Sunday, 31 July 2011

How to deal with copycats

So I spent the afternoon at my town carnival, which was great, although I think a lot of people thought I was actually part of the carnival and some old guy wanted to take my picture. (Which brings the 'random people wanting to take pictures of me in my everyday wear' count up to three, which isn't lots and lots, but still, I'm proud/amused/slightly concerned.) Pictures tomorrow, or maybe the day after.

Today's post comes following a slightly plaintive request from a young, anonymous Gothling who wonder what to do if someone is copying your style.

Source: Deathwaves
All right, we've all been there, probably during the school years for most of us. One of your friends (or someone in your neighbourhood or school, or a younger brother or sister) takes note of your awesome Goth look and thinks, "Hmm yes, that is the look for me." Which is fair enough. Unfortunately, instead of finding their own, unique Goth style the way you did, they've done their best to become a replica of you.

(I once flipped my lid when a slightly younger girl whom I was friends with became briefly interested in Goth; she didn't go out of her way to imitate my style, but we DID cease to be friends when she 'reminded me' casually that I had "said she could choose half of the things in my wardrobe and keep them for herself." I can assure you, I most definitely said nothing of the sort. She also frequently helped herself to my jewellery, and seemed to think I was some sort of cash machine.)

We all have people that we find inspiring, I'm sure, but being inspired and influenced by them is not the same thing as rushing out to try and duplicate their hair, make-up and outfits. That is annoying for the person being copied, and slightly creepy (not in a good way).

But first things first, don't blow a gasket! Before accusing or finger-pointing, be VERY certain that this person really is copying you. If you shop at Hot Topic or a particular local alt store, it's possible they could simply have bought a few of the same items by mistake. All-black clothing is hardly an original look - there's thousands of us doing it! As the Lady of the Manners explains, no one really has an original look. Are they are clearly trying to pull a mini-me (or mini-you, rather)?

Unless this person is a close friend, they may not even be aware that you have noticed them imitating you. Plus, as they say (and you knew I was going to say this) imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Remember that this person obviously looks up to you and admires your style, which is no bad thing. Inspiring someone is great! You just need to encourage them to develop their own style instead of mimicking yours.

The best and most direct way to do this is to speak to the person. No, darklings, please don't go over and yell at them to stop copying you, but you could say something along the lines of, "Hey, I really like your hat. I have a similar one myself," and from there strike up a conversation. Hopefully this will a) alert them to the fact you're aware of their existence so copying every detail of your outfits isn't a great idea or b) subtly make them aware that you've noticed their attempt to mimic your style.

However this is not a perfect world, so all that the above might achieve is c) making contact. So, if they still haven't stopped copying you, where to go from here? Some articles I read online suggest changing your style, but really, why should you stop dressing in a manner you like simply because someone else admires it? That doesn't seem quite fair to me, anyway.

If you feel you can do so (either you are confident enough or know the person well enough), perhaps you could say to them that you've noticed their style is similar to yours and drop some more hints (there are some more good examples in this Gothic Charm School post) - although there's no point out-and-out accusing them of copying you because they are likely to be embarrassed and deny it.

If worse comes to worst, your comments may make no difference; in which case, all you can do is simply ignore it. No copycat will be interested in stealing your style forever and will eventually move on to pastures new. In the meantime, you can make yourself feel better about the situation by making your outfits harder to copy - try DIYing your outfits, obscure band logos and one-of-a-kind or vintage items; these will be hard for the other person to imitate, which may make them lose interest faster.

Remember - this other person isn't trying to be annoying, they're interested in the same things as you are and struggling to express themselves with as much ease as you can. Be kind. If they ask for help or advice when you speak to them, use this as an opportunity to steer them towards developing their own look; stress individuality and creativity.

Do let me know if this was helpful, and let me know how it goes.

Goth gossip: What recently made the comedian John Bishop laugh? The sight of a Goth on roller blades, apparently. ^^

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Filthy Victorians 2012

So since y'all already read Kitty's blog (right?!) you should already know about Kitty's upcoming project-slash-challenge. In a nutshell: the inspirational Ms. Lovett is going to be dressing as a Victorian lady - every day, for a whole year.

An original Victorian mourning dress from the 1880s.
Sayeth the pink-haired one, "Is there anyone who would like to join me in this new venture?"


Hang on, let me rephrase that.


2012, my dodgy darklings, is going to be the year of the Filthy Victorians. Now, I can't guarantee one hundred per cent historical accuracy, because I probably can't afford it and because I can't give up bat-patterned things. But I will do my very best to be as faithful as I can. Right down to the underwear.

To read more about Kitty's random stroke of genius, check out her post on the subject over yonder.

I'm off to stock up on bloomers.

One Year As A Victorian Lady? Count me in!

Oh, job interviews are going to be FUN.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Gothing up

Hi guys!

I'm not sure what sort of response I'm likely to receive to this post; but here goes. When I was but a wee babybat, I used to really enjoy seeing and hearing about other Goths' day-to-day lifestyles, outfits etc. - you may laugh, but all of the 'more established' Goths seemed so glamorous and otherworldly that I was continually fascinated by what went on 'behind the scenes', if you will - how did that person make that outfit? What was their inspiration? How does this fit in with their lifestyle? I could hardly understand how people who looked and dressed like Adora BatBrat, Jillian Venters and our own dear VictorianKitty and Steph, could have 'normal', everyday lives when they looked as though they'd just emerged from some darkly whimsical parallell universe.

Somehow, with this in mind, I ended up taking a kind of photodiary when I was 'Gothing up' to go to a gig on Wednesday to amuse my still-a-babybat-at-heart self with the kind of behind-the-scenes snaps I would have been interested in as a younger Gothling. Now, I'm too scatty to be glamorous and too, uh, zany to be otherwordly, plus I don't really see myself as an 'established' Goth (too socially awkward... and you probably think I'm joking...), but I figured that the end result was kind of amusing (although not in the way I originally intended!), so I thought I'd put up the pics for you guys to see. ^^ OK, OK, so it's really just an outfit post with extra piccies, but what the heck...

Exhibit A

This is a selection of potential outfits scattered across my bed. Predominant colour: black. Is anyone surprised?

Exhibit B
Yikes. Me, fresh from work in my (very) casual gear. I had just walked two miles home to discover that I was locked out, then settled down to wash off my eyebrows and nom on some curry. Please forgive the lack of eyebrows; yes, I look like a baby alien.

Exhibit C
Not my most intelligent facial expression!

Exhibit D
Would anyone else care to post snaps of their 'letting my liquid eyeliner dry' face? Also, note my funny tufty hair!

Exhibit E
Getting there! This was about the fourth or fifth set of eyebrows I drew on, I do have snaps of some of the others but they make me look like a Vulcan and I would like to retain SOME dignity.

Exhibit F
Falls and all, the finished result. Only took two hours... >.<

Exhibit G

Exhibit H

Exhibit I
My layered tights and boots.

Exhibit J
This is my life-saving little gas mask bag! It holds my phone, camera, cash, ID and tickets. Plus it has sparkles! Just... don't ask how much I spent on it, I resent spending so much cash on one small item. My boots, pictured above, are the most expensive item of clothing I've ever bought myself, but I can't quite justify spending lots of money (or what I think is lots of money, some of you probably have even more expensive tastes) on a HANDBAG.

Exhibit K
Obligatory full-length pic.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Spotlight on: Jami Deadly

Over 4900 hits yesterday - my highest ever! Are you guys TRYING to blow my mind?! :-D I'm off to a gig tonight; and I'm afraid there will be no post tomorrow as I'm having dinner with friends straight after work and probably won't be back until late.

Today's Spotlight is dedicated to Kitty Lovett of Bloggery of a Gothcat, because her recent post listing Marilyn Monroe as one of her inspirations reminded me of the fabulous Jami Deadly.

Image (c) Shannon Brooks for Deadbeat Magazine
Source: Jami Deadly's MySpace
I first read about Jami Deadly in an issue of Bite Me, a magazine dedicated to all things vampyre. Jami is a pin-up and fetish model, Marilyn Monroe impersonator, burlesque dancer and a horror TV hostess for the show 'Deadly Cinema', which was her brainchild and created through her hard work and dedication to finding someone who was willing to make the programme.

Deadly Cinema, which ran from 2003 to 2005 and is available as a 3-disc DVD box set, combines the classic horror format pioneered by Gothy icons Elvira and Vampira, but with Jami's own unique twist. In Jami's words, "What if a glamorous blonde movie star type thought living in a cemetery and sleeping in a bubblegum pink coffin were as normal as anything?"

Jami's vintage pin-up look is currently enjoying much popularity in the Goth scene, thanks to the boom in burlesque shows (and how many of us Goth ladies list Dita Von Teese as a style icon? Jami has actually opened for Dita, I might add). She has also been featured in magazines such as Rue Morgue and Deadbeat, as if being Marilyn Monroe with fangs (for her Bite Me photoshoot) wasn't awesome enough.
Bite Me Magazine! in Magazines,etc by Jami Deadly
Here's the introduction to Deadly Cinema - this is played before convention screenings of the show. If you want to check out some episodes, visit Deadly Cinema on YouTube here. It's delightfully cheesy in the best B-movie style.

Essential Jami Deadly...
Beauty staple: peroxide!, winged eyeliner, RED lips
Fashion staple: veiled hats and opera gloves (and fangs)
Purchase: Deadly Cinema DVD box set
Random fact: Jami was awarded Scream Queen of the month by in September 2005
If you think Jami is awesome, check out: Dita Von Teese, Wednesday de Avaric, Voluptua
Get more Jami:

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Goths and parenthood

Since I'm not a parent myself, I'm going to tread very carefully here, and will most certainly not be offering advice to Gothy parents as I'm hardly in a position to do so. However, I just wanted to shed some light on this topic, and hopefully provide some useful resources and links for Goth parents, or those planning parenthood.

Source: Tumblr
I'm sure you have heard that there are many narrow-minded people who make comments such as 'Goths are not fit to be parents', and I'd like to begin by stating that this is a load of utter rubbish. Belonging to an alternative subculture does not make any person an unfit parent or in any way a danger to children - nor does it mean their children will be 'weird' or 'dangerous'.

As we all know, looking different from the norm has its upsides and its downsides. There will probably always be people who stare and point, who are wary of Goth parents and make disparaging remarks about the possible future of a Goth's offspring. But children whose parents belong to alternative subcultures and lifestyles are likely to learn an inherant tolerance - they will be open-minded and likely to treat people from all walks of life equally.
A Goth family enjoying Bats Day
Source: Google
Many Goths worry that they will no longer be able to enjoy their dark lifestyle once they are parents. Whilst your lifestyle may need to undergo some changes (deep pile velvet and baby spew are not the greatest sartorial combination) there's no reason to take all your black clothing to the charity shop and return your pointy boots to the shoe store. The Lady of the Manners has some marvellous advice on this subject, in her article, 'Raising Babybats, or On Being a Gothy Parent'.

One thing Gothy parents may have to watch out for is the urge to turn their babybats into... well, babybats. While it's fine to keep one's fingers crossed and pray that little James's predilection for Burberry tracksuits is just a phase, you probably had a parent (or knew a friend's parent) who was constantly lambasting you (or your friend) for choosing to be a Goth. Remember how that made you feel - and don't be that parent. (I know, you knew that already...)

As well as the above Gothic Charm School article, here are some links you may find interesting:

Gothic Portal: Parents contains a useful collection of articles for Goth parents.

Gothic Parents... Uncut is an e-mail discussion group, ideal for help and support.

Here you can find Gothy online zine Morbid Outlook's investigation of Goth parenting.

One of my idols, Adora BatBrat, is of course a Gothy parent. Check out Adora and her Gothlings here.

All my readers, parents or otherwise, should check out this painful/hilarious Wife Swap episode, featuring a Gothy family switching places with the world's scariest 'hockey mom'. Sadly, it's hard to tell who is trying hardest to turn their children into mini-mes - Hockey Mom or Goth Dad. Please post opinions and rants in the comments if you do watch this! (P.S. Goth Mom is awesome, I want all her clothes...)

Many thanks to ZombeeGrrl, a regular visitor to the old Piczo site, who let me know about the following websites:

Offbeat Mama is a wonderful website in and of itself, but check out the 'ultimate high maintenance mama', Russian Goth Pushba.

