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GOTHS NOT DEAD
May 1, 2012 9:01 AM   Subscribe


 
Goth is determined to come back isn't it? All the high functioning adult goths I know are now mentoring their younger brood in the arcane mysteries of eye shadow and looming.
posted by The Whelk at 9:04 AM on May 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


A female goth makes her way up to the Abbey to pose in her finery during Whitby Goth Weekend

I have nothing to add to this caption except quiet admiration.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:04 AM on May 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Carl McCoy is my number one crush for life.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 9:08 AM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


My niece and her friends have already laid claim to my trunk of London clothes from my High Goth phase. I offered them as dress-up costumes, but they've made clear that when those clothes fit, they can have them. It's so weird that my own wardrobe is now retro. Sigh.
posted by dejah420 at 9:09 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have nothing to add to this caption except quiet admiration.

I have nothing to add except quiet and utter joy that filled my heart with shame for us and the way we are.
posted by snofoam at 9:14 AM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Some of the nicest people I know are goths. None are under the age of 40.
posted by rtha at 9:18 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bela Lugosi's Dad
posted by zippy at 9:19 AM on May 1, 2012 [78 favorites]


I'm in Texas. I like the old, sweaty Goths we sometimes see here. Bless their hearts.
posted by resurrexit at 9:20 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am no Goth myself; I've got a couple of the requisite albums, but I could never wear the look or live the life.

Yet virtually all my friends are either Goths or recovering Goths. I would have to die twice to catch up to them. There was high school, and then the Coast Guard... and pretty much every major decision I've made in my life since before I was discharged can be traced back to my undying love for Goth chicks.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:21 AM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Goth for Life" immediately made me think of Goth 2 Boss.
posted by xedrik at 9:23 AM on May 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


I rolled with the goths in junior high, before ascending to band geek. As a result, I've always had a soft spot for women in costumey scenes, yet even then I thought that guys looked incredibly goofy in goth apparel (whether it be steampunk, cyberpunk or halloween flavored.) Is this a patriarchal double-standard or are lifestyle fashions just not suited towards flattering men?
posted by modernserf at 9:24 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, Seattle's c89.5, a station run by students out of Nathan Hale High School, has a great goth-industrial show every Sunday evening called "On the Edge." Just, y'know, to plug for the music there.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:24 AM on May 1, 2012


I am no Goth myself...
posted by scaryblackdeath

posted by modernserf at 9:26 AM on May 1, 2012 [22 favorites]


It's not just Goth- it's extraordinary how human beings in general will cling to a subculture as a method of belonging, no matter what it entails. When I saw the pictures in the second link, I couldn't help but wonder if some of the older folks ever looked at themselves in their full getup and said "Wow... I look ridiculous! I wish I could quit this, but then my friends would ditch me and I'd be all alone.".

And they do look ridiculous. That's not a judgment call; there is no practical value to the way they dress, and the semi-serious theater around it- all "Azazael Nightshadow" and what have you- is campy and honestly laughable. Yet obviously, it's also harmless, and enjoyable for them, and anyway we all look ridiculous in whatever way we dress. Goths are as silly as people in business suits, or the attire of their times (the way men dressed in the 70's? Absurdity!). But it's as if our need to belong is so strong, we will block out that introspection, and embrace those few who will have us.

I don't think I expressed that as well as I'd have liked. Maybe someone else will defend the spirit of what I've said better than I did...
posted by hincandenza at 9:30 AM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


It was the '90s! I discovered this whole internet and email thing, and all my friends had these morose online handles like "absyntheheart" and "dark-dark-darkness" or whatever the fuck (I can't even remember them anymore), and I was like, "Okay fine, I'll play!"

*runs away and swoons, but not well enough to fit in with the cool kids*
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:30 AM on May 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's not just Goth- it's extraordinary how human beings in general will cling to a subculture as a method of belonging, no matter what it entails. When I saw the pictures in the second link, I couldn't help but wonder if some of the older folks ever looked at themselves in their full getup and said "Wow... I look ridiculous! I wish I could quit this, but then my friends would ditch me and I'd be all alone.".

