Boomkat Product Review:
Reel Torque hand over to new wave pioneer and original goth/’alt.’ DJ, Annie Hogan, for an unmissable mixtape redux of her role c.1983 at Soho’s Batcave, a crucible of London’s goth scene.
Nowadays regarded for her solo piano works, Annie Hogan’s illustrious oeuvre is inseparable from the history of post-punk, new wave and goth, with thanks to her part in legendary bands ranging from Deux Filles to Soft Cell and Marc and the Mambas (= not to mention beside Jacques Brel, Yello, and Barry Adamson; the list goes on, and on!). However, the ‘Batcave ’83’ mixtape highlights her lesser known role as a key DJ at Leeds’ goth bastion Phono and Soho’s Batcave, the latter where she deployed a killer record collection to its colony of “Batfreaks” such as Siouxsie Sioux, Robert Smith, Nick Cave, Kid Congo Powers, Blixa Bargeld, and Lydia Lunch - many of whom would become Annie’s long-time collaborators. The 90 minute mix reprises exactly the sort of early hours set Annie would play at the Batcave - same records, mixed the same way - for a hugely entertaining session of context and subcultural archaeology primed for anyone who came thru, or has an interest, in the UK’s goth or ‘alternative’ scenes.
As a politics student in late ‘70s Leeds, Annie found herself in a crowd with Marc Almond and Dave Ball, soon turning her hand to club promotion and DJing lineups with Soft Cell and The Human League. She became one of the earliest DJs at foundational Leeds goth and alternative club Phono - an epicentre of Northern alt scenes - in the basement of the Merrion Centre. Gigs with Marc and the Mambas took her to Soho’s Batcave, run by Oli Wisdom and Jon Klein, where she took up residency in 1983, creating an early hours soundtrack “to enhance the night”. DJing to a Gotham City-styled backdrop of spider’s web drapes, bats, a jeep, and a “naked body shimmering” Danielle Dax, plus a sex room cinema; Annie’s selections spun silvery threads from classic TV themes to punk covers, swaggering NYC no wave thru early northern english industrial and rock n’ roll, with killer strains of what had emerged in Leeds as goth rock, proper.
Thru her curation and programming of infamous nights at Phono and the Batcave, Annie was effectively there at the square root of goth in its purest form, and also what would become known as “alternative” clubnights - formative sort of events well known to refuseniks and outsiders in the UK. From the big cities (e.g. Jilly’s Rockworld, MCR) to, importantly, smaller towns (e.g. Blaises, M’bro), these clubs and their communities served as an incubator and lifeline for many, and we owe some debt of gratitude to Annie for helping shape and define the sound at its hotspots. Aye, she’s a real one, and this tape is a black gold bat signal for all self-respecting goths and “alternatives”, wherever they may be.