My Baby Rocks has a selection of punk, Goth and alternative baby clothes and maternity wear.

Gothic Charm School: The Essential Guide For Goths and Those Who Love Them by Jillian Venters and The Goth Bible by Nancy Kilpatrick both have sections on Goth parenting that you may enjoy reading.

Lastly, a short anecdote that I read in The Goth Bible - a Goth mother was queueing at the checkout with her young daughter when the 'normal' parent behind her (also with child in tow) snorted and remarked, "Just imagine what she'll look like when she's older." Goth Mom immediately retorted, "Probably however she wants to look, because unlike some people she's learnt that it's what's on the inside that counts."
Pushba and Baby <3
Source: Google
RE: stuff for sale! I started taking photos of the stuff I will be selling today, then realised I haven't cleared out enough to make it worthwhile, so I will get on with sorting out some more stuff and get it up for sale asap. You can expect prices to be below £10, but please don't get excited, guys - these items are probably most likely to be useful to babybats or those who are otherwise looking to create a basic Goth wardrobe. I will ship abroad depending on how expensive it may be - if you are outside the UK I will calculate postage costs and contact you BEFORE sending a PayPal request (I can only accept PayPal payments, I'm afraid).

What can you expect? I've got pieces from Jordash, Smell Your Mom, Living Dead Souls and Cyberdog, as well as some basic Gothy dresses, skirts, tees and blazers/cardigans from shops like New Look and Peacocks. I'm trying to keep you updated on the upcoming sale so you won't think I've forgotten, but I'm aware I've been yammering on for months now without actually selling anything. Sale in August, I promise!

EDIT: Oops, forgot yesterday's work outfit! We actually had a sunny day yesterday so I almost roasted in my long sleeves... d'oh. And the bow tie attracted the attention of a group of idiot chavs, who attempted to play a brief game of 'taunt the weirdo'. I say attempted, because for a change I was actually able to think of a spur-of-the-moment sharp response.

Shorts, bowtie, blouse and waistcoat all charity shop, £3.30, £2.50, £2.99 and £4.49 respectively.
Tights: different charity shop, £1.25
Boots: skip
Belt: random alt shop, £25
Hair extension: Claire's, £15
Gargoyle ring: fancy dress shop in Winchester, £1.99

Monday, 25 July 2011

Styles of Goth fashion: Steampunk Goth

I suspect that the steampunk subculture was knocking around long before us Gothy types discovered it and fell upon it with such wicked glee as we seem to have done in 2010 and 11. 2011 especially looks pretty good for steampunk enthusiasts - The Steampunk Bible was published this year (yes I want it, what a nice bookshelf companion for The Goth Bible!), and new events are popping up all over the globe.

Just as the Industrial and Goth subcultures spawned the bastard lovechild that is Industrial Goth, Goths who deck themselves in steampunk fashion and/or listen to steampunk music (or conversely, steampunk enthusiasts who love Goth music in its many forms) may refer to themselves as Steampunk Goths.

Steampunk Goths may prefer a darker colour scheme than the browns and golds often associated with traditional steampunk, using black as a base for their ensembles as opposed to tertiary colours. They may not, however, often rendering the Steampunk Goth indistinguishable from the non-Goth steampunk enthusiast.
*sigh* Vecona...
Source: Tumblr
Since Goth is more of a 'lifestyle subculture' than steampunk - i.e. most of us dress this way all the time rather than just for events - casual steampunk styles are popular amongst Steampunk Goths, because these outfits are more suited to streetwear and allow these Goths to keep their 'look' every day.

Many staples of steampunk fashion are already popular amongst Goths - corsets, top hats, bustles, granny boots, and goggles - and so adding a steampunk-esque twist to a Gothic wardrobe is not overly difficult, particularly if you are already a Victorian or Neo-Victorian Goth, as there are many similarities in style. Motifs such as keys, cogs, octopi (what's that all about, anyway?), stripes and clocks appeal to Goths as well as steampunks for their antiquated charm.
I will *not* make a 'big weapon' joke.
Source: Tumblr
When not reading Jane Austen or Gail Carriger novels, shopping for ray guns or attaching lace to something stripey, Steampunk Goths are as likely to be found at large conventions or steampunk events as Goth clubs and festivals, and probably enjoy a selection of music popular amongst both subcultures, such as sepiachord, cello rock, violindustrial and dark cabaret. Bands associated with this subgenre may include Abney Park, Rasputina, The Clockwork Dolls, Vermilion Lies, Dresden Dolls, Circus Contraption, China Steamengine and Toy-Box Trio.

Saturday's work outfit (yes, I work Saturdays, no rest for the wicked *arf arf*).
Crap photo. Sorry about that.
Boots: Peacocks sale, £20
Petticoat: Foxtrot Vintage & Retro, £20
Belt: gift
Leggings: freebie from a charity shop
T-shirt: The Birthday Massacre gig, £20
Wristband: gift
Odd gloves: one from New Look, £1.50 pair, one from Claire's, £4 pair
Tiara: charity shop bridal section, £9.95
'Wish' necklace: Primark sale, £1.50

P.S. What madness is this?! o.O

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Why Goth doesn't have to be girly

This was not today's intended topic, but I have one or two persistent readers who are concerned about getting involved with Goth whilst retaining their preferred tomboy image. Dear anonymous reader(s?), you can relax, I had not forgotten about you! :-)

It seems that there may be two main images that come to mind when people think of Goth girls (yes, this will be a post specifically for the girls - some of my fashion posts are 'unisex' but I'm sure that you male Goths don't need any help retaining a less feminine image if that's your style!) - either a PVC-clad, sultry strumpet rocking her high heels and tight-laced basque or a melancholy romantic type in long swishy skirts and lace gloves.

But this is far from the be-all and end-all of Goth fashion for ladies, and if your preferred style is leather jackets rather than lacy capes, or black band tees rather than beribboned corsets, you are NOT alone.

Some Goth styles such as punk/old-school Goth and deathrock are based on a more punk image, featuring ripped clothing, combat boots, and safety-pins galore; whilst this look doesn't have to be unfeminine it may appeal to some Goths of a more tomboy-ish persuasion. However, the above-mentioned styles often involve a lot of jewellery, make-up and elaborate big hairstyles, which may not be ideal for Goths who'd feel more at home in jeans and a T-shirt.

