THE HEIGHT OF GOTH 1984: “A Night at the Xclusiv Nightclub in Batley, West Yorkshire” UK (Documentary OVER TWO HOURS)


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We were a bit Bauhaus, a bit Killing Joke, a bit crazy. I couldn’t afford an instrument so I was the singer. I wasn’t a very good singer, but we were a band

We used to go to the Xclusiv nightclub at the weekend. It was down by the railway station in Batley, the town where we lived in West Yorkshire

For sentimental reasons the couple who ran the nightclub, Ann and Pete Swallow, got someone to make a video to capture a typical night at the club. VHS cassettes of the final film were sold for £2 each 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’m in the film dancing away along along with the rest of the band, my sister Nancy and even a couple of my teenage 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 in London and by sheer fluke one of the cassettes was discovered. It was trashed. Mildewed. Beyond junk. It was restored and rescued it to digital

It has been watched (and screened, especially for film clubs) all over the world. Viewers have wanted to know the names of the songs and the artists that were played that night, they argued about the correct terminology when referring to the musical genres or ‘scenes’, they yawned, they choked, they laughed, they loved it. (Below is the full track listing at the end of this description)

In the last few years film critics and film lovers from as far afield as Rio de Janeiro and New York have been watching a film of one night in one nightclub in Batley, West Yorkshire, in 1984. 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.

The Height of Goth, as it’s called, goes on for a mind-boggling two hours.

Whatever their reason for taking a video camera into what the introductory voiceover – delivered with the halting quality of a hostage reading a ransom demand, over footage of Batley Job Centre and an easy-listening version of John Lennon’s Woman – calls “this jewel of a building that is now a first-class disco”, it’s hard not to be delighted they did. They inadvertently created a great British pop culture document, by turns unwittingly hilarious, fascinating and incredibly boring.

There are sublime moments: the goth angrily explaining how he lost his job at the local hair salon; the admirably diverse music tastes espoused by one punter (“I like Glenn Miller … and Cabaret Voltaire”); the deadly technique employed by its interviewers (one of whom appears to be the bouncer). “Where did you learn to dance the way you do, because it is fairly good,” he asks, clearly not a man to go overboard with the compliments. For reasons unknown, Charlie Williams, star of 1970s TV series The Comedians, briefly appears in the crowd, clutching a pint. “By gum,” he says, looking as baffled by his presence amid Batley’s goth contingent as the viewer presumably is.

At the end, the DJ plays David Bowie’s Life on Mars: the handful of people left on the dancefloor go into flamboyant routines, evidently rehearsed all week in front of bedroom mirrors. This is their moment, in which they leave the realities of life in early 80s Yorkshire behind and fleetingly become stars in their own minds. It’s beautiful, a moment of transcendence captured in the most improbable circumstances. You watch it and think: “This is what music can do.” Then the song ends, the club closes and they head back to normal life.


Here’s a list compiled of songs in the documentary. Timings of some may be off for some etc. Anyone spots any that need changing by all means let us know

08.56 New Order – Blue Monday
10.45 The Smiths – What Difference Does It Make?
12.23 Echo and the Bunnymen – The Back of Love
14.00 The Psychedelic Furs – Pretty In Pink
17.40 The Cramps – You got good taste
20.02 Spear of Destiny – Liberator
22.40 Siouxsie and the Banshees – Hong Kong Garden
23.21 Sisters of Mercy – Temple Of Love
24.35 David Bowie – The Jean Genie
27.18 Bauhaus – Ziggy Stardast
29.40 The Stranglers – No More Heroes
32.29 Glenn Miller – In The Mood
34.35 The Monkees – I’m a Believer
37.05 Bobby “Boris” Picket – Monster Mash
40.03 T. Rex – I Love to Boogie
43.38 The Cult – Spiritwalker
46.24 The Cramps – Human Fly
47.09 The Cramps – Save It
49.26 Killing Joke – Eighties
53.04 Spear Of Destiny – Prisoner of Love
55.07 The The – This is The Day
58.24 The Associates – Club Country
1.02.29 Blancmange – Living On The Ceiling
1.05.38 The Birthday Party – Release The Bats
1.08.00 Patti Smith Group – Because The Night
1.21.00 Sex Gang Children – Sebastian
1.24.00 Stranglers – Skin Deep
1.28.33 The Stranglers – Waltzinblack
1.30.15 The The – Uncertain Smile
1.32.30 The Psychedelic Furs – Love My Way
1.34.01 March Violets – Walk into the sun
1.37.10 Leitmotiv – Living In A Tin
1:38:56 Hanoi Rocks – Up Around The Bend
1:39:15 Freedom Suite – Dry Spell
1:41:10 REM – Don’t Go Back To Rockville
1.43.14 Echo and the Bunnymen – Cutter
1.45.27 The Undertones – Teenage Kicks
1.46.05 Buzzcocks – Ever fallen in love
1.46.46 The Doors – Touch Me
1.47.46 The Swinging Blue Jeans – Hippy Hippy Shake
1.48.30 Ozzy Osbourne – Paranoid
1.49.18 Sex Gang Children – Mauritia Mayer
1.51.30 Soft Cell – Torch
1.54.35 Spear Of Destiny – The Wheel
1.56.57 David Bowie – Life on Mars

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Weight.25 lbs


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