The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'goth'
Spare a thought for the goths of Uzbekistan; once plentiful around the tranquil cemeteries of cosmopolitan Tashkent (and, for some reason, the city's one Roman Catholic church), persecution by the authorities and a hostility to Western youth subcultures seeping in from Putin's Russia (many Uzbeks speak Russian and watch Russian television) has caused their numbers to dwindle, with those who can seeking refuge in more liberal countries.
There has been a campaign in Uzbek media denouncing Western mass culture for encouraging "immorality" among the youth and for "damaging the country's national values and traditions". Rap, rock and heavy metal have been labelled "alien music" and some genres have been subsequently banned.
During one punk rock concert during the last two years, masked police turned up in large numbers and began rounding up the fans, detaining some for several hours.They're kettling them? It's almost as if they were anti-tax-evasion campaigners in London or something.
In any case, the rising tide of xenophobic nationalism and authoritarianism is taking its toll on Tashkent's once flourishing punk, goth and metal scenes.
At a well-known club on the outskirts of Tashkent, an event that in the past might have attracted up to 300 people, now only draws about 20 or 30. Most tried to avoid the camera.
"In the past there were lots of goths, punks, satanists and rockers around," says Gotya sadly. While Uzbekistan appears to be a less-than-hospitable place for such subcultures, Leticia and Gotya too are thinking about emigrating to other countries, like Russia or Poland.You know a country has problems when Russia is considered a more liberal country to emigrate to.
Neil Gaiman (who's sort of the Goth Terry Pratchett) writes about the evolution of vampires in popular literature:
I think mostly what it has to do with is what vampires get to represent. Dracula was a great novel of sexual seduction, full of repeated sexual seduction and rape and sex. So it makes complete sense that your solid Victorian vampires were fundamentally evil. And you can have that nice big stake hammered through them as a way of putting them to rest. After that, I think the next big, huge, cultural, “somebody’s just written a vampire story” is probably Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. Steve basically wanted to do Dracula again, only in a small town in Maine. At that point you got vampires still sort of representing the “other.” Then Anne Rice wrote Interview with the Vampire, which as a teenager I thought was a rather drippy book. I have to say as a teenager who loved vampire fiction and wanted vampire fiction, I thought they all sort of sat around being miserable.
But I think then the thing that changed everything and that gave vampire fiction a new lease on life and death was AIDS, because you hit the early ‘80s, and suddenly you have something in the blood that is an exchange of blood that kills and is altogether fundamentally about sex. And vampirism essentially came out of the closet as a metaphor for the act of love that kills. Stephen King once said, using the Erica Jung quote, that vampirism is the ultimate zipless f—. And then a sort of continuous transmutation, you had Lost Boys, which is essentially vampirism as wish fulfillment. Finally, of course there’s Sesame Street, which I think may well have created the sympathetic vampire for the world in Count.
Your Scene Sucks, a set of sketches of contemporary (US) youth subcultures:
this guy is single-handedly responsible for the commercialization of your favorite bands, childhood television shows, and quirky indie movies. his other favorite shirts include such witty sayings as... "i saw your mom on myspace," "the voices in my head are telling you to shut up," and "can't sleep... the clowns will eat me!"
like most in his scene, he doesn’t know the first thing about politics aside from what his father brings to the dinner table. he has a strong stance against fascism, racism and sexism even though he has no idea what any of those terms truly mean. this punk firmly believes in anarchy, but this does not stop him from posting all day on the rupert-murdoch-owned myspace.com.
Also, LOLHipsters, which is like LOLCats crossed with VICE's "Do's/Don'ts" page.
two years ago, he had blonde hair and an abercrombie-wardrobe, but that all changed the second he first heard my chemical romance playing on a random myspace page. from that moment on, his entire existence could be summed up with just three words: "i'm not okay."
(via mrsmalkav, M+N)
The latest manifestation of the gothic/macabre aesthetic trend: furniture containing stuffed animals:
Two teenage thugs have been sentenced to "life imprisonment" for beating a young woman to death because of her Goth attire. The two will serve a minimum of 18 and 16 years respectively, and could be out in their mid-30s. Meanwhile, violence against goths (or "grungers") is still common in Britain, especially amongst, it would seem, the less intelligent sectors of society:
On the social networking site Bebo, there's a group called grungers-should-die, which sets out its mission statement as follows: "Join this band if u think grungers / goth should die ... tell us some story about u bashing some grungers." On the comment wall, a girl has obliged: "fuckin bashed a grunger the uva day innit."
Coles says the goth community is misunderstood. "What people don't understand is that the goth community is largely a peaceful one, full of intelligent people that have often been shunned by normal society and choose to keep company with other likeminded souls. In 22 years of running clubs I've not seen one fight, or indeed any trouble."
A gay Iranian teenager who fled to Britain after his boyfriend was hanged for sodomy is facing deportation to Iran, and almost certain death. Britain's Home Office has already denied Mehdi Kazemi, 19, asylum, and now the Netherlands is extraditing him to Britain:
"There is no doubt that Mehdi will be arrested and probably executed if he is sent back there," said his 51-year-old uncle, a salesman from Hampshire. "The police have issued a warrant for his arrest. He will be in terrible danger if he goes back."
Mr Kazemi's father has also told him that if the state doesn't kill him, he will. "His father is very angry but his mother still loves him. She is extremely worried for him but she is in a very difficult position. In Iran, mothers don't stop loving their children because they are gay."
