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Monday, 17 October 2011

The isolated Goth

I have had several requests from readers on the the same subject - how can a Gothling living in an area with no Goth scene and in fact no other Goths feel 'connected' with the scene and get more involved? There are many kinds of 'isolated' Goths - from young Goths who can't attend local clubs and events to those living in a small town with no Goth scene to those who live in countries where Goths are rarer than a decent cup of tea at a train station (railway tea sucks).

I feel I am in a good position to offer at least a little advice because I'm almost in the same situation. I live in suburban Hampshire; the nearest Goth club is half-an-hour away by train. Most of the other spooky types I meet tend to be gloomy babybats who seem offended by my willingness to crack a smile in public. In fact, part of the reason I started the Guide in the first place was to meet other Goths.

That's my first and biggest tip to solo spooky kids - get online. I know, I know, online friends aren't the same as having someone to go shopping with and get Gothed-up with (in my mid teens I longed for a Gothy friend to do things with that my other friends didn't really get the point of, like watching cheesy black-and-white B-movie horrors and customising clothing; if you listen carefully right now you'll hear the world's smallest violin playing just for me), but in the modern era with IM-ing and Skype, it's easy to feel part of a community.

Some Goth forums like Gothic.net have geographical boards where you can see if anyone else using the forum lives in your area. And of course it's possible that you will be able to arrange meet-ups with online Goth buddies (in fact, some of my fellow bloggers and I are discussing a get-together at Under the Blue Moon festival in 2013...). You may even be lucky and find a meet-up near you on the Goth Meetup board.

Getting out and about in your community may be daunting if you live in a small(minded) town, but if you can find a way to do it in a safe place (e.g. volunteering or joining a club or group) you will stand more chance of meeting other people with the same interests. I volunteer in a charity shop and recently, by chance, became friends with a very nice Goth couple who wandered in one sunny afternoon.

Keep your eyes open for Goth-interest events in your area - most areas at least have theatres, Halloween events, rock or metal nights (if there is no specific Goth night, many Goths will gravitate towards the local 80s, rock or metal nights. Or they may attend anyway because they like the music), craft fairs, art exhibitions, folk festivals or anime/sci-fi events. Even if you don't spot any other Goths attending, you may still meet someone with darker interests that echo your own.

If you're brave enough, perhaps arranging your own event or club night would draw other Goths to your area. Putting the word out on social networking sites about, say, a graveyard picnic in a site near you might draw other darkly-inclined types to you for a visit, and you can make yourself the charming host and make new friends as well.

Is travel an option for you? Most countries that have a reasonably-sized Goth scene have at least one event; as a yearly one-off perhaps you could put your savings towards making a pilgrimage.

Please feel free to share your own advice in the comments.

34 comments:

Dismantlynn said...

Lovely post. it can be so hard not to have fellow goths around. In high school I normally hung out with metal heads and a few emos here and there but it just is not the same... Online is truly the best place to meet other goths.

Lethia said...

Love it! In My town, There are barely any goths. SO, This will help me find some others. :)

Traicetrak said...

I live in one of those weird areas which you'd think would have some sort of goth or alternative scene, but if there is, it's well-hidden. Now & then at artistic events I'll see alternative people, but it's often hard to determine whether they're actually goth. Metal concerts bring out a bounty of mall goths, but that's it. There are no goth clubs or theme nights.

This weekend while out and about at a local art event, I stopped in for a bite at a favorite haunt. (Har har) As I was leaving, a server asked if I'd heard of Rasputina coming to a local club, and it started a conversation. I don't know that anything ever gave away my interests other than how I dress sometimes, so it really surprised me. And always being in uniform, the only hint to her alternative leanings were her ear piercings. So, sometimes just looking different is enough to draw people to you. I think she & I may plan on going to the concert together. Hmm, maybe I should find out her name... LOL

Tip: Goth friendly artists are often going to be playing the type of events & venues that aren't widely advertised. You may have to keep watch on local, alternative newspapers or websites, or sign up for artists' email newsletters; watch artist websites for touring updates. Some may be passing through without your ever being aware.

btw, my captcha is "eviltsh." LOL Pronounce that for me, will ya?

Maeam said...

Indeed, I know for sure that I'm going to have to stick with the online community more than anything. It's a very complicated issue...

I also seem to keep missing spooky/alternative events happening in my town. Transportation is also an issue...

Excuses, excuses...

Nightwind said...

It's only recently that I started making Goth friends here. I knew that there was a local scene but no sooner would I discover the venue than it would shut down.

Recently, I joined a local Tea Society that meets once a month. It's a new group that is in existence to further inspire creative endeavors. Not everyone in the group is Goth, but some certainly are. Finally I'm getting connected with the right folks and I'm feeling quite happy about it.

Riskia said...

Ah yes, I am presently going through that... The closest Goth club is about 5 hours away by car... Ouch!

But I am still 15 years old, and it's very hard to get advice/clothes around here since the Goth style seems to almost be a sin! O_____O

The positive thing is that I look up to none other than our dear Amy! Your blog has given me so many good pointers and advice on staying as far away from the mallgoth stereotype as much as my region can permit! Thank you! ^,..,^

Anonymous said...

I've lurked on forums before but now methinks its time to actually TALK to people over the great internet I SHALL DEPART IMMEDIATELY TO DO SO

(its Sam from last.fm)

HalloweenQueen said...

like the last poster, most of my friends even now are metal heads and moshers, even my man is in a prog metal band. none if it is my secene at all. the most metal i get is nightwish..:o). but i love them to bits and i go to a lot of gigs even when its not my sort of music and im certainly not going to mosh...not in my wardrobe honey..iv met some fantastic people and i know a lot of people in bands (not the unemployed kind that never get a gig but say theyre in a band, actual recording artists), theres quite a big metal scene where i hang out but i like being one of very very few goths around here, i think in person i only have one friend who is goth but he's a VERY different kind of Goth from me. i think its good to have as many different and diverse friends as possible, its good for social development and learning and opening your mind and perspectives, although its good to find like minded people im not one for hanging around in a gagle of black.

Sp@dille said...

Smh... I know what you guys mean.. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have had people burst out into laughter... over what you ask? My innocent modified ribbon/choker around my neck... me asking to be assaulted by some 'mad-man' apaprently...
Then there's the issue that here people view anythign different as evil and troubling... needing to stop immediately... SMH... I'm not sure we HAVE any other Goths in this country....(now i'm just complaining)
*These blogs have really helped to keep me optimistic and to feel somewhat included in the 'online scene'... :D

Anonymous said...

Yes... its hard being the only goth I know! Especially since: 1, I go to a military school which = no goth dressing up, and 2, I am only 16, so there isnt going to be any clubbing for me. XD I just recently started being part of the 'scene' for lack of a better word, and I don't know anyone that is alternative. I want to find other Goths! I live in Arizona, USA btw... and if anyone wants to talk my email is nicksworld32@yahoo.com

:D
Niccolo

Hayley said...

Nice post! I definitely agree with the online thing because that is how I started getting into the goth scene.

Cherish said...

Great post!

As I'm 15 and in all my life and heavy research I've never heard of a Goth club anywhere around here, online is certainly the way to go.

Thanks so much for the tips!

-Cherish (Perth, Western Australia)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this post, Amy! I live in a big city, but the goth population is pretty close to nonexistant. Either that or they're all really good at hiding. There is exactly one goth club where I live, and from what I can tell from the website and other internet sources, it's a grungy little affair that attracts mallgoths like flies. One of these days I'd like to try it out, but right now while I'm still too young to drink (stupid US drinking laws. I'm a legal adult, dangit) I'm too lazy to make the effort. I'm looking forward to when I head off to college, because I often see the campuses crawling with spooky types. For now, I go shopping and geek out about gothy things with my sister. Like everybody else here, I hang out with the metalheads, otherwise. I never met a metalhead I didn't like (I'm a casual metal fan), but I notice they don't seem to have that melodramatic flare, oddly enough, and I miss that.

I never thought of the forum-locator-thingy. o.o Again, lovely article. Keep up the good work, Amy!

Maggie said...

Living in London, I have no problems whatsoever meeting fellow Goths, but it was a bit of a struggle in my home town of Gdansk, Poland. We had a monthly Goth club night, but otherwise there was not much going on. Perhaps this was the reason why Goth and metal scenes were so closely tied together and many, if not all, local Goths could easily be found in clubs catering for metalheads' tastes. Of course, there was the annual Castle Party, too, which was the highlight of the year. Internet? Back then, it was a luxury and a rarity to have it at home, so it was quite common to write old-fashioned letters (which I still enjoy, to be honest, every now and again). I once put an advert in an alternative music magazine and was flooded by letters from like-minded creatures. Oh, and at fantasy/sci-fi/manga conventions there were always a few darklings to be spotted :)

LucretiaLevi said...

My hometown is a little village where I never saw any goths around, just very few alternative peoble who liked metal (or what they thought was metal)
Now I live in Vienna (capital of Austria) and the Goth scene here isn´t huge, but it´s definitly alive. There are clubs, concerts and a friend of mine and me started to host "dark romantic picnics", a great occasion for meeting other goths outside of clubs. But the internet is still important for me to feel that I´m part of the community (that´s one reason why I love your blog, here are Goths from nearly all over the world, I think that´s amazing and I wish all of you a spooktacular day!)

Delirio said...

Hola!
I really feel identify with this... But I haven't found any goth/emo/metalhead living nearby... yet! (here in this small town near Madrid everyone is shy dressing)
So good luck to everyone (including me=)

Lady Euphoria Deathwatch said...

Hi Amy,

Thank you for addressing this issue. It has been one of mine for a very long time.

It got markedly worse after I couldn't drive any longer. And, My age doesn't have anything going for me.

Being an elder Goth is hard. The few friends we elders have are not-goths. And as they move on or die off, finding others willing to put up with our strangeness, seems next to impossible.

And lets face it, young people don't hang out with old farts, no matter how interesting that they may be.

There is also the fact that we elders want someone closer to our age who we don't have to explain 'everything' to.

We've 'been there' and moved on, grown, and distilled already.

Amy, you do such a great service here. I hope you don't ever stop doing it. Even when you've distilled and are explaining it for the umteenth time.

Hugs, Euphoria

linnea-maria said...

Oh I see them somethimes. I even have a few goth neighbours. But I'm definitely an isolated goth. The reason is first; my age, I'm 37 and a mum, every other goth I see is in their teens (so I really am the freaky one). Most of my friends are common people and a few including my partner are gothic metal fans. The second is that there is no scene at all here. If you go out in this town in middle of sweden you'll here rock, folk music or rockabilly. So thanks for the internet!!

ultimategothguide said...

Lady Euphoria - on the subject of young people and 'old farts', one of my best friends is in her sixties and so are two of my other close friends. (You would have seen my sixty-something friend in my birthday party picspam post if she hadn't been on holiday at the time.) But I do understand how an elder Goth might not want to take on the role of mentor for a younger Gothling; it wouldn't be quite the same as an equal friendship.

Thank you very much. :-)

Louise said...

Another isolated surburban Hampshire resident here (who actually found this blog by googling 'Southampton Goth' in a fruitless search for local events). I know one or two goths as very casual aquaintances, but I don't have any actual friends in the subculture, and there isn't really anyone around me at college I could try and get to know. This wouldn't be too much of a problem if I lived somewhere with Goth events that were friendly to people attending alone, but what little scene there is around here seems to revolve around clubbing, which leaves me with no easy 'way in', so to speak.

Having said that, though, I am seriously considering taking the plunge and going to Industrial Fallout, a local club event, even though chances are I'll be on my own. Industrial Fallout is, well, yeah, more an industrial event than it is Goth, but a hell of a lot of Goths go, and it really seems like the best option I have at the moment.

ultimategothguide said...

Hi Louise,

I'm not in Southampton but quite close by in a smaller town. Southampton is where I usually go to attend concerts, but I have to confess I also haven't had enough courage to attend Industrial Fallout yet, although I have wanted to for a while now. I usually drag one of my non-Goth friends or boyfriend with me to events; whilst this is great for concerts it's not so great when it comes to actually meeting and talking to other Goths!

I agree that the scene in Hampshire is not really ideal for solo Goths, everyone seems to know each other already!

Anyway, the point of this quite long comment is that as a local-ish Goth, if you ever want to chat, you can reach me by e-mail at ultimategothguide@hotmail.co.uk. =)

Louise said...

I'm not strictly in Southampton either, it's just my nearest city.

Yeah, I've thought about doing that in the past, but I always felt that with Fallout it would just end up being a bit awkward. They wouldn't want to be there at all, I'd know they didn't want to be there and would feel a bit responsible for keeping them happy as a result... not an ideal situation, really.

You're telling me. XD

Sure, I daresay I'll take you up on that at some stage. :)

Lady Ruby said...

I'd love to meet more Goths locally. I'm worried they may not see me as a 'real' goth, though, since outwardly I appear to be quite non-gothic. I like colour, and mainstream gear (with DIY work hehe) So, online will have to do.

Umbra Maya said...

thank you for raising this issue, Amy. i'm an indonesian and can you imagine it's freaking hard to find any real goths. every "goths" i've ever seen are babybats who think evanescence is gothic *_*, well I don't blame them anyway. and bunch of metalhead kids, emo, and punk. but like LadyRuby, I'm afraid if someday i meet a real goth they won't see me as 'real' because I don't look that dark. but I do enjoy a lot of goth bands from various genres, and have read Tennyson and Anne Rice before I even knew the word goth LOL.

Anonymous said...

Hi!

I'll start my comment by staying true to my real-life habit of giving too much information about myself to total strangers:

The extremely loooong history of depression has left me almost totally friendless and it's really hard for me to engage with new people. This hell is on it's way to happier times but it still sometimes reminds me of it's existence. While I really do not blame those friends who chose to go their own way, depression is a really shitty thing even to those who have to watch someone near and dear go through it, I love those few friends who have stood by me. That's propably why I haven't felt the need to have a goth friend. I have just been so extremely happy to have someone who seems to like me despite me being, well, me. :) It may help of course that all my friends are in their own way a bit odd.

Still, now that I am getting better and hopefully regaining some of my capabilities to social interaction and also as hopefully learning something new because, let's face it, I never was any good at conversing with people, it would be nice to discuss with other gothy types.

To sum up this unbeliavably incoherent sentence: Me want to talk to people!

Internet is kind of new to me and I have a huge difficulty to even comment things I read, like this, I overthink too much. This time I decided to not to think, that's propably why I overshare, I do that when I'm nervous.

Thank you, for pushing me with your article and all your comments! It really made me think, I seem not to be the only person in the world hungry for gothy conversation. I try to summon strength to visit some sites and even discuss with someone although the thought terrifies me. I'm safe in my bubble, see. True world, it seems, is out to get me.

Perhaps goths are of a world much more magical than this true one in which case I needn't worry.

Thus, I end my rant and apologise for the inconvenience.

-Kinky Ogre

InfiltratorN7 said...

Has anyone here used the netgoth map? It's UK based only but I've found it to be a useful tool over the years. It's a shame it's becoming less used to announce events as Facebook has increased in popularity and people just post there instead.

http://www.netgoth.org.uk/gothmap/

Anyway, to use the goth map just click on the county you want to know about and it will bring up all members living in that area, all gothy/alternative shops, clubs, pubs, mailing lists and events that are going on in date order. Hell, it even tells you whose birthdays are in the current month. If you click on a different item such as a shop it will give you details such as location and underneath members can post commentrs about how good it is.

A lot of information on it could do with updating but new stuff is still being posted so it's not dead yet! Maybe it'll be of use to someone. ^_^

Sorry this isn't much help to non-UK goths but maybe it'll spark someone into making an international version? That would be cool.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the post amy!
but i honestly have tried meeting friends online, and i guess i wasn't on the right sites , because i havn'tmade any goth friends online at all! :( and where i live, its a little town in the middle on no where.. i'm one of the two goths in my whole town, and while i do have some pretty amazing non-goth friends, like amy said it would be nice to have someone who would understand and be into a few of the goth related things i am....i guess i'll just have to wait until college....

-miss graves

Cherry Divine said...

My sister and I have had very very bad experiences working in charity shops. But I do like the idea of Goth Meetup board. Sounds a decent and promising way to making Gothic friends. And that is what my sister and I want. Decent dark friends that have great Gothic personalities. Does anybody else have any good ideas?

Anonymous said...

Art shows, nighttime swapmeets, concerts, and of course clubs are a great way to meet people. Online is great too but it doesn't hurt to google the new person you're chatting with.

