Tuesday, 31 May 2011

T-shirt makeover #1: slash'n'burn

I'm going to scrape in a wee tutorial on the very last day of the month; part one of my promised series of T-shirt make-over techniques. This will probably turn out to be quite a long series - I mean, really, how many ways can you re-vamp an old T-shirt?! - but don't worry, I will throw in some sewing tutorials, jewellery-making, home decor and some other bits and bobs as well. Just for variety. ;-)

This tutorial is inspired by a DIY spread in an old issue of Bizarre magazine, and is painfully easy as long as you can wield a pair of scissors and tie a knot. All you need is a T-shirt, and a pair of scissors (obviously, that's why I called it SLASH'n'burn. Not just because I wanted a cheesy title, honest...). It helps if the T-shirt is a bit too big as this is a nice simple way to tighten it; helpful for those of us ladies who find that the only merch available at gigs is gigantic men's tees.

1. Cut off the neck and sleeve edges of your tee along the seams. Don't fuss too much about neatness - this is quite a punky look so it won't matter if it's a bit ragged. But you can trim off any jaggedy bits if you like.

2. Lay the top face-down and cut vertically up the middle, from the very bottom of the shirt to about one inch below the neckline

3. Cut each side of the shirt into horizontal strips. These will form ties, so you can make them as thick or as thin as you like.

4. Tie all the opposing strips of material together at the back of the shirt. You can do this singly or in groups of two or three. It might help to get somebody to tie them for you whilst you're wearing the shirt to ensure a perfect fit. This is the stage when you can pull it tight for a tight fit or slightly looser to keep it baggy.

Et voila!
Wow, what an old picture...
See, I said it was easy. Of course, you can play around with this a lot - add fringed sleeves by cutting inwards from the edge of the cuff, keeping the strands very thin and stretching them out to add length (or twirl them for a twisted effect).

You can also make the ties along the side seams of the shirt. As you can see in the picture below, you also don't need to cut out the collar unless you want to, and a bit of knotting detail along the sleeves can be quite cute. Make smaller knots at the top of your torso, underneath the arms, or it will feel uncomfortable when your arms are by your sides. Also, be careful not to make the ties too long or you will pull the T-shirt too tight. In both of the below versions, I tied knots at the base of each strip for added detail.
Speaking of old pictures... blech, I hate this one!
Below is yet another variation... this is the most recent and my favourite.

Of course, no one says you have to stick to T-shirts; you could make or re-design bags, cushion covers or purses with nothing more than a pair of scissors.

Monday, 30 May 2011

May's Q&A post

Zoe asks: "I was on a forum just now and some of the people there were complaining about goths who were branded clothing like Criminal Damage, Living Dead Souls etc, and that buying "ready-made" clothes defeats the purpose of goth as alternative. I'm really confused as to what they were getting at - should everyone make their own clothes? - and need your opinion please."

To a certain extent I can agree with what these people are saying - popping down to Blue Banana (or similar alt shop) and purchasing an Insta-Goth Kit of brand name clothing with no imagination or effort put into creating a UNIQUE look kind-of does defeat the purpose of being alternative. Some younger Goths or other scene newbies may forget that being 'alternative' doesn't just mean 'dressing the same as all those other alternatives'. Making all of your own clothes, however, isn't necessarily the answer - for starters, we don't all have the skills, the time, or the money to whip up a wardrobe from scratch.

The key is to mix-and-match - find items from secondhand, vintage or charity shops, as well as mainstream shops; a few handmade or customised items if you feel you'd like to, and mix these up with your brand-name pieces to ensure your look is completely individual and not straight off-the-rack.

Chloe asks: "I've been thinking of starting my own Gothic magazine! Whaddaya think! I know I'm only young (ish) but who cares! I've already got half a crew set up and I thought that it'd be good! What do you think, I'd love your opinion!"

Go for it! Anyone who wants to set up a zine, be it online (e.g. Gothic Divine Magazine) or in paper format (e.g. Spider's Web Zine) has to start somewhere; if you feel you can produce something you would enjoy creating and that others might like to read, then, why the hell not?