A Home Office spokeswoman confirmed Mr Kazemi had exhausted all his domestic avenues of appeal and could expect to be detained pending his deportation. But she added: "Any further representations will be considered on their merits taking into account all the circumstances."Meanwhile, in Lancashire, a court has heard that a gang of teenagers beat a 20-year-old woman to death because she was dressed as a Goth. The woman's boyfriend was severely bashed and left with brain damage. It is not clear what the assailants' dispute with the victims' subcultural orientation was, or indeed what their own views were, though it'd probably be a safe bet that they were of the hoody-wearing persuasion.
And the ultra-conservative former prime minister of Poland, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has spoken out against allowing internet voting because the internet is for pornography:
"I am not an enthusiast of a young person sitting in front of a computer, watching video clips and pornography while sipping a bottle of beer and voting when he feels like it," he was quoted as saying on his party's revamped Web site.
He added that Internet users are "the easiest group to manipulate, to suggest who to vote for."He's right, if one defines being manipulated as being persuaded to put aside cherished prejudices and entertain new, potentially controversial, ideas.
Hot Topic goth rocker Marilyn Manson (he's like the Pete Doherty of Red State America, or perhaps the Tom Cruise of Satanism or something) has recently launched his own brand of absinthe, which is apparently on a par with his music:
So did Mansinthe have what it takes to be a premium absinthe? According to the tasters, the answer is, sadly, no. The No. 1 problem was the aroma, which some verbally compared to sewage water or swamp mud, but with the exception of a lone taster, the panel felt it wasn't really worth wading through the odor to get to mediocre flavor anyway. Sorry, M.M.Which is missing the point; this is not a product for connoisseurs in any sense of the word, but for unsophisticated teenage mall-goths rebelling against their stolidly Bible-believing, Satan-fearing, Republican-voting parents and church groups. As long as it looks and tastes unlike anything familiar and the label could be mistaken, with sufficient ignorance, for something exotic and sophisticated, any subtlety would actually be counterproductive; something that tastes shocking and vile would actually fulfill its role as a prop of commodified rebellion better.
A survey of music sales from HMV outlets has revealed variations in mainstream musical tastes across the UK.
A bus company in Yorkshire is facing accusations of discrimination against alternative lifestyles after a Goth leading his girlfriend on a leash was stopped from boarding a bus:
"Our primary concern is passenger safety and while the couple are very welcome to travel on our buses, we are asking that Miss Maltby remove her dog lead before boarding the bus.
"It could be dangerous for the couple and other passengers if a driver had to brake sharply while Miss Maltby was wearing the lead."Which raises the issue of when does something becomes discrimination. Is there a difference between Goths (who, in this case, are presumably BDSM fetishists or Goreans or something as well; AFAIK, this sort of thing is not a fundamental part of the Goth subculture) leading each other on leashes and, say, some Muslim women covering their faces? Both behaviours are at odds with the accepted social norms. If there is a difference, is it because religious justficiations automatically bear more weight than non-religious ones?
While we're on the subject of multiculturalism in the UK: a childrens' educational CD-ROM based on the story of the Three Little Pigs has been rejected from a government agency's annual awards because it may offend Muslims.
In East Sussex, pagans are pissed off at an ITV makeover programme, for desecrating an archaeological site, the Long Man of Wilmington, with pigtails and breasts:
Arthur Pendragon, a Druid battle chieftain, said: "We are very angry because this is so disrespectful." The nomadic 53-year-old continued: "We, the pagans, would not in our wildest dreams consider putting female breasts and clothing on effigies of any Holy Prophets, be it Jesus Christ, Buddha or any other revered figure of another faith. Why then, does ITV commission Trinny and Susannah to do so at the Long Man of Wilmington?"
One of the protest organisers, Druid Greg Draven, 31, from Eastbourne, told The Argus in Brighton they had staged their campaign at the site to make the programme aware of their views.I wonder whether he is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Draven, or whether 1990s mall-goth movies are considered part of the pagan canon.
So that was Eurovision 2007. A bit of a surprise; the Serbian entry which won it seemed rather lacklustre compared to some of the others, but romped home in the voting, presumably due to Serbia being located in a geographical/demographical sweet spot. Interestingly enough, Eastern Europe dominated the voting, with the highest-scoring western-European nation being well in the bottom half of the rankings.
There were a few highlights: Georgia's entry started off as a traditional torch song by a woman in a red dress, but then morphed into eurodance, and then the dancers whipped out swords and started dancing about, Cossack-fashion, with a wild glint in their eyes. France eschewed the usual white-gowned piano balladeer in favour of a troupe of Dadaist mimes in Jean-Paul Gaultier costumes, highlighting the ridiculous side of Gallic culture. (Fat lot of good it did them, they ended up something like third-last. I guess it's back to the chanteuse and pianist next year.) Romania's entry was a bit like France's on a budget; five blokes dressed like the habitués of a slightly unsavoury tavern, singing "I love you" in every language on earth. The music was vaguely gypsyish, and sped up dramatically towards the end. Neighbouring Bulgaria's started off like Dead Can Dance with extra percussion, and then went electro. And, of course, there was Ukraine's entry, with its sequined, uniformed drag queen, looking like Elton John crossed with Austin Powers. It had camp and kitsch in spades, and raised a few questions. What, for example, was the significance of them counting in German, and did they really sing "I want to see Russia goodbye", and if so, how did that make it past the vetting process?
