How To Be A Goth At Work Or How To Survive The Office

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At now my mid to late 40’s, I can safely say I have had a lot of jobs.

Back in the early 1990’s I joined the emergency services and took up driving ambulances for a living. A lot of dark blue involved (which was ok, it was a uniform so I couldn’t really complain.)

On my days off (which were few, irregular and usually bed ridden) being a Goth almost went out the of the window.

Well, sometimes, it does. Being a Goth for me is a state of mind. I can be all pastels but yet my mind is still in anguish over watching the latest Penny Dreadful (when it was on) or figuring out what the last Cure album was all about… It’s about being true to yourself inside. That, of course, is the ultimate juggle in this world. In life.

My jobs got worse over the years there after. I went from uniform to a suit. Traditional, old-fashioned and proud of my pen pushing years in county council. Black was creeping in with subtlety. Pull up my suit sleeves and glaring back at you would be a long line of Aha-esque leather thongs trailing up my wrists.

My roles in my recent years have become more and more corporate. As a PR Manager and (even worse) a high-profile Publicist, being Goth has become more of an occupational concern. I spend most of my time with my back against a wall juggling this and promoting that. Vision, image is everything. I work in the highest, most elitist of circles where everyone around me is young enough to by my son or daughter, where I am now an elder Goth, or just bloody old.

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Yet, I have to admit, I am probably more the person who I truly am than I have ever been. The years which have piled up onto my face and energy have given me a ‘couldn’t give a toss’ attitude. Over recent years, I have embraced my Victorian obsession.

Now, I walk along the corridors of PR agencies and I can almost hear the 20 somethings recoil on horror at my Dickensian outfit. The more I have embraced my wardrobe, the more confident I feel, the better I think I look and the more influential I find myself being.

So, what’s the lesson here today? Wait until you’re in your 40’s before you can feel good? No, that’s not what I am saying. You don’t have to wait until your ‘passed it’ before you can become true to who you are. You can fast track yourself and do it much earlier than that. Confidence, for me has come from saying ‘this is me, I look different, that’s because I am different.’ In the world I work in, I am somewhere near the top, yet alone.

I seek out other Goths in my press circles but I can’t see any (must wear my glasses more often.) Most of the young PR-ettes these days are more Karen Millen than Helena Bonham Carter.

More chick flick than film noir.

More Bella Hadid than Bela Lugosi.

But that’s ok.

I know fashion wise, I don’t fit in, But then again I don’t think I was ever meant to. That’s why I sit in my corporate media world full of work pods, funky musak and coffee hubs and look like an extra from Northanger Abbey. I am there to cause ripples, create oceans of destruction and generally worry the middle class minded. It causes amusement, but I have to say, the laugh is usually from me.

Be the same. Cause shifts in your world. It’s your job to.

 

Love and Absinthe

 

BB x

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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….