The styles I would recommend most to Goths who don't want to be girly are those associated with Industrial subculture (baggy trousers, camo print, heavy boots, little or no make-up, spiked wristbands and a plain black T-shirt or tank top would create an Industrial Goth look for a tomboy type to be proud of. Rivethead girls have been described on Wikipedia thusly: "Industrial women, who were fewer in number, tended to wear waist-cinching corsets, small tank tops or 'wife-beaters,' trousers, and sometimes suspenders hanging down off the pants. They also wore goggles and sometimes shaved their heads.") and casual Goth (for example, skinny or ripped jeans, boots and a black T-shirt of any design - a very simple, pared-down look easily tailored to your personal preference).

The falls and make-up? Girly.
Spikes, shorts, and stompy boots? A perfect template for a more tomboyish look.
Source: VampireFreaks
Do Goth girls have to wear make-up? No. Do they have to wiggle about in high heels and frilly skirts? No. The best thing about Goth fashion is how versatile it is and how easily you can create your own style based on exactly what YOU like. If your day-to-day attire is a pair of jeans or shorts, a hoodie, and a T-shirt, dye it black and pop on  a pair of fishnet gloves, and voila, you have Tomboy Goth. Think zombies, skulls, flames and check prints rather than faeries, sparkly bats, hearts and polka dots and you're already on the right track.

Accessories for the tomboy Goth might include fingerless gloves, wristbands, studded belts, and striped or skull-patterned ties and socks. If you're comfortable in trainers (sneakers) or skate shoes and don't want to buy boots, that's absolutely fine and not the end of the world, a pair of black Vans, Converse or Sketchers will not get you shunned from the Goth subculture. If you do want a pair of boots, try army surplus stores or thrift stores for some plain black boots that can withstand a battering. Also, Bondage pants may be a mallgoth staple, but they're a good way of incorporating Goth into your style without being particularly feminine.

A tomboy reader also noted that she was interested in Medieval Goth style, but found it too girly to feel comfortable wearing it. My advice to this reader would be to take her cues from the male 'version' of Medieval Goth fashion; loose-fitting Medieval-style breeches, boots, and a pirate shirt, perhaps?

If you're not a girly-girl, don't worry about it - grab some skull-patterned T-shirts and your favouite jeans and make Goth work for YOU.

Oh, and here's an outfit of mine from Friday:
Necklace: Claire's, £4
T-shirt: The Sophie Lancaster Foundation at DV8 Fest, £15
Belt: random alt store, £25
Skirt: Sai Sai, Camden, £20
Green wristband: Riverside Gifts, Salisbury, can't remember price
Thin black wristband: gift
Black NBC wristband: charity shop, £2
Glittery spiked wristband: exchanged with a friend for a plain black one when I was about 12...
Tights: Marks and Spencer, £8.50 (not seen)
Boots: Peacocks sale, £20 (not seen)

Saturday, 23 July 2011

A little 'help' from my friends, tentacle hat, and other things

Thanks everyone for supporting Darkside International, I've had loads of volunteers so that's brilliant! I'm keeping the next person on my list o'doom a secret, but I will hopefully be contacting them shortly so they know I'll be lurking about on their blog for a while... ;-) Please remember, fellow bloggers, I can't contact you unless you have given me an e-mail address as comments other people's blogs don't always work for me. PLEASE, if you volunteered for interviewing, either leave me your e-mail address or ask for mine in the comments. Thanks. ^^
Now, this is a very 'bitty' post, which I hate doing, but there are a few little things I wanted to post today so I'm squidging them all in together. Forgive?

1. An amazing hat - please vote for a talented lady
I have something to share with you guys (no, not preggers! Nothing like that, actually). As I was drooling over Gothic Charm School's Tumblr this week, I came across something utterly delightful!

A lady named Megan Bishop has entered a competition created by headwear genius Stephen Jones wherein hat designers and aspiring milliners can submit a photograph or illustration of their originally designed hat for the chance to be a part of Hats: An Anthology, an exhibition hosted by the Bard Graduate Centre in New York. The selected hat will be displayed in the Bard Graduate Center Gallery as part of the exhibition. Oh, and the winner also gets an internship with Stephen Jones.

The winner will be chosen by a judging panel, but special consideration will be given to the top-voted entries. To clarify, I don't know Megan, have never met or spoken to her and we are not affliated in any way. But I am going to vote for Megan, and I am re-blogging this in the hope that some of you guys will too! Why? Because Jillian Venters re-blogged a picture of Megan's entry, and it is AMAZING.

I need a tentacle hat in my life. I really do. You will be able to vote for Megan here after August 11. And if you feel like being W.O.W.E.D., check out her portfolio here. My favourites are (deep breath now): the teacup hat, the toadstool hat, the bunny hat, the stripy top hat with feather, the soldier-style hat, the hat with the freaking pirate ship on it (!), and the big black bonnet. If anyone knows where I can buy Megan's hats, please let me know.

Megan says, "Please support my Octopus Tentacle hat design in this amazing competition to win a millinery internship in London with Stephen Jones! Please support my design by visiting my page and reblogging~!
Thank you so much, every reblog and heart of my work means so much.  <3 to you all!"

Vote for Megan!

Oh, and a hint to Gothy milliners reading this - my birthday is September 19th. And I like reviewing things (look out for many, many photos and reviews coming now I have my new camera...). That is all.

2. Things For Sale, coming shortly
Speaking of new camera - there will be Things For Sale coming from the depths of my closet(s) over the next couple of weeks, if you are looking for random items of black clothing at cheap prices, please keep an eye open. I may ship to other countries depending on how expensive P&P turns out (don't get me wrong, I will charge for P&P but, for example shipping to Belarus is £41 which I don't really think is worthwhile for, say, a £5 item...), please ask if you're interested!

3. A little 'help' from my friends...
Every Saturday lunchtime, my dad meets me from work and we walk to a nearby cafe called Boswells. Each week, a little old dear in a Salvation Army uniform GLARES at me over her cup of tea. Relentlessly. No matter how much I smile politely and try to ignore her and get on with my mocha/chocolate milkshake.