The lowlight was probably Ireland's entry, which was pure, unadulterated Celtic kitsch of the most obvious variety, and quite deserving of its final position at the bottom of the board. This year, though, nobody got a nul points, and they limped home with 3 points or somesuch. Britain did a bit better, largely thanks to Malta giving them 12, though their song was stuck firmly in the mid-1990s. And the teeth on that stewardess were frightening; granted, Scooch, as uninspired as they may be, were a lot less cringeworthy than last year's entrant (a middle-aged bloke pretending to be a teenage hip-hop street thug, surrounded by dancing "schoolgirls" who, apparently, were borrowed by Turkey this year). And I'd have to give a dishonourable mention to Russia, whose entry was a piece of soullessly machine-extruded commercial pop, trading on sex appeal (sample lyric from the three immaculately coifed girls doing the singing: "put a cherry on my cake and taste my cherry pie"; ooh-err!) lacking any of the madness or wrongness that makes for an interesting Eurovision entry.
The other competitors: Belarus (incidentally, the last remaining state with a KGB) had black-clad female dancers scaling walls like assassins and John Barry-esque strings over its power ballad. The full might of the Swedish culture industry was unleashed in the form of 1970s glam rock attired in monochromatic retro cool. Latvia's entry was in Italian, and like a low-rent version of The Divs. Germany had a bloke named Roger Cicero (son of Herr und Frau Cicero, I presume) doing a Sinatra-lite swing number, in German. Armenia's entrant seemed to follow, stylistically, in the footsteps of that other great Armenian singer, Charles Aznavour, only with an overwroughtly woeful and somewhat strained ballad. And Turkey's entrant was a short, hirsute man wearing a red jacket and a broad grin, surrounded by belly dancers Terry Wogan persisted in pointing out were British. Presumably giving the United Kingdom something to be proud of even should they have ended up with nul points.
While some speculated that Lordi's astounding triumph last year (reprised in the Lord-of-the-Rings-esque opening video) would have opened the door for a flood of hard-rock/heavy-metal bands, this did not entirely come to pass. Finland followed up their win with a new genre, which could be dubbed, Tolkienesquely, MOR-Goth, consisting of torch songs with emo-esque lyrics and plenty of black clothing and gothic makeup. The other main Lordi-influenced act was Moldova, whose song sounded like the sort of alternative-rock song that ended up on Hollywood action-film soundtracks in the late 1990s; all minor-key strings, crunchy metal power chords and drum loops.
The promotional videos played before the musical numbers were done quite well, executed as whimsical stories featuring elements of Finnish culture. Some of the odder ones featured a goth riding a rollercoaster, hackers coding computer demos at the Assembly festival, a heavy-metal festival full of corpsepainted teenagers, a troupe of clowns giving an athlete an instant makeover so he could enter a restaurant, a twattish-looking bloke in DJ headphones playing the pipes at the Sibelius monument, and Santa Claus playing chess with one of the Moomins. Oh, and lots of mobile phones (Nokia, of course); the Finns, it seems, use them at the dinner table, and even propose marriage with the help of their cameraphones. Other than mobile phones, heavy metal appears to be a big part of the Finnish national identity; other than the promos, there was the entertainment during the vote-counting break, which featured the heavy-metal string quartet Apocalyptica, as well as acrobats.
Last but not least, one has to mention the astonishing phenomenon that is Krisse, the somewhat frightening-looking young woman with the pink puffer jacket and big ponytails plucked from the audience to interview competitors, stumbling through questions and going on about herself (sample question: "on a scale of 9 to 10, how beautiful am I?"). For some reason, she reminded me of Leoncie.
Earlier this week, a nutter obsessed with the Columbine massacre gunned down a bunch of people in Montreal, killing one, before being shot dead by police. Afterwards, his online journal came to light, being hosted on a site named Vampire Freaks, which seems to be something like DeadJournal crossed with MySpace, with extra Goth. In other words, unlike the Columbine killers (who were erroneously associated with the Goth subculture despite not being part of it), Kimveer Gill vociferously identified himself as a Goth.
Before this leads to reprisal attacks (the torching of industrial clubs, assaults on Goths, punks, hessians, Hassidim, ninjas, or random chromatically-challenged individuals by clueless rednecks), an important distinction must be made. The enemy are not Goths but Gothists. Goth is a subculture of peace, and explicitly prohibits violence against the innocent. Gothism, however, is a militant, intolerant ideology committed to the annihilation or subjugation of all jocks, preppies, "normals" and "mundanes" across the world, and the ushering in of a global reign of darkness. The vast majority of Goths do not subscribe to the extremist beliefs of Gothism, and indeed consider it to be a false ideology, a sick perversion of the tenets of their subculture. It is clear that peaceful coexistence with Gothism is impossible, and this ideology must be uprooted and neutralised before it causes any more damage; this is something which we will need the cooperation of moderate/liberal Goth leaders in achieving.
Having said that, Goth community leaders should be more outspoken in condemning atrocities carried out in the name of their culture, and the Goth community needs to take action to prevent its marginalised youth from being radicalised by the agents of Gothism.
More YouTube videos: this time Stump's "Buffalo", which you may remember from the C86 compilation (it was the most dadaistic track on that one). The video, in this case, is the visual equivalent of the song. Enjoy.
