A Conversation for An attempt - "What is Goth?"

Goth History and Culture

Post 1


Just to ask a few questions:

I grew-up in Los Angeles in the 80's, but live in Glasgow, Scotland.

In LA, we had death rock, the fashion consisting of black jeans, black t-shirts, and black hair. Then we had the New Romantic of Adam Ant and Bow Wow Wow. I was of the latter. When the New Romantics were taken over by bands such as Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet the dress evolved from 18th and 19th century influence to 1930's and 40's. At that point, the Regency and Victorian New Romantics melded with the Death Rockers to form the style I see as Goth. Any Comment?

Now in Glasgow, we have the new crop of what are called Mansonites or Baby Goths. They are really just skaters in black with no sense of Goth history dating back to Bauhaus and Peter Murphy. Then there are the crusty goths, those in their 30's who still dress like they are in their 20's with PVC and leather, and then the elder goths, also in their 30's, who adopted a more traditional Victorian style and have assimilated Gothic culture and style into their daily lives in an adult fashion without imitating styles with do not suit a receding hairline.

Goth is something you just are, and since it is part of your being, you cannot outgrow it. If I might use the word poser, I would apply it to those who do eventually grow out of it. That being the case, what then is the future of Goth? Will we grow old in typical Gothic grace and style, or become the aging hipsters of the last generation?

As I am in my early thirties, with an ever increasing forehead, I see that Gothic music may be the bonfire we all gather around, but it cannot be sole focus of the sub-culture. Bands have come and gone before my eyes since the late-seventies, and many now abandoned anything that might be called Gothic. Again I see Goth as yet another outgrowth of the post-modern need to re-inject soul into our lives, and the best model for that is the Victorian era. The Victorians had plenty of soul. In many ways, Gothic is really neo-neo gothic. We are imitating the Victorians imitating the Middle Ages.

These days, I find myself drawn to the idea of Steampunk, science-fiction set in the Victorian era, because it demonstrates in fiction how to reconcile our modern technological age and the need for soulful lives. If you're curious, check out my entries on steampunk with a h2g2 search.

If I was going to point out an evil in the world, then I would have to go with global consumerism and the blind adherance to technology it fosters. What Thomas Moore calls psychological modernism, "an uncritical acceptence of the values of the modern world. It includes blind faith in technology, inordinate attachment to material gadgets and conveniences, uncritical acceptence of the march of scientific progress, devotion to the electronic media, and a life-style dictated by advertising. This orientation toward life also tends toward a mechanistic and rationalistic understanding of matters of the heart." I believe that Goth and Steampunk as a style or culture stands in direct opposition to this approach to life.

Also, you mention Goth as an 80's movement. What about 90's Goth/Industrial?

I look forward to your comments.


Goth History and Culture

Post 2

Tube - the being being back for the time being

Urgh. Well, look, I've been hanging out with Aussies for the last days to I'm a little knackered. I'll post a longer answer some time soonish. In the meantime you might want to read the edited entry and the http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2/guide/F58268?thread=94207&skip=0&show=20 thread. Cheers! Tube

Goth History and Culture

Post 3

Tube - the being being back for the time being

As for the fusion of the fashion styles I cant provide an useful comment as I have just no knowledge about the US-scene. And the 80's. Let alone the 80's scene in the US smiley - winkeye. But how about this: you come up with a few paragraphs on that and I will have the entry updated and credited to you as well.

If Goth is in your genes, Goths will grow old wearing whatever style of black they fancy. It will become less obvious that they are Goths since they will adapt to the working world (see the Corporate Goth and Academic Goth news- and discussion-groups on the net) but they will still be Goths within. At the last WGT there were a coupla 40+ Goths. I'd say we'll be the (as you termed it) elder Goths. And when we die we'll have a really beautiful marble weeping angle on our grave smiley - winkeye

True. Goth music cannot be the sole focus of the scene. But I say it in fact isn't. It is nevertheless difficult to have a gathering around a bonfire made of what I called the philosophy behind Goth. No fun in meeting 10,000 Goths to mourn the loss of sense, romanticism and individuality. A bit of music to walk back and fro' to is much better. smiley - smiley

I'll look into the steampunk matter.

And yes in my understanding of Goth it is in part about the rejection of average lifestyle; see the punk roots. Blind, unreflected consumption kiss not only the emotions but also detaches the consumer from the product [the difference of buying a pair of trousers because brand XYZ is hip and buying a cape because it is the material/style you've been looking for for ages.]. Goths of course consume, too, but I should like to think that with 'consumer durables' they buy the things that they consider to be them (i.e. Oh, that ring is just me). Thus further detailing/expressing their personality/individuality as opposed to keeping up with what's hip and mainstream.

As for the 90's/Industrial: I consider it part of the Goth movement (not all of it though), but as it brinks on disco/dancefloor/MTV = commercialisation .... ah... wellll smiley - erm

Goth History and Culture

Post 4

Researcher 203759

Logan who are you calling a crusty goth?

Anyway in glasgow we actually have a very wide variety of goths, We Have the Trad goths, The Cyber Goths, Victorian Goth, Vampire Goths, Spooky Kids And some Hippy goths.

Now for those who are unsure what all these mean i will explain.
Trad goths are usually wearing Leather And PVC with perhaps Fishnet or velvet.
Punky Goth torn and patched leathers fishnet bondange tops and trousers.
Cyber Goths will usually have birghtly coloured hair or a my little pony hair do. They will also wear body armour and goggles( goggles are just so cyber) Cyber goths also like flashing lights, glowsticks and anything that glows under UV.
Victorian Goths wear Victorina style fashion with lots of lace etc..
Vampire goths tend to wear cloaks and have fangs.
Spooky Kids well these are just misguide kids who think that they are goths but are not anything to do with the scene at all althought this may change if the recieve proper exposure in a goth club usually wear baggy jeans and hoddies.
Hippy goths one word really tie-dye.

Well thats a sum up of the various dress styles which can be seen and i know for a fact i can be seen out in many of these styles depending on my mood or the event.

Basically there is no hard and fast dress code i've even seen goths wearing yellow at Whitby Goth Weekend which does fill me with dread put me in a bad mood and then i end up trying to find freinds who can make the sight disapear before i end up losing it totally but then by this time of night in whitby it could be just my own deranged imagination.


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