I always get a little excited when I run across some previously unseen vintage footage of dancing goths that has bubbled up to the surface. There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of documentation of early ‘80s goths dancing in their natural habitats. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that goths have traditionally been viewed as terrible dancers? We’ll just roll the footage and let our readers be the judge of that.
First up on this goth dancing hit parade is a clip which purports to be from 1983. The song in the clip is the extended single mix of The Cure’s “Let’s Go To Bed” which was released in 1982. Unfortunately the upload doesn’t offer more info as to the location of the club. If anyone knows, please comment. Some of the outfits here are wonderfully racy.
This next clip is reported to be from 1984, but again no information is given as to the location of the club. The dancing is a bit more spirited here, though its more of a sausage party than the previous video. This group is dancing first to The Cult’s “Spiritwalker,” then the floor literally clears out as the Cramps’ “Human Fly” plays for a few seconds before the camera shuts off, and then everyone returns to the floor to go buckwild over Killing Joke’s “Eighties.”
Our last clip has gotten a mention here at Dangerous Minds before, but it’s worth a revisit. It’s a two hour window into the world of goth in Northern England in 1984. The story of this video, recorded at the Xclusiv nightclub in Batley, West Yorkshire, is told by the uploader:
For sentimental reasons Annie (or could have been Ann) and Pete Swallow, the couple who ran the nightclub, got someone to make a video to capture a typical night at the club. VHS cassettes of the final film were sold for £2 to regulars. I think there were 50 copies in total, but can’t be sure. I never bought one, £2 was a stretch, there were bigger priorities
I was there that night along with the rest of the band, my sister (Nancy) and even a couple of my old flames (Karen and Michelle). If I remember it right it was actually filmed on a Sunday night (with ridiculously bright lights!) so as not to disturb the usual Fridays and Saturdays. It was a ticket only affair for the regulars, although some interlopers did make it in too
Over the years those cassettes eventually got recorded over, broken, lost or thrown away. Everyone forgot
Some 30 years later I’m living in London and by sheer fluke we came across one of the cassettes (this is a bizarre story in itself, but for another time). It was trashed. Mildewed. Beyond junk. My brother worked his magic, rescued it to digital and gave it to me as a gift (thanks Ed!)
I put it on YouTube
The film currently has 6 music copyright claims against it. Those claims were from WMG, SME (x2), [Merlin] Beggars, INgrooves and Pirames International Srl. This resulted in YouTube taking the film offline. I recently appealed and have been doing what I can through the annoyingly one-sided YouTube appeals process
So far I’ve lost 5 out of 6 of the (automated, it seems) ‘appeals’. Only Pirames International Srl has released its claim. Where does this leave the film? I don’t know. For now at least it seems the one released claim (thank you, Pirames) is keeping it online. If you do try watching it the first couple of minutes are a bit shaky and all over the place but the picture quality and sound settles down in time for the scenes in the club itself.
I don’t know how long it has left, I guess nobody does. This is the film. It is 1984 and it is The Height of Goth.
Watch it while you can before the YouTube police intervene: