"The only good system is a sound system"

Tuesday 30th July 2019

Image courtesy of Altitude Films

'Beats' is a British film from director, Brian Welsh, written by Welsh alongside Kieran Hurley, whose one-man show of the same name is what the film is adapted from. The film's synopsis whets your appetite by serving it up as...

Best mates Johnno and Spanner share a deep bond. Now on the cusp of adulthood, life is destined to take them in different directions – Johnno’s family are moving him to a new town and a better life, leaving Spanner behind to face a precarious future. In pursuit of adventure and escape the boys head out on one last night together to an illegal rave before parting ways indefinitely.

A universal story of friendship, rebellion, and the irresistible power of gathering youth, set to the soundtrack as eclectic and electrifying as the scene it gave birth to, BEATS is a story for our time. 

The Criminal Justice & Public Order Act of 1994 sets the backdrop for this coming of age tale, which made it illegal to have gatherings around music ‘wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats.’ 

The key platonic relationship at the heart of 'Beats' acts as a two-way metaphor with the films political and cultural setting. 'Beats' is about endings, and the all the uncertainty or hope that endings can bring; the two main characters friendship is ending, so is the rave scene but so is Thatcher/Major’s Tory government, and there is hope on the horizon in the form of Tony Blair's New Labour.

Many comparisons to Danny Boyle’s 1996 film adaptation of Irvine Welsh's 'Trainspotting' have been made by critics and audiences alike. Unavoidable as 'Beats' is an independent film set in Scotland during mid-‘90s that deals with youth culture. A predisposition towards rousing monologues provided by the films pirate radio host only further the similarities as shown in the trailer (above) and clip (below).

However, the similarities do end there, whilst 'Trainspotting' is firmly within the zeitgeist of '90s British culture, 'Beats' has a more nostalgic view of the era and the hedonism displayed by its main characters is far less destructive in nature. In that sense, 'Beats' shares more in common with the party attitudes shown in films like 'Human Traffic' (1999) or 'Spike Island' (2012).

An authentic soundtrack featuring the likes of The Prodigy, Orbital, LFO, Liquid Liquid, Inner City, Lee 'Scratch' Perry and more was curated by JD Twitch (Optimo). Listen via Spotify below. The soundtrack is also available for pre-order on CD or vinyl at

To find out when, where and how to watch 'Beats' visit

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