This doesn't bother me quite as much as it amuses me, although I imagine that if I were a Christian Goth I might be more offended by a fellow Christian judging me based on appearances alone. However, today I couldn't resist texting several of my friends about the woman's continual application of the old-lady evil eye, and the responses I received made me laugh so I thought I would share them!

Jodie's tip: "LOL. Just stare back!"

Mum's tip: "The temptation to say as you pass, 'It's OK, God will forgive you your judgement of others, even though that's His job,' must be quite strong."

Sioux's tip: "Bloody cheeky cow! Smile sweetly at her and make the sign of the cross..."

So there you have it... a little advice from my loved ones!

4. An outfit...
I'm slightly behind on outfit posts, this is from Thursday. I'm at my nan's house, I walk to work from Nan's place.

I was trying to show off my new jeans, which are an amazing black/violet dye effect! No luck...
Jeans: Jennifer Fashion, via charity shop, £3.41 (staff discount, heheheh...)
Belt: random alt shop, £25 (I really get my money's worth out of this belt...)
T-shirt (The Eden House): concert, £10
Gloves: Claire's, £4
Wristbands: gifts
Necklace: gift, given during my second attempt at experimenting with Goth, when I was aged about ten.
Batty hair bow (not really visible): gift (came in a coffin-shaped gift bag with a whole load of other lovelies that my nan got me for Christmas one year)
New Rocks (not seen): skip

Friday, 22 July 2011

Darkside International: The Green Fairy, Australia

May I present to you the first edition of Darkside International? My very first victim is the astonishingly-well-dressed Steph, whom you may know as The Green Fairy if you follow her blog If I Only Were A Goth. I was delighted when Steph agreed to be my guinea pig for this series of interviews as I think she is an amazing style icon (despite living in Australia; how do you Aussie Goths survive summer?!) and all-round fabulous person - how could I miss out on the chance to interview a green-haired absinthe-quaffing glitter-eyebrowed Australian Gothess? Obviously, I couldn't.

Without further ado, presenting Steph:

Photo (c) Gracie Johns
Gracie's blog
In our Blogger community, you're almost infamous for your fashion sense. Not only are you a poster girl for Goth night Chrome, but you recently won Best Dressed at the Motherland event (not that I'm jealous ;-)). Are there any style tips you could impart for those of us who admire your style?

