Goth History Part 2 – The Lost Goth Shop Years

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Nothing is new.

Delving into the depths of History (I have become a fan of all things Medieval) you can see that Goth, for example, was always waiting to happen. We certainly didn’t have to wait for the Victorians to come along and spice it all up for us, although I will admit, Mary Shelley did help…

 

Grace with poise for the darlings

There have been many such groupings in modern times, such as the rockers in 1950s America or the punks in the UK in the 1970s. One very distinctive group is the goths, which developed from the punk subculture. But where punk had been a mix of how to get dressed in the dark, pissed, Goth brought with it an element of grace and decadence. It was glamour with a hint of TB about it. We could be intellectual and poetic. We could swoon over Vampire novels and listen to dark B sides of Bauhaus without coming over all necessary. This was Goth. It was to the world of fashion and music what Shakespeare was to the Elizabethans. Sheer deep and endlessly brilliant.

Then came lots of brown…

Generalisations are often dangerous, especially when describing a group such as goths where members have a strong desire to express themselves individually. It was no wonder that Steampunk (when Goth discovered brown) grew out of it giving a home to many elder goths who felt that wearing too much black over a certain age might be too horrifying to small children. Personally, I did agree with this on principle but only to a point. I soon went back to complete out and out Goth again after a couple of weak months of being Steampunk. To me, brown was no substitute where black had been such a loyal friend.

 

Black is black

The color black is extremely common in goth style – there is no argument about it. It can be represented in clothing, dyed hair, and black make-up including painted finger nails.(I must admit, I went the other way and had white blonde hair in a Louise Brooks page-boy hair cut. I went for the black nails but never got on with the black lipstick – yuk!)

It should be noted that this applies to both males and females. There is no one particular reason why black but I had always imagined it was something to do with the years of mourning with Queen Victoria bestowed upon after the death of Prince Albert. That might be the ‘lighter’ way of looking at it though.

Some of argued that it represents a certain morbidity inherent in the culture. For others it is simply that they like the way it looks. Yet there is something about black that is luxurious and classy. Goths look to me, beautiful, thoughtful and polite creatures. At least, I have always discovered this myself. Never nasty (rarely) always caring and on the whole, cheerful. It always annoyed me how society considered goths as depressed and morbid – I often feel my most cheerful when I am decked in my black!

 

The fall of the goth shop

The only thing that saddens me, as a goth of the 80’s and beyond was the decrease in goth shops and places to hang out. During its era, the Batcave was out-of-bounds to me (on many levels, but geographically, it was challenging.) I loved hanging out looking deathly around the stream of goth shops in Carnaby Street in London around the early to mid 80’s. They have since been replaced with up market boutiques for the masses of tourists who come to our city and want what they can get back home – lots of pastels and labels and not an ounce of black creativity in sight…

 

Best Goth clothing shop online (well, possibly…)

One of my favourite places is Kate’s Clothing )and no, I’m not an affiliate.) It’s difficult to find clothing (as possibly like you, I would much rather drift around a physical shop!) which is not going to be overly expensive, but Kate’s in the UK appears to do the job just fine.

If you know of anywhere either on or off-line for Goth clothing, especially in the UK, I would love to hear about it. If you are in the U.S, leave your expert knowledge too for other readers…. 😉

Peace and darkness

BB x

 

More darkness in your life? Read my next post here….

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The Birth Of The Goth In Me Part 1

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goth-2166338__340Back in the 80’s, teenagers I think experimented a lot more with their looks and music a lot more than the youth of today. By the time 1983 came around, Goths were already taking a hold in school.

Over the last two years or so, I had noticed the amount of back combing which had sprung out of nowhere in the girls toilets coupled with a heavy smell of Ellnet hairspray which clung to the walls in the corridors.

My secondary school at the time was a rough pit of thugs and loose girls. Most of us had been on detention at least once that week. Most of us smoked, drank and stayed out late. We ate chips each lunchtime and stood at the bottom of the playground sharing a cigarette between 9 of us. I guess it was about that time when I started to become ‘disillusioned with life’ if there is such a thing when you’re 12.

New Romantics where hitting the music scene but none of that had trickled into school yet. Hard music was for the boys with many of them trying out loafers and drainpipes for the first time a al Madness. Us girls where listening to Madonna’s Like A Virgin and very little else. Music had been in two phases around that time – you either loved the sweetness of Five Star or you were trying to listen to Bad Manners backwards for hidden messages. Guys wearing lip gloss was still for wimps. It hadn’t hit our rough neck school yet.

I think the only outlet there is these days is Cosplay – something me and my son take part in when the big events are on at the NEC or the ExCel. But that isn’t music related. Inn the 80’s, heros were bands, singers and musicians. There were video games but you couldn’t dress like Pac Man. You wanted to look like Robert Smith (with bad make up) or Stevie Nicks (if you moved closer to whimsical rather than Bat Cave girl.) They sang your thoughts, your feelings and were a visual tool in how you wanted to look. Music was everything.

And I’m sorry Sisters of Mercy – as much as you don’t want to be associated with Goth, the last time I saw you in concert was at Bristol 2016. The whole auditorium was a sea of Goths with pale faces. These are your fan base. They buy your records. They have made you rich. Get over it.