World Goth Day 2019

Welcome to the darkest day! A worldwide celebration of our surprisingly resilient subculture. You can take a quick look at my (somewhat) tongue-in-cheek definition of What Is Goth over here… otherwise, read on for World Goth Day 2019!

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40350499

A celebration today, as we mark forty years of milestones. Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division, Three Imaginary Boys by The Cure, and Bela Lugosi’s Dead by Bauhaus were all released in 1979. Siouxsie and the Banshees released their second album, Nick Cave had brought his Birthday Party to London and Andrew Eldritch first thought about picking up the drumsticks (before he decided on a position that required less overall skill).

Four decades on, and we’re blessed with the continuing presence of many of these performers. The Cure bestride the world like a colossus whilst they headline and curate and promise a new album, truly the mightiest goth band there ever was (enhanced as it were by denial of the g-word tag). Nick Cave is touring a unique experience of free-form piano interpretations of his songs, plus an unfiltered Q&A session with the audience. Peter Hook and Peter Murphy both continue to perform their previous band’s songs around the world. Even Eldritch has resurrected himself and The Sisters of Mercy for scattered European dates. The music that formed the goth scene four long decades ago, continues to be performed today, an epic endurance act for all concerned.

Not that we rest on those dusty black laurels of trad goth. At Whitby in April I was delighted by the performances of the opening bands, hungry new international acts taking their first steps into the wider goth community. I’m anticipating seeing Turkish legends She Past Away in November, as well. There were standout performances from brilliant new bands at Infest in September last year, searing innovations in a genre crammed full of creativity. All of this is notwithstanding the regular messages to my inbox about new bands looking for coverage – apologies to you all, but I’ve never felt expert enough or possessed of sufficient time to dedicate the blog to music reviews!

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I even spoke with Stylist in France, who wanted to know if Billie Eilish could really get away with the goth tag. The often-parodied pouting pop star certainly flirts with the fringes of what we’d recognise as pastel-goth, but she counts amongst her influences Avril Lavigne, Green Day and Lana del Rey. Fine artists in their own right, but I feel a goth artist must at least trace some lineage back to the recognizable first and second waves of OG post-punk and goth. Plus there’s no way you’d get actual goths to accept her – remember, I’ve always said goth is ‘mob-rule democracy’.

The desire to slap the word goth on anything a little spooky and strange continues to be an easy shortcut for journalists – I’m forever knee-deep in articles about what star is wearing black nail varnish on the red carpet. What used to be the “dark wash cycle” – goth as a fall-winter fashion trend every year – is becoming far more ubiquitous. That said, it exists beyond a a paper-wall in the media from horror stories and scapegoating for the crimes of the mentally harassed. A headline dropped into my inbox four days ago with a chilling echo of 1999’s massacre in Columbine, and the subculture’s first major skirmish with lazy journalism. I’m already planning a separate article addressing that particular tragedy, twenty years ago this year. It’s almost like goth is an easy shorthand for reporters unwilling to engage with the complexities of a situation…

Whilst we’ve got the rose-tinted aviators off, let’s acknowledge some more harsh realities we faced this year. As populist, ignorant rhetoric takes hold in contemporary politics and society, we’re confronted with the fact that right-wing tentacles have snaked into even our easygoing, left(ish) subculture. There were bizarre statements on social media from deluded fools who declared no black person could be goth, leading to categorical denials from leading voices in the subculture like podcasters Cemetery Confessions, Post-Punk.com, and Dining With Dana. Now more than other the goth scene must rally, shout down the hatemongers, and welcome like-minded souls to the dark party.

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On the brighter side (ironically!), goth has been an early adopter of technology, and none more vital than the internet. From the earliest days of Netscape and IRC, through message boards to the latest social media platforms, the amorphous subculture has been sustained by the ability of the web to hold together a worldwide community of often isolated individuals. The advent of the YouTube star has given everyone a goth best friend (even better than a goth gf you effin poseurs), and the rise in number and quality of goth meme pages is the latest creativity from a brand new generation. It’s safe to say goth is as undead as ever in 2019.

So how will you be celebrating today? Gig, club, mates down the pub? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

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Review: Tomorrow’s Ghosts April 2019

This blog has mused on the divisions in Whitby before, which is home to a long history of UK goth festival action. Never has it been more pronounced than this year when long-standing veterans Whitby Goth Weekend and ambitious newcomers Tomorrow’s Ghosts elected for separate weekends.

The precise details of ‘who shot first’ on the new dates have been dissected across social media with all the passion of moon-landing conspiracy theorists (including the value of the outcome) so we’ll waste no more time on that here. You’re here for reviews, yeah?

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Whitby Ghosts: goth festival season

As Spring, and Easter, and all those sickeningly sweet signs of renewal come rolling round, it also heralds the arrival of ‘Whitby’, the generic term for a horde of Goths heading to the seaside for drinks, dancing and drama.

Discussed in articles previously, there are now two major events scheduled for the biannual home of UK goth. Longstanding veterans Whitby Goth Weekend and eager new Tomorrow’s Ghosts have both promised events in North Yorkshire – but for the first time, have split the dates.

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Top Mum Promotions have announced events and acts from Thursday 11th April to Sunday 14th April, including the renowned Bizarre Bazaar that sprawls across town with an array of artisan vendors!
The musical line-up leans very heavily towards the tribute end, with only Thursday’s Chasing Dragons being an original band, but all reports indicate WGW was immensely popular during the last event and I have personally enjoyed Siouxsie and the Budgies previously!

Even so, I’ll be planning to attend from 26th to 28th April, if not earlier and later, for Tomorrow’s Ghosts festival. Holding court in Whitby Pavilion, they’re delivering an impressive lineup of established acts and noticeable newcomers – expect to see me down the front for Saigon Blue Rain as well as The Chameleons.

