The goth subculture is a subculture that began in England during the early 1980s, where it developed from the audience of gothic rock, an offshoot of the post-punk genre. The name, goth subculture, derived directly from the music genre. Seminal post-punk and gothic rock artists that helped develop and shape the subculture include Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, Joy Division, and Bauhaus. The goth subculture has survived much longer than others of the same era, and has continued to diversify and spread throughout the world. Its imagery and cultural proclivities indicate influences from 19th-century Gothic literature and gothic horror films. The scene is centered on music festivals, nightclubs and organized meetings, especially in Western Europe.
A subculture is a group of people within a culture that differentiates itself from the parent culture to which it belongs, often maintaining some of its founding principles. Subcultures develop their own norms and values regarding cultural, political and sexual matters. Subcultures are part of society while keeping their specific characteristics intact. Examples of subcultures include hippies, goths and bikers. The concept of subcultures was developed in sociology and cultural studies. Subcultures differ from countercultures.
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.
Gothic rock is a style of rock music that emerged from post-punk in the late 1970s. The first post-punk bands which shifted towards dark music with gothic overtones include Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, Bauhaus, and the Cure.
The goth subculture has associated tastes in music, aesthetics, and fashion. The music preferred by the goth subculture includes a number of different styles, e.g. gothic rock, death rock, post-punk, cold wave, dark wave, and ethereal wave.Styles of dress within the subculture draw on punk, new wave and new romantic fashion as well as fashion of earlier periods such as the Victorian and Edwardian eras ( Belle Époque ), or combinations of the above. The style usually includes dark attire (often black), pale face makeup and black hair. The subculture continues to draw interest from a large audience decades after its emergence.
Post-punk is a broad type of rock music that emerged from the punk movement of the 1970s, in which artists departed from the simplicity and traditionalism of punk rock to adopt a variety of avant-garde sensibilities and diverse influences. Inspired by punk's energy and DIY ethic but determined to break from rock cliches, artists experimented with sources including electronic music and black styles like dub, funk, free jazz, and disco; novel recording and production techniques; and ideas from art and politics, including critical theory, modernist art, cinema and literature. Communities that produced independent record labels, visual art, multimedia performances and fanzines developed around these pioneering musical scenes, which coalesced in cities such as London, New York, Manchester, Melbourne, Sydney and San Francisco.
Dark wave is a music genre that emerged from the new wave and post-punk movement of the late 1970s. Dark wave compositions are largely based on minor key tonality and introspective lyrics, and have been perceived as being dark, romantic, and bleak, with an undertone of sorrow. Common features include the use of chordophones such as electric and acoustic guitar, violin, and piano, as well as electronic instruments such as synthesizer, sampler, and drum machine. The genre embraces a range of styles including cold wave, ethereal wave, gothic rock, neoclassical dark wave, and neofolk.
Ethereal wave, also called ethereal goth or simply ethereal, is a subgenre of dark wave music and is variously described as "gothic", "romantic", and "otherworldly". Developed in the early 1980s in the UK as an outgrowth of gothic rock, ethereal wave was mainly represented by 4AD bands such as Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, and early guitar-driven Dead Can Dance.
The term "gothic rock" was coined in 1967, by music critic John Stickney to describe a meeting he had with Jim Morrison in a dimly lit wine-cellar which he called "the perfect room to honor the Gothic rock of the Doors".That same year, Velvet Underground with a track like "All Tomorrow's Parties", created a kind of "mesmerizing gothic-rock masterpiece" according to music historian Kurt Loder. In the late 1970s, the "gothic" adjective was used to describe the atmosphere of post-punk bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Magazine, and Joy Division. In a live review about a Siouxsie and the Banshees' concert in July 1978, critic Nick Kent wrote that concerning their music, "parallels and comparisons can now be drawn with gothic rock architects like the Doors and, certainly, early Velvet Underground". In March 1979, in his review of Magazine's second album Secondhand Daylight , Kent noted that there was "a new austere sense of authority" in the music, with a "dank neo-Gothic sound". Later that year, the term was also used by Joy Division's manager, Tony Wilson on 15 September in an interview for the BBC TV programme's Something Else . Wilson described Joy Division as "gothic" compared to the pop mainstream, right before a live performance of the band. The term was later applied to "newer bands such as Bauhaus who had arrived in the wake of Joy Division and Siouxsie and the Banshees". Bauhaus's first single issued in 1979, "Bela Lugosi's Dead", is generally credited as the starting point of the gothic rock genre.
James Douglas Morrison was an American singer, songwriter and poet, best remembered as the lead vocalist of the rock band the Doors. Due to his poetic lyrics, distinctive voice, wild personality, performances, and the dramatic circumstances surrounding his life and early death, Morrison is regarded by music critics and fans as one of the most iconic and influential frontmen in rock music history. Since his death, his fame has endured as one of popular culture's most rebellious and oft-displayed icons, representing the generation gap and youth counterculture.
The Doors were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1965, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, and drummer John Densmore. They were among the most controversial and influential rock acts of the 1960s, mostly because of Morrison's lyrics and his erratic stage persona, and the group was widely regarded as representatives of the era's counterculture.
"All Tomorrow's Parties" is a song by the Velvet Underground and Nico, written by Lou Reed and released on the group's 1967 debut studio album, The Velvet Underground & Nico.
In 1979, Sounds described Joy Division as "Gothic" and "theatrical".In February 1980, Melody Maker qualified the same band as "masters of this Gothic gloom". Critic Jon Savage would later say that their singer Ian Curtis wrote "the definitive Northern Gothic statement". However, it was not until the early-1980s that gothic rock became a coherent music subgenre within post-punk, and that followers of these bands started to come together as a distinctly recognizable movement. They may have taken the "goth" mantle from a 1981 article published in UK rock weekly Sounds : "The face of Punk Gothique", written by Steve Keaton. In a text about the audience of UK Decay, Keaton asked: "Could this be the coming of Punk Gothique? With Bauhaus flying in on similar wings could it be the next big thing?" In July 1982, the opening of the Batcave in London's Soho provided a prominent meeting point for the emerging scene, which would be briefly labelled "positive punk" by the NME in a special issue with a front cover in early 1983. The term "Batcaver" was then used to describe old-school goths.
Melody Maker was a British weekly music magazine, one of the world's earliest music weeklies, and—according to its publisher IPC Media—the earliest. It was founded in 1926, largely as a magazine for dance band musicians, by Leicester-born composer, publisher Lawrence Wright; the first editor was Edgar Jackson. In 2000 it was merged into "long-standing rival" New Musical Express.
Jon Savage is an English writer, broadcaster and music journalist, best known for his history of the Sex Pistols and punk music, England's Dreaming, published in 1991.
Ian Kevin Curtis was an English singer-songwriter and musician. He was the lead singer and lyricist of the post-punk band Joy Division. Joy Division released their debut album, Unknown Pleasures, in 1979 and recorded their follow-up, Closer, in 1980.
Independent from the British scene, in the late 1970s and early 1980s in California, deathrock developed as a distinct branch of American punk rock, with acts such as Christian Death and 45 Grave.
The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state—the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 8.8 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.
Deathrock is a rock music subgenre incorporating horror elements and gothic theatrics. It emerged from punk rock on the West Coast of the United States in the early 1980s and overlaps with the gothic rock and horror punk genres. Notable deathrock acts include Christian Death, Kommunity FK, 45 Grave, and Super Heroines.
The bands that defined and embraced the gothic rock genre included Bauhaus, 's Paul Rambali recalled that there were "several strong Gothic characteristics" in the music of Joy Division. In 1984, Joy Division's bassist Peter Hook named Play Dead as one of their heirs: "If you listen to a band like Play Dead, who I really like, Joy Division played the same stuff that Play Dead are playing. They're similar."early Adam and the Ants, the Cure, the Birthday Party, Southern Death Cult, Specimen, Sex Gang Children, UK Decay, Virgin Prunes, Killing Joke, and the Damned. Near the peak of this first generation of the gothic scene in 1983, The Face
Adam and the Ants were an English rock band active during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The group, which lasted from 1977 to 1982, existed in two incarnations, both fronted by Adam Ant. The first, founded in May 1977 and known simply as The Ants until November that year, achieved considerable cult popularity during the transition from the punk rock era to the post-punk and new wave era, and were noted for their high camp and overtly sexualised stage performances and songs. The final line-up of this first incarnation – Dave Barbarossa, Matthew Ashman and Leigh Gorman – left the band in January 1980 at the suggestion of then-de facto manager Malcolm McLaren, to form the instrumentalist personnel of the controversial Bow Wow Wow.
The Cure are an English rock band formed in Crawley in 1976. The band has experienced several line-up changes, with vocalist, guitarist, and principal songwriter Robert Smith being the only constant member. The Cure first began releasing music in the late 1970s with their debut album Three Imaginary Boys (1979); this, along with several early singles, placed the band as part of the post-punk and new wave movements that had sprung up in the wake of the punk rock revolution in the United Kingdom. During the early 1980s, the band's increasingly dark and tormented music was a staple of the emerging style of music known as gothic rock.
The Birthday Party were an Australian post-punk band, active from 1978 to 1983. Despite limited commercial success, The Birthday Party's influence has been far-reaching, and they have been called "one of the darkest and most challenging post-punk groups to emerge in the early '80s." The group's "bleak and noisy soundscapes," which drew irreverently on blues, free jazz, and rockabilly, provided the setting for vocalist Nick Cave's disturbing tales of violence and perversion. Their music has been described by critic Simon Reynolds as gothic, and their single "Release the Bats" was particularly influential on the emerging gothic scene.
By the mid-1980s, bands began proliferating and became increasingly popular, including the Sisters of Mercy, the Mission, Alien Sex Fiend, the March Violets, Xmal Deutschland, the Membranes, and Fields of Nephilim. Record labels like Factory, 4AD and Beggars Banquet released much of this music in Europe, and through a vibrant import music market in the US, the subculture grew, especially in New York and Los Angeles, California, where many nightclubs featured "gothic/industrial" nights. The popularity of 4AD bands resulted in the creation of a similar US label, Projekt, which produces what was colloquially termed ethereal wave, a subgenre of dark wave music.
