As some of my readers from Ye Olde Piczo may know, earlier this year I was lucky enough to attend the UK's newest Goth festival, DV8 Fest in York. Whilst this was the biggest event I've yet been to (45 bands over four days, including some really big names such as Gene Loves Jezebel, Inkubus Sukkubus, Zombina and the Skeletones, Nosferatu, Devilish Presley and Noisuf-X) and overall it was absolutely and utterly brilliant (I'm hoping to go again next year!), there was one unplanned (I hope) part of the event that really niggled me.
|In my hotel suite at DV8 Fest (that's festival daywear for me, FYI)|
Ha - I just noticed that I got photobombed by my mum... yes, my mum came with me - she's into Goth culture too...
What, you may be asking, am I blathering on about now? Well, there's a clue in the post title... the invasion of the 'mundanes'!
During the Saturday night clubnight at one of the three venues, a large number of Gothy dancers - myself included - were left blinking like rabbits in the headlights as the DJ suddenly began playing non-stop mainstream crud such as Dire Straits, Kings of Leon and a bunch of top-40 bands that I couldn't put names to. Correct me if I'm wrong, but mainstream crud has its place... in the mainstream. With the exception of a cheesy pop song or Lady GaGa track played for laughs, it's not what I expect to hear at a ticketed Goth event. (The inclusion of other 'dark' music such as Marilyn Manson, Evanescence and My Chemical Romance earlier in the night and at the previous Thursday clubnight I actually felt was a nice touch... but there is definitely such a thing as a step too far.)
It may have been coincidental, but at roughly the same time, a group of non-Goths (I really do try and stay away from using the terms 'mundane' or 'normal'; as the Lady of the Manners at Gothic Charm School points out, it's just as bad as those people referring to us as 'freaks') swarmed the club. Suddenly, the Goths found themselves pushed to the edges of the dance floor, being pointed and gawked at by the Blue Jeans Brigade, who were happily getting their boogie shoes on to 'Sex On Fire'.
I have nothing against Goth club tourists as a general rule, provided they have a modicum of decorum and the nous to appreciate that the event they are attending is not catered for their particular tastes. I am sure that I'm not the only one to have my nose put somewhat out of joint by the fact that the clubnight had been, to some extent, hijacked.
Of course, I don't know exactly what was going on - perhaps the venue had been double-booked or something - but if the newcomers had wanted to sample Goth club culture, the way to go about it was probably not to dominate the dancefloor, leaving little space for those who had paid entry for the entire event, and if they were simply enjoying a night out, would it perhaps have been too much to ask that they go somewhere else for just that one evening where they could listen and dance to their own taste in music and leave us to listen to ours?
Also, I did see a couple of (presumably drunken) young lads repeatedly bothering a scantily-dressed Goth lady (as I have mentioned in at least one previous entry, many non-Goths do not understand that sensual clothing, or a lack of clothing, when worn by a Goth, does not mean that the person is looking for a hook-up), and there was certainly a fair amount of unfriendly snickering going on amongst the non-Goth crowd, which frankly I did not feel was acceptable.
Perhaps I'm being oversensitive and a touch melodramatic, but to be honest, there are reasons why the mainstream has its own clubs and the Goths have theirs... I'm not the kind to get all up in arms at a DJ who chooses to play 'I Kissed a Girl' for shits and giggles - hell, I'll race you to the dancefloor. But different kinds of patrons at different kinds of clubs have different (sometimes unspoken) codes of etiquette, VERY different tastes in music, and neither should be made to feel possibly uncomfortable (the Goths, again including myself, left the club in droves) by 'outsiders' in a place that was set up for them to enjoy.
Listening to: Waste of Love - Ashbury Heights