Pffft. Shows what you know. I don't even have friends.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 9:33 AM on May 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


One of my favorite This American Life episodes is when Sarah Vowell "takes lessons in Goth."
posted by book 'em dano at 9:36 AM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


FWIW, I see teens in the high schools (and early 20s types elsewhere) who fit the stereotype, but then, I do live in Seattle.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:36 AM on May 1, 2012


As a result, I've always had a soft spot for women in costumey scenes, yet even then I thought that guys looked incredibly goofy in goth apparel (whether it be steampunk, cyberpunk or halloween flavored.)

The thing that many aging goths, especially men, don't realize is that it's possible to stay gothic without looking ridiculous; you simply dial things down. Instead of fishnets, a nice black suit, perhaps with a tasteful Current 93 pin on the lapel. There are plenty of people who do it well.
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:38 AM on May 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


All the high functioning adult goths I know are now mentoring their younger brood in the arcane mysteries of eye shadow and looming.

Indeed
posted by davejay at 9:39 AM on May 1, 2012


I dated a guy who confessed nervously to me that he had once been a Goth, apparently deeply worried that I'd see this as a turn-off.

I was like, "hey, we all did crazy stuff when we were younger. I can hardly judge you for sacking Rome once or twice."

Reader, I had sexy funtimes with him!
posted by argonauta at 9:41 AM on May 1, 2012 [32 favorites]


The fish and chips in Whitby are worth the trip, though Dracula's ruins aren't half bad either.
posted by infini at 9:42 AM on May 1, 2012


Yeah most adult male goths trim the look down to bare, but perfectly selected details. Crisp black suits, modest accessories, a hint of the macabre around the edges.
posted by The Whelk at 9:44 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Goth is totally not my thing, but good for them for having fun and refusing to fit into the polo shirt and chinos style of growing up.
posted by Forktine at 9:48 AM on May 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Who wants to wear a nice black suit and a subtle lapel pin to a goth festival? It would be like wearing a subtle motorcycle-inspired jacket to Sturgis.
posted by muddgirl at 9:52 AM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I look at Goths the way I look at cosplayers - total admiration for being happy/comfortable in their chosen outfits, and not a little jealous.
posted by owtytrof at 9:52 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I realized I couldn't ever be a goth when I dressed up as one for Halloween, and got promptly called out for smiling too much.
posted by LN at 9:52 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Once you go black, you never go back.
posted by atrazine at 9:53 AM on May 1, 2012


once you go goth you're always overwrought
posted by The Whelk at 9:56 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Once you're undead you never Right Said Fred.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 9:56 AM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Everyone in that slideshow (2nd link) looks so old.
posted by slogger at 10:01 AM on May 1, 2012


Goth is determined to come back isn't it?

Did it ever really go away?

There's a funny scene in the 21 Jump Street movie where the two undercover cops are walking through the parking lot of the high school and they are pointing out the different subcultures. Some of the groups they recognize immediately. "Those are nerds." "Those are goths." Then they see of group of hipsters and go "I don't know what the fuck those are."
posted by cazoo at 10:08 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Goth rock died when the first kid said
'Goth's undead, goth's undead.'"
posted by slogger at 10:08 AM on May 1, 2012


Goth doesn't go away, it just retreats to the shadows for a while
posted by The Whelk at 10:08 AM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Old goths never die.
posted by infini at 10:15 AM on May 1, 2012


they just become spooky trees
posted by The Whelk at 10:17 AM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't mind the look but man, you have to be skinny. The chubby goth thing just does not work. At all.
posted by Decani at 10:22 AM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Visigoth is the new hotness.
posted by Mister_A at 10:25 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Once you go black, you never go back.