The 1990s saw further growth for some 1980s bands and the emergence of many new acts, as well as new goth-centric U.S. record labels such as Cleopatra Records, among others. According to Dave Simpson of The Guardian , "in the 90s, goths all but disappeared as dance music became the dominant youth cult".As a result, the goth "movement went underground and mistaken for cyber goth, Shock rock, Industrial metal, Gothic metal, Medieval folk metal and the latest subgenre, horror punk". Marilyn Manson was seen as a "goth-shock icon" by Spin .
The Goth subculture of the 1980s drew inspiration from a variety of sources. Some of them were modern or contemporary, others were centuries-old or ancient. Michael Bibby and Lauren M. E. Goodlad liken the subculture to a bricolage.Among the music subcultures that influenced it were Punk, New wave, and Glam. But it also drew inspiration from B movies, Gothic literature, horror films, vampire cults, Neo-noir science fiction films such as Ridley Scott's Blade Runner , and traditional mythology. Among the mythologies that proved influential in Goth were Celtic mythology, Christian mythology, Egyptian mythology, and various traditions of Paganism.
The figures that the movement counted among its historic canon of ancestors were equally diverse. They included the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Friedrich Nietzsche (1844‒1900), Comte de Lautréamont (1846‒1870), Salvador Dalí (1904‒1989) and Jean-Paul Sartre (1905‒1980).Writers that have had a significant influence on the movement also represent a diverse canon. They include Ann Radcliffe (1764‒1823), John William Polidori (1795‒1821), Edgar Allan Poe (1809‒1849), Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873), Bram Stoker (1847‒1912), Oscar Wilde (1854‒1900), H. P. Lovecraft (1890‒1937), Anne Rice (1941‒), William Gibson (1948‒), Ian McEwan (1948‒), Storm Constantine (1956‒), and Poppy Z. Brite (1967‒).
Gothic literature is a genre of fiction that combines romance and dark elements to produce mystery, suspense, terror, horror and the supernatural. According to David H. Richter, settings were framed to take place at "…ruinous castles, gloomy churchyards, claustrophobic monasteries, and lonely mountain roads". Typical characters consisted of the cruel parent, sinister priest, courageous victor, and the helpless heroine, along with supernatural figures such as demons, vampires, ghosts, and monsters. Often, the plot focused on characters ill-fated, internally conflicted, and innocently victimized by harassing malicious figures. In addition to the dismal plot focuses, the literary tradition of the gothic was to also focus on individual characters that were gradually going insane.
English author Horace Walpole, with his 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto is one of the first writers who explored this genre. The American Revolutionary War-era "American Gothic" story of the Headless Horseman, immortalized in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (published in 1820) by Washington Irving, marked the arrival in the New World of dark, romantic storytelling. The tale was composed by Irving while he was living in England, and was based on popular tales told by colonial Dutch settlers of the Hudson Valley, New York. The story would be adapted to film in 1922,in 1949 as the animated The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad , and again in 1999.
Throughout the evolution of the goth subculture, classic romantic, Gothic and horror literature has played a significant role. E. T. A. Hoffmann (1776–1822), Edgar Allan Poe(1809–1849), Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867), H. P. Lovecraft (1890–1937), and other tragic and romantic writers have become as emblematic of the subculture as the use of dark eyeliner or dressing in black. Baudelaire, in fact, in his preface to Les Fleurs du mal (Flowers of Evil) penned lines that could serve as a sort of goth malediction:
C'est l'Ennui! —l'œil chargé d'un pleur involontaire,
Il rêve d'échafauds en fumant son houka.
Tu le connais, lecteur, ce monstre délicat,
—Hypocrite lecteur,—mon semblable,—mon frère!
It is Boredom! — an eye brimming with an involuntary tear,
He dreams of the gallows while smoking his water-pipe.
You know him, reader, this delicate monster,
—Hypocrite reader,—my twin,—my brother!
The gothic subculture has influenced different artists—not only musicians—but also painters and photographers. In particular their work is based on mystic, morbid and romantic motifs. In photography and painting the spectrum varies from erotic artwork to romantic images of vampires or ghosts. There is a marked preference for dark colours and sentiments, similar to Gothic fiction. At the end of the 19th century, painters like John Everett Millais and John Ruskin invented a new kind of Gothic.
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Some people credit Jalacy "Screamin' Jay" Hawkins, perhaps best known for his 1956 song "I Put A Spell On You," as a foundation of modern goth style and music.Some people credit the band Bauhaus' first single "Bela Lugosi's Dead", released in August 1979, with the start of goth subculture.
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The British sitcom, The IT Crowd featured a recurring goth character named Richmond Avenal, played by Noel Fielding. Fielding said in an interview that he himself had been a goth at age fifteen and that he had a series of goth girlfriends. This was the first time he dabbled in makeup. Fielding said that he loved his girlfriends dressing him up.
