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Snarky’s Old Timey Goth Club Mix Vol. 1: The Obsequious Mr. Lovegrove

June 3, 2010

Generally speaking, I’m not one for artists covering The Boss, with one notable exception. Mr. Thin White Duke himself. His cover of Bruce’s “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City” is sublime.

Bowie was my entry point into goth and subsequently goth clubbing. Granted, I only went to one goth club in Los Angeles saddled with a horrendous name I dare not speak. Besides we just called it “The Club” as though we weren’t loyalists to a host of clubs – oddly enough promoted by the same people. Clubs like Kontrol Factory (Industrial), Velvet (Dance Rock Pop Goth Whathaveyou) and, of course, braving the crowds on New Year’s Eve for the big bash featuring all three clubs under the same shitty, fire code capacity exceeding, shakytown roof. There were some second tier clubs like Creature Crawl and Mausoleum, but I wasn’t about to pay five bucks to shadow dance (I spared you a ten minute YouTube video of this style of dance) in someone’s garage or tool shed. I don’t care how cool their parents were.

Here’s a mix of typical offerings from “The Club”. The DJs, who were all inexplicably named Jason and either went to high school with me or with my sister or were my BFF, played a mixture of goth, new wave, industrial, dance rock, 80s club, disco and the occasional 70s sitcom theme song – whatever wouldn’t clear the dance floor.

  1. “Monitor” – Siouxsie & The Banshees – JuJu
    Ahhh, the first time I heard this song a friend was played for me over the phone. I said, “Who’s vacuuming?” which is exactly what the intro sounds like.
  2. “Six Different Ways” – The Cure – Head on the Door
  3. “Swamp Thing” – The Chameleons UK – Strange Ways
    Definitely my favorite strictly “goth” song. Catch those crows… *dances* Push past those invisible throngs of people…
  4. “I Am Cosmos” – This Mortal Coil – Blood
    For some reason we liked to pretend to run in slow motion to this song. I don’t know why. It still makes me laugh thinking about that.
  5. “Big Hollow Man” – Danielle Dax – Dark Adapted Eye
    This is kind of the goth version of “No Parking on the Dance Floor” by Midnight Star. Man, that sucker would be packed for some Big Hollow Man. I would climb on the box and work it out.
  6. “Fashion” – David Bowie – Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
    This song was used for the goth equivalent of a Soul Train line, my crew and I often started. Turn to the left!
  7. “Black List” – The Legendary Pink Dots – The Golden Age
    One of my favorite LPD tunes. My friend Jason used do this dance where it looked like he was juggling hot plates, while on roller skates. At some point during the song he’d yell over to me, “I hope they play some Xymox next.” Um, they never would.
  8. “The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove” – Dead Can Dance – Into The Labyrinth
    Booty popping for Brendan! Remember my friend freaking out the first time they played this cut in the club. “Omg. It’s the Obsequious Mr. Lovegrove.” Naturally the name stuck. Into the Labyrinth is also the last “new” goth CD I ever purchased. From Virgin Megastore! It could also be retitled The Obligatory Mr. Lovegrove since it’s practically required at a belly dance recital.
  9. “Cuts You Up” – Peter Murphy – Deep
    There are those who might consider Murphy a Bowie knockoff. All I will say is I thought this was big 80s Bowie. Your fun to monkeys ratio may vary. I used this song to teach my sister and niece how to shadow dance and for some reason they just kept laughing! “Why are your arms doing that?”…”Oh, it’s like bad ballet. okay.”
  10. “Temple of Love” – Sisters of Mercy – Slight Case of Overbombing
    When I brought my friend from Rocky Horror to the club he did the “rerun” Fred Berry dance to this song. The very next week he had MANY copy cats. He was pretty bad ass. It was so Can’t Buy Me Love. He actually kind of looked like Rerun too.
  11. “Fade to Grey” – Visage – Fade to Grey
    Way too earnest for me, but I did like dancing to it. It was also a pejorative I used to describe other goths of color around my skin tone who didn’t use the correct shade of foundation.
  12. “Shoulder to the Wheel” – Bel Canto – Birds of Passage
    While they often played this jam in the club, we always listened to the entire CD on the way to the club. Usually the driver would place their shoulder to the wheel during the chorus. It was the law.
  13. “Crushed” – Cocteau Twins – It’ll End in Tears
    With most CT songs we’d make up our own lyrics and song meanings. We decided Liz was singing about making a cake. “Gonna bake a cake with flour, fresh eggs…”
  14. “Since Yesterday” – Strawberry Switchblade – ST
    I knew it was time to get the party started with the DJ dropped this jam.
  15. “Cities in the Dust” – Siouxsie – Tinderbox
    I used to think Siouxsie was spelling “respect” in the chorus and not singing, “Oh, your cities lie in dust.” Popalicious Siouxsie! You couldn’t like this too much lest you find yourself labeled a “poseur”. Ditto for Face to Face, which dropped around the time I actively started goth clubbing, Peek-a-Boo and the later release “Kiss them for Me” (one of her best songs). Siouxsie gets better with each new project and she already great to start with. We called her the “Chaka Khan” of goth.
  16. “Temple of Dreams” – Messiah – Temple of Dreams
    “O Fortuna” – Apothesis – Rave ‘Til Dawn
    “Rave The Rhythm” – Channel X – Rave ‘Til Dawn
    Yes! The techo megamix usually started around 11:30 and I would dance it out. Doing the helicopter with my cardigan or fur boa. I don’t know about you, but I feel all right! Rave The Rhythm, better known as “the song in the club scene in Basic Instinct”.
  17. “Hallucination Generation” – The Gruesome Twosome – Candy From Strangers
    A spill over from Velvet and Kontrol Factory, this crunchy tune quickly became one of my favorite booty shakers.
  18. “Days of Swine and Roses” – My Life W/ the TKK – Confessions of a Knife
    My favorite TKK song! Even tops “‘Cuz it’s hot!”.
  19. “Born in Xixax” – Nina Hagen – Nunsexmonkrock
    Despite having a grasp of German I still have no idea what Nina’s saying. I’ve been told the song is mostly in English. We also used to pantomime walking down a spiral staircase to the song.
  20. “Groove is in the Heart” – DeeLite – World Clique
    Always exactly at midnight. Always made a beeline for the box. Always immediately after “Born in Xixax”
  21. “Headhunter” – Front 242 – Front by Front
    Jason would drag me on the floor to dance this song out. Man, good times. Great song. I had to restrain from mentioning “The Most Dangerous Game” lest I hear, “We didn’t come here for an English lesson.” This song seemed to require one to dance as though they were trying to break free from a lasso or trying to contain a box of cute puppies.