Not entirely true; as many people who did computer science, I went through a phase of wearing black, listening to The Cure/Sisters/Black Tape For A Blue Girl/middling electro-industrial bands and going to the odd goth club. Though it didn't take. It started with the music. One night, I was in the computer lab, listening to something on my Discman (I think it may have been X Marks The Pedwalk, or possibly Leætherstrip) and I suddenly thought “this really is scraping the bottom of the barrel”. Soon the realisation spread to other bands in the greater Goth continuum: the Sisters were at the ploddingly rockist end of post-punk, Black Tape were over-egging the pudding somewhat, and the less said about anyone on Cleopatra Records, the better.

Then again, perhaps I'm just not a true Scotsman.
posted by acb at 10:26 AM on May 1, 2012


Observe.
posted by Mister_A at 10:27 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I smile too much and I'm too lazy with costuming to be a real Goth (not to mention I couldn't hack black in an Austin summer), but I enjoy their music and their costuming. The photos left me wishing I were in Whitby.
posted by immlass at 10:33 AM on May 1, 2012


I was a smiley goth in high school. It was fun, but I sweated a lot in all that pleather.

I've actually known a few adult women who have stuck with goth stylings, insisted they aren't goth anymore, but that they just wear only black because it's slimming. I think that part of this is that sometimes people adopt certain uniforms in high school and sometimes they are in a small part motivated out of self-consciousness but they feel safe and accepted that way and it makes it difficult to explore new styles even as an adult. Because it's scary.

However, this is also true for, say, a lot of prepsters.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:41 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Once you go black, you never go back.

Not actually true. I was a goth for almost a decade, then over the span of about a year turned into a hot-pants-and-fun-fur-wearing raver. (Blame it on candyflipping and psychedelic trance: so much fun.)

...though now that more years have passed, and all-night dance parties are something I do a few times a year, not a few times a month, I seem to have drifted back to wearing mostly black. I think it's because of the motorcycle: I ride just about everywhere, and so everything I wear has to be compatible with a full suit of black leather.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:41 AM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Full gothwear does look kinda ridiculous, and that is much of its charm. A big part of why I enjoy hanging out with goths (I was always more on the punk-rock side m'self, but I did a lot of helping out at some independent goth nights) was that they were mostly intelligent people who were fully aware that they were doing something silly and enjoying it greatly.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:50 AM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure how I feel about all the Steampunks insinuating themselves among the Goths at Whitby. I think that proper Goths would look upon their steam-trains, and dirigibles, and clockwork omnibuses, and heliographs with a mixture of bemusement and mild disdain. They would then retire to the abbey in their landaus (with the shades drawn), there to take solace in chartreuse and ancient, forbidden texts.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:18 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think I expressed that as well as I'd have liked.

I should hope not, because it came off as *crazy dickish*. Of course there's no 'practical value' to just about ANY clothing, aside from 'insulation from the weather'. It's ALL costume, from the polo shirt to the three hundred dollar tie to the leather bondage gear. Some folks just have the sense of fun to play with that concept. On top of that, you're not seeing pictures of 'goths doing normal goth stuff', you're seeing pictures of 'goths at a couple of the biggest goth gatherings on the planet, Whitby and WGT.' Every single person there is peacocking to some extent, flaunting their clubwear for a day of drinking, dancing, music, lurking, drinking, flirting, and drinking. The proclamation that their style is not to your taste and seems ridiculous is neither a bold nor insightful bon mot, it's about a quarter-step away from burping up some line about 'Halloween's in October HURR HURR'.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:21 AM on May 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Back when I ran the bookstore, two of my favorite customers where a couple; one deeply into Black Metal and the other the gothiest goth you could imagine. And I loved them because they were so nice -- friendly, happy, eager to talk about whatever interested them at the moment.

They would come by, and I would be "Hey, guys, how's it going?"
"Life is an endless vale of misery and despair."
"But we made cookies! Would you like some?"

And they were always good cookies.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:27 AM on May 1, 2012 [18 favorites]


It's so weird that my own wardrobe is now retro.

