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SinfulDarkness (profile) wrote,
on 5-9-2004 at 10:23am
As I was sufering the web for gothic sites I came across this essay which in my opinion is very good, if you have time to read it I recommend you do...


Goth is an alternative lifestyle or subculture; the main attractions are its music and literature, of which both offer dark eerie lyrics and morals. Goth offers unique Art, Literature and music. Common associations with Goth are dark or extreme makeup designs, Black clothing, Piercings and tattoos as well as Celtic jewellery and bondage items. There is a strong connection with the medieval and Victorian history in which many Goths wear symbols such as the Christian cross or pagan/satanic pentacle.
The term Goth comes from the German tribe “Visigoth” They were named as a “Barbaric” tribe and as “Vandals” This name was then given to the uprising subculture in which its members were also described as “Barbaric”. Goth then arose in its world of ere and mystery. Modern Goth has evolved from the punk scene. Many Goth bands such as Joy Division and UK decay were once punk bands. The term Goth or gothic was beginning to be used around 1982 when Goth became its own sub culture.
Many early Goth bands deprived from punk. Many early Goth bands such as the banshees could be considered punk, with their influenced roots spreading as far back to David Bowie and The underground. The term Goth wasn’t used but many bands were referred to as “gothic” music was as early as 1979. The post-punk scene had many bands one in particular Adam and the Ants who at the time had a very strong resemblance to the early Goth scene. Sex Gang Children and Southern Death Cult WERE positive punk, they were the leaders of the positive punk scene and used the term Goth for their fans and members of an emerging subculture.
The first and early Goth bands were not as you would expect, they were very punky and lively and sometimes referred to as “positive punk”. The first sign of Goth bands were Bauhaus, The Banshees and Uk decay. The manager of Joy Division once referred to them as “gothic” compared to the modern day mainstream bands, however Ian Curtis had committed suicide in 1980, and the Goth scene didn’t start to arise until 1981/1982 by this time Ian Curtis was dead. The Bauhaus had an impact on the early Goth fashion; Siouxsie and the banshees had a great influence to many up coming Goth bands and for many female singers. However it was UK Decay who used the term “gothic” to describe the early movement. New Romantic was misunderstood and considered part of the Goth subculture. New Romantic WAS not part of the early Goth subculture, new romantic was a club-manufactured scene where Goth was more of an Underground scene. A popular new romantic band at that time were The Cure, The cure were working around the new romantic scene with their dark lyrics and music which fitted both the new romantic and Goth scene, It was their image which fitted and so became members of the Goth scene.
There are MANY different types of Goth in the world; all individuals but often fall into a main Goth “sub categories”
There are many Goths no matter what “Sub category” they fall under all have things in common. Many Goths are into Literature side of things reading books by authors such as Anne Rice and Neil Gaiman, Just remember this does not occur for all Goths it is one of my own personal observations and questioning of Goths that has led me to that conclusion.
The Romantic Goth is the first type of Goth I will “analyse”. Romantic Goths are pretty self-explanatory, their attitude is based upon Love and lifestyle around the Victorian period, and their dress sense may involve lace and frills.
The Fetish Goth is also a modern-day common Goth. The fetish Goths are as you may of guessed into the “Spanking and Sex” scene, They may take part in activities involving bondage whips and chains, although not all do it may just be for a modern dress sense revolving around PVC, Fishnets and leather.
The Vampire type Goth may or may not fall into the Goth category, I decided to add it as I stumbled across the phrases many times and being an alternative subculture it seems appropriate. The vampire scene links in with the Goth scene through the dress and romantic sense, the image of a vampire has changed of many years and today appears to be eternal, dark, sexy and romantic. This may or may not tie in with “the romantic Goth”. A vampire Goth may dress similar to a romantic Goth with lace and frills or “jet set” with a pair of dark shades. There is a line drawn with vampire Goths, Many are interested in the myth and lifestyle, They may dress up in a top hat and opera cape but there are other people who believe in the myth and go a step to far, such as Matthew Hardman who killed 90 year old neighbour Mabel Leyshon in what is thought to be a bid by Matthew Hardman to become a vampire, Another Vampire related killing is that committed by the couple Manuela and Daniel Ruda, They hacked a fried to death in what is believe to be a Vampire/Satanist related murder in which they wanted to prove themselves to Satan
The Pagan Goth has a great interest in the Celtic roots. Pagans may have many different beliefs and different gods, so im led to believe, Pagans may have a lot of Celtic jewellery and often wear symbols of an inverted pentacle. The modern day Goth shall be covered later on in the essay.
“It's about as impossible to define gothic fashion, as it is to define gothic itself” The gothic fashion or look has many different styles, many again individual. Depending on everyone’s individuality and style their Goth dress sense maybe a plain black shirt and jeans or something more extreme such as bondage gear and extreme hairstyles. Today’s “modern” Goth look may consist of dark clothing, usually Dr martins or new rock boots and a trench coat. Some Goths prefer to wear makeup to further their dress sense; it’s all up to ones individuality. From an observation of some photos I have it is clear there are several common Goth dress styles. The modern one has been covered black boots, black jeans; black t-shirt and a trench coat. The next common style is the Victorian style; the Victorian style is very unique and often consists of a long black material coat and usually a frilly sort of shirt, other items maybe of velvet or satin nature and common colours such as purple maybe worn. There are lots of accessories worn by Goths; most jewellery may be silver, Crucifixes may also be worn as may an inverted crucifix, this may not intentionally be blasphemous but more of a fashion statement. Rings maybe of a Celtic nature and contain engravings of pentacles or crucifixes, More extreme rings, known as “claws” may cover the whole finger or even two! Makeup is also commonly used as an accessory, Many Goths appear to be pale, some natural but many use white foundation to try and gain a natural looking pale look (Although for many they fail and look like they’re melting). Eyeliner and eye shadow may also be used as might black lipstick, Some Goths may have patterns around their eye which look pretty, other common features are inverted crosses drawn on the face usually form the corner of the eye or centre of the forehead.