Infamous? Wow I’m not sure I’d go that far, but thank you! ^_^  To be honest I think I was only a poster girl for Chrome that one time because my friend Nick (one of the guys that runs Chrome) was a little disorganised and therefore desperate :p But I still think it’s really neat and hope I get similar opportunaties in the future! P.S. Motherland..oh man, so unexpected and so freaking awesome. I was in shock!
Style tips...Hmm, okay well firstly I’d like to state that glitter doesn’t have to be immature or make you look like a dragqueen! Some may disagree, but I don’t consider myself immature or dragqueen-esque. :p
Second of all, shaved parts of your head are the new black! Well... They are for me :p I feel getting a mohawk/deathhawk haircut was the best hair-related decision I ever made.
Less is more when it comes to being skanky... Hmm, I don’t think that sentence quite works the way I want it to, but what I mean is show as little skin as possible to make you feel comfortable. Keeps the mystery. Mystery is sexy. Mmmhmmm.
Everywhere you go, enquire if they do have done/would be interested in doing custom work - ‘cause then you could get something one of a kind! And it never hurts to ask.
You know when Coco Chanel said “Before leaving the house, a lady should look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” Well, I’ve never been a big fan of ol’ Coco, so I do the exact opposite :p I feel my outfits are all about texture, and so I try to get a bit of everything goin’ on.
When I’m doing my make-up, I’m a really big follower of the concept of only accentuating one feature on your face. Seeing as my lips aren’t really what I describe as plush, I tend to choose my eyes if I’m going to be wearing a lot of make up. Although I believe that goth make-up sometimes requires you to go a bit over the top, there is still such a thing as going too far over the top :p
Your green hair and Victorian-esque clothing create a very striking look - what sort of reactions do you receive from people in your area day to day?
Why thank you, Amy! Haha - in my area? Well let me put this in perspective for you. I live in a small city called Orange with a population of about 22,000 bogans people in the Australian country. Let’s just say, people aren’t exactly what I would call open minded. I try and avoid going into town as much as possible (see, actually, I don’t even live in Orange! I live in a shed, on a property outside Orange).
I only brave the streets for a visit to the post office to pick up my online shopping goodies or to refresh my Red Bull supplies. However, when I do, I endure people yelling obscenities or stupidly obvious comments. This I barely notice nowadays, however if I go out to the pub with friends things tend to be a lot worse; hence why I rarely go out here anymore. People abuse me, whether it be verbally or even sometimes physically. I’ve had drinks thrown on me several times and once when I was walking to the cab rank I had two guys practically attempt to rape me, whilst two cops sitting in a car about 20 metres away laughed.
Let’s just say my opinions of this place and law enforcement aren’t exactly sky high.
Readers of your blog are already aware of your Gallery Serpentine addiction! Are there any other stores or designers that hold a Steph seal of approval?
Oh yes I love Gallery so much, you’re right! Um, let’s see. I recently discovered Mother of London and The Imaginarium Apparel; both of which are radical and stylish labels (not to mention expensive :p). But some all time faves of mine include Tentacle Threads, Black Milk, Fanplusfriend, Boom!Boom!Baby and Love Child Boudoir.
Who or what inspires you? (In fashion or otherwise.)
Oh Amy you’re not helping me trying not to be too long winded in my answers! :p (Amy's note: Good!)
Fashion wise I’m inspired by such people as Jenni Wimmerstedt (perhaps better known as Adora Batbrat’s sister Cienwen Noor), Antoinette Johnson, Anachronaut, Emilie Autumn, Amelia Arsenic, Marie Antoinette, G.D. Falksen, Pyr...The list goes on..
Some of these may also fall into style icons that inspire me. Style doesn’t necessarily have to include any dress sense as such, more how they conduct themselves or how they live(d) their lives be them real, fictional, dead or alive. They include such people as Oscar Wilde, Albus Dumbledore, Jean Luc Picard, Lord George Byron, Nikolai Tesla, Dorian Gray, Stephen Hawking and...I’ll end it there.
And... I know it’s kind’a corny, but when I get home late on a clear night, I find myself transfixed by the celestial bodies in the sky for such long periods of time. They inspire me greatly. If I’ve had a bad day, it’s really good at putting things in perspective. The universe is so massive, and I am so small, and the horrid thing that someone may have said or done is even smaller, so really... who cares? Besides, my lifetime in relation to the timeline of our universe is miniscule; so I’ve got no time to waste being upset about some douchebag who probably doesn’t know a thing about who I am beyond what they can see with their eyes. Though, the stars may not be as visible to you cityfolk - it’s definitely something I miss when I move in September!)
What advice would you like to give your babybat self?
That Dani Filth isn’t someone you want to take make up advice from and that corsets and blue jeans should NEVER be worn together :p 
You attend lots of events - what's 'the scene' like in your area? (Snarky/welcoming, casual/dressed-up etc.) What events would you recommend to readers near you?
In my immediate area, ‘the scene’ is a bunch of teen emos; i.e. there is none :p
I travel rather long distances to go to events. Chrome for example is in Canberra, about 3.5 hours drive from me. Sydney is about 4.5, however my recent trip for Motherland and to meet up with Kitty was a 14 hour round trip because of issues with blocked transport in the mountains between here and there. It wasn’t exactly pleasent when your iPod doesn’t last the distance (thank god my birthday is coming up; time for a new one!)
I have yet to encounter a goth event that wasn’t predominantly welcoming. Although Cabaret Nocturne in Melbourne wasn’t fantastic, but I also didn’t know anyone at the event so I blame that.  
I’ve generally found that most people go to a lot of effort with their outfits at the events I go to, and I for one appreciate the eyecandy. Plus someone’s outfit can always be a topic to break the ice with a stranger. Don’t people love to be complimented? I know I do, and when you go to as much effort to style yourself for an event as myself and many of you other lovelies out there do; I think it needs recognition.
Events I would recommend for people near me...Well if you’re willing to travel there’s Chrome and Null in Canberra as well as Le Chat Noir sometimes, in Sydney there’s a wide variety of events that aren’t always repeated but the regular ones are Black Cherry, Shallow Nation, Dark Salvation and Steam Engine. I’m only really aware of Cabaret Nocturne in Melbourne but I’ll be able to fill in the Aussies on more once I’m living there in September!
What bands are you into at the moment?
I’ve recently re-discovered my love of Voltaire and am ridiculously excited about his new album in the works. Similarly my obsession with Shiv-R has been reignited following their performance at Motherland. They also have a new album due out later this year which I’m dying to get my hands on.
I’ve also been playing a lot of And One, The Beatles, Nachtmahr, Piggy D, Reaper and Freakangel.
I know it's a hugely ambiguous question, but... what does Goth mean to you?
Goth to me is being a peacock amoungst a murmuration of starlings.
What's the most memorable event you've ever attended, and why?
Ooo that’s a tough one! I really enjoyed my first Chrome, because really it was my first goth event ever. I dressed and made-up my entire college floor and took them en masse to the goth-themed night. It was really awesome! We all danced and played pool and then ended up in Chicken Gormet at 3 in the morning. The expressions on the faces of the staff was priceless.
How do you think Goth culture will change over the next few years? What would you change about it, and why?
I feel that subcultures such as Steampunk are on the rise. I have to admit this surge in popularity in Steampunk annoyed me at first, but I’ve come to realise that just as it is in the goth scene, those that are steampunk ‘to the bone’ so to speak stand out like a sore thumb amongst those who are just participating because it’s the latest fad.
Similarly I feel the goth scene will have to soldier on through this facination hipsters seem to have with goth at the moment, but I’m fairly sure it’s short lived.
I would change this stigma of heightened sexuality that seems to run riot through the goth community. Not all of us are slutty kink-mongerers!
Tell us about your passion for photography - what attracted you, what inspires you?
My friends and I were the biggest camera whores for as long as I can remember (I mean this in the best possible way!) In our spare time we made films and everywhere we went there was at least one camera for every person present. I used to roam around my paddock taking photos, but for a long time I didn’t understand that better cameras took better photos :p (I didn’t even know about SLR’s till I was in my teens!) Once I did however I fawned over them and always made a point to talk to photographers if I saw them whenever I went anywhere.
I didn’t get my own digital camera till 2005, before then I used to only get the use of one when I went on school excusions and mum would shout me a disposible one. It was always the camera I looked forward to more than the school trip itself; even if it was somewhere I considered fun at the time. This genesis digital camera was a brick and took AA batteries (literally every 5 shots you took you needed to change the bloody batteries!) But I adored it because it was all mine. Though I wonder if I could have bought my own SLR several years earlier if I have had saved all the money from the batteries I bought :p
For those of you who read my blog, you may notice that I mention my friend Gracie alot. I’ve known her since I was 5 years old and in our first year out of school Grace was fortunate enough to get a job at a photo-based newspaper (I went for one at the competeing paper but I’m so glad I didn’t get it now!) Anyway Grace learnt a lot about photography from her job, and so myself and our other friends mimicked her newly learnt abilities. SLR’s were always lying around wherever we were at this time so I was quite familiar with the use of one when I finally bought my own just before I began uni.
So I guess in summary, what initially attracted me was the way I could share the passion with those closest to me. I mean, I was always a little bit photo mad; trawling through my Nanna’s old pictures and always getting in trouble for snooping in people’s photo albums when I was a kid, but until I realised my friends were just as crazy about it I never really thought about creating my own little captured memories.
Inspiration wise I guess relates back to your previous question about my facination with... well, the world around me. I always tried to capture the beauty I saw through my eyes through the lens. Unfortunately, I’m not good enough and I’m not sure I ever will be to achieve this.
(Amy does this sound WAY too pretentious to you? :p) (Amy's note: was I supposed to delete that bit? Heheh...XD Sorry, Steph, it's cute, I'm keeping it!) 
Image (c) Rodney Shrimpton
What are your other main interests?
Blogging :p... Stalking blogs, refreshing my stats on Blogger every 5 seconds, Facebook, reading stories on PYSIH (People You'll See In Hell), playing with make-up, shopping online, anime, attending goth and/or steampunk related events, partying in general and thinking... I can’t convey how much time I waste just sitting lost in thought. Thoughts about the future, about the meaning of life, what it would be like to inhabit other people. I’m trying to describe this to you all without sounding ridiculously pretentious but I have a bad feeling I’m failing :p.
Would you describe yourself as body confident? Do you have any hang-ups?
Body Confident? Definitely not. Like... I can’t even describe to you how... not :p I never show any flesh bar my face, hands and sometimes a bit of my neck (unless it’s summer then I might wear a singlet but still with a jabot and full length tights under my pants :p)
I’m practically a never-nude, so... It might be faster to tell you which parts of my body I’m not ‘hung up’ on :p Mainly I guess it would be my stomach area, because I hate it but I also despise the chest area in general. If I had my way there would never be so much as another shot of cleavage or an exposure of breasticles so long as I lived. I can think of nothing more revolting than seeing a woman with her ‘tits hangin’ out’ if I may be so crass and a bunch of slack-jawed bogans drooling over them like a pack of mongrel dogs over a meaty bone. Ergh. PUT THEM AWAY!
You wear PVC to work! What do you do? Do you enjoy it? Has your style ever caused any issues at work?
Haha yeah that was a fun day. I don’t do anything special really. I work at a document scanning business where we turn sensitive kinds of physical documents from things like hospitals, correcional facilities etc into PDF files. Do I enjoy it? Haha, hell no. It’s incredibly boring for anyone with an IQ above...well, 10. This is because it’s repetitive as all hell. You’re either flicking through pages looking for staples and post it notes, feeding paper into scanners, doing data entry and deleting blank pages or checking that everyone else is doing their job right.
So yes, as you can see my everyday life is in no way glamorous! But it’s money for living, pretty things and travelling; plus everyone is really really nice and I work with heaps of young hip people (for example one of my work mates just got a record deal!) Haha heavens no! Everyone loves my style - or so they say. The only rule they have is that you wear closed shoes seeing as there’s a lot of box/file carrying and what not.
What do you think your 'last words' will be?
Geez, I can’t say I’ve ever really thought about it, but from what I recently learnt about what happens when you’re alone with the mortician after you die I can easily imagine begging my loved ones to ensure the funeral home staff get nowhere near my ‘bits’ with a needle and thread. Other than that I’d probably be pretty unoriginal and tell everyone I love them J

