Living in the violent world of 1970’s Belfast, Terri Hooley wanted escape. This he received when he opened his own record store he named Good Vibrations. Revelling in a new universe of musical wonder, he introduced many music styles to an uninformed public. Becoming a major player in developing the booming underground rock scene, his influence would forever change Ireland’s musical tastes.
Labelled the godfather of Punk, Terri Hooley’s story is often compelling. Leading a non-violent cultural rebellion, his passion for music built more lasting bridges than those of his more physical countrymen. Not that he was able to escape the surrounding violence as the ongoing tension played an important part in shaping him. This constant threat makes Good Vibrations consistent viewing as the real-life struggles are cleverly mixed with Hooley’s often tumultuous life.
Unlike some other biographies, directors Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn provide fine objectivity. Like most people Hooley wasn’t a complete saint with his foibles clearly seen. His determined drive for new musical discoveries would come at great personal cost. Nor does Good Vibrations turn into a shallow nostalgia-fest with an endless rock soundtrack as it has something to say about freedom in making choices and sticking to them.
Good Vibrations is a good snapshot of someone refusing to surrender their dreams. Despite the constant danger surrounding him, Hooley strove to achieve his ambitions with the only true barrier to obtaining them being himself.
Good Vibrations screens 28 & 30 November at the Palace Nova Eastend cinemas.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 8