A Big Night Out with… London’s Biggest Goths
There’s a Chris Rock routine where he talks about how you know Native Americans are dying out because you never see more than one of them together at a time. Being from London, I don’t see any, but I do feel the same way about goths. Essentially, they’re Britain’s lost tribe, our cultural Yahi, if you will.
But surely they must socialize sometimes, right? Where do these gloomy warriors go to indulge their collective cray in London? Or would a war memorial in Cumbria be the best place to look? It’s something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about, but in the end, I just had to admit it: I was stumped.
But then an intern of ours named Oz piped up, claiming that he used to be a big deal in the London goth scene and could act as my fixer to get me into something called “Slimelight,” an Islington-based social club for goths which has been going on since the 80s. So I went with him and a photographer to mingle.
The thing with goths is that they’re wary of outsiders. So Oz said that, if we were gonna blend in, we’d have to disguise ourselves. Alas, my three-quarter length pinstripe neoprene jacket was at the dry cleaners, so I had to make do with a (borrowed) Tool T-shirt.
I think we looked more like venue staff than heckle hardened full-time goths, which is probably why the chick behind us is looking shifty with her smuggled in bottle of off-brand cola. Don’t worry, baby, I get ya. I may not be able to chirpse you with any dialogue from The Crow, but we’re talking about cola and poverty here; the two great social levellers of our times.
Despite the EBM tunes belting out over the soundsystem, this tired soul still managed to catch a couple of Zs. I don’t know who he was, but the durable footwear and utility belt suggested to me that he might be an undercover cop nursing a Jameson hangover on a stakeout. I assume the whole club would have happily cock ‘n’ balled his face with their eyeliner if they weren’t so worried he might wake up and pull a taser out of his fanny pack.
Taking photos wasn’t easy. After the flash went on this one, a panicking DJ/promoter charged at us. I expected a walkie-talkie call to the bouncers and a camera smashing to follow, but luckily goths are a peaceful bunch. He started pleading with us to only take photos in the bathrooms (which was weird) and told us that “the people here have real lives to think about.” But I dunno, it didn’t seem like a crowd of civil servants who call themselves “Kane” on weekends. If you have pink candy dreads and a double septum piercing, chances are your boss/mother/wife already knows.