Soul Boys, Ravers, and Pillheads: Sweaty Photos of Classic British Club Culture

We got a special selection of images from Lost in Music, an upcoming photography exhibition that charts the history of dance music and club culture in the UK.

by Jamie Clifton
Dec 3 2015, 6:00pm

The UK has the best club culture in the world. That might sound biased, considering I'm from the UK and grew up on speaker stacks and squat, stocky men eyeballing my fake ID and 45-year-old divorcee pillheads losing half their body water in sweat at drum-and-bass parties... But it's true. Germany might have Berlin and the States might have Miami, but the UK's got London, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, and, if you're into really gabber and/or not paying very much for alcohol, Glasgow.

Tomorrow, London's theprintspace are launching Lost in Music, an exhibition that charts the history of dance music and club culture with a collection of 500 images. They're kicking everything off with a party at Shoreditch's Village Underground, which is completely free; all you need to do to get in is register for tickets here, or just turn up after 9 PM for one-out, one-in.

The exhibition will span a number of countries—basically anywhere a culture has developed around clubbing, but theprintspace kindly sent us the photos below that show the many eras of British nightlife over the past 40 years.

A Northern Soul dancer, Wigan Casino, Wigan, 1976 © Red Saunders

Shades Disco, Manor House, London, 1978 © Jill Furmanovsky/PYMCA

Eric's, Liverpool, 1978 © Kevin Cummins

Mod girls, London, 1980 © Peter Anderson/PYMCA

Three skinheads drinking, with one showing his "Kill Mods" tattoo, 1980s © Peter Anderson/PYMCA

London, 1980s © Ted Polhemus/PYMCA

A group of breakdancers, London, 1983 © Clare Muller/PYMCA

Fordham Park free festival, London, 1983 © Martyn Goodacre

Fordham Park free festival, London, 1983 © Martyn Goodacre

New Romantics outside Alice in Wonderland, London, 1984 © Hartnett/PYMCA

Dynamite 3 MCs at Brixton Fridge, London, 1985 © Normski/PYMCA

Hacienda, Manchester, 1988 © Kevin Cummins

Ravers outside "The Trip," Astoria, London, 1988 © Marcus Graham/PYMCA

Hacienda, Manchester, 1989 © Peter J Walsh/PYMCA

A B-boy, Bournemouth, 1990 © Guy Isherwood

Goldie at Metalheadz, London, 1994 © Eddie Otchere

Pushca white ball party in a warehouse, West London, 1995 © Daniel Newman

Freedom at Bagleys, London, 1998 © Dave Swindells

Northern Soul fans at Mousetrap Club, London, 1998 © Rebecca Lewis/PYMCA

Gatecrasher's seventh birthday, 2001 © Tristan O'Neill

Cameos Nightclub, Peckham, London, 2003 © David Titlow

The BBC Asian Network tent at the London Mela, mid-2000s © Jocelyn Bain Hogg/VII

MC Tempo at Once Upon a Grime's fifth birthday, 2015 © Wot Do You Call It

The "Lost in Music" show opens on Friday the December 4 and runs until Wednesday, February 17 at theprintspace gallery, 74 Kingsland Rd, which is open from 9 AM to 7 PM, Monday to Friday.

At the Village Underground party in Shoreditch this Friday, there will be DJ sets from photographer Dean Chalkley, World Dance's Simon Kurrage, photographer Gavin Mills, the Balearic Queen Nancy Noise, acid house pioneer Danny Rampling, and Ministry of Sound's Shea Burke, along with performances throughout the night from special guest Shovell, The Drum Warrior.