Source: Tumblr
Hehe asks: "What's a clove cigarette?"

Kretek, more commonly known as 'clove cigarettes' or simply 'cloves', are cigarettes made with a blend of tobacco, cloves and other flavours. These have enjoyed great popularity amongst Goths, going so far as to become a cliche. However, you DO NOT have to smoke them to be a Goth - in fact, it's probably a bad idea, as they are actually more damaging to your lungs than 'traditional' cigarettes. They are actually illegal in some areas, and not cheap either. Why are cloves so beloved by Goths (particularly eldergoths)? Well... because they're black. Djarum Black is probably the most popular brand within the scene.

Stormatia asks: "So I was wondering after reading this entire site if there was a place for me. You see, I am a devoted metalhead and have been for several years now. . . but at the same time, I LOVE the goth scene and i have embraced the style a long time ago. I fit the goth scene in almost every way, but I absolutely enjoy the metal scene too. Is there such thing as a happy medium?"

It sounds to me as though you are already enjoying a happy medium. Many metalheads do indeed dress in Goth fashions. Many Goths also enjoy metal music. However, if you would like to become more active in the Goth community and are feeling conflicted, why not expand your musical library to include some Goth bands and bands from related genres as well? Many bands enjoyed by Goths have a metal-based sound or influence; perhaps you would enjoy these? Obviously, without knowing your exact musical preferences, I can only speculate as to which bands you might enjoy, but here's a few recommendations: Rammstein, Nine Inch Nails, Gothminister, Rob Zombie, Die So Fluid, Bella Morte, Angelspit, Christian Death, ASP, Astrovamps, Corvus Corax, Emilie Autumn, I:Scintilla, KMFDM.

Amelia asks: "Do I have to like horror movies to be goth? Because even the Lord of the Rings scares me to death..."

No, not at all! Many Goths like horror movies, whether they be genuinely scary ones, kitschy B-movies in black and white, or cult Goth-related movies like Ginger Snaps. However, a fair amount have no interest in the horror genre at all.

Sadie asks: "11 Year old goth thats me, I have been goth since i was about 8 or 9. People criticise me saying you're too young to be goth, or you're not a proper one. Any help on how to deal with this?"

I expect that people who say you're too young to be Goth don't really know what Goth is all about. I mean, if they're thinking of PVC, high heels, devil worship and horror movies, then yes, I would fully agree that you're too young! But there's no age limit on enjoying a darker aesthetic, the works of Tim Burton and Edward Gorey, books like Ellen Schreiber's Vampire Kisses and a lot of the beautiful artwork and music associated with the Goth scene.

I would recommend either ignoring these people - yes, it's frustrating when people judge and make comments without really knowing what they're talking about - or looking them straight in the eye and saying, "That's your opinion; I'm happy being myself, thanks," and walking away. Who cares about what they think anyway?

Anonymous asks: "Has anyone invented a fashion style that involves "classic" or "timeless" fashion? I mean something not as casual as post-punk goth, and something other than corp goth? Kind of like the little black dress, white button down, trench - all goth staples, I know. I'm not doing a great job of what I mean. I'm thinking of something as elegant as Victorian goth, but with less emphasis on historic period - Audrey Hepburn comes to mind, as well as other famous starlets of the 50s and 60s like Marylin Monroe. I don't know - maybe that is corp goth?"

Sounds a bit like ethergoth; also, many Goth styles are retro and vintage inspired, such as dark cabaret and Gothabilly. Possibly a mash-up of these with a sprinkling of corpgoth on top? I have a feeing that Stop Staring's designs might embody what you are looking for.

MissSpastic asks: "Are you saying that if I were to go to a Goth club in what I normally wear (anything ranging from a pastel version of cyber goth, to less-neony raver styles, to fairy kei) that I'd be snarked at unless I slap on a bunch of black clothes?"

A lot of Goths have a certain amount of disdain for raver-based styles; other than that, no, probably not. If you have very little working knowledge of alternative fashion, it's best to stick to black (which is what I was getting at in the post which triggered this comment). If, however, alternative fashion is second nature to you - it doesn't have to be 'typically Goth' - then you are likely to be welcomed.