Goth music is not just any one style of music; it consists of an eerie atmosphere with a sense of doom, mystery love and tragedy. The main Goth bands are that of joy division, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees Sisters of Mercy and The Cure. Although it’s been stated joy Division were around before the Goth scene emerged many Goths still listen to them. The sisters of Mercy who have not been covered were not important in the early Goth scene; they later came into the Goth scene due to their individuality and difference from the early Goth bands. Many of the mentioned bands were not highly influential and considered Goth at the time due to their appearance and difference between the then modern day bands. It is the Bauhaus however who are one band that are considered Goth due to their music, looks, lyrics and art. The Bauhaus also were part of the early Goth scene. Had major influence on up coming Goth bands and Goth fashion. There are also Goths who like the more classical music such as Vivaldi and Pax Hominibus. There are many other different styles, which Goths listen to such as Industrial (Skinny Puppy), Dark Wave (Diary of dreams), Death rock (Christian Death) and Synth pop (Switchblade Symphony). There are Goths who also listen to new romantic (Depeche Mode, Duran Duran), although its ties with Goth have been covered. Black metal like New romantic had close ties with Goth, Bands such as Cradle Of filth have the Goth/vampire image but appear rejected by many Goths into the scene.
Religion ties in with Goth one way or another, a common misjudgement is the association with Goth and Satan, and Satan is not always and hardly ever is connected to Goth. The following passage is taken from a religion website: Many Goths reflect popular culture and are probably nominal or devout Christians. Atheism, Agnosticism, the New Age, Gnosticism, Shamanism, Wicca, other Neopagan traditions, and other minority faith groups are represented more frequently than in the general population. Goths often wear Christian crosses or Christian crucifixes, which many regard as a pre-Christian religious symbol. Others wear New Age/ancient Egyptian Ankh symbols. Some do this as expression of their religious beliefs, some for satire, and others because they like their appearance. Religion is frequently discussed on the Goth newsgroups. Many songs, band names and album titles have Christian themes. 6 The public incorrectly commonly associates Goths with Marilyn Manson. 10 "Manson publicly presents himself as a follower of the Church of Satan... He was ordained a priest in the Church of Satan by the [late] founder, Anton LaVey. Many fans refer to him as the Rev. Marilyn Manson." 9 (Actually, Manson is not a follower of that Church; he was simply appointed as a Reverend within the Church by its founder, Anton LaVey.) From this satanic connection, the perception has grown that Goths are frequently linked to Satanism. There are a few Satanists who are also Goths, but they are rare.
Modern-day Goths are very unique. What I write about the modern day Goth does not apply for all Goths, again it’s just a matter of opinion. It would be wrong in saying that modern day Goths are “social outcasts” of any sort, Wrong because today’s Goth culture is strong but not as popular as the 1980s. Wherever you go especially in my local area every other person you see has made his/her attempt to be apart of the rock scene, this may be by wearing a “korn” t-shirt or a pair of baggy jeans, entirely up to the individual. Yet the Goth scene is a little different, there are people who have made an effort to try and have their own “Goth dress sense” but unlike listening to numetal their understanding of the Goth subculture and its roots are ignored. Where I hang out there are, well at my last point of acknowledgement a group of people who have a Goth dress sense, by some people they are classed as Goths. Why? To me today’s meaning and value of Goth has “deteriated” to say the least where the word Goth is just threw at anyone wearing black. If there’s one message I would like to get across to people is you cant label anyone a Goth, 1, before you know them and 2, because they wear black. Being Goth is not about painting your face white and rubbing lipstick all over your eyes, then going out to scare people. Goth is a subculture, which has survived over the last 20 or so years, but survived into what? A lot of people may not agree with me on this and will argue this point (id gladly like to hear your point) but todays so called Goths aren’t Goths at all, the term Goth is widely overused and threw at people, such as those “Goths” with no interest in the Goth history, no respect yet any knowledge of the early Goth bands. I apologise for all those who fall into this category and disagree with me, you argue to your blue in the face, but I and I know of many others who will agree with me that calling yourself a Goth today is not about listening to Slipknot, Marilyn Manson or Cradle Of Filth, Its not about painting your face white and scaring your mom and dad, its not about rebellion Goth IS A SUBCULTURE, for me to be a part of this subculture you need to understand this subculture, its history and its true original morals and meanings. To get back to those who are a part of this subculture the modern Goth is very much misunderstood, there are very few people in my local area who actually understand the true meaning of Goth and think cradle of filth are an original Goth band! In my own opinion a modern day may wear a trench coat and paint his/her face white, all that aside having a great understanding and knowledge in the Goth history is what makes a Goth a Goth.




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