Reactions as Ryan Herbert released from prison

Several news outlets have reported the release from prison – on licence – of Ryan Herbert, found guilty in 2008 of the murder of Sophie Lancaster, which was motivated by her goth appearence. He pled guilty and was jailed for life, with a minimum term of 16 years 3 months, later reduced to 15 years 6 months and then further reduced in 2020 – allowing his parole hearing to take place last month.

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International Women’s Day – Goth Herstory and Future

Happy International Women’s Day all! Every year, I relish seeing this awesome picture taken by rock photographer Michael Putland pop up all over the internet. A small but vibrant collection of alternative music makers from 1980, they stand out for being women playing in music genres dominated by men. They all left a visible legacy behind them of defying expectations and charting their own course, and we celebrate that every year on IWD as is only right.

(L-R) Debbie Harry of Blondie, Viv Albertine of The Slits, Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banshees

Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex and Pauline Black of The Pretenders
(L-R) Debbie Harry of Blondie, Viv Albertine of The Slits, Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banshees
Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, Poly Styrene of X-Ray Spex and Pauline Black of The Pretenders

And yet… as much as it lifts my shrivelled black heart, this photo is more than forty years old! Not to detract from the immortal achievements of these musicians, but they’re from genres famous for innovation and creation. Even at its mildest, when we think of ‘classic’ goth the same faces are enshrined at the top of the pantheon – Peter Murphy, Robert Smith, Ian Curtis, Andrew Eldritch, and so on. The recognizable female faces of goth are few and far between in the leading line-up of goth pioneers.

Where are the new women stepping up to carry on the legacy of fearless creators in a field riddled with – like so many others – misogyny and sexism? Well, I knew they were out there so in 2018 I put together a simple collage of more women you’d hear at the goth club, and even dared sneak in a couple of musicians from after 2000! Daring I know, but I was so determined to share with the world all the new women making music for goths to dance to!

Of course I missed many off as well – and what about the female DJs, the women who wrote, who designed, engineered, produced, sketched, presented and overall imagined? I am encouraged by any positive story I hear of women succeeding in goth when the odds seem so stacked against them.

(L-R) Jill Bryson and Rose McDowall, Patricia Morrison, Chelsea Wolfe, Siouxsie Siox
Anne-Marie Hurst, Rosie Lugosi, PJ Harvey, Tori Amos
Patti Smith, Maya Berlin, Nina Hagen, Erica ‘Unwoman’ Mulkey

I really must stress this isn’t to discredit the trailblazing done by musicians like Siouxsie, Pat Morrison, Nina Hagen, Dinah Cancer and more. It’s to show that so many others are picking up the torch and contributing to this vast and evolving scene. I want women getting into goth to see that photo from 1980 and be inspired – and then to see my collage from 2018 and know there’s a place for them. Finally, to search out the music and hear women absolutely dominating the sound – women like Zoe Zanias, Chelsea Wolfe, Jae Matthews, Larissa Iceglass, Leah Lane and more.

Below is a playlist helpfully curated to feature women in the goth scene both classic and new. Check it out, and see what inspires you! Might you be a creator we celebrate next 8 March…?

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What’s New in 2022? Vlogging, for a start…

I’m pleased to share with you all my first ever vlog. In it, I introduce myself (a goth, no wealth or taste), cast a wry eye back at #gothcore, and look ahead excitedly to some of the key events in the UK goth calendar for 2022.

I’ll be making videos side-by-side with long-form articles here on the site. If you’d like to support me, and be recognised for your contributions, why not consider joining me on Patreon where I continue to explore new ways of bringing content to you!

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Dark Wash Recycle – ‘gothcore’ and high fashion

Happy 2022 everyone! It’s been a while since the last update, but I’m resigned to see very little has changed.

I was delighted with the response to an idle Twitter thread where I excoriated an article in The Guardian for introducing the concept of ‘gothcore’. Essentially it’s celebs dabbling in corsets, boots and black tops and trying to pass it off as something new…

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Dune is (still) Star Wars for Goths

One of my earliest sci-fi experiences – before ever seeing a Star Wars or Star Trek film – was the infamous David Lynch-directed 1984 film adaptation ‘Dune’, of Frank Herbert’s 1965 epic novel. Whilst being far too young for this deeply disquieting and epically complex story, I was mesmerized by its scope, unearthliness and action – relative to the capabilities of the mid-Eighties special effects anyway. I am certain this went a long way to influencing me towards becoming The Blogging Goth I am today.

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