Brandie asks: "Am I a goth?"

Without knowing anything about you, it's impossible to tell. Do you enjoy any bands from the wide spectrum of Goth and dark music (see my Great Big List of Goth Bands in the sidebar)? Are you interested in dark, Gothic or alternative fashion? Are you interested in being part of the Goth subculture? If yes to all of the above, then I would personally say that you are a Goth. If yes to two out of three, you're getting there.

Chloe asks: "Can a Goth like Glee? Because I like Glee. In fact, I LOVE Glee. I never miss an episode. Is that natural for a Gothling such as myself? Will I be burned on the stake or hung, or maybe shot? I know it seems entirely very odd for a Goth of all people to watch and enjoy Glee, but I do. I don't like a lot of the songs that are actually sung, but they are sung well and I enjoy the show itself. It's really quite entertaining. What do you think of it? Do you think of it?"

You're a Goth. You like Glee. So yes, evidently, a Goth can like Glee. ;-) As to whether or not it's natural, I wouldn't like to say! I am wary of Glee as I can't stand High School Musical and it seems very similar to that ilk - I suspect that many other Goths hold a similar opinion. But I don't think anyone will shoot you. I have been tempted to watch Glee of late as apparently there is a token Goth character, which always makes me very curious.

10 things I wish someone had told me when I was a babybat

307 followers?! Wow! Hello and welcome, everyone, I hope you enjoy reading my sugar-fuelled ramblings - don't be afraid to comment, make suggestions, send flowers etc., I'm pretty friendly!