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Another man's poison

Ohmigoth, you guys, I have guest posts and interviews coming out of my ears! Thanks so much!

Source: Tumblr
Today's post is inspired by a recent argument that I had with my mother about my eyebrows. Yes, seriously. Y'see, I decided not to grow my eyebrows back after all when I realised that I like my make-up much much better without any actual eyebrow hair getting in the way.

Mum was... not pleased.

Which struck me as odd, considering she puts up with and often encourages all my other random acts of aesthetic self-expression. In fact, I can list on the fingers of one hand the things I have done that she disapproves of. Please bear in mind that I have previously had blue hair, I have seventeen piercings, and am currently growing out my undershave. Yet my mother has only expressed disapproval towards:
  • my tongue stud. I was actually forbidden to get my tongue pierced. Being sixteen at the time, I went ahead and got it done anyway.
  • my tattoo.
  • apparently, my lack of eyebrows.
And this got me to thinking. I remembered that a girl I was friends with a few years back clashed with her parents during a short-lived experimentation with Goth; they didn't mind how she dressed, as long as she didn't wear any Goth make-up, in particular black lipstick. One acquaintance of mine was allowed to dress as Goth as she liked - except when visiting friends' houses, because her parents felt that it was 'disrespectful' for her to go into other people's houses wearing Goth-style clothing. To me, this seemed kind of bizarre.

Garments such as bloomers and corsets are areas of consternation for some parents - my mum originally worried that if I went to work in bloomers, old ladies might be alarmed by me, effectively, running around in what would have been underwear a few decades past. Many parents feel that corsets (and fishnets) give too sexualised a message.

It's funny how everyone has different things that they will and won't accept. "One man's meat is another man's poison," as they say. I was wondering if anyone reading this has had clashes with their parents or other family members over odd things like eyebrows (or lack thereof), or bloomers. Or if anyone's family had seemingly strange rules about what they will and won't permit.

By the way, are you bored of these daily outfit posts yet? I'm worried I may be overdoing it a little this week. In any case, here's me off to work yesterday. I wonder why people are sometimes surprised to learn that I often act as shop manager...

Skirt: Hell Bunny, Electric Ballroom Market (Camden), £20
T-shirt: Playdead Cult, The Sharp Practise, £20
Belt: random alt store, £25
Bow tights: Tesco's, £1.50 (half price)
Choker: gift
Boots: skip
Gloves (odd): one is from New Look, £1.50 pair, one is from Claire's, £4 pair
Hair clips: Thriller, £1.50 each
Hair falls: DV8 Fest trader, £35 pair
Coffin bag: gift
Jacket: New Look sale, I forget how much
Umbrella: Diamonds and Pearls, £6.99

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Open-mindedness and hypocrisy: a rant

Here's another of my angst-ridden rants from the Piczo site. Melodrama aside, there might be a couple of good points here.

Source: YouTube
Today's subject - Goths and other alternative types who complain about how they're being discriminated against, and then do exactly the same thing to other people. For example, I know a couple of Goths (naming no names here) who were calling emos 'freaks' and 'losers', and then got upset when someone else said pretty much the same thing to them.

Aren't we always saying that we wish people wouldn't judge us by the actions of one or two (mallgoths)? That calling us freaks, weirdos etc., isn't fair? That judging us by the way we look or dress isn't fair, either?

Just because you don't like the way someone's dressed DOES NOT give you the right to comment on it. Goths and alternatives should know this better than anyone. We're on the receiving end of that kind of comment, day in, day out. It's irritating. It's spiteful. It can be hurtful. We don't like it when people do it to us - so why should we turn round and do it to other people?

Just because one 'chav' or 'bogan' picks on you doesn't mean they're all the same. Two of my very closest friends are chavs. One of my chav friends was horrified when I told her about what Goths and other alternatives sometimes have to put up with from ignorant people. Just because someone belongs to a mainstream subculture doesn't mean they can't be a nice person or a good friend.