    alternate chorus (I didn’t originate it. though I’ve sang it this way for years)
    1. You shop at Target.
    2. You stand in Line.
    3. You slowly pay the check.
    4. You pack the van.

  22. “Work for Love” – Ministry – With Sympathy
    This is the first song I ever heard at a goth club. Prior to learning not to show up before 11pm. I thought it was Wham!
  23. “This Corrosion” – Sisters of Mercy – Floodland
    This song usually meant we had roughly a hour left of The Club and it was time to make a decision about which Denny’s we’d be booted out of afterwards. For some reason a round of ice water with lemon and one basket of seasoned fries was not the done thing for a party of ten.
  24. “Shimmering, Warm and Bright” – Bel Canto – Shimmering, Warm and Bright
    I have no idea why I liked this song so much. I’d drag my friends onto the floor so they’d keep playing it from time to time.
  25. “Lorelei” – Cocteau Twins – Treasure
    “Caroline’s Fingers” – Cocteau Twins – Blue Bell Knoll
    Either one of these tracks was used to play us out of the club. If that didn’t move us to exits, then threats to “turn on the lights” usually did. Nothing scarier than a club filled with goths who’ve danced for four hours and their “cake-up” has melted all over their black lace clothing. Nothing. I preferred to be moseyed along to “Lorelei”.
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15 Comments leave one →
  1. tanyadiva permalink
    June 3, 2010 8:36 am

    You forgot Clan of Xymox. No goth club worth its salt would neglect the clan back in the day. You can’t shuffle dance without them!

  2. June 3, 2010 8:51 am

    Ahhh, “The Stranger”. Seven minutes of heaven.

  3. June 3, 2010 9:04 am

    Delurking to say “yes!” to the Strawberry Switchblade, Danielle Dax and Nina Hagen tracks. Nunsexmonkrock needs to be reissued. As far as I know, it’s still not available at iTunes or Amazon.

  4. June 3, 2010 10:03 am

    @Kathy – when I sold off my CD collection the only ones I kept were Dark Adapted Eye, Nunsexmonkrock and The Crushed Velvet Apocalypse ( Legendary Pink Dots). I figured it was unlikely they’d be reissued. I’m glad I kept them. Wished I’d kept my This Mortal Coil CDs!

  5. June 3, 2010 10:07 am

    I never imagined goths to be people who actually, you know, had fun. Wow.

  6. June 3, 2010 10:08 am

    I was the funnest goth EVER.

  7. June 3, 2010 11:10 am

    Oh god you have just given me the biggest flash back morning to my college days. Good times!

  8. maatnofret permalink
    June 3, 2010 11:15 am

    Aw. You’ve made me feel all nostalgic now.

  9. June 3, 2010 10:27 pm

    @laura k and @maatnofret I’m glad I give you flashbacks in a nice, welcoming way.

