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.


The Green Fairy said...

I've never understood the concept that suddenly you lose 'goth points' or something just because you like something non-goth.

Kitty Lovett; A Charming Notion said...

Don't worry, Chloe. I love Glee too. According to some people, I don't really like music, I just "like the image", because I like glee. Lolwat? I also like Pokemon, Doctor Who and think LARP is the best thing ever. Apparently, I don't really like video games, sci-fi and pretending either (i mean, clearly).

I am unconcerned about goth points. I yam what i yam, and what I yam right now is hungry.

Also, gothibilly is awesome.

The Green Fairy said...

Obviously goth points is a term I just pulled out of my arse and don't give a crap about; what Kitty said what exactly my point. I like what I like too. Goth or not. Don't give a farrkkk

Stefanie said...

Glee is awesome! But there really isn't enough focus on Tina the Goth character apart from an episode where she was banned from wearing it because of the Twilight vampire thing but she stuck to her guns and explained why she liked it and the Headteacher was like whatever. Although Kurt the gay dude who is focused on a fair bit sometimes has darker aesthetics, Doc Martens skinny jeans a pin decorated with keys and even a top hat in one episode :D

Dirgesinger said...

Firstly, i have to say that I love your blog so much:)
The thing is, here in Hungary You are not able to buy good quality goth clothes that are unique and especially if you are on a low budget... so when I was in London and found a Living Dead souls jacket for third of the price of that here (theoretically - you can't buy anything like that here) so I have just bought it.:)

otherwise, I am usually a thrift-store predator, looking for those pieces that nobody would wear:P

Maeam said...

I can't believe most if not all of these questions are being asked at all.

And that eleven year old...*smiles* She's gonna have plenty of time to really grow into the scene. Young gothlings = WIN!

Laurence 'The Beard' Williams said...

Having read this, I can more or less reduce every question asked by these people to a fairly simple formula, i.e. 'If I do X, does this make me less goth?'.

No it does not. Goth is more a state of mind than anything material, the reason people dress this way is to reflect their appreciation of being unique. Doing stuff like wearing 'normal' clothes to a goth night or listening to GLEE (kill it with fire) doesn't make you less Goth, alternatively it makes you more goth for being yourself.

It's good to see people asking these questions though. The fanmail must be flattering XD

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