Notable examples of goth icons include several bandleaders: Siouxsie Sioux, of Siouxsie and the Banshees; Robert Smith, of The Cure; Peter Murphy, of Bauhaus; Rozz Williams, of Christian Death; Jonathan Melton aka Jonny Slut, of Specimen (who created the "Batcave" outfit and styling),Ian Curtis, of Joy Division; and Dave Vanian, of The Damned. Some members of Bauhaus were, themselves, fine art students or active artists. Nick Cave was dubbed as "the grand lord of gothic lushness". Nico is also a notable icon of goth fashion and music, with pioneering records like The Marble Index and Desertshore and the persona she adopted after their release.
One female role model is Theda Bara, the 1910s femme fatale known for her dark eyeshadow.In 1977, Karl Lagerfeld hosted the Soirée Moratoire Noir party, specifying "tenue tragique noire absolument obligatoire" (black tragic dress absolutely required). The event included elements associated with leatherman style.
African and Caribbean influences on gothic style are often missing from conversations: Jalacy "Screamin' Jay" Hawkins used voodoo imagery mixed with "spooky theatrics" to create a unique style, positioning him as one of the first goths.He would often use onstage props that reflected his goth and voodoo style, such as skulls, staffs, candles, tombstones, and bones.
Siouxsie Sioux was particularly influential on the dress style of the Gothic rock scene; Paul Morley of NME described Siouxsie and the Banshees' 1980 gig at Futurama: "[Siouxsie was] modeling her newest outfit, the one that will influence how all the girls dress over the next few months. About half the girls at Leeds had used Sioux as a basis for their appearance, hair to ankle."Robert Smith, Musidora, Bela Lugosi, Bettie Page, Vampira, Morticia Addams, Nico, Rozz Williams, David Bowie, Lux Interior, Dave Vanian, are also style icons.
The 1980s established designers such as Drew Bernstein of Lip Service, while the 1990s saw a surge of US-based gothic fashion designers, many of whom continue to evolve the style through the current day. Style magazines such as Gothic Beauty have given repeat features to a select few gothic fashion designers who began their labels in the 1990s, such as Kambriel, Rose Mortem, and Tyler Ondine of Heavy Red.
Gothic fashion is marked by conspicuously dark, antiquated and homogeneous features. It is stereotyped as eerie, mysterious, complex and exotic.A dark, sometimes morbid fashion and style of dress, typical gothic fashion includes a pale complexion with colored black hair and black period-styled clothing. Both male and female goths can wear dark eyeliner and dark fingernail polish, most especially black. Styles are often borrowed from punk fashion and − more currently − from the Victorian and Elizabethan periods. It also frequently expresses pagan, occult or other religious imagery. Gothic fashion and styling may also feature silver jewelry and piercings.
Ted Polhemus described goth fashion as a "profusion of black velvets, lace, fishnets and leather tinged with scarlet or purple, accessorized with tightly laced corsets, gloves, precarious stilettos and silver jewelry depicting religious or occult themes".
In contrast to the LARP-based Victorian and Elizabethan pomposity of the 2000s, the more Romantic side of 1980s trad-goth − mainly represented by females − was characterized by new wave/post-punk-oriented hairstyles (both long and short, partly shaved and teased) and street-compliant clothing, including black frill blouses, midi dresses or tea-length skirts, and floral lace tights, Dr. Martens, spike heels (pumps), and pointed toe buckle boots (winklepickers), sometimes supplemented with accessoires such as bracelets, chokers and bib necklaces. This style, retroactively referred to as Ethergoth, took its inspiration from Siouxsie Sioux and mid-1980s protagonists from the 4AD roster like Liz Fraser and Lisa Gerrard.
The New York Times noted: "The costumes and ornaments are a glamorous cover for the genre's somber themes. In the world of Goth, nature itself lurks as a malign protagonist, causing flesh to rot, rivers to flood, monuments to crumble and women to turn into slatterns, their hair streaming and lipstick askew".
Cintra Wilson declares that the origins of the dark romantic style are found in the "Victorian cult of mourning."Valerie Steele is an expert in the history of the style.
Goth fashion has a reciprocal relationship with the fashion world. In the later part of the first decade of the 21st century, designers such as Alexander McQueen,Anna Sui, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh, Ann Demeulemeester, Philipp Plein, Hedi Slimane, John Richmond, John Galliano, Olivier Theyskens and Yohji Yamamoto brought elements of goth to runways. This was described as "Haute Goth" by Cintra Wilson in the New York Times.
Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana, Jean Paul Gaultierand Christian Lacroix have also been associated with the fashion trend. In Spring 2004, Riccardo Tisci, Jean Paul Gaultier, Raf Simons and Stefano Pilati dressed their models as "glamorous ghouls dressed in form-fitting suits and coal-tinted cocktail dresses". Swedish designer Helena Horstedt and jewelry artist Hanna Hedman also practice a goth aesthetic.
Gothic styling often goes hand in hand with aesthetics, authenticity and expression, and is mostly considered to be an "artistical concept". Clothes are frequently self-designed.
In recent times, especially in the course of commercialization of parts of the Goth subculture, many non-involved people developed an interest in dark fashion styles and started to adopt elements of Goth clothing (primarily mass-produced goods from malls) without being connected to subcultural basics, e.g. Gothic music and Gothic lifestyle. Within the Goth movement they have been regularly described as poseurs or mallgoths.(see also section Identity ).
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Some of the early gothic rock and deathrock artists adopted traditional horror film images and drew on horror film soundtracks for inspiration. Their audiences responded by adopting appropriate dress and props. Use of standard horror film props like swirling smoke, rubber bats, and cobwebs featured as gothic club décor from the beginning in The Batcave. Such references in bands' music and images were originally tongue-in-cheek, but as time went on, bands and members of the subculture took the connection more seriously. As a result, morbid, supernatural and occult themes became more noticeably serious in the subculture. The interconnection between horror and goth was highlighted in its early days by The Hunger , a 1983 vampire film starring David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon. The film featured gothic rock group Bauhaus performing Bela Lugosi's Dead in a nightclub. Tim Burton created a storybook atmosphere filled with darkness and shadow in some of his films like Beetlejuice (1988), Batman (1989), Edward Scissorhands (1990), and the stop motion films The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), which was produced/co-written by Burton, and Corpse Bride (2005), which he co-produced.
As the subculture became well-established, the connection between goth and horror fiction became almost a cliché, with goths quite likely to appear as characters in horror novels and film. For example, The Craft , The Crow , The Matrix and Underworld film series drew directly on goth music and style. The dark comedies Beetlejuice , The Faculty , American Beauty , Wedding Crashers and a few episodes of the animated TV show South Park portray or parody the goth subculture. In South Park, several of the fictional schoolchildren are depicted as goths. The goth kids on the show are depicted as finding it annoying to be confused with the Hot Topic "vampire" kids from the episode "The Ungroundable" in season 12.and even more frustrating to be compared with emo kids. The goth kids are usually depicted listening to goth music, writing or reading Gothic poetry, drinking coffee, flipping their hair and smoking.
A prominent American literary influence on the gothic scene was provided by Anne Rice's re-imagining of the vampire in 1976. In The Vampire Chronicles , Rice's characters were depicted as self-tormentors who struggled with alienation, loneliness, and the human condition. Not only did the characters torment themselves, but they also depicted a surreal world that focused on uncovering its splendor. These Chronicles assumed goth attitudes, but they were not intentionally created to represent the gothic subculture. Their romance, beauty, and erotic appeal attracted many goth readers, making her works popular from the 1980s through the 1990s.While Goth has embraced Vampire literature both in its 19th-century form and in its later incarnations, Rice's postmodern take on the vampire mythos has had a "special resonance" in the subculture. Her vampire novels feature intense emotions, period clothing, and "cultured decadence". Her vampires are socially alienated monsters, but they are also stunningly attractive. Rice's goth readers tend to envision themselves in much the same terms and view characters like Lestat de Lioncourt as role models.
Richard Wright's novel Native Son contains gothic imagery and themes that demonstrate the links between blackness and the gothic; themes and images of "premonitions, curses, prophecies, spells, veils, demonic possessions, graves, skeletons" are present, suggesting gothic influence.Other classic themes of the gothic are present in the novel, such as transgression and unstable identities of race, class, gender, and nationality.
The re-imagining of the vampire continued with the release of Poppy Z. Brite's book Lost Souls in October 1992. Despite the fact that Brite's first novel was criticized by some mainstream sources for allegedly "lack[ing] a moral center: neither terrifyingly malevolent supernatural creatures nor (like Anne Rice's protagonists) tortured souls torn between good and evil, these vampires simply add blood-drinking to the amoral panoply of drug abuse, problem drinking and empty sex practiced by their human counterparts",many of these so-called "human counterparts" identified with the teen angst and goth music references therein, keeping the book in print. Upon release of a special 10th anniversary edition of Lost Souls, Publishers Weekly —the same periodical that criticized the novel's "amorality" a decade prior—deemed it a "modern horror classic" and acknowledged that Brite established a "cult audience".
Neil Gaiman's graphic novel series The Sandman influenced goths with characters like the dark, brooding Dream and his sister Death.[ citation needed ] The 2002 release 21st Century Goth by Mick Mercer, an author, noted music journalist and leading historian of gothic rock, explored the modern state of the goth scene around the world, including South America, Japan, and mainland Asia. His previous 1997 release, Hex Files: The Goth Bible, similarly took an international look at the subculture.
In the US, Propaganda was a gothic subculture magazine founded in 1982. In Italy, Ver Sacrum covers the Italian goth scene, including fashion, sexuality, music, art and literature. Some magazines, such as the now-defunct Dark Realmsand Goth Is Dead included goth fiction and poetry. Other magazines cover fashion (e.g., Gothic Beauty ); music (e.g., Severance) or culture and lifestyle (e.g., Althaus e-zine).
31 October 2011 ECW Press published the Encyclopedia Gothicawritten by author and poet Liisa Ladouceur with illustrations done by Gary Pullin. This non-fiction book describes over 600 words and phrases relevant to Goth subculture.
Visual contemporary graphic artists with this aesthetic include Gerald Brom, Dave McKean, and Trevor Brown as well as illustrators Edward Gorey, Charles Addams, Lorin Morgan-Richards, and James O'Barr. The artwork of Polish surrealist painter Zdzisław Beksiński is often described as gothic.British artist Anne Sudworth published a book on gothic art in 2007.
