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June 05, 2008

It was all beginning to feel like a bad night in an opium den

The gothic revival of 1994 and a peculiar - to my mind, at least - refusal to describe oneself as goth.

Maybe we dreamt it all -- the swirling black dresses, the long, teased rats nest hairdos, the overabundant eyeliner and lipstick, the bone earrings and belts, the death-pale faces. But no, they were real enough, and there were crowds of them, shrouding the clubs in London in murky gloom, staring at the stage... But at whom did they stare? At all those self-respecting bands, of course, not of whom were gothic.

All a bit strange to me. Once you have the outfit and the eyeliner, embarrassment is no longer a creditable indulgence. Something like horror writers describing themselves as "writers", "novelists" or, if pushed, as proponents of "dark fantasy". Fine, ok, but more interesting is to credit Nico with the first goth album, either The Marble Index or The End.

"Nico was in there, too," Ian Astbury confirms. "Because there's a lineage between the Velvets [The Velvet Underground] and punk. But Nico just ended up in Manchester on heroin. Southern Death Cult supported Bauhaus at Salford University when she did 'Waiting for the Man' with them, and Pete Murphy had to hold her up, she was so smacked out!"

Murphy himself sensed something else, though. "Nico was gothic, but she was Mary Shelley gothic to everyone else's Hammer horror film gothic. They both did Frankenstein, but Nico's was real."

Related: The Bromley Contingent.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at June 5, 2008 06:43 AM

Comments

Meh. I was always more gutterpunk than goth. Sort of stared back at the shoegazer set, thinking 'why are you wasting your time so?'

Liked the music OK, liked the girls to a point, hated the scene although we all mixed right up.

Posted by: urthshu [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 5, 2008 08:40 AM

Or horror directors describing themselves as "directors"...

Posted by: agent bedhead [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 5, 2008 11:22 AM

Not that we know anybody like that. :-)

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 5, 2008 11:37 AM

"We're not Goths, we're Industrialists!"

Even Eldritch refused the Goth tag. It's not surprising when Mick Mercer implicitly defines Goth as anyone trying to sound like a middle-aged March Violets tribute act. There are bands with Goth fans, but trying to be a Goth band is kinda simulacral, or possibly Oasis-ish.

Posted by: Rob Myers [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 5, 2008 03:09 PM