fanzine full of good stuff like this review.
Here's a excellent review of one (if not the) of the few films with a reference to Northern. Blue Juice should be on the cheap shelves of your video hire shops. get your popcorn and settle down........
Firstly, let me assure you that BEATIN' RHYTHM (the mag he used to publish and a damned good read it was to) hasn't turned into "Empire'', but Blue Juice is a smashing little British film that no-one seems to have heard of - and it has the added attraction of being the first movie, to my knowledge, to include Northern Soul as part of it's sub-plot.
The film is based around the surfing scene in Cornwall, where Chloe (Catherine zeta Jones) is the proprietor of a ramshackle cafe whose patrons seem to be exclusively surf -type dudes. Her boyfriend is J.C. (Sean Pertwee), who is a surfing legend in those parts and who can't bring himself to make a commitment to our Cath. The first part of the film sets the scene, introducing us to various bit-part characters and their surfing antics, all of whom speak in hushed tones about "the boneyard" - a death trap surf break which only J.C has rode and lived to tell the tale. Anyway, the film starts to get into gear when three of J.C.'s old mates from London arrive for a few days break. Josh Tambini (Steven Mackintosh) is a record producer involved in the rave scene, though one suspects that this belies his roots; Dean (Trainspotting's Ewan McGregor) is a typical stereotype rover, long hair, goatee, bobble hat permanently stuck on his head, and always dropping E's; and Terry, a fairly idiotic fat guy, engaged to be married who didn't even want to come on the trip.
I don't want to give a synopsis of the whole film, so here are the good bits. Dean has slipped Jerry a mickey finn E cocktail, so Terry is tripping and wandering around a large hotel. As Josh and Dean try to calm Terry down, Josh hears a bass sound coming from the room above. He decides to investigate and we see him walk through two large wooden doors into a small ballroom where the sound of Sam Dees' Lonely For You Baby is belting out of the speakers. Now, being totally unprepared for this when I saw the film for the first time, talk about drop me bacon sandwich! Shivers up the spine and all that, a fantastic moment. Anyway, Josh strides over to the record decks where a young half cash girl, Junior (Colette Brown), is being told by the hotel manager, obviously responsible for booking the hotel's entertainment, "I like it, I really do, but I'm sorry, it's not what the kids are into anymore". Josh approaches the disconsolate Junior and does a bit of anoraking; "Sam Dees, Lonely For You Baby, 1968. Er, the label...SSS International". "Does this look like a mastermind audition" replies Junior. Josh looks through Junior's 50 single box; "Hey, Time Will Pass You By, they used to end The Casino with this". "Uh-uh" says Junior "They used to end The Casino with I'm On My Way'. Josh gets patronising; "Look I was there when you were still wetting nappies and it finished Time Will Pass You By, I'm On My Way and Long After Tonight Is Over" (sic). Junior is now interested. "You went to The Casino? ''Number 497" says Josh, taking out a blue membership card. He continues looking at the records. "Hey a real stomper, Ozzie Sands' Price Of Pain. I sampled this". "You're Josh Taimbini?" asks Junior. "Don't treat me like a superstar" replies big head. (Keep this sampling business in mind, readers).
Josh goes on to tell Junior about his three top ten hits (including Techno Toyland and Techno Techno Techno). Junior asks Josh to come to her Northern Soul do later that evening; "You've got to come tonight Josh. I know so many people who would kill to meet you". Cut to later that evening. Terry is still tripping and has gone missing, so the others are out looking for him. Josh walks up to a small dance hall in the town, and as he approaches, the spoken intro of Roscoe Shelton's You're The Dream can be heard, breaking into uptempo the second that Josh opens the doors. This is a brilliant shot. He's confronted by around 25 Northern dancers - proper dancers I mean, not extras pretending to dance, including one very acrobatic guy (there's always an acrobat around when the cameras are out). Junior is at the decks, and while cueing up the next record she looks up and spots Josh. She fades the record out and says ''Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Josh Tambini". Shot of the main door with a bolt going across it. Josh turns round to see what the noise is, and as he does, the dancers form a semi circle around him and close in (a bit like the ending of Tod Browning's Freaks, if anyone knows what I'm on about). "Look what's this about" asks a flustered looking
Josh. "It's about soul.. replies Junior, "A thing that you've forgotten. You know this record?"' Junior spins Ozzie Sands - Price Of Pain (not a real record obviously, a tailor made stomper actually performed by Edwin Starr). The dancers nod approvingly. "Ozzie Sands - Price Of Pain" answers Josh car "Yeah. And what did you do with it?" accuses Junior. We then hear an appalling dance track using Ozzie's voice. The onlookers shake their heads in disbelief "Look it's not my fault. The market changed'' whines Josh, as a chair is produced and Josh is sat in it, integration style. Josh squirms and apologizes, in his own way, while Junior tells him that "It's not about money or clothes or guest lists". She spins Price Of Pain again, and the dancers hit the floor including the chastised Josh who goes for it big-time. Some lovely shots of fancy footwork here, though we never see Josh in long shot - a stunt dance bought in maybe!
And that's more or less it for the Northern Soul content. There are all sorts of plots and sub-plots going on, like Dean attempting to surf the boneyard and J.C. saving his life, Ferret becoming a new man after his drug-enduced freak out, and J.C. and Chloe finally getting things sorted. The final twist come at the very end of the film. A black guy, back to the camera, is in a real studio belting out a version of Primal Scream's Moving On Up. He turns to face the camera and the producers in the studio, who include Josh and Junior. The singer is Edwin Starr. "How was that" he asks. "Ozzie that was beautiful says Josh, looking on in admiration. "Straight into the techno mix" says Junior, leaving Ozzie and Josh looking bemused. "Do we have to?" asks the born again soulie Josh. "Gotta pay the bills", replies Junior. Wry smiles all round.
The action that I've just recounted here only lasts for about ten minutes of the films running time, but I can't remember a major movie ever mentioning Northern Soul or giving references to the scene before, but not only does Blue Juice do this, it also does it properly. They even had a Northern Soul advisor in Lee Vowles, who I don't know but obviously knows his stuff. Prehaps Steven Mackintosh (Josh) fluffed his lines in his "three before eight" speech Blue Juice played the cinemas early last year for about a week, and came out on video in around Spring of this year. It should be available at your local video rental shop, and it's 90 minutes very well spent should you decide to rent it.
There you go, good stuff, no wonder Barry Norman moved to Sky.