The goth scene continues to exist in the 2010s. In Western Europe, there are large annual festivals mainly in Germany, including Wave-Gotik-Treffen (Leipzig) and M'era Luna (Hildesheim), both annually attracting tens of thousands of attendees. The Lumous Gothic Festival (more commonly known as Lumous) is the largest festival dedicated to the goth subculture in Finland and the northernmost gothic festival in the world. The Ukrainian festival "Deti Nochi: Chorna Rada" (Children of the night) is the biggest gothic event in Ukraine. Goth events like "Ghoul School" and "Release the Bats" promote deathrock and are attended by fans from many countries, and events such as the Drop Dead Festival in the US attract attendees from over 30 countries. The Whitby Goth Weekend is a twice-yearly goth music festival in Whitby, North Yorkshire, England. In the US, events such as Bats Day in the Fun Park celebrate the culture, as well as the Goth Cruise, and the Gothic Cruise.
In the 1980s, goths decorated their walls and ceiling with black fabrics and accessories like rosaries, crosses and plastic roses. Black furniture and cemetery-related objects like candlesticks, death lanterns and skulls. In the 1990s the interior design approach of the 1980s was replaced by a less macabre style.
Since the late 1970s, the UK goth scene refused "traditional standards of sexual propriety" and accepted and celebrated "unusual, bizarre or deviant sexual practices".In the 2000s, many members "... claim overlapping memberships in the queer, polyamorous, bondage-discipline/sadomasochism, and pagan communities".
Though sexual empowerment is not unique to women in the goth scene, it remains an important part of many goth women's experience: The "... [s]cene's celebration of active sexuality" enables goth women "... to resist mainstream notions of passive femininity". They have an "active sexuality" approach which creates "gender egalitarianism" within the scene, as it "allows them to engage in sexual play with multiple partners while sidestepping most of the stigma and dangers that women who engage in such behavior" outside the scene frequently incur, while continuing to "... see themselves as strong".
Men dress up in androgynous way: "... Men 'gender blend,' wearing makeup and skirts". In contrast, the "... women are dressed in sexy feminine outfits" that are "... highly sexualized" and which often combine "... corsets with short skirts and fishnet stockings". Androgyny is common among the scene: "... androgyny in Goth subcultural style often disguises or even functions to reinforce conventional gender roles". It was only "valorised" for male goths, who adopt a "feminine" appearance, including "make-up, skirts and feminine accessories" to "enhance masculinity" and facilitate traditional heterosexual courting roles.
While goth is "considered a music-based scene", "... to be Goth implies much more than shared musical tastes; it is ... an 'aesthetic,' a particular way of seeing and of being seen". Observers have raised the issue of to what degree individuals are truly members of the goth subculture. On one end of the spectrum is the "Uber goth", a person who is described as seeking a pallor so much that he or she applies "... as much white foundation and white powder as possible".On the other end of the spectrum another writer terms "poseurs": "goth wannabes, usually young kids going through a goth phase who do not hold to goth sensibilities but want to be part of the goth crowd..". It has been said that a "mall goth" is a teen who dresses in a goth style and spends time in malls with a Hot Topic store, but who does not know much about the goth subculture or its music, thus making him or her a poseur. In one case, even a well-known performer has been labelled with the pejorative term: a "number of goths, especially those who belonged to this subculture before the late-1980s, reject Marilyn Manson as a poseur who undermines the true meaning of goth".
The BBC described academic research that indicated that goths are "refined and sensitive, keen on poetry and books, not big on drugs or anti-social behaviour".Teens often stay in the subculture "into their adult life", and they are likely to become well-educated and enter professions such as medicine or law. The subculture carries on appealing to teenagers who are looking for meaning and for identity. The scene teaches teens that there are difficult aspects to life that you "have to make an attempt to understand" or explain.
The Guardian reported that a "glue binding the [goth] scene together was drug use"; however, in the scene, drug use was varied. Goth is one of the few subculture movements that is not associated with a single drug,in the way that the Hippie subculture is associated with cannabis and the Mod subculture is associated with amphetamines. A 2006 study of young goths found that those with higher levels of goth identification had higher drug use.
The goth scene is often described as non-violent. [ who? ] concluded a higher than average propensity toward violence, and for one of the papers, self-harm, within the goth subculture.However, two non peer-reviewed studies by the A.S.H.A.
In the weeks following the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, media reports about the teen gunmen, Harris and Klebold, portrayed them as part of a gothic cult. An increased suspicion of goth subculture subsequently manifested in the media.This led to a moral panic over teen involvement in goth subculture and a number of other activities, such as violent video games. Harris and Klebold had initially been thought to be members of "The Trenchcoat Mafia"; an informal club within Columbine High School. Later, such characterizations were considered incorrect.
Media reported that the gunman in the 2006 Dawson College shooting in Montreal, Quebec, Kimveer Singh Gill, was interested in goth subculture.Gill's self-professed love of Goth culture was the topic of media interest, and it was widely reported that the word "Goth", in Gill's writings, was a reference to the alternative industrial and goth subculture rather than a reference to gothic rock music. Gill, who committed suicide after the attack, wrote in his online journal: "I'm so sick of hearing about jocks and preps making life hard for the goths and others who look different, or are different". Gill described himself in his profile on Vampirefreaks.com as "... Trench ... the Angel of Death" and he stated that "Metal and Goth kick ass". An image gallery on Gill's Vampirefreaks.com blog had photos of him pointing a gun at the camera or wearing a long black trench coat.
Mick Mercer stated that Gill was "not a Goth. Never a Goth. The bands he listed as his chosen form of ear-bashing were relentlessly metal and standard grunge, rock and goth metal, with some industrial presence". Mercer stated that "Kimveer Gill listened to metal", "He had nothing whatsoever to do with Goth" and further commented "I realise that like many Neos [neophyte], Kimveer Gill may even have believed he somehow was a Goth, because they're [Neophytes] only really noted for spectacularly missing the point".
In part because of public misunderstanding surrounding gothic aesthetics, people in the goth subculture sometimes suffer prejudice, discrimination, and intolerance. As is the case with members of various other subcultures and alternative lifestyles, outsiders sometimes marginalize goths, either by intention or by accident.Actress Christina Hendricks talked of being bullied as a goth in school and how difficult it was for her to deal with societal pressure: "Kids can be pretty judgmental about people who are different. But instead of breaking down and conforming, I stood firm. That is also probably why I was unhappy. My mother was mortified and kept telling me how horrible and ugly I looked. Strangers would walk by with a look of shock on their face, so I never felt pretty. I just always felt awkward". Prejudice moves people into circles of bonding where they share these similar experiences and are accepted. Young goths have to define themselves and learn beauty is an aspect of cultural relativism.
On 11 August 2007, a couple walking through Stubbylee Park in Bacup, Lancashire, England were attacked by a group of teenagers because they were goths. Sophie Lancaster subsequently died from her injuries.On 29 April 2008, two teens, Ryan Herbert and Brendan Harris, were convicted for the murder of Lancaster and given life sentences; three others were given lesser sentences for the assault on her boyfriend Robert Maltby. In delivering the sentence, Judge Anthony Russell stated, "This was a hate crime against these completely harmless people targeted because their appearance was different to yours". He went on to defend the goth community, calling goths "perfectly peaceful, law-abiding people who pose no threat to anybody". Judge Russell added that he "recognised it as a hate crime without Parliament having to tell him to do so and had included that view in his sentencing". Despite this ruling, a bill to add discrimination based on subculture affiliation to the definition of hate crime in British law was not presented to parliament.
In 2013, police in Manchester announced they would be treating attacks on members of alternative subcultures, like goths, the same as they do for attacks based on race, religion, and sexual orientation.
A study published on the British Medical Journal concluded that "identification as belonging to the Goth subculture [at some point in their lives] was the best predictor of self harm and attempted suicide [among young teens]", and that it was most possibly due to a selection mechanism (persons that wanted to harm themselves later identified as goths, thus raising the percentage of those persons who identify as goths).According to The Guardian, some goth teens are at more likely to harm themselves or attempt suicide. A medical journal study of 1,300 Scottish schoolchildren until their teen years found that the 53% of the goth teens had attempted to harm themselves and 47% had attempted suicide. The study found that the "correlation was stronger than any other predictor". The study was based on a sample of 15 teenagers who identified as goths, of which 8 had self-harmed by any method, 7 had self-harmed by cutting, scratching or scoring, and 7 had attempted suicide.
The authors held that most self-harm by teens was done before joining the subculture, and that joining the subculture would actually protect them and help them deal with distress in their lives.The authors insisted on the study being based on small numbers and on the need of replication to confirm the results. The study was criticized for using only a small sample of goth teens and not taking into account other influences and differences between types of goths; by taking a study from a larger number of people.
Gothic fashion is a clothing style marked by conspicuously dark, mysterious, antiquated and homogeneous features. It is worn by members of the Goth subculture. A dark, sometimes morbid fashion and style of dress, typical gothic fashion includes a pale complexion with colored black hair, black lips and black clothes. Both male and female goths can wear dark eyeliner and dark fingernail polish most especially black. Styles are often borrowed from the punk fashion, Victorians and Elizabethans. Goth fashion is sometimes confused with heavy metal fashion and emo fashion.
A rivethead or rivet head is a person associated with the industrial dance music scene. In stark contrast to the original industrial culture, whose performers and heterogeneous audience were sometimes referred to as "industrialists", the rivethead scene is a coherent youth culture closely linked to a discernible fashion style. The scene and its dress code emerged in the late 1980s on the basis of electro-industrial, EBM, and industrial rock music. The associated dress style draws on military fashion and punk aesthetics with hints of fetish wear, mainly inspired by the scene's musical protagonists.
Cybergoth is a subculture that derives from elements of goth, raver, and rivethead fashion. Unlike traditional goths, Cybergoths primarily listen to electronic music more often than rock music.
"Bela Lugosi's Dead" is a song by English post-punk band Bauhaus. This song was the band's first single, released on 6 August 1979 by record label Small Wonder. It is often considered the first gothic rock record.
