When something makes its way into a Shredded Wheat advert, it’s a pretty safe bet that it’s part of the mainstream. I mean, would you take the risk of going through the process of creating an ad and buying expensive broadcast time for something that could only make sense to a tiny minority?
In January of this year, McCann London’s ad for Shredded Wheat aired, featuring a father and son dancing together at a local Northern Soul venue. It seemed to fit perfectly with the ‘look after your heart’ positioning of the product.
This followed the release of Elaine Constantine’s ‘Northern Soul’ film in October of the previous year and a BBC documentary ‘Living for the weekend’ aired around the same time. Since all of these events, Fred Perry and Pretty Green have both released Northern Soul clothing and accessory ranges, featuring their own branded versions of the famous ‘fist’ logo (inspired by the black power salute, first seen around the world when athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave it during their medal ceremony at the 1968 Olympics Games in Mexico City).
It may seem an odd time to be blogging about this, so late after all these events but, in November an episode of ‘Emmerdale’ will be aired which is all set in a Northern Soul club. I know this, because one of the clubs I go to, The North Leeds Northern Soul Club at Moortown Social Club, is where it was shot a couple of weeks ago and all the local Soulies were asked to turn up to provide a bit of authenticity. Before you ask, I didn’t go, but I’m pretty sure the producer will have been a bit disappointed by the age of most of the people who did.
I’ve been wondering for a short while whether this flurry of events might mean a bit of a resurgence of Northern Soul culture, but my guess is that this most recent airing might be the death knell of a brief affair with another enigmatic cultural movement from the past. I’m not sure whether this is a shame or not.
I can’t claim to be one of the originals by any means, but my age (57) would suggest that I should be and it’s certainly an advantage in the clubs. My real induction into Northern Soul started only a couple of years ago when, after I’d spent about a year learning to dance French Jive with my missus, I announced that what I really wanted to learn was Northern Soul dancing. She booked us both on a knackering 5 hour workshop and we’ve since done another 5 of these with Fiona Smith and her partner James Whitehead (the World Champion apparently, although how much of the actual world is involved in these championships I can’t be sure. Not that I would want to diminish his achievements – he’s really good).
Check ‘em both out here: