The Dark Carnival: Portraits From Clubland's Underbelly

A new book of photography from the archive of Derek Ridgers explores five decades of London club culture.
Publish date:

Clubland is in the news again. Everywhere you turn councils are revoking late licenses. You can't walk down the street playing a grime track without the police trying to shut you down for holding a rave. Even The One Show waded in last week, exploring, in a way only a BBC tea time segment could, the UK's rapidly depleting club count. Despite the mainstream embracing club culture by hosting a BBC Ibiza Proms with Pete Tong, the authorities' stance on nightlife still comes from a place of fear and intolerance. 

All this makes a new collection of images from the archive of acclaimed subculture photographer Derek Ridgers as poignant today as ever. 

Taken over five decades in legendary clubs like the Batcave and Billy's, the portraits in The Dark Carnival aren't just postcards from a place more fun than real life, but also serve as an important reminder of the club's role in society as a sanctuary for personal expression. A place where creativity can flourish, where ideas can become reality. After all, without counter-culture we're all just Marks and Spencer's mannequins. 

The Dark Carnival: Portraits from the Endless Night will be available from Carpet Bombing Culture.