Source: Google
This post is inspired by a Juliet's Lace post that I linked to in my first blog round-up post (which I'm glad everyone liked, by the way!). I mentioned that I thought of her post as 'things I wish someone had told me when I was a floundering babybat', so this morning I figured, why not do a post on exactly that!
  1. Wearing something other than black won't kill you. Or get you banned from the Goth club. One of my first acts upon deciding to 'go Goth' was to exorcise every single non-black item of clothing from my wardrobe. It took a while to weed everything out whilst still retaining a functional wardrobe, but boy was I determined. This... is not necessary. Whilst, yes, there may be some items in your wardrobe that simply will not work with a Goth aesthetic, no matter how much you customise them, there are plenty that will, and they need not be black. If you have a browse through just this site for starters, you will come across dozens of pictures of spectacular Gothy outfits involving plenty of colour, whether as an accent or the main theme.
  2. Other Goths are not scary creatures that need to be impressed. They are just people, like you. To be honest, I have not long since got past the stage of being intimidated by my fellow Goths; even when I joined Blogger, I was very shy of extremely well-dressed, talented people like The Green Fairy, OpiateVampire and Miss Gracie. In my younger years I was very nervous, especially when attending clubs and concerts, that someone would point and shout out, "Hey, you're not a real Goth, you're a normal person in disguise!" and would spend ages stressing about what to wear, how to dance, etc, in order to make a favourable impression on my fellow clubgoers. Only recently did I twig on that, despite the supposed bitchiness and snarking within the Goth scene, a Goth club is, basically, a room full of people enjoying themselves, dressing to please themselves and not giving a monkey's armpit about the sartorial opinions of anyone else in the room. So it doesn't actually matter what you choose to wear, as long as YOU are happy and comfortable in it. Yes, there is bitching, because Goths tend to gossip in the manner of little old ladies, and yes, you will find assholes everywhere, but the people worth bothering with are the ones who don't care what anybody else thinks of what they're wearing or whether or not the other clubgoers think they're a 'real Goth'. I THINK that made sense.
  3. If your friends don't want to be your friends once you've started dressing differently, they were never really your friends. One of my best guy friends was a real fashion victim, and couldn't bear to be seen with me after I started dressing Goth. Nowadays, if I say hello to him on the bus, I get completely blanked. So I've stopped bothering; I have a lovely group of friends who I know would still be my friends if tomorrow I decided I was going to shave my head and start dressing like the Bay City Rollers (although they would probably worry). Having your friends turn on you over a matter so small as clothing is very upsetting and frustrating at the time, but it's a quick and easy way to find out who's still worth your time and friendship. It's their loss, not yours.
  4. You can still have non-Gothy interests. We are people, not members of a hivemind. Plus, if you can accept a bit of stereotyping, us darkly-inclined types are supposed to be intelligent and creative also. Why would a creative person allow themselves to be shoehorned into a jelly mould (is that a mixed metaphor)? The whole point of self-expression is exactly that - expressing yourself. If you love playing football, watching Glee, listening to Ashlee Simpson (guilty) or other activities or interests that would make other Goths gag, who cares? You shouldn't. And probably no one else will either (except the occasional Gother-than-thou elitist, but no one likes them anyway) so roll with it. There's no need to sacrifice other interests or aspects of your personality to be a Goth. We all have our guilty pleasures and interests outside of the Goth scene, honest.
  5. Laziness can ruin an outfit. Even now, online, I see a lot of beautiful outfits spoiled by boring or badly-applied make-up, accessories that don't work, or simply lack of attention to detail. Some fabrics don't look nice next to each other because of subtle differences in shade and texture - this one caught me out a lot. We all go through a learning curve when we begin to experiment with Goth fashion; don't get stuck in a sartorial rut through laziness.
  6. DIY doesn't have to be difficult. I avoided DIY for years because I didn't want to do a bodge job, and because (get this!) I thought brand name stuff bought from alt shops was 'more Goth'. Moving on swiftly. Often, T-shirts can be an unflattering length or shape - but this is so easy to alter, don't put up with it! (T-shirt makeovers tutorial coming soon...) Safety-pins, badges, lace trim etc can really change the appearance of a garment and make a real difference to your outfit.
  7. Brand names do not make you 'more Goth'. Actually, one of the 'signs' that someone has been in the scene for a reasonable amount of time is being able to create stylishly dark outfits through thrifting, DIY and even mainstream stores. Mix-and-matching brand name items doesn't hurt, but you don't have to buy your entire wardrobe from Hell Bunny (or similar).
  8. You ARE a 'real Goth'. I don't know if others had a long-lasting phase, as I did, of feeling insecure in their Goth identity and worrying that they might not be a 'real Goth'. But basically, in case you're uncertain, a real Goth - a) enjoys some 'real' Goth music (amongst other genres, yes you can still like rock, metal, trance, techno, pop, or whatever else floats your boat, even hip-hop. Click on my 'music' tag in the sidebar to find out some more about what constitutes Goth music if you are unsure) b) is likely to have an interest in dark, Goth or alternative fashion. Of course, Goth encompasses more than simply music and fashion, so again I encourage new Gothlings to have a browse through the archives to learn some more about the ins and outs of this fascinating subculture... but if the music and (to a slightly lesser extent) the fashion are of interest to you, and you want to be part of the scene, then YES, you are a 'real Goth'.  
  9. Being Goth doesn't mean that everyone is against you. Yes, people may stare and even point, but quite often what they have to say to or about you will be nice or even encouraging.
  10. There is so much in the world of dark, alternative fashion and culture to explore and experiment with; unless you really want to, there is no need to limit yourself to one look, subset, or music genre. Keep an open mind to new things.
Speaking of new things, visit Russian darkwave band Stillife's page to grab a handful of free downloads! My favourite is Remember Me (Rosary Mix).

P.S. Some people have been sending me messages through Google Friend Connect - unfortunately I can't receive these as they go to an incorrect e-mail address and I haven't yet figured out how to change it. Please feel free to leave a comment, or leave me your e-mail address and I will get in touch. Thanks. ^^

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Styles of Goth fashion: electric Goth

The term 'electric Goth' was coined by Vancouver fashion designer Nyla, creatrix of the stunning label House of Nyla, to describe her own line. In a 2006 interview for Gothic Beauty Magazine, Nyla explained, "I embrace wild eccentric colours! The energy most likely started from the fetish parties, being around the Goth scene from the age of 18. I am very drawn to the darkness and the mystic. Goth girls from around the world have somehow picked up on my own vibrant reflection of the scene. They identify with my designs, giving me acknowledgement and support along the way.

