Hello, I’m Tim Sinister with the dreadlines today.
Robert Smith, crooner with original post-punk outfit The Cure, has been doing the rounds with various press outlets promoting his upcoming alt-rock extravaganza, the Meltdown festival in London. Time Out magazine pulled no punches and zeroed in on the goth tag that is the pure-black albatross around Bob’s neck.
None of this is news to anyone, but a few outlets ran with incredulous stories of goth’s ‘clown prince’ abandoning the scene. The Old Guard of goth bands have been distancing themselves from the admittedly cumbersome and limiting tag of goth for decades, ever since the British media decided they needed a neat box to fit in, and we needed a convenient word to annoy our parents with.
Siouxsie Sioux herself, formerly Bob’s lead singer when he played guitar with The Banshees, has always put a considerable distance between herself and the scene that idolizes her, saying
“At a signing the other day, someone asked me how it felt to be the queen of goth. I said, ‘That’s rather like being known as the Prince Regent of Fools.’ I hate all that.”
Peter Murphy of Bauhaus, producers of the most recognizable goth anthem ever, dismisses such associations just as easily. Andrew Eldritch waxes acerbic in that old familiar way and even uses asterisks to obscure the word goth on his website.
So, these articles expressing shock over Robert Smith disavowing goth are really missing the point. Being scorned by our musical heroes is, I think, peak goth.
Another goth institution’s future seems uncertain, as the owners of the venue that hosts the biannual Whitby Goth Weekend are holding an open meeting to “discuss how SIV and the Whitby Pavilion can be a part of the cultural phenomenon that is the Goth Festival in Whitby.” Note they carefully step around using the phrase ‘Whitby Goth Weekend’ which has been copyrighted!
Discussion has been rife on various Facebook groups, and loyal fans are rallying around Top Mum Promotions, the company who have run the Whitby Goth Weekend event since 1994. There are concerns the venue owners are sidelining the original WGW promoters and will instead arrange a new festival to capitalize on the huge influx of visitors the seaside town receives twice a year.
At the same time, it has been observed that the most recent WGW event made an unannounced move to the smaller Theatre inside the Pavilion building with an unusual line-up that wasn’t to all tastes – you can read my personal review here. No formal comment has been made by Whitby Goth Weekend, but the official Facebook page has published dates for October’s event, indicating they are going ahead as planned.
Could it be that the venue owners have decided they can run a more attractive event to push up attendance at the notoriously cavernous Pavilion? The Blogging Goth is headed over today to attend the 6pm meeting and will report back thereafter!
Thank you for sharing. I look forward to hearing the result of the debate.
I personally never cared for The Cure, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees or any of the old-school goth bands. Their music is boring and uninspiring.
Also, I disagree that being scorned by the bands one loves is “peak goth.” I understand that no band wants a box to be pigeonholed in (I’m thinking of Evanescence and the Christian controversy with their first album), but it is disrespectful to scorn one’s fans.
But that’s only a problem for the fans of said bands. Again, I think they are snooze fests, plain and simple. Dull music created by equally dull people. And copping a look without embracing the subculture that goes with it makes one a poseur, Mr. Smith.
This was a good read. I love Robert smith and Whitby Goth weekend, although I’ve never been myself
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I saw Sisters at Bristol 02 a couple of years back – despite the comments that they are certainly NOT goth – they should have peered through the pink dry ice that night at the audience – it was 100% goth! It annoys me when some bands are in some sort of goth denial… it’s goths that gave these bands the success they have enjoyed over the decades….
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