  10. June 4, 2010 5:36 am

    Here’s a flashback. This is my own story of how I discovered the Legendary Pink Dots. Sorry if I sound like a pretentious wanker. Maybe I am one.

    It was December of 1991. I was nineteen years old, on winter break from college, wandering through a music store in Boston that stocked an interesting range of material. I noticed a CD with some striking cover art, titled “The Crushed Velvet Apocalypse”. Suddenly I remembered it was mentioned in Rolling Stone (yes, I used to read RS regularly back then), in one of those grey sidebar columns where they relegated the two-sentence reviews of work by fringe artists. The reviewer had compared it favorably to Syd Barrett, who I thought was the cat’s pajamas. So although I still knew hardly anything about it, I bought it, took it home, and decided to save it for a special occasion.

    Soon it was time for a first listen. I did a Solstice ritual where I dressed up in a robe I’d made from a scavenged prom dress, took a bunch of acid I’d just gotten in the mail from a friend-of-a-friend at Antioch College, and when things started to get squishy, I placed my headphones firmly over my ears and pressed Play.

    The first thing that struck me was how advanced the production was. This was what people were talking about when they used words like “soundscapes”. I mean, I’d heard plenty of music with unusual sounds brought together in unusual ways, but this was a whole different level. These songs were fully realized audio worlds. They made Sergeant Pepper seem Paleolithic by comparison. They crawled under my skin, set up shop in my head, poured liquid nitrogen down my spine. And combined with the lyrics, those nightmarish lyrics, a thousand different flavors of helplessness and loneliness and loss, it was complete sensory overload.

    It could have turned out poorly. This is actually a textbook example of how to have a bad trip, and it wasn’t a wise thing for me to do. But I didn’t lose my shit. I went with it. A ray of sunshine began to break through with “New Tomorrow”, and when I finally made it to “Princess Coldheart”, it felt like rising up from the bottom of the ocean and bursting out into the freshest, cleanest air imaginable. With tears of joy streaming down my face, I solemnly declared that this was the best music ever created, that all music should be like this, and that if all music was like this, the world would be a perfect place.

    Well, over the next few months, I tried to play that CD for anyone who would listen. Most didn’t like it. A few got into it. And I went on to try other LPDs albums: “The Maria Dimension”, “Island of Jewels”, some Italian bootleg I lost and have never found again. All of them had their strong points, but none had the magic of TCVA. Then again, I didn’t listen to them under the same circumstances as my first exposure, since there was no way to duplicate those circumstances.

    Now, for the record, it’s been ten years since the last time I took psychedelic drugs, and I won’t be taking them ever again. And music that I consider “psychedelic” makes up a very small portion of my listening diet. I still listen to TCVA, though, and I still feel a powerful connection with it like few other albums on my shelves.

    (I also try not to say “this is the best music ever created” any more. I’m still working on breaking that habit.)

  11. June 4, 2010 2:00 pm

    A fairly humbling video.

  12. June 4, 2010 2:18 pm

    Holy crap, how did I miss this, this week?

    Even though it’s Goth, this is totally going to brighten my day today.

  13. June 4, 2010 4:39 pm

    Some of this stuff – I’m looking at you, Fade to Grey – struggles to maintain its relevance.

  14. badhedgehog permalink
    June 7, 2010 12:04 pm

    I read a bit of this last week, but neither WordPress nor YouTube were playing nice and friendly.

    So let’s do the three steps forward two steps backward dance again!

    I remember an awful lot of these from when I used to go to goth/alternative nights and goth/industrial nights in a tiny little club in the middle of Cambridge. If you didn’t hear Monitor, Temple of Love, This Corrosion, Cities in Dust and something Front 242 every week, you would be asking for your money back or at least sulking into your pernod and black or your cheap canned beer.

    They didn’t play so many of the slower tunes: not so much Dead Can Dance. The trad goth stuff would always be something to dance to. Guaranteed armwavy goth hits every week: “A Forest” — The Cure, “Severina” — The Mission, “Leave Me For Dead” — Rosetta Stone.

    There’d be an industrial/EBM set, and you’d always get “Burning Inside” — Ministry (great dancing tune!), “Stigmata” — Ministry (even better dancing tune, and also my “getting ready to go out” tune from those days), “Sin” — NIN, “Godhead” — Nitzer Ebb

    All the goths; fluffy, shiny, hard-edged or floaty alike, would get up and have enormous fun dancing to Sheep On Drugs, in large part because of the simple easy to dance to techno beat, but also in large part because of the hilarious lyrics. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… from “Track X”sex drive, sex drive, take a ride in my car” and from “Motorbike” the wonderful “I’m a sex machine… fill me up with your gasoline”

  15. August 2, 2010 3:15 am

    Sheep on Drugs!

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