The Batcave was a nightclub in London, at Meard Street, Soho. It is considered to be the birthplace of the Southern English goth subculture as it had already been established in Northern England, in particular Leeds Manchester and Belfast. Though when the culture was being developed in the North of England it was commonly known as alternative prior to having been given the goth moniker. As one of the most famous meeting points for early goths, it lent its name to the term Batcaver, used to describe fans of the original gothic rock music, who would adorn themselves in Batwing Coffin necklaces to distinguish themselves from other less prolific goth nightclubs. The term "Batcave" is also still used by Europeans to refer to gothic music with a prominent post-punk sound and spooky atmospheres.
Dark culture, also called dark alternative scene, includes goth and dark wave culture, electro subculture and parts of the neofolk and post-industrial subcultures. In this context the "culture" is not to be understood as closed subculture, but as social environment, a milieu, which comprises people with similar interests and preferences.
Certain music is sometimes described as "dark" in a metaphorical sense. For example, "dark pop" is often indiscriminately applied to a wide range of disparate artists, but usually refers to popular music that incorporates synthesizers or a minor key.
Alternative fashion is fashion that, at least at one time, stood apart from mainstream commercial fashion. Alternative fashion includes the fashions of specific subcultures such as emo, scene, Goth subculture, Hip hop, Heavy metal fashion, and Cyberpunk, Lolita fashion however it is not limited to these. In general, alternative, or 'alt', fashion does not conform to widely popular style trends of the times that have widespread popularity. It may exhibit itself as a fringe style – extremely attention-grabbing and more artistic than practical – but it can also develop from anti-fashion sentiments that focus on simplistic utilitarian drives.
The Toronto goth scene, the cultural locus of the goth subculture in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and the associated music and fashion scene, has distinct origins from goth scenes of other goth subcultural centres, such as the UK or Germany. Originally known as the "Batcavers", the term "goth" appeared only after 1988, when it was applied to the pre-existent subculture. Distinctive features included internationally recognized gothic and vampiric fashion store 'Siren', a goth-industrial bar named 'Sanctuary: The Vampire Sex Bar', and Forever Knight, a television series about an 800-year-old vampire living in Toronto. In Toronto, the goths did not seek to reject mainstream status, and achieved partial acceptance throughout the mid to late 1990s.
Natasha Scharf is an author, disc jockey, presenter and journalist best known for her work publicising gothic, rock, metal and progressive metal music and subcultures. She currently writes for Metal Hammer, Classic Rock Presents: Prog and Artrocker Magazine on a freelance basis.
Orkus is a monthly German music and culture magazine published by the Zoomia Media Group. Despite its subtitle and its web tagline, it includes all popular music genres including metal, medieval rock, Neue Deutsche Härte, alternative rock, electro and futurepop. The gothic rock, dark wave and industrial music genres have had only a minor presence since the late 1990s.
Propaganda was an American gothic subculture magazine. It was founded in 1982 by Fred H. Berger, a photographer from New York City. Berger's photography was featured prominently in the magazine. Propaganda focused on all aspects of the goth culture, including fashion, sexuality, music, art and literature. Propaganda was, at the time of its final issue in 2002, the longest running and most popular gothic subculture magazine in the United States.
Wednesday Mourning works primarily in the fields of acting and alternative modeling. She specializes in the Goth subculture and has been influential in goth fashion, as well as being the celebrity spokesmodel for Atelier Gothique and appearing as a model for the band My Chemical Romance's CD Welcome To The Black Parade. She was awarded 2010 Goth Day Model of the year, LA Weekly’s Goth Girl of the Week, and since 2012, Mourning has been a co-star on Oddities: San Francisco, a Science Channel program. Mourning is also curator of an esoteric bookstore, Orphic Vellum Books, the only one of its kind in the U.S., and has appeared in several publications including Gothic Beauty, Elle Magazine and writing contributor for Celtic Family Magazine.
"The Doors are not pleasant, amusing hippies proffering a grin and a flower; they wield a knife with a cold and terrifying edge. The Doors are closely akin to the national taste for violence, and the power of their music forces each listener to realize what violence is in himself".... "The Doors met New York for better or for worse at a press conference in the gloomy vaulted wine cellar of the Delmonico hotel, the perfect room to honor the Gothic rock of the Doors".
Because it is unsettling, it is like sinister and gothic, it won't be played. [interview of Joy Division's manager Tony Wilson next to Joy Division's drummer Stephen Morris from 3:31]
Curtis may project like an ambidextrous barman puging his physical hang-ups, but the 'Gothic dance music' he orchestrates is well-understood by those who recognise their New Wave frontiersmen and know how to dance the Joy Division! A theatrical sense of timing, controlled improvisation...
Joy Division are masters of this Gothic gloom
a definitive Northern Gothic statement: guilt-ridden, romantic, claustrophobic
Curtis' death wrapped an already mysterious group in legend. From the press eulogies, you would think Curtis had gone to join Chatterton, Rimbaud and Morrison in the hallowed hall of premature harvests. To a group with several strong Gothic characteristics was added a further piece of romance.
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