Welcome To The Black Bacarra Blog

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mee4When I first stepped into Goth way back in 1985, I hadn’t considered the impact it would have on my life. (This picture was taken about 4 years ago and I have to admit, not my best!) Looking back, for me, it has been on a way of dressing but a state of mind – a lifestyle that means you can still be Goth even when you’re in pink fluffy PJ’s and watching EastEnders… sometimes…

Since being a 15 year old Goth thing decades ago, I have ditched the black (several times) added in some screamingly awful pastel shades a la Haircut 100 (eeeek!) Moved into vintage, rockabilly, vintage again, back into Goth, went steampunk for a couple of (very lost) years but decided that brown could stay where the heck it was and black soon made a triumphant return.

Thank the darkness for that!

Now as an elder Goth (I only found this term this year and like it) I’ve started to delve deeper into the roots of my beloved sub culture to figure out what it’s all about. What it means to me at least, and hopefully, to a lot of other Goths too.

Back in the day, I stuck steadfast to The Cure and Sisters of Mercy without actually knowing why (my guilty pleasure was Rick Astley at the time) and only layers of black fish nets, ribbed tube skirts and patent brogues rather than running over the moors shouting Heathcliff which is probably where I’m at now. Then, I thought I needed to do was hang around Carnaby Street and pout a lot on street corners. I certainly didn’t know what I was aiming for/rebelling against/delete as appropriate. To me, I looked cool in black, but that soon changed…

I had always hated novels and thanks to my educational years, I was put off Dickens for much of my adult life, yet now I can been seen, with booted leg hanging over the side of a winged back chair in an average coaching Inn indulging in Great Expectations and the like. For me, nothing is as Goth as social decline, poverty and Victorian workhouses. Now I have become obsessive about literature. From Mary Shelley to Wilkie Collins and HG Wells, I feast my eyes and mind on billowing shirts, riding boots, anguish and oversized castles. Now, this is the Goth I spent years painstakingly trying to define!

There aren’t a great many of us around, I have come to notice. I look longingly across the aisles of my local Asda in the hope I might catch a glimpse of a ruffled shirt or frock coat, but I never do. I agonisingly scan the Facebook pages for Victorian groups for like-minded souls, but so far, I have found few.

When I’ve not parading the supermarket aisles, I can often be found drifting around old houses (sometimes with the roof still attached) and drafty castles (thank you National Trust) on my days off from being a PR professional. (You will find some of my recent adventures below.) I travel the length of the country in search of barren estates, wild, rambling hillsides and a decent tea room. All of which, you will find in this blog as it fills up…

In short, I hope you like this blog and I would be delighted if you could join me as I don camera, tails and hat and wander the rambles of England in search of our Victorian Gothic heritage. Throughout, my mind will drift back to the roots of our glorious subculture and I might ask a few weird questions (not the ‘how did I get here’ ones) and I will expect you to answer them as I will need to hear some Goth voices (and not just the ones inside my head…)

Until the next post….

With love and Absinthe,

 

BB x

 

 

Read on for….

Brilliantly dark days drifting around Salisbury Cathedral

Goth history – the lost shop years

Goth Days Out: Wells Cathedral in Somerset

How it was to be Goth in the 80’s

Goth Days Out: Hampton Court Palace in Surrey

 

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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….