Elaine Constantine: Northern Soul An Illustrated History – photo book reviewElaine Constantine

‘Northern Soul: An illustrated history’

Photo book of classic scene


Go to Amazon to order this book now

Youth culture is littered with bad documents and misunderstandings of key scenes.

Northern Soul has been served worse than most, with its importance and its street level nous and creativity being lost in myth and miss telling which is why this book, which is tied into the upcoming film, is so key.

Photographer Elaine Constantine is responsible for the afformentioned upcoming film and the book is the extension of that- a perfect idea for a photographer whose photos capture the warmth, the energy, the grit and the reality of the smoky dancehalls and the sharp dressed kids with a love and affection and with a brilliant eye that comes from one of our best snappers.

From Manchester, Elaine was always there, she was part of the northern soul scene in the early eighties, she was there when Ian Brown was part of it all, she was with the scooter crowd but she always had this amazing talent for taking photos that has taken her to the top when she moved to London but she never lost sight of the culture that made her and this is a loving homage to a key scene that has flavoured so much music and culture from the north.

It’s all in here – the sharp clothes, the meticulous attention to detail- from the creases in the trousers, the overnight bags, the talcum powder to stop slipping on the dance floor, the perfect hair and those amazing dance moves like northern Nijinsky’s dancing like Bruce Lee to the perfect backbeat- it’s a celebration of a culture untarnished by the mainstream and a perfect time capsule from a time when the seven inch single was the king and the song was everything and dancing and looking good was the backdrop to rainswept endless winters in knackered northern mill towns.

A beautiful book and a beautiful scene froma great photographer.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. This is the best book on the subject and the only one that gets it right. An Unsanitised account by those who were there and not only covers the wheel, Wigan etc but right up to the present day. If you are going to buy one book on the subject buy this. Others shade in comparison.


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