Being 'born Goth' might be a vaguely ridiculous notion - no, you didn't spring from the womb wearing shades and pop straight into nappies trimmed in black lace - but I have a theory that, for many, maybe even the majority of, Goths, the 'warning signs' were there very early, for the knowledgeable onlooker to spot...
- We all have some pop skeletons in our musical closets, especially from those pre-Goth years, but were you, from an early age, attracted to music that had 'spooky' themes, minor chords, or an overall dark, creepy or melancholy feeling? I'm not saying, "Did you listen to the Banshees from the age of two?" because depending on the kind of household you grew up in, you probably didn't. But I was thinking back last night, and I realised that some of my favourite childhood tunes included the entire back catalogue of Enigma, 'Things That Go Bump in the Night' by AllStars, 'Dream On' by Depeche Mode and 'Wuthering Heights' by Kate Bush. If your child starts buying those Halloween music compilation CDs, you may have a budding Gothling on your hands.
- A strong interest in fantasy, sci-fi, and/or the supernatural. This on its own is not necessarily a warning sign of Gothdom, but I suspect I wasn't the only spooky kid who practically papered my room with images of faeries, unicorns and dragons and feverishly read everything I could get my hands on by Tamora Pierce, Tanith Lee and Robin Jarvis.
- It's a cliche, but as a child Halloween was the best night of the year for me - I won my hometown's costume competition five years in a row dressed as a wicked witch and was subsequently banned from entering. Before going to bed I would sneak peeks out of the window on the landing in case I caught a glimpse of a witch gliding across the night sky on her broomstick. Halloween began to pervade many areas of my life - I even insisted on bathing in a gloop called Witches' Brew, which turned the bathwater blue or green.
- Enjoyment of the mystical, occult, or historical. I acquired my first set of Tarot cards aged 10, and my mum would spend weekends taking me to look at standing stones (Avesbury Ring and Stonehenge are both within reasonable driving distance from my lair, um, house) or visit ruins or other historical sites. Folklore, too, is often a big draw for babygoths.
- Fascination with creepy creatures. Aged six, I joined the nature club at school so that I could go for bat-watching walks. Other young Goths might be intrigued by spiders, snakes, wolves, etc.
- Creativity. I have always loved writing both fiction and poetry, and did so almost continuously. Many young Goths are also doodlebugs - I have endless sketchbooks from my pre-teen years including drawings of unicorns, and, somewhat ominously, hooded figures standing in graveyards. Yeah, I was a cute kid. ^^
- Being the 'weird kid' at school. Way back in the primary school days, many of us might have been regarded as a weirdo, or loner. Even if we had a reasonably solid group of friends, interests such as reading, writing, and in my case during the late primary years, Wicca, were often enough to set a kid apart as 'strange'.
|Me, as 'The Littlest Witch', aged roughly 7|
Were you a creepy kid and obviously budding babybat? What 'warning signs' of Gothdom might your parents have spotted?
Goth gossip: Most heart-warming story of 2011 so far - sixteen-year-old Goth girl Sandra-Lee Prewitt has an inoperable heart condition, and for her prom, her grandmother secretly arranged for her to travel in a black-and-ivory horse-drawn hearse. Awesome grandma Mrs Prewitt told the Northern Echo, "Sandra-Lee has been very down recently because all of her friends are going to the prom in limos and she wasn’t able to get one. But she loves anything to do with goths, so I knew she would love this."
Check out Sandra's dress, ride, and semi-tearful delight in this vid from the Echo: