So there I was, in the long-ago days of October 2009, crouching down to look at the pumpkin lamps on the bottom shelf in the Halloween department of Sainsburys, when I heard two small boys screeching "Look at that! Look at that!" I turned around to see what they were looking at - and realised they were pointing at me. As soon as they realised I was aware of them, one of them shouted "Yikes!" and they both ran off, leaving me sitting there with a silly grin on my face.
Anyway, I bought the pumpkin lamp (his name is Jack... not massively original) and headed outside to settle down with a book whilst waiting for my friend to meet me. The book I'd brought was Gothic Charm School: An Essential Guide for Goths and Those Who Love Them by Jillian Venters, and this was the second time I'd read it since it arrived fresh from Amazon three days before.
I LOVE this book. For several reasons - 1) it is SO accurate. Obviously, as Jillian V has been active in the scene since before I was eating solid food. Her warm, witty humour lays the Goth scene bare for Goths and non-Goths alike. (I'm hoping that, if a lot of non-Goths buy the book, a greater understanding of the whole 'no, we're not baby-eating devil worshippers' idea will get around...)
I wish there'd been a book like this around when I was flailing around 'discovering myself' - whilst it might not have saved me from wearing Poizen Industries bondage pants with a high-collared Victorian-style trenchcoat *cringe* it probably would have saved me from relying on the occasionally acid-tongued members of Gothic.net for help on what Goth music actually entails. I seriously recommend that anyone with even the slightest interest in Goth hunt down a copy of this book, as it is INVALUABLE. And that is not a word I use lightly.
2) It is really, really interesting. JV covers topics that hadn't even crossed my mind when creating my original (and awful) Piczo site (and some I wouldn't dare to talk about - offering advice on romance to Goths? Uh, thanks, but I'll pass...), which I may have to plunder when making new posts. She isn't afraid to give an honest opinion - and, OK, yes, I squee-ed to discover that no, I am not the only person who doesn't much like Joy Division (weirdly, in Amy-land, soundtrack to Donnie Darko = good, Joy Division minus ooky-spooky movie backdrop = ick). And the way she writes is just so damn funny (see post title for one of JV's many pearls of wisdom). I got some sideways looks while I was sat outside Sainsburys as I was occasionally chortling - quietly - to myself.
3) I've been a hopelessly devoted fan of the Gothic Charm School website for several years, so I was practically bouncing around in excitement when I discovered there was going to be A Book. And I can safely say that it lives up to ALL my expectations. Thank you, thank you, Jillian Venters.
I give Gothic Charm School a big, fat ten out of ten. If you can't afford to splurge on the book just yet, then I highly recommend you give the website a look-see.
Listening to: Black Planet - The Sisters of Mercy