Meanwhile, more Swedish indiepop: Jens Lekman's "You Are The Light"; pretty polished, involving Jens riding through a tunnel in a van surrounded by riot police, with brass sections passing in open-topped cars at key sections of the song.
And here's one for the goths: Propaganda's "Dr. Mabuse", with Anton Corbijn doing his best Fritz Lang homage.
There's a Neil Gaiman tribute CD coming out soon. It appears to consist of various goth/gothic-interest artists (natch), plus the obligatory Tori Amos track, and a contribution from Stephin Merritt. The foreword is written by a member of emo band My Chemical Romance, presumably to bring in the Hot Topic kids.
(via Boing Boing)
From a glossary of common polyamorist phrases, written by a professional dominatrix from Seattle:
Poly phrase: "So, which conventions do you like to attend, what kind of books do you like to read, what are your spiritual beliefs, and what is your ideal occupation?"(To which one could possibly add "what music are you into?", which would translate roughly as "1980s, EBM, ethereal or darkwave?")
English translation: "Which science fiction conventions do you like to attend, who is your favorite fantasy author, what form of neo-paganism do you ascribe do, and where in the computer industry would you like to work?"
Laugh now, but one day, the goths will be in charge:
"Most youth subcultures encourage people to drop out of school and do illegal things," she says. "Most goths are well educated, however. They hardly ever drop out and are often the best pupils. The subculture encourages interest in classical education, especially the arts. I'd say goths are more likely to make careers in web design, computer programming ... even journalism."
"Goths are like masons," I have been told. "They're everywhere." But rather than blaming some sinister conspiracy, let us look at the reasons people become goths in the first place. According to Choque Hosein, formerly of goth band Salvation but now running a record label, "Goths tend to be the weirdo intellectual kids who have started to view the world differently."Though does goth still draw in the intellectual misfits as it did in the 1980s, or has it become sufficiently codified and rigid to be another mainstream, rewarding conformity in its own way? And does "viewing the world differently" involve any actual nonconformity, or merely constraining oneself to a gamut of black-clad clichés?
The freemasonry comparison, though, is quite apt; for a while, during the dot-com bubble of the 1990s, practically every rising startup was run mostly by goths; had the bubble not burst, one could imagine the world of IT, in a few decades' time, being controlled by a quasi-Masonic network of kinships formed in goth clubs, with passwords and shibboleths based on Sisters of Mercy/Nick Cave lyrics and quasi-self-mocking catchphrases; those who never did the hard yards at the Abyss or Slimelight or wherever before their hair started to fall out would probably have found themselves excluded from the market for lack of connections.
Though even if the goths never take over completely, they'll surely have much more hot, kinky, transgressive sex in the interim than the common colour-wearing, James Blunt/Britney Spears/Kaiser Chiefs/Yo La Tengo-listening multitudes. Or so a goth told me.
(via Boing Boing)
A church in Cambridge has started holding a church service for Goths:
The associate vicar at St Edward King and Martyr church in Cambridge, himself a goth, holds a 45-minute service complete with candles and a specially written liturgy for members of the goth community. There are no hymns but goth music is played instead, including artists such as Depeche Mode, Joy Division and the Sisters of Mercy, said Mr Ramshaw, 34.
After the service, most of the congregation go to a goth evening at the nearby Kambar nightclub called, appropriately enough, the Calling.Of course, if you assume that Goth is intrinsically a manifestation of Judaeo-Christianity (see also: heavy metal, Satanism, Johnny Cash, Nick Cave), this isn't quite as weird as it sounds.
What is the 90s? What does it represent? What was its zeitgeist? This is the tricky part. See, hipsters in the 90s thought that they'd figured out a way to position themselves as the first generation ever which wouldn't, in retrospect, look as ridiculous as previous generations. They thought they'd secure their place by ironically fixating on 70s retro (thus sparing themselves from having to create too much of their own destined-to-be-dated material) as well as adapting the language of a hyper-conscious, self-aware man-outside-of-his-time, narrated as glibly as possible, as a way of ironically distancing themselves from their own stances.The list itself starts off with "Authenticity" (and also takes in "Smog" and "Wobbly Camera As Authentic/Gritty Device") and ends with "Bare Midriffs", and includes the likes of "Generation X", "The Greatest Generation", "Grrls" (not to mention "Straight Edge", "Reclaiming The Night" and "Reclaiming Our Bodies/Empowerment"), several variants on "Aggrieved White Males", "Madonna-ology", "lower case spelling", "Wiggers", "Nerd Chic", "Misogyny Chic" and "Blue Collar Chic":
33. The End of Heroin Chic
The Shame: One of the few genuinely intelligent, smart trends in the mid-90s was the belated recognition that heroin is a good drug, overturning decades of hippie oppression and prejudice. We have Kurt Cobain and Trainspotting, a movie whose mediocrity is less important than the positive message it sent, to thank for that. Sadly, some people - we won't mention any RIVER PHOENIX names here, but a few LAYNE STANLEY guys couldn't handle CHRIS FARLEY their shit, making it tough for the rest of us, while other KATE MOSS people, again names THE EXILE we won't mention, functioned RUSH LIMBAUGH just fine while floating on the great poppy. Sadly, a combination of weak-willed celebrities, Ben Stiller's Permanent Midnight and 9/11 ended this brief dawn of reason. Now we are back in the Dark Ages of cocaine chic. Frankly, we'd rather drink beer than do coke.
The Sham:In the ultra-segmented scene of the 90s, being fat, ugly and socially retarded wasn't an impediment to being hip. You just had to wear lots of layers of black gauze to hide the blubber, get some prominent piercings and paint spider webs on your eyelids and, voila! You were a scary, alienated Goth! A whole bevy of bands competed for your attention, including Pretty Hate Machine, NIN, and Marilyn Manson, and the evening news might even do a segment featuring people who look just like you and the decline of American values or the dangers of Columbine - even though Klebold and Harris hated Goths.
63. Being Gay
The Sham:In college, most American girls of the 90's went through their obligatory BUG (bisexual until graduation) phase, which segued for more daring ones into their stripper phase. Gays became so big that even one of the Friends' star's mother had a lesbo tryst, and everyone had to have a gay neighbor to spice up their lives. Clinton made promoting gays in the military his first priority - and his liberal agenda was essentially destroyed by that. No matter, gays went bourgeois anyway, they didn't really need most of the liberal stuff anymore, not the help-the-poor/minorities crap anyway. Then 9/11 happened. A source who lives in Noe Valley told the eXile that within a year of 9/11, Noe Valley was transformed from the Dyke Quarter of San Francisco to the Baby Stroller Capital. Who'd-a-thunk.
73. Missing Children
The Sham:According to the National Center for Exploited and Missing Children, guess how many are "long-term" kidnapped by strangers every year? 20,000? 10,000? It's gotta be a lot, considering all the alarmist attention it gets. Welp, we got news for you: only 115 children are kidnapped in America each year, out of a population of 300,000,000. And about 100 children are kidnapped and murdered each year. In other words, NO ONE WANTS TO SOCKET-FUCK YOUR HAIRLESS CHILD'S STRANGLED CORPSE. Does that disappoint you? Statistically, your child has an infinitely higher chance of growing up to be a convicted sex offender than he does of getting kidnapped and killed by one. But you don't want to believe that your child, or you, are doomed to a life of never being stalked. So instead you'll pamper and protect your child and instill him with so many worries and complexes that when he grows up, he'll have this weird, tingly feeling every time he sees a vulnerable, hairless child left alone beside a car wash...
The Sham:Back before Live Journal gave every bored office worker in America a soap box, zines were the only outlet for folks who wanted to write something that nobody but friends would ever read. Made by Kinko workers working the graveyard shift and distributed to the local revolutionary bookshop, they were hailed as authentic samizdat. Except that there was a market for samizdat, and risk involved. Zines were just another way to convince grrls that you were authentic, so you could bang 'em.
89. Blue collar chic
The Sham:Middle class guys picking up garage mechanic uniforms with cursive names sewn into the breast pocket at the local thrift store and slumming it. Then, while downing cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon for a buck a pop at the local hipster dive, peopled with other indy hipsters wearing Confederate hats or T-shirts and scraggly beards, they'd talk about this art instillation they've got planned for their studio in Williamsburg.
90. Bare Midriffs
The Sham:Will someone please tell American girls to cover their lower hips? In the last 10 years, girls' hips have grown wider and wider, expanding like in some bad 80s horror film...and yet, for some reason they have no shame in showing these wide loads to the whole fucking world. All we can assume is that no one has the courage to tell them how bad they look. We're the types who, if we had a booger hanging out of our nose while talking to you, we'd want you to tell us. So we're doing the right thing and telling you: hide your hips, and while you're at it, tie a sweater around your ass. Note: This does not apply to Russian girls AT ALL.
There is apparently an entire subculture in the US of people who build sex machines. So much so that the Museum of Sex in New York is having an exhibition on the subject, and for those not in New York, there is a book.
These are tinkerers, people who like to mess with all things mechanical. And they have a sense of creative invention — they are proud of these things when they create them. But also they think about sex a lot and this is what resulted from that combination. It's not just a sculptural thing. They are making it for a purpose. A number of them are married, they are making it to try and introduce something to their wives. Some may be using it to attract women — or they think it might attract women. And for some of them it's a business. But they are not part of a scene, like a sexual scene. It's more that they got the idea independently that this is something they wanted to make, they wanted to have.The machines look like anything from dentists' chairs to Luxo lamps, with conspicuous plastic appendages attached. One appears to be a modified sledgehammer, and looks frightening. There is even a coffin-shaped one built by a couple of goth kids (aww, isn't that cute!).
If today's Cat and Girl is anything to go by, the chav phenomenon has jumped the Atlantic and they've already got them in New York:
While we're there, this Cat and Girl, from a few weeks earlier, is also really good. A small excerpt:goes goth: the same idea eight years earlier, though he was being ironic.
(via Cat and Girl, bOING bOING)
An inquest into the suicide of two young people in Sydney blows the lid off the Goth subculture threatening your children. Goths, who are recognisable by piercings and a liking for Marilyn Manson and Korn, are into magic and the occult and given to self-harm and even suicide pacts:
Late yesterday, a school friend - a member of a Goth clique at the South Coast high school the girl attended - told the inquest her friend had been into white magic, Wicca, not the dark magic she said some Goths followed.I wonder what the serious Wiccans make of teenage angstpuppies appropriating their religion as a badge of hormonal alienation.
She said while some "heavy Goths" were into self-harm and talked of suicide, it was only once - on the night her friend ran away and came to stay at her house - that she mentioned suicide.I think I've witnessed the "heavy Goth" phenomenon. They'd be the ones hanging around shopping centres in size-XXXL Marilyn Manson/Cradle of Filth T-shirts, pale flesh bulging out from fishnet tops.
Sociologists attempt to answer that most baffling of questions: why do we have Goths?
"Sometimes you'll find that people who were low status in the school environment will suddenly find this new group in which the things that they do are considered much more high-status, credit-worthy things," he said.
And he added that particularly noticeable was the role of relatively feminine men in the goth scene.
"At school they were either bullied or just not really noticed too much," he said. "Suddenly they discover goth music, and they find themselves in an environment where actually, to be feminine as a man is rather valued, and suddenly girls are rather interested in you. "I think it's an alternative set of values which renders people - who previously didn't have status - desirable."That's not quote the explanation I heard (i.e., that wearing black PVC fetishwear, smoking extra-carcinogenic Indonesian cigarettes and cultivating an appreciation of laughable Teutonic fascist-themed dance pop is the best way for spotty, awkward geeks to get
If Goths ruled the world, a Worth1000 photoshopping contest. These images will probably end up in thousands of LiveJournal/MSN user icons.
(via bOING bOING)
Goths vs. Chavs. No, it's not an upcoming Working Title/Channel Four updating of Quadrophenia (substituting Whitby for Brighton and those daft-looking miniature motorcycles for Lambrettas), or the latest edgy game from Rockstar, but the reality being fought out in Britain's town centres every night. And now, in war games in the forests, organised by the local street wardens:
"We've had large groups of chavs and goths on Cathedral Square on a Saturday. They've not really being doing any harm but the sheer number of them intimidates people," he said. "It's like mods and rockers - not that these guys start fighting, it's just a bit of a slap here and there."
The few goths who still walk across the square by the city's Norman cathedral are not so sure. War games in the countryside? "That's going to be murder," said Kenny, 19, resplendent in his daywear of black boots, black jeans, black shirt and long black leather jacket (it's sunny and 25C). "The chavs will take knives."
Kitted out in black body armour and chomping on a large cigar, Steve Mayes, the street warden supervisor, looks more than a match for any mouthy chav or stoned goth. But he's found both groups showing scant regard for him, each other or society, and hopes that skirmishes in the countryside will instil respect.Though isn't "respect" (in the hip-hop/thug-life sense) a cornerstone of the Chav subculture, i.e., it being a matter of honour to set straight by means of physical force anyone who doesn't show one respect, or else forfeit the right to call oneself a man?
He points out a chav, swaggering through the square on the toes of his immaculate white trainers. "Most goths are so laid-back they are on their arse," he said. "If you go up to a chav and look at him wrong, he'll kick your head in."And since when do goths smoke pot as a rule? I thought that cloves and absinthe were their thing. Come to think of it, has anyone seen a goth running around the woods with a pellet gun? (Substitute "Norwegian black metaller" for "goth" and "big fück-off mediæval axe" for "pellet gun" and you might have something, though.)
But Mr Mayes admits there is one small problem: most of the goths were so laid-back they couldn't get up in time for the war games. Six cried off yesterday morning. "We've got more chavs than we have goths because they couldn't get out of bed," he said. "They've probably been smoking too much pot."
Momus gets stuck into what he calls "fashion goth", which seems to be a construct containing a whole bunch of things he dislikes, from the Goth subculture and BDSM to Suicide Girls to the New-York-hipster fashion of wearing clothes with skulls on them to show how hard and cynical you are and to Judaeo-Christian asceticism in general.
I'm not into Suicide Girls. I hate tattoos and piercings and the cult of self-injury. Sex is not evil or wicked. What Christian sect do you guys belong to?
Japanese people tend not to be fashion goths, or into kitsch. Even the black lace Gothic Lolitas in Japan are something else, really. They're human mille feuille cakes, not goths.
Can you imagine a fashion goth soaking in a sento and then playing pachinko and then eating a hearty meal at an isakaya, chatting away and laughing at the comedians on TV? "Where's the agony?" he would cry, meaning "Where's the beauty?" He'd miss the beauty in the food, and in the water.
When I was in New York this time all I could see on everyone's T shirt was skulls, skulls, fucking skulls. How can you protest the Iraq war if there are skulls all over you, fucking fashion goth?
One for the rivetheads: a surprisingly accurate VNV Nation lyric generator. Except for the references to "spookies" and "role players", perhaps.
I turned my hands up to the sky
standing on the battlefield
I have never felt so cold
and the hail brings a new day
If that's not enough, there's also the Obscure Industrial Index, for more machine-generated goth-techno action.
Dispatches from the obesity epidemic: American punk/goth/alternateen mallrat clothing chain Hot Topic has launched a special chain for super-sized teens. Named Torrid, the chain sells alternative clothing in extra-large sizes, allowing the growing proportion of obese teens to look and feel cool. (via bOING bOING)
Meanwhile, Target in Australia are now selling collectible Goth figurines, which, for some reason, are in the anime section. (Which is odd in itself; last time I was in a Target, they didn't have an anime section, let alone one with collectible figurines. Perhaps it's in the "grunge mall" Coles-Myer were planning to build in Melbourne or something?) Does this mean that the Goth subculture now has an anime series about it?
The BBC speaks to some self-styled "goth" kids in Norfolk; complete with photos. (via caycos)
Josh, also known as Shadow Mercy, Jessica, who calls herself Misery Whispers and Anton who is known as Lord Mercy, are all Goths and 12-years-old.
