A Northern Soul Drama BBC Radio 4
Wed 18th February 14:15hrs
on BBC iplayer after the broadcast
Two men settle old scores, 35 years after their involvement in the Northern Soul scene.
It's 1978 and the Northern Soul scene is at its peak. UK Manufacturing is thriving, Unions are strong, and blue-collar labourers have money in their pockets. Working class black Americans have moved from the Deep South to work in the car factories of Detroit and what has emerged from them is a new kind of soul music - upbeat, rhythmic and aspirational. British car factory workers have also found that the music's mood and rhythm speaks for them and Northern Soul has become an exclusive music and dance scene with its own code and culture, focussing on Friday all-nighters.
Mark, a 17-year-old, middle class lad, gets his first job - in a car factory in Wolverhampton. Super cool factory worker Jerry introduces him to Northern Soul and Mark is hooked. He wants to be a part of it - the music, clothes, and all-nighters. Winning Jerry's friendship, he asks to go to Wigan Casino, voted the best club in the world - but Jerry questions Mark's authenticity and is undecided whether to take him.
Thirty-five years later and Mark, now a married father and a journalist living in London, interviews Jerry about the end of the Northern Soul scene. For Jerry, the memories recall a tainted time of union power and working class freedoms confronted by the rise of the political right. For Mark, the memories hold emotional confusions. Buried hurts resurface between the two men and old scores are settled about class, music and identity.
Writer: Hattie Naylor
Director: Marc Jobst
A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.