Happy Noir Year!

With 2018 looming over the horizon like a particularly angry storm, it’s time to reflect on 2017 and what I was up to as The Blogging Goth. At the start of the year, I looked at the bizarre new album from American indie artists Goats, entitled ‘Goths’ and leading with a single called ‘Andrew Eldritch is moving Back to Leeds’. Quite the peculiar artifact!

The Mountain Goats - Goths

In April, there was the first of two Whitby Goth Weekends, and you can read my reviews of the Friday night and the Saturday night again! It immediately led into World Goth Day on May 22nd, and an added angle of weirdness when one of my articles ended up in an English secondary school (High School to my American readers) exam and a lot of confused teenagers got on Twitter to yell at me.

The real world saw the British government call for a General Election to secure their position and deliver ‘Brexit’ to those who voted for it. As always, I polled my readers to see if goth voting habits reflected the wider public trends. There were some surprises, but ultimately Red was the new Black for the goths of the UK!

Goth Election 2017

Festival season was upon us again in September, and I was delighted to be offered press access to the long-running EBM/Industrial/Bleep Infest in Bradford. This packed-out event was so bursting with bands and events I had to split my reviews over a number of articles, so please click here to go to the Infest hashtag!

On a much grimmer note, the rising tide of awareness of sexual crimes against women in all facets of society led me to publish an article calling for securing the goth/alt scene and the safety of female and female-identifying participants. It was very difficult to research and write – but it is even more difficult for people to have a good time in a subculture that doesn’t police against abusers. So there is hope also.

Just prior to Winter’s Whitby Goth Weekend, the Live Theatre in my home of Newcastle put on a play about that most famous of UK goth events, and invited myself and Dr Claire Nally to speak on a panel after the performance about the scene. It was a lovely and well-researched production with an amusing and excellent cast!
It rolled neatly into the event itself, and you can find my review of Winter’s Whitby Goth Weekend here.

Membranes - Whitby Goth Weekend - Mel Butler Photography

Throughout the year, I’ve also been promoting my club night Noircastle, and we held our first gig as well in November, with more to come. It’s been a challenging and exciting journey, becoming a promoter, and it is sure to take up even more of my limited time!

Finally, I look ahead to 2018, and the exciting prospects arising as a result of ongoing conversations with John Adrenochrome, a veteran goth from the Eighties and long-standing comrade in visiting Whitby, Leeds and running Noircastle. We’ll be launching our own YouTube channel On The Wire in early 2018 and adding our own voices to the chorus of discussion about the goth scene via vlogging.

Many thanks to all my followers across all my social media channels who have visited, read, liked, shared and communicated with me. I love being The Blogging Goth, and your support and feedback has been invaluable. Have a Spooky New Year and see you in 2018!

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Reviews from Whitby Goth Weekend October 2017

Whitby Goth WeekendWelcome to my reviews of the latest bands to perform at Whitby Goth Weekend – my thanks as always to the management for kindly granting me access!
One of these days I’ll have sufficient tech and time to produce a review immediately after the gig, but I do fear it’ll be a prime example of gonzo writing, straight from the dark heart of UK goth and probably incomprehensible. My notes are often copious, rarely coherent.

Still, on with the show…!
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Bram Stoker on his 170th Birthday

Bram StokerThe Irish author Bram Stoker would be 170 years old today, a respectable age approaching that of his most famous creation, the alpha vampire Count Dracula. Published in 1897, the novel ‘Dracula’ would eventually be counted as one of the greatest gothic novels ever, on a par with Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ or Radcliffe’s ‘The Mysteries of Udolpho’.
So it was a delightfully dark pleasure to attend a discussion of the man himself by his great grand-nephew, Dacre Stoker. Dacre has committed to extensive investigation of his famous relative’s life and career and I am grateful to Northumbria University for accommodating him during his tour, lecturing on Bram Stoker and making available his latest book Dracula: The Un-dead.

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Abuse, Assault, and the Goth Scene

The entertainment industry has been rocked by the overwhelming media coverage of accusations against Harvey Weinstein, culminating in a court case where he will answer for his alleged crimes against women. The case has exposed a culture of abuse, intimidation, and other examples of disgusting behaviour that sadly surprise no-one – even when one considers the breadth, depth and severity of the culture that protects predatory men.

It’s not surprising because it runs like sewage throughout human culture. The joint efforts of bloggers Adam Williams (amodelofcontrol.com) and RockstarDinosaurPiratePrincess (best blog name ever) (CW/TW) led to three articles soliciting and publishing the anonymous experiences of women at gigs, clubs, and as musicians and performers themselves.
It sadly should go without saying that this comes with a significant trigger / content warning for abuse. Reading the many, many many submissions these bloggers wrote is upsetting and infuriating in the extreme.

https://samanthaabruxa.tumblr.com/post/67806163791There is a rich vein of horrendous behaviour stretching from glitzy Hollywood right into the poky, smoky clubs of the goth scene itself, and for all we don rose-tinted sunglasses (at night) the scene is not the beacon of tolerance and safety we think it is.
Very recently, singer Jessicka Addams of riot-goth band Jack Off Jill  came forward to publically share her experiences of abuse and rape during a relationship with bassist Jeordie White, aka Twiggy Ramirez of Marilyn Manson’s band. A statement from the band has announced a severing of the partnership with White (CW), who has yet to make any statement himself.

It took a long time for Addams to come forward and disclose her experiences (CW), which is unfortunately but understandably common in such cases where doubt and victim-blaming are all too frequent, and it appears she was actively discouraged by her record label at the time who seemed to act from a chillingly businesslike viewpoint.
That level of opposition would be difficult for a successful artist like Addams to overcome, let alone fans who may also have been attacked and have no voice, no audience and no hope of being heard or believed.

Increasingly we are uncovering evidence of widespread perpetration of abuse, followed by denial and cover-ups, from huge international stars down to the people you know at festivals and clubs.
The #MeToo campaign was a viral success story of the worst kind, that only echoed the heart-breaking experiences collected by Adam Williams and RDPP. Women worldwide followed this up by asking men who professed to be allies – “What will you do? How will you help? What can you do to change this?”

  • As the owner of a social space online, I can police my community and promise to respond to any woman who uses The Blogging Goth’s social media or website channels, who feels they’ve been made uncomfortable by someone. My website, my Facebook, my Twitter, my Tumblr, my Instagram, my YouTube… all should be considered spaces free of the threat of abusive and aggressive men.
  • As the promoter of a goth club night, I can police my event and promise to respond to any woman who feels they’ve been made uncomfortable by another. I enjoy a very close relationship with the venue, and their six-foot punk bar manager and resident DJ will ensure any situation is resolved quickly and effectively.
  • As a member of the goth community, I can police my scene and promise to respond to any woman who feels they’ve been made uncomfortable by someone. I will listen to, trust and reassure someone who shares with me an experience they have had. I will – and this is crucial – pursue my suspicions of the behaviour of people and call them out if needs be. Even more crucially, I want to do this as part of a community, where we support and protect one another and make the goth scene a safer and more enjoyable place for everybody.

Please consider what you can do to fight back against abuse in the scene.

Help and advice for women who have experienced rape or sexual assault:

Rape Crisis England & Wales
Helpline – 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30 and 7-9:30)

NHS Choices – Help after rape and sexual assault

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Goth Weekend at Live Theatre, Newcastle

Firstly I must thank the staff of Live Theatre for their generous invite to come and watch Goth Weekend, a clever comedy about a family in the North split down subcultural lines! Following the performance on October 19th, I’ll be joining Dr Claire Nally of Northumbria University for a discussion and Q&A about the goth subculture, so please do join us. It should be recorded and made available online after.

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