We’ve survived obscurity, infighting and the monotonous breakups of multiple favourite bands. A little thing like a global pandemic cancelling all social events and travel on World Goth Day isn’t about to set us back anytime soon!
Perhaps auspiciously, I got through my letter inviting me to book my vaccine visit this morning. Socialising and events are back on the radar after over a year of carefully isolating, but of course that hasn’t even been too much of an obstacle really.
Any subculture that counts a disproportionate amount of IT professionals, and has been held together by an online community since the early days of the web, can keep itself going through internet events. Remember of course that it is the music more than anything else that is the foundation of the goth subculture.
The hardworking World Goth Day Team have diligently assembled a roster of events to be attended through the popular live-streaming platform Twitch, allowing everyone’s house to suddenly become part of a vast global dancefloor, with the added benefit of no queues at the bar or the smell of dry ice attaching itself to every article of clothing.
There’s even some live events scheduled – and no fear, goths are adept at practicing social distancing. Any opportunity to lurk in divided little cliques as far from perceived enemies as possible will pose no issue to us!
Social media as well is the conduit for community interaction that has kept goth going for more than forty years. Veteran goths – of which we are lucky to have so many for what is a ‘youth subculture’ in name only – are sharing their memories of getting into the early underground scene. Their discoveries are our inspiration today!
The media have also weighed in on what is bound to become a trending topic. There have been some brilliant articles, such as this interview with several goths in India – not only smashing the stereotype of the white anglocentric goth, but also the very real challenge of expressing yourself in a contrary manner, in a culture very hostile to it.
Recently in the UK, audiences have been fixated on the Coronation Street storyline featuring surprisingly well-represented goth character Nina, and the violent attack on her and her partner Seb. It draws much of its inspiration from the Sophie Lancaster tragedy, and the foundation worked closely with the show’s producers to present an accurate and upsetting portrayal.
It is a reminder that amidst all the celebration today, there are still dangers attendant on being true to yourself and dressing a little differently. I urge you all to take care as well.
On a happier note, general alternative music magazine Kerrang! have delivered an actually decent compilation of 16 Essential Goth Albums – from the obvious (First and Last and Always, Fetisch, Pornography) to the more daring (Vampyre Erotica, The Demonstration, October Rust) that will guarantee to get them bickering in the comments and on Reddit!
Nevertheless, you should listen to them all and form your opinion. I’ve said time and again that what really makes goth is just what we can agree on. Yeah, that isn’t exactly the ‘individuality’ we harp on about so much, but like it or not goth is more of a stubborn monolithic organisation than many care to admit!
Indeed it’s instantly recognizable, regardless of how much you know about goth. We owe so much to our pioneering Punk Princess herself, Siouxsie Sioux – for creating the essential soundtrack as well as the definitive appearance – although without doubt she, like Robert Smith, Andrew Eldritch and many other contemporaries, hates the pigeon-hole attitude of being a goth superstar:
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. There is a fun, flippant side to me, of course. But I would much rather be known as the Ice Queen.”Siouxsie Sioux, The Guardian, 2005
Despite her protestations though, she is still idolized by goths and for good reason. On this day forty years ago, Siouxsie and the Banshees released the single Spellbound from their fourth, landmark album Juju.
It remains a cornerstone of any good goth night, and whilst we can’t get back to the club this evening, I hope you’ll be keeping the dream alive as you swirl around your kitchen, dining room or wherever your link to goth online may be found! See you at next World Goth Day!