Goth has always been retro. Pretty much from the beginning of Goth.
posted by Malice at 11:36 AM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Goth has always been retro. Pretty much from the beginning of Goth.

Well, not technically when Byron was doing it. Then it was kind of what people wore.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:41 AM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


I find aging goths incredibly sexy and attractive. I especially love black clothing combined with salt-'n-pepper or white-streaked hair (or bald heads).

I've been involved in the goth/industrial scene for more than 20 years. I'm now 44. Although I've toned down the makeup a bit, my wardrobe is still almost entirely black (including business suits), and I love it that way. There is a large section of my closet devoted entirely to industrial band t-shirts and military surplus gear, and another section for gothic bellydance costume gear.

Right from the start I suspected that this scene was my "home" and not something I would eventually outgrow. I used to tell my college friends that when I became an elderly woman and could no longer do stompy dancing or brave the mosh pits at industrial shows, I'd be sitting in my rocking chair, still dressed in a black leather jacket and boots, singing along in my gravelly voice to Ministry lyrics. I'm right on track.
posted by velvet winter at 11:42 AM on May 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


Ha, I was just in Whitby with my friends. Got back yesterday. In The Nursery were the best of the bands.

Regarding the "goofiness" of male goth attire-- As for women, you have to figure out which style best suits your interests and physique, and rock it. There's plenty of excellent gothic attire for men; it just depends whether your preferred vibe is historic, modern, pseudo-military, etc. The Black Jacket is a male goth staple; whether that's an eighteenth-century frock coat, a turn-of-the-century redingote, a Victorian morning coat, your standard leather duster or something more fantastical, it's endlessly useful-- you can dress it up with a black silk shirt and neckcloth or down with a scruffy band T-shirt. It will likely be your most expensive wardrobe item, so once you've found it, plan the rest of your outfits around that.

(I'm a bit biased, since I hang out with the two best-dressed male goths I know.)
posted by Pallas Athena at 11:56 AM on May 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


I wish there was a flag for 'fighty comments.' IME goths don't tolerate flaming.

and often (but not always) without any introspection

This assumption that people 'often' aren't introspective about their subculture rings false to me. Unless we're defining all culture as subculture, which doesn't make any sense.
posted by muddgirl at 12:09 PM on May 1, 2012


So you do admit that your comment was somewhat poorly communicated then, hincandenza? Because if that was what you were trying to say, it came off rather the opposite in tone. If I misunderstood your point, then my apologies. Altho I'm not sure what the 'internet tough guy' biz is about, as at no point did I threaten anyone with physical violence.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:13 PM on May 1, 2012


I've always been a bit jealous of goths. I come from an earlier generation of this sort of thing -- I grew up reading the waning years of Famous Monsters of Filmland, building plastic models of Dracula driving a dragster, watching television horror hosts introduce black and white monster movies, and listening to the Monster Mash. I don't know that there is a name for the kind of kid I was, and there didn't seem like there were enough of us to form a community.

I'm still that kind of kid, and still don't feel like we have a community. Not the way goths do. When the Cramps were still a thing, once in a while I'd see a guy like me there, and I would think "why don't we have a distinctive way to dress? Where's our special club?" Sometimes, versions of me would show up in movies -- think of Charley Brewster, the horror-movie obsessed hero of the original "Fright Night." But they were always loners, or part of a very small group of nerdy weirdos.

There's not many of us left. We represented a youthful, and innocent-almost-to-naivety love of horror movies and the like that really started in the 1950s, when the old horror movies were repackaged as children's entertainment, and continued through the early 70s, when goth started to develop. Their idea of horror is different than ours. I suppose I zigged when I should have zagged -- in the 80s, I was a new waver, and there was briefly a flourishing of horror-obsessed new wave, like the early B-52s and films like "Return of the Living Dead." But it was short-lived, while goth just seemed to go on and on.

I suspect I could find people like me, thanks to the internet. But I'm past 40, and I'm afraid it would be just an old guys club, like those groups that you see who still build model trains, or classic car clubs, or the like. They all have beer guts and matching jackets, and they seem pretty fun but just so old. Lenny Bruce once said there is nothing sadder than an aging hipster, and I guess I'm afraid there's nothing sadder than an aging Famous Monsters fan.

But maybe I'm an idiot. Pleasure is pleasure, and friendship is friendship, and these aren't things to be embarrassed by. But, jesus Christ, if we wind up with a sobriquet like "dad ghouls," I'm just going to cry.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:14 PM on May 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


[I don't know wtf that was, but don't do that to each other. Be decent or come back when you can be.]
posted by jessamyn at 12:56 PM on May 1, 2012


Wow... I look ridiculous! I wish I could quit this, but then my friends would ditch me and I'd be all alone.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:23 PM on May 1, 2012


> I don't mind the look but man, you have to be skinny. The chubby goth thing just does not work. At all.

I agree, but just for the men (perhaps I have the same double standard modernserf does). Goth women of size get to fill out corsets and such, which can look v appealing.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:34 PM on May 1, 2012


But, jesus Christ, if we wind up with a sobriquet like "dad ghouls," I'm just going to cry.

Gerontogoth?
posted by MartinWisse at 1:38 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't mind the look but man, you have to be skinny. The chubby goth thing just does not work. At all.

Au contraire. As Marcus Brigstocke argued, once you reach a certain weight, you have to become a goth.

(I was one for about two days, then just went back to just wearing black clothes, but no more black nail polish.)
posted by MartinWisse at 1:45 PM on May 1, 2012


In The Nursery were the best of the bands.

Now I'm really sad I wasn't there.
posted by immlass at 1:49 PM on May 1, 2012


I love the close shot of the hands of the guy renewing his vows at Whitby.

"Do you have the ring?"

"OH HELL YEAH."
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:49 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


But, jesus Christ, if we wind up with a sobriquet like "dad ghouls," I'm just going to cry.


Go for Arch-Lich or something. Being dusty and withered is just a sign of further maelevolent power!
posted by FatherDagon at 1:52 PM on May 1, 2012


So want to go to Wave Gothic Treffen. So much goth in one dose I may over load. Also I am a bit worried about goth attire in that heat from the pics it always looks like awesome weather. Really goth is best viewed in a semilit nightclub not glaring daylight. :)
posted by Gwynarra at 1:52 PM on May 1, 2012


Ah, but that's why it's called Goth for Life. I think most goths appreciate the irony.
posted by muddgirl at 1:56 PM on May 1, 2012


"Wow... I look ridiculous! I wish I could quit this, but then my friends would ditch me and I'd be all alone."

I think you may be confused as to how this whole "friends" thing works.
posted by griphus at 2:01 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah don't forget, they'll be there for you when the rain starts to pour. They'll be there for you like they've been there before.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:15 PM on May 1, 2012


MY CAKE
posted by griphus at 2:34 PM on May 1, 2012


Has someone left the cake out in the rain?
posted by FatherDagon at 2:43 PM on May 1, 2012


scaryblackdeath: There, there.
posted by halonine at 3:01 PM on May 1, 2012


(the way men dressed in the 70's? Absurdity!)

YOU TAKE THAT BACK
posted by Hoopo at 3:35 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Theory: Steampunk is Goth with a less-limited palate.

Discuss.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:46 PM on May 1, 2012


"Brown" is not more colors than "black."
posted by griphus at 4:15 PM on May 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


I've never associated goth with steampunk. Has there always been crossover? The loci of interests seems completely disparate: the macabre vs. the fantastical don't readily jive.
posted by adamms222 at 4:35 PM on May 1, 2012


Shared love of Victorian foofery
posted by The Whelk at 4:39 PM on May 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Punk : Goth :: Goth : Steampunk
posted by griphus at 4:54 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


South St. Louis in the mid-90s was a singular place in time. Did they have redneck goths where you were at? I swear, vinyl shirts and beer bellies. I remember this one guy, Rich, had a tattoo of Trent Reznor on his boob. And when he'd show it off, he'd give it a squeeze and say, "if you squeeze it, it looks like Jim Morrison!" The sad part was, it did.

Good times.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:53 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


is campy and honestly laughable.

You've got this back to front. It's not that they dress goth so their friends won't leave, it's that they keep the friends who don't leave when they dress goth.

Well, not technically when Byron was doing it. Then it was kind of what people wore.

Byron had the pagan throwback romantic aesthetic going on on top of everything.
posted by Phalene at 5:59 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've had a few occasions to be part of large goth (I prefer the term "Death Rock" but that battle was lost a long time ago) gatherings in otherwise "normie" surroundings. For example, the annual Gothic Cruise as well as Bat's Day at Disneyland and in both cases, the "normies" would approach us with great amusement, wondering what it was all about, etc. By the end of our cruise, the normies said that they wished they could have joined us, as it was clear we were having the most fun on the ship / in the park.

I wouldn't say goth is making a comeback. If anything, it's lingering along, same as ever. Not as popular (or populous) as it was in the early/mid 90's, but not terribly far off, as far as the scene itself goes.
posted by ShutterBun at 6:01 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was big into the goth scene in the 90s and early 00s, and while it is still there it doesn't seem as vibrant as it did back then. At least here in California. I live right off Melrose, which used to be full of goths and goth-related stores; both those and the clubs have slimmed down considerably. But it's still there and I've gone to a few over the past few years, mostly out of nostalgia (and so the wardrobe doesn't go entirely to waste).

I grew up reading the waning years of Famous Monsters of Filmland

There was a Famous Monsters film festival here in LA last year that I went to, was fun and there were a variety of age groups there. But not super well attended, and despite its "first annual" billing I have heard nothing about one happening this year.
posted by wildcrdj at 6:12 PM on May 1, 2012


The thing that makes me shake my fist about not being in Whitby is the caption for the first photo on the fourth link:
"Goths and steampunks ascend some steps in Whitby".
Some steps? SOME STEPS? The legendary Church Stairs that lead up to the Abbey? The ones that I counted when I was there on a coach trip when I was seven? Nay, you do not refer to those as "some steps".
posted by bruzie at 6:45 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've never associated goth with steampunk. Has there always been crossover?

No. The crossover happened within the last decade when steampunk really became popular as a fashion aesthetic that people were actually making and wearing (as opposed to just reading about in novels). A friend of ours opened up what I believe to be the first club night actively identified as "steampunk" in Los Angeles, and that was within maybe the last five or six years.
posted by infinitywaltz at 7:17 PM on May 1, 2012


> I've never associated goth with steampunk. Has there always been crossover? The loci of interests seems completely disparate: the macabre vs. the fantastical don't readily jive.

Eh, we didn't call it steampunk, but the sensibility was very much there.

Well, not exactly Goth, strictly speaking, but the lines between Goth and Industrial were always blurrier than some fighty folks liked to admit, and by the 90s it was increasingly silly to argue with the idea that they were natural bedfellows. So, those rubbing shoulders include Romantics, Victorian macabre, ghoulish/horror-schlock, wicca/pagan, fetishwear, punk, rivetheads, and so forth.
posted by desuetude at 9:12 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Music has always been extremely important to me and still is as I close in on 50. I've never been a fan of one particular genre over another -- I love it all, or all of it that seems to come from some kind of lived and emotional place.

But I've never been able to quite understand the dressup aspect that seems to go along with the music for lots of people, or at least did when they were younger. I understand the tribal signifier aspects of it, the need for belonging to a like-minded group and all that, but it just hasn't ever seemed to have much to actually do with the music, to me at least.

