I've related in "the Film" thread how I felt slightly disappointed by "Northern Soul". Whilst it was a strong pice of film making, in its own way it was as weak as "Soulboy". Both films got certain things right but ,for me anyway, in the final analysis both films fell well short of being definitive works about northern soul. And this last film was set up to be just that - "the definitive story of northern soul".
I think there is definitely room for a a film about the phenomenon that was the Casino. Love it or hate it if you were into Northern Soul in the 70's / 80's then the Casino was the only place to be. I don't think its an exaggeration to say that from 1973 to 1981 it was the spiritual home of northern soul. 95% of people on here who were around at that time say that the Casino times were one of the happiest time of their lives - regardless of their respective ages and where exactly they were at in their northern soul journey at that point. Personally I only caught the tail end - 79-81 - and on some visits the place was virtually empty but nevertheless it was an unbelievable experience and one I've never forgotten. Nothing has compared since. That feeling - the feeling of walking through those doors has not yet been captured in any film or documentary to date. Maybe it's an impossible feat.
But there is so much material - my own personal experience which must be echoed by thousands of others - age 14 in 79, hearing the music for the first time at youth clubs, seeing the "annointed" dancing. Buying the records and learning the moves. Learning the drops and floor-work. Buying more records. Taking your own box of records to the youth club. When the DJ did the 5 minute Northern spot you were up there with the 5 or 6 others doing your routine for the first time. The circle formed around you. That's when you knew you were part of something special. Then from there going to your first full Northern venue - for us it was Notts Palais all dayers. From that point your world was only centered on one thing - Wigan Casino. You had to get there. My parents were pretty strict and were not going to let their 14 year old travel to the other side of the country to a club, up all night dancing. In the end I lied that I was staying overnight at a mates. Bread and jam in the bag with the clothes and I was away. I had twenty quid saved up from a paper round and odd jobs. I think it cost ten pounds to get there from Mansfield - service bus and train. That left £10 to buy records. And the whole adventure of actually getting there. It took hours. The horror of arriving at Wigan and being chased by the Punks and Grebo's all the way from the train station to Station Road. You ran for your life - literally. But that feeling when you rounded the bend and saw a few hundred Soulies outside - your heart lifted and the Rockers soon backed off at that point. One hour or so later you were walking through those doors and you were in. Dancing at Wigan. The pinnacle reached at last.
Then the drugs. None for me on the first couple of visits but subsequently blueys, chalkies - and the whole feeling was elevated 100 times. But then the come down and feeling like shit on the long journey home. But by Tuesday you were planning how to procure gear again for the next visit. And so it went on. Many cars stolen ( not by me ) to get there, chemists raided etc,. That feeling of your world consumed by the whole thing - the music, dancing, gear and the Casino. It was your life back then. For many still is.
Thats the story from the fans side which for a film could be juxtaposed with the story of the guys who ran the place as a business - Harry, Mike and Russ. How it started as a leap into the unknown and then became this monster which ran away with them. The story of how a run down dance hall on its last legs suddenly became this huge money making phenomenon. And how they milked the whole thing as a cash cow. The character of Simon Soussan and his story could be in there. The rampant commercialisation. The passion and oneupmanship of the DJs and collectors. Record buying trips to the USA. Then the whole sad fiasco at the end with the 'last' niter farce. All done cynically to make money. But all true and all very rich drama. They say truth is stranger than fiction and the story of Wigan Casino is proof if any were needed.
Right sod you lot I'm booking the first flight to Hollywood!