I listen to Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Green Day, Good Charlotte and other sorts of punk metal or gothic rock. I like to do magic spells and to look at runes books. ... My advice to people who want to become a Goth is don't be too cocky.
("Don't be too cocky"? What's the bloody point of it then?)
Meanwhile, the comments section at the bottom yields a bounteous harvest of pure comedy gold.
The US state of Kansas is taking on the goth problem in schools:
"Last week, a parent told me her two kids were talking about this at dinner," Crain said. "And one of them said 'I'm so glad Ms. Crain did this, because a Goth sat behind me last year and every single day he'd hiss at me like a snake.' And that impeded his learning."
"There's always been a policy in our dress code against gang or group-related clothing," Principal Cherie Crain said. "Because there's power in numbers. When a group looks alike, they terrorize other kids or intimidate them. Sixth graders in particular were very intimidated by the cultist look. "
Jocks and preppies, of course, are exempted from these regulations because they look normal.
(Aside: a friend of mine went to the US a while ago and bought in a thrift shop a T-shirt apparently made for wearing by school staff, which had the school logo, as well as words like "DRUGS", "GANGS" and "TARDIES", crossed out. Could the word "GOTHS" be soon joining these on such shirts?)
1. A new community is formed for gothic, anorexic self-harmers: bleeding_skeletons is an immediate success with angsty teenagers everywhere.
8. "The LiveJournal Movie" is released. Starring an aging Minnie Driver as an angsty goth teenager and a CGI reproduction of River Phoenix as Blog Boy it is an immediate box office flop. Industrial Light and Magic receive an Oscar for the graphics.
10. Video posting is implemented. BBC News soon after reports of a phenomenon it has dubbed "The Second Coming of Camgirls". Many teenage boys across the country experience a very personal second coming themselves. Google pulls out of LiveJournal. It is bought by Danni Ashe.
A vintage Jack Chick tract that railed against the evils of Dungeons & Dragons remixed into a sardonic critique of the goth subculture. Quite astute.
Could this be the apotheosis of LiveJournal drama? Seminal teen-angst vampire-novel author Poppy Z. Brite kicked out of LiveJournal group, presumably because the moderator wanted the honour of smacking her down. Champagne comedy, folks. (via bOING bOING)
(I didn't even know Poppy Z. Brite had a LiveJournal; though, in retrospect, it'd be more surprising if she didn't have one. Which makes me wonder: does Trent Reznor have one?)
When Johnny Cash passed away, I noticed how he had virtually been claimed by the industriogothic scene as One Of Their Own, because of his dress sense and melancholy themes. (Though his covering Nine Inch Nails and Bad Seeds songs probably helped too.) It's funny, as I'm fairly sure that when Siouxsie Sioux and Andrew Eldritch were inventing what was to become 'Goth", they weren't heavily influenced by Johnny Cash, or indeed much country music at all; I doubt that Throbbing Gristle and their ilk were either.
It appears to be a rule that any vaguely dark, ethereal or otherworldly eventually gets lumped into the "Goth" genre, even if it starts life a million miles from goth's tightly circumscribed perimeter. It happened to Depeche Mode (in the 1980s they weren't goth, but now they're Goth As Fuck), and in the U.S. it seems to have partly happened to the shoegazer genre. (In Commonwealth countries, shoegazer is firmly ensconced in the indie-rock tradition, however.)
To wit, a list of artists and genres who might be filed in the "Goth" sections of record shops in 10 years' time:
- Sigur Rós
- Godspeed You Black Emperor, and related outfits; in fact, all gloomy post-rock
- all Norwegian Black Metal
- various German/Austrian laptop glitch techno
And some things you probably won't find filed under "Goth":
- Architecture In Helsinki
- the Dixie Chicks
- The Vines/The Datsuns/Jet
- Kid 606's Missy Elliott mash-ups
Warren Ellis (he who knows all too many scary goth camgirls) writes a commentary on the intersection of the geek/tech and goth subcultures:
Sometimes I think of LiveJournal as the world's biggest technogoth community. LJ has been both lauded and derided as a space for people with black clothes and strange hair to work out their alienation and disaffection in electronic public. That hasn't stopped it being successful, and it hasn't stopped it being a tool for national and international networking. As a piece of "social software," it's not flawless, but its influence and effect has been huge. If nothing else, several thousand alt.models, often very ambitious and creative, seem to have hooked up together with this thing. An army could be formed. That would be an army worth supporting with taxes. In fact, it could probably be paid for by Paypal donation links.
(Though I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the idea of goths forming an underground army. It's too easy to imagine paramilitary groups of real-life Blackshirts, motivated by the nihilistic tirades of Marilyn Manson and the cryptofascist bombast of VNV Nation, and filled with contempt for the inferiors who wear coloured clothing. First they came for the jocks, but I didn't speak out because I wasn't a jock, and so on. But I digress)
Though I was wondering whether LiveJournal was another one of those Gothic Internet Startups of the Not-So-Long Boom, like Dimension X (now part of Microsoft) and Netizen (no longer around). I once had the idea of a parallel history where the boom doesn't end, and the goth subculture evolves into a sort of tech-industry freemasonry, with membership and initiation essential for getting any sort of consulting gigs; and the usual goth-club "courtly intrigues" and catfights happening behind the scenes. It'd make a decent setting for a story or a novel.
Because it's Soft Target Day today: True fact: as well as the weblog meetup, Melbourne has the third largest Goth Meetup in the world, behind only Toronto and Houston. (Houston? Not New Orleans or Seattle or some place?). Come along and you can hope to meet cool, interesting people like the following:
I am a child of the grave. Interested to meet you... firstname.lastname@example.org *In My shallow grave in hell My soul and I are one*
hey u goths out there! my name is Sandra and i am 13, i am getting a nose ring and my mum wont let me get a lip ring but wen i get 1 im gonna get a chain and connect it 2 my ear. that pic isnt me but i wish it waz.
Hi all, I'm Laura, a 14 year old Goth and live in Mentone, Melbourne, Australia. I'm anxious to meet other Goths like myself, and hopefully a Goth boi. One of my favourite movies is Queen Of The Damned, and I love the taste of blood, yum yum! :P
I know, taking the piss out of goths is (to steal a phrase from P.J. O'Rourke) like hunting dairy cows with a high-powered rifle and sniper scope. Though it's better to go goth clubbing than baby seal clubbing, I say.
According to a recent A Word A Day a "goth" is "a rude or uncivilized person". So it's synonymous with "mook" then?
(Which other youth subcultures are named after words for disagreeable people? There's punk, for one.)
(Thanks to Cos)
(Black Tape actually makes decent music, in a soundscapy sort of way (unlike all the we-want-to-be-Bauhaus/NIN/the Sisters bands which make up the goth genre), though is a bit melodramatic and over-the-top in places. Though presumably that's how you know that they're "goth" and not "post-rock" or something. I probably won't buy the new album though.) (via Cos)
Pinkness and horror: In terms of sheer concentrated pinkness in one place, few things could outdo Goth day at Disneyland. (via bOING bOING)
An interesting (if perhaps somewhat too sympathetic) look at Goth culture in the US Midwest, where a $273,000 grant was recently awarded to a youth outreach unit to
combat study "goth culture" and the leaders preying on our children.
(via Rebecca's Pocket)
As she sits still, her pale back exposed to him like a canvas, he pulls out an X-Acto knife. He leans in and carefully scratches the razor across her back in short strokes. Thin lines of blood appear in an abstract design. Not once does she wince.
Draven says he's a vampire, that he drinks blood, believes in werewolves and smokes weed. "It's a religion," he says, though he can't name any rituals beyond drinking his friends' blood and partying. He says he likes that people seem afraid of him, but he also thinks people should accept him like anyone else. Then he walks off.
(Heh; I've met goths like that...)
(I say too sympathetic, because it completely glosses over what petty-minded, bitchy tossers most goths are; and how, for all the noise they make about being "creative" and "original", they are one of the most uncreative and slavishly derivative youth subcultures around. But I digress.)
Missouri vs. the Mascaraed Menace: A wide-eyedly earnest response to Missouri's goth-eradication campaign, in what appears to be the Goth equivalent of one of those britneyblogs which goes on about how N'Sync are really talented artists and people who say they aren't are just mean. Meanwhile, some advice on what to spend the goth-eradication fund on. They range from MKULTRA-style provocation to start clique wars to paying Britney Spears to do a Bauhaus cover. (via deadlybloodyserious.com.)
In the US the Bible-belt state of Missouri has allocated US$273,000 to stamp out "Goth culture" among its youth. Which is a laudable goal, though probably not for the reasons they had in mind. (via rotten.com)
Scare meme of the day: Drug users in the US are turning to a new kick: embalming fluid, which is comprised of formaldehyde, methanol and various other chemicals. Some of the users are robbing funeral parlours to get high. The effects of embalming fluid are said to include hallucinations, euphoria, a feeling of invincibility, and increased pain tolerance, as well as anger, forgetfulness and paranoia.
Dr Julie Holland, of New York University School of Medicine, said: "The idea of embalming fluid appeals to people's morbid curiosity about death. "There's a certain gothic appeal to it."
Coming soon to a goth club near you?
A biographical piece on oddly-named game designer American McGee, creator of the entertainingly goth-as-fuck take on Alice in Wonderland. Not surprising that this guy's a friend of such pillars of the teen-angst industry as Trent Reznor and Marilyn Manson.
Also on the Sisters site: a page listing all the incarnations of Doktor Avalanche, in excruciating technical detail:
Roland TR808. In the early nineties, as acid house was developing a cult around this drum machine, it was suddenly very fashionable to riff along to TR808 sounds. We did that almost ten years earlier, when the cocktail drinking classes and the NME thought it was a bloody stupid idea. (One wet afternoon in the early eighties, we switched the Doktor to play the usual stuff but twice as fast. Hey presto! Drum'n'bass! This was interesting for about ten minutes. Even Cabaret Voltaire couldn't manage to make it interesting for much longer. Please don't tell us it's interesting now.)
After talking for some time to a very suspicious secretary, we managed to get through to the awfully nice people at a certain defence contractor in Leeds. Usually they make military-specification field devices for launching bad stuff at even badder people. That sounded appropriate, so once we'd discussed the possibility of razing Lancashire to the ground (which is apparently not an option right now), we asked them to put together a computer from the most primitive components currently available - which means a fast 486 motherboard - in a shock-resistant rackmounted enclosure, with auto-switching power and a plasma display. We wanted it to run DOS 3.3 and we wanted an identical spare rig, because cargo-handlers do more damage than the average military encounter, and we like to have one Doktor running while we're fixing the other.