Mojo (1997) – a lost document of a lost Soho…

  • Mojo-1997 film-Jez Butterworth

    It’s a curious thing the 1997 film Mojo.

    It was based on Jez Butterworth’s play of the same name – indeed he directed the film.

    Mojo-1997 film-Andy Serkis-Jez ButterworthSet in 1950s Soho, all rival night club owners, coffee bar rock’n’roll discoveries and early Gallon Drunk-esque quiffery/brylcream (well, in intention at least – Aiden Gillen looks somewhat contemporaneous and out of place). All the elements are their and it’s something of a curio but if memory serves correctly it doesn’t quite gel and deliver that, well, Soho period glamour and grime in the requisite manner. Shame really.

    I say if memory serves because I remember seeing it at the cinema when it came out and perusing the soundtrack around the same time…

    …and since, apart from a TV showing it seems to have more or less disappeared from view and apart from a dubbed Italian video (renamed Soho) I don’t think it’s been sent out into the world on shiny discs and the like.

    Mojo-1997 film soundtrack-Jez ButterworthAnd talking of the soundtrack – it’s a curious thing. A mixture of indie pop of various shades (St Etienne, Warm Jets, Beth Houghton), sometimes Soho habitue Marc Almond, a touch of jazz, American mondo R&B (J.J. Jackson & The Jackaels – Ooh Ma Liddi), doowop-esque crooning from The Skyliners and most curiously for me a collaboration by Nick Cave & Gallon Drunk on the once upon a time Toni Fisher “smash hit” The Big Hurt.

    Although Gallon Drunk in various ways and forms have crossed paths with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (sharing a stage, James Johnston playing with the band at various points, Terry Edwards playing on Where The Wild Roses Grow and so on), I think this is the only time that the two conjoined in such a way and so the soundtrack has tended to stick in the old mind.

    The Big Hurt original here. Mr Cave and Messrs Johnston etc here. The (redubbed?) trailer. A few traces in the ether: Portobello Pictures.

    Peruse the soundtrack here.


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