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Added to that are their own markets packed full to bursting with traders, plus unique opportunities to meet the starlets of Hammer Horror and listen to their experiences – plus the thoughts of a very well-known author of all things vampiric – at the Hammer Glamour event on Sunday 28th, hosted by none other than The Blogging Goth himself!

FC GothenheimOn top of all that, witness the first appearance of the charity football team with the post-punk soundtrack, it’s F.C. Gothenheim! Plunging into the fray with old villains Stokoemotive F.C., Gothenheim will step into the pitch-black boots of Real Gothic and continue the proud tradition of drinking heavily, heckling loudly and losing badly.

A firm favourite for a Whitby trip, I’m delighted to see some Sunday sportsballing, all for some very good causes – please support these brave, probably bonkers boys as they raise money whilst lowering expectations across the pitch.


Whitby of course remains a flash-point in the Goth scene, testing loyalties and provoking fallout whenever it’s brought up. Now the events have breathing distance from one another, it will be interesting to see how matters proceed after April. Both promoters have events scheduled for October / November of this year, and time will tell if the town – and the subculture – can sustain the demands on our time and money. See you out there!

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Wayne Hussey: On Tour, On Writing and on Brexit

Wayne Hussey, lead singer and guitarist with The Mission, is making his way to Tomorrow’s Ghosts festival in Whitby on his SALAD DAZE tour – culminating in November of this year.

The veteran rock’n’roll performer will make the festival the last date of his UK leg, teasing but not confirming other UK and European dates. We had a quick transatlantic chat, with thanks to Absinthe Promotions for setting this up, and I quizzed the Brazil-based goth-rock veteran on autobiographies, international politics and the meaning of true happiness.

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Whitby Spring: A Tale of Two Festivals

It’s just two months until various goth-themed celebrations begin in Whitby, and time to look ahead to what is happening and when. In this, I’m grateful to the hard work of Ian Francis, who strives to add a Whitby-wide itinerary to the various groups for information. Good work!

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Top Mum Promotions, of long-standing event ‘Whitby Goth Weekend‘ which no longer holds events at Whitby Pavilion, have elected to hold their own event 12 – 14 April.
This is two weeks before Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival, courtesy of Absinthe Promotions – 26 – 28 April. Absinthe contacted me with the statement they’ve officially released to clarify any confusion;

We are getting a lot of questions regarding the split in the Spring and Winter dates between ‘Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival’ (26 to 28th April) and the previous promoter’s so we thought it best to clarify a few points.

When we first announced the festival in July 2018, we released both April and November 2019 dates and kept them as close to the usual dates as possible. After announcing this, the previous promoter announced different dates to mid-April and this has caused some confusion. We have coordinated with other promoters over this weekend to make sure our dates stay the same to make it a more inclusive festival to go to.

We have also strived to announce our line-ups as early as possible to assist in planning and will be announcing the full November line-up on 1st March. For further details please visit www.tomorrowsghostsfestival.co.uk

At the same time, allies of WGW have protested that the older festival has long established the dates, and it is Tomorrow’s Ghosts who have ‘split the crowd’ with the new times – another flare up in the ongoing grudge match it seems! Certainly, I shared the 2019 dates from Tomorrow’s Ghosts as early as July 2018, but the issue remains of who exactly fired the starting pistol first!

I note that many of the smaller promoters have elected to follow Tomorrow’s Ghosts Festival, with events run by Goth Town, Sexy Sunday, Marquis Masquerade and others all tied in with the last weekend of April. Meanwhile, WGW continues to offer the ever-popular Bizarre Bazaar and Fringe events, but no word as to whether they’ll have a live music line-up or venue as yet. Should anyone be headed to WGW and wish to file a review, please let The Blogging Goth know!

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Conversely, I’m holding out and heading to Tomorrow’s Ghosts, whose stellar lineup has some artists close to my heart – The Chameleons, PWEI, New Model Army – and some artists I’m itching to see live – Saigon Blue Rain, Christine Plays Viola. It’s a great mix of classic and breaking new talent, with some international appearances as well – a wise move to head off a UK-heavy set of familiar faces. I’ll be posting regularly to social media, and a review should follow promptly.

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On the fringe events, Absinthe are pursuing a horror theme enthusiastically, with discussion events featuring the ‘Women of Hammer’ – the leading ladies from the bright-red blood-stained British classic movies who will be talking about their experiences and answering questions. Joining them will be author, historian and descendant of the famed Dracula creator, Dacre Stoker who will be updating vampire fans on his investigations into the mythology and history of our favourite Transylvanian count!
I’m very flattered to be asked to host this session so please join us on Sunday 28th and bring your most cutting questions!

Sadly this does mean I’ll miss the inaugural match between Stokomotive Whitby FC and brand new goth football team F.C. 2019 Gothenheim, who will both be taking to the turf for good causes. A great deal of delicate diplomacy has gone on to ensure a team comprised of the players in black can be fielded, whilst bearing in mind who is attending what weekend and wants to play in the first place! Please take the time to check out the beautiful (goth) game and the pitch-side punnery which is an absolute highlight of the Whitby experience.

Around all of this, I intend to step into some of the alternative events on offer such as RAW Nightclub, ekeing out my bank account in the markets, plenty of time drinking and catching up with friends in the pubs of Whitby, and my regular visits to sightseeing spots like the Abbey. I’d also recommend a visit to the Museum, which is absolutely crammed with fascinating artefacts from this beautiful town’s rich history.

Despite all of the drama, which I naively believed would be put to rest at the last event, I’m still keenly anticipating this high point in the UK Goth calendar. Will I see you there? What are you most looking forward to?

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