The 80s may be over, taking London’s iconic Batcave club night with them, but Goth culture is still very much alive, and later this month the Museum of Youth Culture is set to celebrate it with an exhibition of nostalgic images from photographer Derek Ridgers at its Soho-based pop-up.
In case you’re not caught up on your British subcultures, the Batcave was a weekly club night launched in central London in 1982, and is widely regarded as the southern English birthplace of the Goth subculture. On any given week, you could stumble in and rub shoulders with the likes of Nick Cave, Robert Smith, and Siouxie Sioux, and Derek Ridgers was there to capture it all firsthand.
Running from March 22 to March 29, the Museum of Youth Culture will showcase Ridgers’ seminal photographs alongside the work of music journalist Mick Mercer, to create a document of the birth of Goth that features original props and excerpts from Young Limbs, a new book that charts the club’s sprawling influence on contemporary culture. On the opening night (an homage to the original Wednesday night slot) visitors will also be able to hear talks from co-founder Jon Klein and resident DJ Hamish MacDonald. Batcavers will be able relive their youth, and who knows – maybe a new generation will feel inspired.
Goth isn’t the only subculture that the museum is unpicking this month, either. This weekend (March 18), Emma Warren’s new book Dance Your Way Home will also be celebrated with an afternoon of Jungle, with members of the public encouraged to bring along their own historic photographs, flyers, ephemera, and objects to be digitised for the collection.
At the end of the month, meanwhile, Club Cowgirl will take over the museum for the first ever Club Cowgirl Chats, featuring a conversation about working-class voices in the music and creative industries, and how the sector can strive to become more inclusive.
The Museum of Youth Culture’s Batcave exhibition will run from March 22 to March 29, 2023. Take a closer look at featured photographs by Derek Ridgers in the gallery above.