"Electric Goth [...] gave me the freedom to express my Gothic style in electric colours and create my own niche." (Interestingly, House of Nyla has been featured in mainstream fashion rag Elle and on Canada's Next Top Model... Goth gets everywhere.)

Some of Nyla's designs... I love the dress on the far left!
Image: House of Nyla
The bright colours of Nyla's designs are occasionally echoed by other wearers of Goth fashion. Though they are likely to be unaware of such a little-known term as the designer's phrase 'Electric Goth', they are representing the style through exotic colours teamed with traditional Goth fashion touches such as corsets, fishnets, boots and frills.

Of course, the other Goth style known for its use of vibrant colour is cybergoth, which bears very little resemblance to this particular incarnation of Goth style. The colours are often richer than the neons associated with cybergoth; the fabrics may be more luxurious. Electric Goth outfits are usually less skimpy and more elegant than cyber clothing. Patterns such as paisley and leopard print are seen, as are clashing or strongly contrasting colours.

Accessories may vary depending on the preferences of the wearer; for example, Nyla's designs are often pictured with tiny top hats, but the lady pictured below has put her own spin on electric Goth style, adding a deathrock-y vibe with enormous customised boots and a skeleton-hand hairclip. Make-up should perhaps be kept simple to offset the vividness of the outfit.

This subset offers a lot of room for personal interpretation, and its colourful aesthetic might be useful for young Gothlings needing to put their families at ease with their Goth style.
Source: Tumblr
ALSO, for some reason I can't post comments on other blogs at the moment, so here is some stuff I really wanted to say:

1. The Green Fairy - I do read your blog! Every post! I swear!

2. Kitty Lovett - can I put in a future request for one of those jackets in your latest outfit post? I have no money right now but it is freaking gorgeous and I would really like to buy one when I have the cash (soon)!

World Goth Day giveaway WINNER!

Good afternoon Gothlings, I have literally just drawn the winner of the giveaway out of my bowler hat!

Yes, those are all written on a carved-up JobCentre slip... no sense in wasting good paper, is there? And since I gave the hat a good shake and selected the winner with my eyes closed, the typing on the back didn't make a difference.
So here's me selecting our lucky winner... yes I have a spare tyre, that is what too many takeaways on holiday does for you...
A cheesy grin for the winner! Not that you can actually read the winner's name thanks to the flash... allow me to clear up the mystery for you.

The winner is:

aka 'bestpiggy'
Congrats Oliuae, I have sent you an e-mail to the address you provided. To everyone who didn't win... best of luck next time! ;-)

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Notes on 'Goth fashion style' posts

I know that my 'styles of Goth fashion' posts are my most popular, but it occurred to me upon reading a few comments that I should probably post a few caveats relating to these so that they can be taken in context.

  1. Not every Goth fits into a pre-existing 'form' of Goth fashion, e.g. cyber, romantic, deathrock etc. Some may like to mix and match from day-to-day, some create their own hybrid styles, some take inspiration from or regularly dress in other alt fashions such as Visual Kei or Lolita. Which is why you may not be able to decide what kind of Goth you or someone else may be; the look in question does not fit neatly into a pre-defined style subset.
  2. You don't have to fit the mould of any particular 'type' of Goth fashion to be accepted in the Goth community. See above. This is a personal choice thing; if you really like one particular style and it suits you, that's great - if not, no big deal.
  3. Even if you have chosen a particular subset, you don't have to dress that way every day. Feel like swapping your deathrock chains and spikes for an elegant gown or even a pink faerie outfit? Well, why the hell not? Alternative and Gothic fashion is supposed to be FUN, VERSATILE, INTERESTING and oh yeah, didn't you choose to dress this way because you LIKE IT? So do whatever the hell you like! Yes, I would dress up in Sweet Lolita and still attend Goth nights and refer to myself as Goth, because the majority of my interests and tastes line up with those of the Goth community. This is a counterculture, not a dress code. No one is going to kick you out for breaking the rules. Because there aren't any rules.
Well, that pretty much sums up what I wanted to say. For every newcomer to the scene who's trying to work out 'which style they fit into', don't worry too much. Just take inspiration from wherever suits you and roll with it.

Oh, and for the Gothlings who have been asking what 'Goth type' I personally identify with, I'm definitely one of the mix-and-matchers. Temperament-wise, it's perkygoth all the way, but fashionwise it varies.

Source: Drac In A Box
P.S. Yesterday was Siouxsie Sioux's birthday!

P.P.S. Yes, I will stop being a tease and do a new fashion style post soon. ;-)

P.P.S. Giveaway is now closed! Winner will be drawn tomorrow...

Friday, 27 May 2011

Dear Mom and Dad...

This is not was I was intending to post today - but I am in a bit of a rush and can't quite resist sharing this with you.

Remind me not to check my e-mails at work, as this was what pinged into my inbox yesterday (from my MOTHER, of all people).

***Warning: contains possibly offensive humour and some nudity, although I did get handy with MS Paint***

"Dear Mom and Dad

You'll be happy to hear that I have left my black boyfriend. I know you both didn't approve of him because of his race and the fact that he was 20 years older than me. I have found, as you suggested, a nice white English boy the same age as me, while touring in Germany . He has changed my life.

Attached is a recent photo of the two of us.

He's looking forward to meeting you both.

Your loving daughter 

This photo was obviously taken at the Wave Gotik Treffen or M'era Luna! I wonder what the pictured couple think of this e-mail? Anyway, I thought this was quite amusing...

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Spooky blog round-up, the first

Sharp-eyed darklings amongst you may have noticed the poll at the top right... I'm trying to collect some feedback to get a clue as to which of my new ideas for posts you guys might me interested in - interviews with other Goths from around the world; fashion inspirations; band profiles; myths and legends; music recommendations for new or classic bands worth checking out; home decor and gardening posts, etc! The poll is open for a week, I'm also always open to any random suggestions, just drop me a comment. I may not be able to pull together a post (or series of posts) straight away but all ideas and requests are appreciated, researched and considered. ^^

Right, that's enough rambling on for a moment! My pretty poll shows me that a sizeable few of you would be interested in a blog round-up - links to great posts I've discovered on other people's blogs whilst strolling (not trolling) through the internets. There are some people that I really admire on Blogger and in other places online, whether for their personal style, their content, their dedication or simply their excellent taste, and I hope to introduce you to some of these, as well as pointing you in the direction of some seriously under-appreciated up-and-coming spooky bloggers.

May I please note that, in typical lazy fashion, I have not actually asked any of these people permission to link to their posts; neither are they affiliated with me or I with them - this is basically just stuff I think is awesome that you should go read. Please enjoy.

Source: Tumblr
Why yes, I AM saving up for a pair of ballerina boots <3
First off, I'd like to mention Sophistique Noir's latest explosion of genius, Red & Black Week, which, oh yes, I will be participating in in a BIG way. I'm already concocting plans - and you should too, fellow bloggers. More Gothy blogging events please, darklings!

And another of the usual suspects, Amy at Juliet's Lace has penned a fab post about what she has learned from her time as a Goth; I'm thinking of this post as 'a bunch of things I wish someone had told me when I was a fourteen-year-old floundering babybat'.

I have recently begun to read If Alice Were Into Platforms... and particularly enjoyed the post about how to decide which alternative subculture suits you and your lifestyle the best. Personally, one of the reasons I enjoy Goth so much is the versatility - I enjoy experimenting with other alternative fashions (currently I'm fascinated with decora, for example) and finding ways to incorporate elements of other styles into my Goth look, which makes posts like this doubly interesting to me.

I don't know about you, but some of the blogs I really enjoy are those that give me an insight into the lives (and outfits!) of other spooky types around the world, which is why I like Serenity's blog. My favourite post to date shows pictures of Serenity growing up - some of us joke about being 'born Goth', but it seems that some of us actually were!

Kitty Lovett's Bloggery of a Gothcat is always interesting, but I found this recent guest post by an anonymous darkling a little shocking. Those of us who manage to hold down jobs whilst still revelling in the darker side of life should think ourselves lucky...

Kitty's friend Sary also had an excellent post recently, discussing how the details of an alternative outfit are the difference between an average get-up and an amazing one. I couldn't agree more, Sary! And speaking of fashion, the aptly named Alternative Fashion Blog contains a rather thought-provoking post about military influences in subcultural style and when they are and are not acceptable.

I'm sure that fellow Emilie Autumn fans will read this mini-series of guest posts at Unlacing the Victorians with a mixture of relish and horror - a neo-Victorian girl's real-life experiences inside an asylum, echoing EA's own tome The Asylum For Wayward Victorian Girls. You can begin at the beginning right here.

Which town mayor is afraid of Goths, even going so far as to set up a curfew to deter 'intimidating' Goth teens? Find out over at Siouxsie Law, here!

Lastly, to finish this round-up, check out some gorgeous make-up designs from Glum Plum, who has caused me to re-write two of my personal caveats: 1) don't draw all over your face with eyeliner and 2) especially not with kohl pencil - UNLESS you are Kelli, who manages to look decadent and elegant, and not as though she has scribbled on her face with crayon, which is what usually happens when young Goths try this. Go Kelli!

Thanks to everyone mentioned above; I hope you don't mind my shameless linking. I would just like to note that LINKS DIE, please check out these posts while this is 'fresh', URLs change and people go offline all the time, apologies to future readers who may miss out on some of this blogtastic awesomeness.

Why yes, I DID have a Malibu and Coke at a party before writing this post; I am not normally quite this exuberant.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Vampire's Masquerade Ball

Hey guys - if it looks like I've unfollowed you it's just because Blogger is being ridiculous; I WAS following a whole bunch of great blogs when I logged on at lunchtime but now I'm told 'you are not currently following any blogs'. Hopefully this is a temporary thing!

The Vampire's Masquerade Ball - well, it is what it sounds like. A Gothic/Industrial event, full of diversity, which is reflected by the varying costumes of the attendees - romantigoth, deathrock, fetish, industrial, Victorian, Edwardian, steampunk, and many more. The website states, "Using "vampire" in the name is meant to touch on dark romanticism and elegance, having an appreciation for all that we find beautiful in the gothic community. While this event is not put on by the vampyre community itself, to date they have been very supportive and are very welcome to attend."

The event debuted on June 7, 2002, at Portland's Gothic nightclub, the Back Room. From the first incarnation, club organizers Teri and Chris Hartgrove envisioned an annual event that would be a special occasion for regulars and newcomers alike. That night, resident DJ Faux Pas played to nearly 100 guests, and the success of the Ball ensured plans for the following year. On October 24, 2003, the Back Room again hosted the VMB with DJs Faux Pas, Inveigle, and Curatrix, and entertained a crowd of 200.

In November of 2004, the Back Room closed its doors, but the Vampire's Masquerade Ball was not forgotten. Teri and Chris turned the event over to Lady Raven, who re-created it on a much grander and more elegant scale. On March 12, 2005, Lady Raven presented the third VMB at the Scarlet Ballroom, with DJs Horrid and Curatrix, live performances, vendors, and 'an atmosphere of romantic decadence' that drew over 300 visitors from Portland, Seattle, and beyond.

Lady Raven
Source: Vampire's Ball Gallery
Over 500 guests attended the 5th event and the success of the evening and the grandeur of the venue - the Melody Ballroom - meant it also hosted the 2008 VMB, which was written up, in detail, in issue 23 of Gothic Beauty Magazine.

The event is still running annually in Portland; it now boasts 800 guests each year. There is an enforced dress code, so do not pack your flip-flops. Highlights of this event include the beautiful chandelier-decorated ballroom at the Melody, where the event is still held, the array of fab DJs, and a midnight waltz in which the guests are encouraged to participate.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Catching the last train home... Holiday snaps (4)!