Goths pride themselves on having open minds. So why are there a few who can't seem to extend this so-called open-mindedness outside their own subculture? Other people deserve the same respect that we do - UNTIL they prove otherwise. Sure, if they're hurling abuse at you, then you shouldn't waste your time on them. But WHY do some people think it's OK to stoop to this level? Why, when there are organisations fighting for our rights - the Gothic Liberation Front and the S.O.P.H.I.E campaign - do we undermine them by acting as badly as those who pick on us?

If you don't like the way someone dresses, why don't you exercise that open-minded attitude that is intrinsic to our scene, and look past it. You can't know what someone is like by what's on the outside. If everyone stopped being so prejudiced and judgemental, this world would be a far better place to live for all of us. But it needs to start here. If we go round picking on them, then we're not just as bad as them - we're worse. Because WE are the ones who complain about discrimination. We are the hypocrites, if that is how we're going to behave.

If we change - if we keep an open mind - then maybe it won't go unnoticed. If even one person thinks, "Hey, maybe those Goths aren't so bad after all - they're a pretty tolerant, unprejudiced lot," then that's one more person who might step in if a Goth is attacked in the future. One more person who might support one of the campaigns I mentioned above. It makes a difference.

/end melodrama.

Advance warning! New thing, starting soon... Darkside International will be my cheesily-named series of interviews with Goths around the world, focusing on their personal style, the scene near them, their interests and inspirations. I've already rounded up a first victim... if anyone else would care to volunteer to be blog-stalked (so I know what questions to ask!) and featured as part of Darkside International, let me know - drop me a comment with your URL and e-mail, please. Also, I've had no takers for a guest post this month - if anyone thinks they can scribble me something before August 1st do let me know!
Yesterday's outfit!
Tights: no idea, self-ripped (the amount of little old ladies who come up to me and, with genuine concern, say, "Did you know you've got a hole in your tights, dear?"...)
Skirt: New Look sale, £3
Belt: random alt shop, £25
T-shirt: Primark, £6
Omen shirt (worn underneath): charity shop, £8.99
Necklace: British Heart Foundation new goods, £3.99
Hair extension: Claire's, £15
Hair clips: Thriller, £1.50 each

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Love Letters and Panic! at the Disco, Portsmouth, 15.5.11

Hi darklings! I'm looking forward to a great day today; coffee with my chums Bronwyn and Sioux, then hopefully meeting Dan later if he can manage to escape from work... ^^ My dye job went great yesterday, I did take some pics to show you but it doesn't really show up too well... suffice to say my roots are now a pinky-purply-red colour, which I'm really pleased with.

Anyhoo. As you may know, the last concert I attended was a Panic! at the Disco gig in Portsmouth. I debated over whether or not to review it here as obviously Panic! aren't at all Goth, but I would definitely squeeze them into the 'alternative rock' category. I also know that there are Goths other than me who like their music; I love the Vaudevillian undertones and their current almost Neo-Victorian tinged style. Plus, extra kudos to Brendan and the boys for wearing bowties and braces on stage. I do love a gentleman in proper attire. ;-)

I went with my friends Bronwyn, Rowenna and Shirley - we really struggled to get tickets. Ro spent hours on the laptop the day they went on sale trying to hunt some down for us, and eventually we were successful! We arrived in Portsmouth with almost an hour to wait in the freezing cold.

I mentioned in a previous post that I was somewhat startled to see how the alt rock fanbase has changed over the years - where once upon a time the queue snaking right out of the building and around the car park would have consisted of black-clad, multipierced emo teens and babybats, I was now facing the stares of several hundred Converse-clad Twihards with bouffant blonde hair. Yikes.

Nevertheless, we made it into the building unscathed, if a bit chilly, and beelined straight for the merch stall. The support band, Love Letters, came on almost straight away, which was nice. Usually at relatively big-name gigs there is half an hour, at least, of arsing around before anyone takes the stage.

Love Letters seem to be a little-known band, mixing alt rock and rap in the manner of Linkin Park. Certainly not to the tastes of every Gothling, but I thought they were good fun. Energetic, talented, and tuneful enough to bounce around to. I will probably be downloading their track 'Back to the Animal', if I can ever find it.

They were only on stage for about fifteen minutes - then they handed over to Panic!, who stepped on stage to roars from the predominantly pre-teen audience.

Before I go on to rave about what an excellent performance the headliners gave, allow me to take a moment to discuss a definite peeve that we had during the show. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Panic!'s sound is not really appropriate for moshing, right? Secondly, if you are a thirteen-year-old idiot who insists on flailing around as though he's at an Iron Maiden gig, please do attempt to slam into the other people who are participating in your sad attempt at a mosh pit, not the people around you who are trying to watch the band in peace. Some fans ended up spending half the damn gig trying to stand upright with plonkers slamming into us from every direction, which was a pain in the bottom, and it wasn't much fun having to try and shield the smaller, younger girls next to us who were worried about getting hurt. The guys moshing at Die So Fluid had enough manners not to catapult themselves into everyone else, plus I stand by my opinion that Panic! is perhaps not the most suitable band to mosh to...

On the slightly funnier side, when one lad slammed into me hard enough to knock me over and Bronwyn tried to push him off me, she ended up giving ME a shove instead, sending me straight into the middle of the 'mosh pit' (sarcastic quote marks). I'll never forget the expression of horror on her face!

All photos taken by Bronwyn.
Brendan treated us to a display of his skills on keyboard, guitar and drums as well as vocals, all whilst being as charming and chatty (not to mention witty) as a gentleman in a bowtie should be. I was pleased to see that as well as crowd-pleaser favourites (no, Brendan, these people still haven't heard of CLOSING THE GODDAMN DOOR), including the song that got me hooked on Panic!, Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off, and tracks from the new album, the band didn't neglect to play some songs from my favourite Panic! album Pretty. Odd. It's so offbeat and weird, I just love it! <3
This was a really fantastic gig - I feel that Panic! are often underrated in the alt scenes because of their mainstream appeal and irritating pre-teen fanbase. I love how their sound has developed from emo-esque alt rock to something a little more bizarre and cabaret. Would I be blaspheming if I suggested that fans of Rasputina and their ilk check out Pretty. Odd.? Probably.

Nevertheless, an amazing band to see live, Brendan is charismatic in the extreme which makes him wonderful to watch. There was a lot of banter between the band members, and although I'm not convinced that some of the jokes made to the audience weren't scripted, they were funny. Couldn't have been a better show.

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