Me (xray-righthand)


gothic imagery - Hamlet & OpheliaIntro: The gothic "scene" [music/lifestyle] was spawned in the late 1970's - early 1980's by the merging of the Punk and New Romantic movements. The Punks were rebellious youth who wore lots of black leather, spikes, and were the precursors of the modern piercing movement. They were angry and disdainful and liked the darkness. The New Romantics were very flamboyant, bright and colorful. Also rebellious youth, but in a different way. They loved costumes, makeup, weird hair colors and androgyny. Both were centered around music. An example of a Punk band is the Sex Pistols. An example of a New Romantic band is glam David Bowie (late 1970's). The New Romantics started what became known as "New Wave." In the early 1980's, the meld of the two scenes became known as "Gothic" (or "Goth") possessing the darkness and disdain of the Punks and also the flamboyance and androgyny of the Romantics. Two of the better known early gothic bands are Bauhaus and Siouxsie & The Banshees. 'Goth' is a term used as both a noun and an adjective (i.e., "goth music" or "that tall goth"). The goth subculture faded in popularity towards the late 1980's, but experienced something of a revival in the mid 1990's (when I got into it), even enjoying some mainstream notice in the late 1990's.

Dress Code: Some goths love the victorian era and sport corsets (albeit usually over their clothes), waistcoats and other old fashioned clothes. Some goths love technology and futuristic designs and will wear vinyl, latex and shiny silver materials. Many goths love vampires and aspire to look like them with a preponderance for black clothing, dark make-up and pale heliophobe skin, sometimes even wearing custom-made fangs. Other goths mix up the above tastes and/or add in androgyny, stripey tights, metal spikes/studs, piercings, strange haircuts (mohawks/dreadlocks), strange hair accessories (blue dye and/or yarn) and occult/pagan/vampiric jewelry. There is also some overlap with the fetish scene, although there are definitely many goths who aren't into fetish and many fetish people who aren't into goth. The unifying factor, if there is such a thing, for goths is a consistent dark aesthetic , a pronounced interest in death, decay and/or vampires, and an interest in goth music (usually forming social groups around these factors, sometimes linked to a goth nightclub or to an online community).

Music [dis]Taste: Goth music, like the look, comes in different flavors. Some has an ethereal, haunting feel with more classical instruments and elaborate vocals, while other music is more technology-based with drum-machines, keyboards, synthesizers and fast simple vocals. Some goth music is vampiric rock, pounding and dark, while some is folksy (gypsy-sounding) and some is just plain weird and scary. Of course, all these styles can cross-over and combine elements of the others. This music can be heard in goth clubs in cities that have them

"Ohmigod, they look like Vampires; they're so Morbid!" -- So what? Hollywood and the news networks base much of their profits on the sale of death as entertainment. In the goth scene, while there is definitely a vampire aesthetic, very few pretend they are really vampires (no more so than normal-looking people). It is so pasè for right-wing groups and others to point fingers and place blame on those who look different. Get with the new millenium already. I used to consider myself goth; it was fun and I don't see any harm in it. It certainly didn't cause the Columbine massacre in Colorado in the late 1990's; the intense pressure to fit in, the access to weapons, the psychopharmaceutical drugs they were on, and whatever else was in the gunholders' twisted minds did. These sociological problems didn't stop the entertainers (so-called journalists) from falling back on the same old stereotypes though, convincing the trusting populice that it was somehow related to the music they listened to and the black trenchcoats they wore - that it was the superficial choices the gunmen made, not anything cultural. But are these school mass murders happening in other countries (like Japan) where students have access to similar fashions and music? No. I had one first-hand experience with Fox News in Albany, where a reporter claimed to be doing a segment on the goth scene (not about the vampire murders in Florida, he assured us) and interviewed lots of goth club patrons and then creatively edited the interviews to make it all about drinking blood and directly tied it to the vampire murders in Florida - so I know they lie to entertain.

For more see: Fucked-up in Colorado - the Columbine Shooting Media Circus (letter to media) or Colorado Campfire (music) or Michael Moore's documentary "Bowling for Columbine"

Dead and gone: The goth scene is pretty much dead, undead as it were, at least for me. I got into it for many reasons. I really liked the aesthetic. The first goth that I saw was the most beautiful person I had ever seen, so exotic and intense. I had been sort of dark and morbid ever since I could remember, more often than not depressed and/or angry [with society], but never violent towards others. Goths tend to be very peaceable (though their speech can be vile, they rarely fight physically). I believed in in a sort of balance to things: I was disgusted by the Disneyfication of our culture, and wanted to counteract it by standing on the dark side. I wanted to shock people, to break them from their consumption-oriented apathy. I wanted to genderfuck. I was sick of homophobia and gender roles. I liked dressing up, I liked glam and punk and victorian styles. I liked the music, it was dark and intriguing. I was sick of sunlight and love and god and conformity. I was part of Counterculture. I thought I could change people, help our society evolve. I was very idealistic in a cynical sort of way. I thought I had finally found a place. I had never felt at home before, but here, I thought, were a group of people who thought like I did, who felt like I did, who were sick of fitting in and wanted to change things. People who had consciously created their own culture, a subculture.

Most become what they hate:. I found out through much experience (4+ years of clubbing and numerous gothic friends come and gone) that while most goths hated the mainstream for prejudging and ostracizing them for their look, they had the same attitude towards people who didn't share their look. Contrary to what I first thought, that they were not into not fitting in, but into fitting in tightly -- into their subculture. I've run across many racist goths, ultracapitalist goths, anti-semitic goths, homophobic goths (boys who wear makeup/skirts and girls who date them who hate/fear homosexuals!), and most of all, so very many of them hated, loathed, the "normals", those people not inclined to dress funky or weird. I may have even agreed with that last part for a minute: a lot of mainstream people are closed-minded assholes, but now I know, so are most goths. There are some very wonderful goths, of course; likewise, there are some very wonderful so-called '"normals." People are people and unfortunately a particular style of dress does not guarantee enlightenment. Now I'm just a hippy-glam-goth-disco-androgyne (but I still don't like sunlight - grin). Peace. And think critically.