OK, so it wasn't literally the last train... but I had such a wonderful time with Dan that I didn't want to go home and go back to work at all. :-( I love Dan so much, I can't express to you what an amazing, crazy, romantic time we had so I just hope all these photos go some way towards showing it!

So let's round this off with some photos from our last day.

I'm laughing in the second picture because my heels were so high that Clive insisted I squat down... he looks faintly nervous here, but honestly, he was the nicest chap. ^^

Can you see the creepy black beast stalking me in that last picture? Really it was just some dude's dog, but it makes for a good picture... XD
Even evil geniuses need tea. I wasn't actually TRYING to look like a Bond villain here so I don't really know what happened.
Catchin' sum Z's at the coffee shop


My cute boyfriend ^^

Dan whistling.
What would Scooby Doo?

This is no laughing matter.

Listening to: My Red Shoes - Sarah June

My World Goth Day celebrations! Holiday snaps (3)!

Of course, day three of our weekend mini-break happened to be World Goth Day. We had been prepared for this, and when we got off the train at Bournemouth immediately went to Asda across the road and went hunting for absinthe - thanks to the reader who tipped me off to the fact that Asda sells cheap absinthe!

We began our day with a hearty breakfast (thanks Clive!) and a bit more shopping; then we lounged about in the pleasure gardens by the river for a while.

I'm looking so spaced here because Dan called my name, then snapped the photo as I turned around. A marching band went past us plaing tunes from Grease, which was a little random. What you can't see in this pic is the pink lemonade I'm drinking - so classy! ^^

 Yes... the water is cold.

 Attack of the pigeon!
Sometimes, a picture says a thousand words...
This pic was taken on the walk back to our hotel, before our World Goth Day absinthe-fest. ^^

This was my first ever taste of absinthe, which I thought was a fitting way to raise a glass to Goth Day. Surprisingly, I'm actully sober in the below pictures - but you wouldn't know it to look at me.
Not drunk... just scruffy

Meet Ugly Jack! Dan and I poured loads of money into an arcade game to win one of these adorable, fluffy monster guys, but the game was rigged - the things were too heavy for the grabber to pick up. :-/ I was gutted - until we found this one in a shop way down the road! It was the last one they had, too... and he's mine! =D

Dysfunctional family portrait?
Maybe a little too much absinthe? ;-)

Listening to: Queen of Halloween - Al. B. Damned

Sun, shopping and sea urchins! Holiday snaps (2)!

Part two of my enormous album of holiday snaps... I'm sure you can barely contain your excitement. By the way, I did grab a moment to check my giveaway on Friday using Dan's smartphone whilst we were at KFC, so even on my romantic break I was keeping an eye on you guys... what can I say?

Day two began with a barefoot hike to the shops in Alum Chine... those sandals I wore to Tesco's shredded my poor feet, so I bought some great go-go platform boots from a fancy dress shop that was selling off some of its ex-hire costumes. There was loads of Gothy stuff, including some gorgeous Laughing Vampire dresses, but most of it didn't fit me!

We visited two fancy-dress shops that morning, and one of the shop assistants remarked that it was nice to have 'such happy customers'. ^^

Then we caught a bus into Bournemouth to visit the Oceanarium.

Dan's sex face

Dan's thoughts on this picture: "Why is it that you look cute and I look like I have a fat neck?"

Om nom nom
Here are some of our pics from the Oceanarium... we do actually have hundreds of photos of assorted aquatic creatures, but I thought I'd best only post a handful. Or two.

Yes, I DO change my headwear a hundred times a day. I look very sleepy in a few of these pictures!

After our deep-sea adventure, Dan decided to go on a bungee ball on the seafront... it catapults you about a hundred feet into the air, and that's not an exaggeration. There was no way I was getting on that. Yes, I'm chicken...

After watching my bonkers boyfriend take to the skies, I decided to experience one of the more tame seaside attractions and had a caricature done:
After an amazing afternoon shopping, visiting the arcades, eating ice cream and visiting a delicious tapas restaurant for dinner, we returned to the hotel along a clifftop path. It was a long but very enjoyable walk.

Listening to: Mea Culpa - Enigma

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