But hey, each to their own.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:42 PM on May 1, 2012


That said, I've never really quite gotten 'fashion' (in terms of clothing) as a thing, really, so it's entirely possible that that part of my brain is just broken somehow.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:46 PM on May 1, 2012


Well, not exactly Goth, strictly speaking, but the lines between Goth and Industrial were always blurrier than some fighty folks liked to admit, and by the 90s it was increasingly silly to argue with the idea that they were natural bedfellows. So, those rubbing shoulders include Romantics, Victorian macabre, ghoulish/horror-schlock, wicca/pagan, fetishwear, punk, rivetheads, and so forth.

There was also a time in the 1990s when Greater Goth looked like swallowing up the shoegaze subgenre, which had fallen out of favour with the grungified mainstream alternative and was yet 5-10 years from its laptop-electronica-driven revival. There was some Projekt band who identified themselves as “shoegaze”, and even did a MBV cover (MBV were nowhere near the canon of cool then), though kept to an unmistakably Goth po-faced minor-key sensibility (which seemed to be a musical corollary of the “I am not a Goth” rule of being Goth).
posted by acb at 3:31 AM on May 2, 2012


Full gothwear does look kinda ridiculous, and that is much of its charm.

Whitby is a world apart.
One of the strangest things I have ever done, on my visit to Whitby, was clamber over the fence into the Abbey at midnight after a few too many shandies at the Spa.

It was bizarre, quite probably illegal, and yet standing in the ruined, roofless building, surrounded by goths dressed to the tens, I had but one thought under that half-cast Easter moon:
How the hell did she get over that fence dressed in that?

(I have never seen such a group of respectful trespassers in my life).
posted by Mezentian at 6:49 AM on May 2, 2012


I don't know which I am saddened about more:
The fact that there is a new "Fields Of The Nephilim" album that's just an update Earth Inferno/Visionary Heads, or the fact that, for the first time in my life, I read very single comment on a web newspaper article...

... and I don't feel dirty.

(Welp, I'm off to YpuTube)
posted by Mezentian at 6:54 AM on May 2, 2012


A friend of ours opened up what I believe to be the first club night actively identified as "steampunk" in Los Angeles

Out of curiosity, what club are you referring to? Malediction, I'm guessing?
posted by ShutterBun at 5:26 AM on May 4, 2012


I've never associated goth with steampunk. Has there always been crossover?

No. The crossover happened within the last decade when steampunk really became popular as a fashion aesthetic that people were actually making and wearing (as opposed to just reading about in novels).


If I may suggest otherwise, yes, there has always been a crossover. Steampunk may have existed as far back as, say, the late 90's with books like "Gotham by Gaslight" and "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" etc., but as far as I know, everyone who "took it to the next level" and made it into a real subculture was undeniably influenced by the goth scene.

As long as Steampunk has been "a thing," (as opposed to an idea) I think, it's been closely tied to the goth scene. I'm sure there are a lot of steampunk afficianados out there who are more into punk, or metal, or whatever "music" suits their fancy, but as far as an overriding social genre, it all came from goth, says I.
posted by ShutterBun at 5:35 AM on May 4, 2012


Steampunk... when Goths discovered brown
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:45 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


But it's as if our need to belong is so strong, we will block out that introspection, and embrace those few who will have us.
I think a "lack of introspection" is a bit much and makes you sound like an arse. A large part of the Goth subculture seems to be proclaiming "Look at Me" (or more accurately, "Look at Us"). I'm assuming this can be tremendously empowering and liberating for people. I would think you can work out why you personally may find inviting people to look at you a difficult thing to understand and combined with a tendency towards the flamboyant (pretentious?) it can make Goths seem quite horrific (to you).

I agree with you to be honest, but can see why my reaction may be more about me than about them.





Steampunks? Killed with fire.
posted by fullerine at 6:35 AM on May 4, 2012


There is a "steampunk" band balled The Men Who Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, formed by a 'goth comedian' (whose name escapes me) and one of the guys from GOTHIC RAWK band Creaming Jesus (who were so awesome back in the day - "Lilies" is one of my favourite songs).

The Men Who Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, like so much steampunk, I find tepid, like a pot of slowly boiled saltwater.
posted by Mezentian at 4:26 AM on May 5, 2012


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