Also to tell a little story: in high school there was a goth girl in my school that was a few grades younger than me so we never spoke in school. I friended her online and chatted about how the cliquey girls talked about how she dresses and how mean they were. I see her at a show and say hi to her. She's standing by the wall and just looks at me and proceeds to ignore me. Needless to say I never even tried to talk to her again.

Anonymous said...

I am moving to Las Vegas and am wondering if Goths exist there?
My cousin says that they are extinct at high schools and was wondering if this is true?
I'm sixteen, btw.


Thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm new to Therianism and love the goth culture, but I live in a VERY small town and have extremely controlling parents. I can't wait until I can move out and not have to live with all the secrets of who I really am. I'm a wolf at heart, but I can't tell them that... And my clothes are so limited! I want to be able to express myself and wear gothic attire and corsets and the like. Haha. That day can't come soon enough.

Sincerely, Allia Wolfehart. <3

The Prince Of Halloween said...

I completely feel what you are going through, as I myself are what seems the only goth in my neighbourhood. Through school I was able to find some kinda goth-ish friend, but I would love to make more. I am - alike you - a cheerful goth (the concept seems uncomprehensive for "narrow" minded individuals, or those who only think in stereotypes)
I would love to expand my little circle of friends (even a dark hearth can be a big one) and your tips really helped. For those goths who are on a similar quest here is my skype, feel free to add me just say you found this post and I will know, "vlad7271994"

Anonymous said...

I go to music school where despite
the fact I love the music, the people here are particularly snobbish and often call me slut/slag/any name under the sun that isn't my own, and make my life a misery because I dress differently and would rather stay in and watch a horror movie or read than go shopping and slap on a load of fake tan (I'm considered pretty much a vampire with my ultra pale skin and sun allergies). Is wearing mini skirts and doc martin's really such a crime? It's better than the non-existent shorts and bubblegum Hollister crap they wear. I'm thirteen so I don't really have much of a chance to investigate the Goth scene in Manchester (where my school is) and I'm struggling to cope with no friends. Great post - can't wait to hopefully meet some like minded people online. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Awesome writing. Your blog is very empowering! :) :)

When I was a little babybat I was yearning for some gothic company. I'm lucky to live in Manchester where there used to be quite a strong punk scene and also Urbis attracted all kinds of alternatives on saturdays. Jilly's Rockworld was the place to be when it was open (died off after the smoking ban sadly).

I have always found other normal (i call them normies) people boring and limited. No common interests makes conversation quite barren! Since then I've made connections with other gothic types through forums, facebook, myspace etc but nothing permanent. I do see them at gigs/clubs/events once in a blue moon but many of them are ELITISTS and frankly very pretentious! =z

It has been so hard "growing up" and "growing into goth" as you put it with barely any other *goths* in my local area. In fact I have literally dated all of the goth guy [population] within a 5-mile radius of my house LMAO (that means a whopping total of 2 :P rofl) :P

I actually think the worst thing is the Dicrimination within the ALT. scene itself. I have been discriminated against for being Mixed Race which is totally unacceptable. Some people even think "goth is for white people only" which is total horse manure.

My local alt. joint even went so far as to ban me and my family because he is a racist pig and pretty much hates the living daylights out of us and any other non-white people (he is a chav too wtf)
He doesn't even like alt. people and now hes attracting a chavvy crowd there so its gone to the dogs. Very, Very Sad Indeed.

The worst thing in the goth scene is ELITISM. I don't even talk to some of the "elites" I know (when I see them in town) because they are so condescending. They have their heads so far up their own ass*s!

It is a shame to see them judge and shun babybats and less "experienced" gothics with such a harsh attitude even though they had to go through the same torments. They should set a good example and encourage the little ones rather than criticizing and belittling!

I've made acquaintances with a few ex-goths and darkly inclined people at uni but its just not the same tbh. When I'm a bit older and have more money I plan to attend more events, hehe. ^_^ Maybe even find someone like me to settle down with one day. I don't wanna die alone lol!!!!! =D

Kudos to anyone who stays true to the cause through thick and thin. If more and more goths keep dropping out of the scene like flies then goth would become extinct.

Teehee <3 <3 *bloody kisses to all* <3 <3 Octavia xXx

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