Check out all of the posts in the category ‘Interviews’ below. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, try searching by using the box on the right hand side of this page.
Monday, 10th Nov 2014
At 20 years old, Char "Mod" Farrow is the youngest member of Foresters Scooter Club. Foresters was originally a Vespa-only club, founded in Wanstead back in 1957. Fifty seven years later Foresters is now open to all scooter makes and types, and meets weekly in Woodford, North East London.
We asked Charlotte, a dedicated Mod since the age of 12, to compile a November playlist of ten tracks inspired by the key autumn jacket – the iconic parka.
Charlotte says - "I picked these ten songs as I feel they show how music associated with the Mod subculture has progressed from the late fifties.
Soul and Motown were the origins of the Mod movement, and the music that started it all. Soul was an interesting new sound from America that arrived alongside new fashions and scooters from Italy - it all just clicked together!
Personally, I really relate to the songs by The Who, Small Faces and Kinks. These bands were directly influenced by Motown, but added a raw edge into their songs. Their lyrics are mainly about growing up, falling in love and life, and I think that everyone can relate to them.
Groups like The Jam and Oasis still have a Motown link in the way their lyrics were written, but with a much tougher edge. They are songs that really make you want to rebel against everything and show everyone that you can do things and look after yourself, even when deep down inside you know you can't!
I've Had Enough by The Who features the lyric - I ride a GS scooter with my hair cut neat, I wear my wartime coat in the wind and sleet - you can't get more Mod than that!"
Pictured above - Charlotte's parka. With her name and town "Char Loughton" painted on. This also corresponds to what is written on her scooter fly-screen.
On wearing her parka, Char says - "To me wearing a parka is just a way to rebel against everyone, and be individual. I think that anyone has owned a parka at some point will agree as soon as you put one on, you can't help but walk with a bit more swagger and pretend you are Jimmy from Quadrophenia or Liam Gallagher from Oasis! They make you feel a bit invincible!"
Find out more about Foresters Scooter Club HERE
Friday, 31st Oct 2014
John Clark in "Northern Soul" is Elliot James Langridge's first lead role in a feature film. Directed by Elaine Constantine, the film opened across the UK in October 2014 to rave reviews and sold out cinema showings.
We met up with Elliot to find out how his participation in the film came about, and how it feels to finally have the film showing on screens all over the nation...
Elliot in Northern Soul
Hello Elliot. How did you come to be involved in the Northern Soul film project?
I met Elaine when I was 19; she was the photographer on one of my first modelling jobs. She kept saying I look like John Clarke and I didn’t really understand. She explained that he was the lead character in this script she had been writing. I didn’t give it much thought, then a year later she sent me the script to read. Reading through, I couldn’t believe I was getting a chance to look at it. Over the course of a couple of years I went through various screen tests and auditions to get the part. It was a very slow process.
The film is set in the 1970s – did you have an existing interest in the Northern Soul scene before you got the part?
To be completely honest, being a Southerner I’d heard of it but I didn’t know anything about it. I tried asking my Dad, because he’s of the right age (he’ll hate me saying that), but he had no idea either. So I really had to take in everything Elaine said to me and do my homework. I relied on Elaine and the people that taught me to dance like Kev Dodge, Frannie Franklin and Paul Sodot. Those guys know everything – they were there and experienced it, it was like having a database of the scene ready to tap into.
For the project we had the luxury of time – it was a completely different process to anything else I’d ever worked on. We had the time to research, and learn the dancing properly. One of the hardest aspects for me was learning the accent…
I can imagine…
Doing a generic Northern accent is fine. However when you have a Northern director who is from the place the film is set, you can’t slip up – and you can’t get it wrong. If my accent was off we did it over and over. It was quite daunting being one of the only Southerners on set - a lot of people involved in the film are from up North, so it had to be right.
I’m really interested in the dancing…
…Yeah the dancing was amazing! As somebody that had never experienced it before, the closest thing I can describe it as is a cross between breakdancing and Saturday Night Fever.
Did you feel self-conscious doing it?
Not really, but by the time we came around to filming it I had been doing dance training for nearly two years. So it becomes second nature. As soon as you hear one of the songs, dancing just feels like the right thing to do. Kev Dodge was my main teacher. Starting with the foundations was so difficult. I’ve had no formal dance training – although I’d done gymnastics in the past, which kind of helped. Once I got the basics and found my confidence, it became quite easy to do. The things that look quite impressive such as the tricks, became the easier part of the dance to learn.
On top of all this, everybody thinks I’m wearing a wig in the film – I’m not. That is my real hair. I also went from 11 stone to just under 9. I lost a lot of weight. I looked like I’d been doing a lot of drugs and a lot of dancing. I’d spent so many years trying to bulk up, and once I got this part I realised I’d have to lose all this weight.
How long did you have that image for?
Quite a while, because the film kept getting delayed, and the delays were only by small amounts like three months. So it was never long enough to allow me to put the weight back on. I was about 9 stone for a year and a half, with a long mullet! I kept going to other auditions, and people were looking at me like I was crazy. It was difficult, because I knew I couldn’t change how I looked because of the film, so once we had finished it was so nice to start eating properly, and cut my hair. When the film finished it was a massive sigh of relief because we had done it, and we’d done it well. It was such a sense of achievement for everybody involved in the project.
Were you involved in the Northern Soul dance clubs that Elaine set up?
Yeah, they were great. By the time the clubs came around I’d had enough training to learn to dance a bit, and in the clubs we did group lessons. We had people coming from all over the place to attend, with different degrees of ability – some of them had never danced before, some were experts. There was a family environment, and a healthy element of competition and rivalry. I’ve never experienced anything like it on any other job. The group lessons went on for over a year, and by the end we had so many people – we had dance lessons up North and in London because it had grown so much. It was amazing to see so many people do it for free because they believed in the project.
It sounds amazing. I really like the story behind the film itself. How do you feel about Northern Soul music, is it something you’ve grown to love?
Definitely. You can’t be involved in a project like this and walk away not feeling the music. I think that’s probably an impossibility. Learning to dance alongside the music, you hear the songs in a different way – the breaks in the song are where you do your tricks. You learn the beat and how you’re supposed to dance to it, so if a Northern Soul track comes on I start shuffling my feet. When I listen to the soundtrack it just brings back all the memories of everything I was involved in to make the film.
Elliot on-set with co-star Ricky Tomlinson
Alongside Josh and Antonia, who were your main co-stars, you also worked with some fantastic British talent in the film. How was that? Did it make you feel nervous?
It was crazy! I mean Steve Coogan – I never thought I’d work with somebody like that. I’m going to say this now, he’s one of my idols. He’s somebody I’ve looked up to since I was a kid. So to be able to do a scene with him was a real pinch-yourself moment. To work with all those people, and in one film as well – what an experience.
This was your first lead role in a film – how much pressure did you feel to deliver?
I didn’t at first realise I was being considered for a lead role, and as the process went on it became more apparent. One day it all clicked and I was like oh my god this is it – I’ve got to shoulder this film otherwise my career is over. It’s a pretty nerve-wracking realisation when you walk onto set and everybody is looking at you like who is this guy - why does he have the lead role? And you have to pull it off.
The film has taken a while to get to get to cinema – how does it feel for it to be on general release?
To finally have it out there, and to have people to be seeing it, and that it’s doing well, and that it’s got good reviews - it’s beyond my expectations. I always thought the project was special, but you’re obviously biased when working on something, but reaction confirms it. It’s amazing to see the audience enjoying the film as much as we enjoyed making it.
What’s next for you as an actor?
It felt a bit weird when I went to my next part after this – I wasn’t playing John Clarke anymore. Although I’ve started to realise I’m going up for a lot of Northern parts now – I’m getting typecast and I’m not even Northern, haha. I have a few really exciting projects coming up in the pipeline and I’ve written a script about a dyslexic boy at a special needs school. It’s called The No Hopers and being dyslexic myself it’s roughly based on my own experiences.
Good luck! Finally, one of the girls that works in our London stores is a huge Northern Soul fan, and she loved the film. She wanted to know whether you had a favourite track to dance to?
Yeah! It’s briefly in the film, “You Don’t Mean It” by Towanda Barnes. It’s got such a good beat. It’s the song that made me want to hear more about Northern Soul when I heard it, it’s really good to stomp to!
Elliot, thank you very much
Wednesday, 29th Oct 2014
Born in Bury, Lancashire, Elaine Constantine grew up surrounded by the Northern Soul scene, first making her name as a fashion photographer and music video director. Northern Soul is her first feature film. A true labour of love, it was in development for five years and finally hit UK cinemas in October 2014. We caught up with Elaine to see how it felt.
Elaine (middle) pictured on-set of Northern Soul
Elaine, the journey you undertook getting the film to screen could be a film in itself. Could you tell me a bit about the background behind Northern Soul?
It started out as an idea for a documentary about 16/17 years ago, but the further I got into it, the more it became clear that to get across what I really wanted to communicate - that youthful excitement of discovery and total immersion, and the way in which something quite alien became woven into the fabric of the daily life of a northern lad in the 70s - would require a period fiction, albeit firmly based on real characters, places and events.
How did you get all the dancing scenes to look so authentic?
A few years before we got green lit I realised that to do the club scenes justice I’d need hundreds of 16-25 year-olds who could dance as they did back then. They didn’t exist of course, so I set up dance sessions in London and Bolton and we invited 16-25 year olds to attend. The longer it took for us to raise funding the longer they went on. Some people were coming to them for nearly 4 years! We ended up casting quite a lot of our young actors through these dance sessions, including Josh Whitehouse who had never acted before. Elliott was there from the beginning too.
Elaine (left) on set
The whole film feels like a huge labour of love. How does it feel to have Northern Soul finished and showing in cinemas?
It means everything to me. I’ve spent nearly a third of my life on this film and every penny I could spare.
What has the reaction been like since the film hit cinemas? I hope you’ll be pleased to hear we’ve had a really enthusiastic (unprovoked) response to the film from Fred Perry customers!
It’s been overwhelming really. Initially we were told we might get 15 screens but never anticipated where we are today. It opened in 88 screens and showed at 100 or so on the 1st weekend - all of which sold out – we are now up to 150 cinemas showing it. This is in large part down to the soul scene in the UK demanding that their local cinemas program it. To have their approval and support has been humbling.
Elaine, thank you very much!
Northern Soul is out now on DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital HD