Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Gothic metal debate

10,144 views IN ONE DAY?!? O.O Wow, you guys! <3

Anyhoo. Today's post comes about after a plantive plea on my personal Facebook page (we are not amused) regarding Gothic metal and why it is not accepted as 'part of the Goth genre'. Now, personally, I am in two minds over this whole debate. First and foremost, I know that there are some Goths who roll their kohl-lined eyes at those of us who enjoy music from this genre, and oh, yes, I am well aware that can be, in essence, darkly bombastic metal-tinged cheese, which is precisely why I like it, actually. But I do like it. I like it a lot. Think of me what you will.

But. Despite its obvious influences from the spooky world of Goth, its dark themes, imagery and lyrics, and the Gothy nature of a large proportion of its fans, I don't percieve Gothic metal (or symphonic, operatic, black or doom metal) as 'Goth music'.

I don't get my bloomers in a twist about this, because whilst I do listen to and enjoy a lot of Goth rock, post-punk and deathrock bands ('proper Goth', if you will) I also enjoy a lot of other genres and artists too, many of which (Emilie Autumn, The Birthday Massacre, The 69 Eyes) have people almost constantly arguing about whether or not they are Goth. My personal (with the emphasis on PERSONAL) opinion is that if it's not in some way related to actual Goth rock, its Gothiness is negligible at best, but the thing is, I also don't care much. The umbrella of 'Goth and dark culture' covers a lot of territory, and whether or not it's Goth specifically, a lot of the music we all listen to falls under the vague label of 'dark culture', including Gothic metal.

There is a lot of crossover between Goth and metal; both are 'dark' genres in general, enjoy much similar imagery in some cases, and a large proportion of both genres' fanbase is shared. Again, my personal opinion is that, despite shared influences and imagery, Goth is Goth and metal is metal, but for goodness' sake there's nothing wrong with being a fan of both! A good band is a good band, whatever label you stick on the can.

If we were to classify Gothic metal as 'Goth music' because a) you sometimes hear it at Goth clubs and events, b) it has dark influences and imagery and c) a lot of Goths like it, I would like to point out that going by such logic Evanescence, Marilyn Manson and My Chemical Romance would also become 'Goth music'.

However at the end of the day I think this is the sort of topic where everyone has their own ideas. I don't think there will ever be one single agreed-upon definition of What Goth Is (or even What Goth Isn't) because nowadays it's a fluid term that covers a variety of things in the world of music alone. So I'm going to turn this one over to you guys - I don't suppose we shall all agree on a definitive answer as to whether or not Gothic metal can be classified as a genre of Goth music, but it would certainly be intriguing to hear (or rather, read) everyone's opinions on this subject.

But first, some bullet points (yay!).

German symphonic metal band Xandria (check out their song Ravenheart and you will understand why this whole debate is still raging).
Should Gothic metal be accepted as a 'Goth genre'?

  • Most Gothic metal bands do have a very ‘Gothic’ sound – you could easily imagine them as the soundtrack to an Anne Rice novel.
  • The lyrics tend to be about the usual Gothic themes – love, death, revenge, redemption… you know.
  • Lots of Goths do enjoy music from the genre, and many Gothic metal bands have played at the Wave Gotik Treffen.
  • If bands with such a diverse and wide-ranging spectrum of sound as VNV Nation, Emilie Autumn, KMFDM, and The Birthday Massacre can be considered Goth (by some), why not Epica, Xandria, Tristania, Nightwish, After Forever, Theatre of Tragedy and Leaves' Eyes, who, it could be argued, have a sound closer to what we traditionally think of as 'Goth'.
  • Most artists touch on supposedly 'dark' themes like loss and betrayal at some point or another. By such reasoning, Britney Spears is Goth. :-/
  • They sound nothing like any of the bands that are inarguably Goth – The Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus et al. Not implying that all Goth music should sound the same, but Goth developed from punk so surely its true descendants should have some discernable punk or Goth rock influence?
  • Metal bands and mainstream(ish) bands also play at the Treffen and other Goth events. Diversity is key. It's not unusual nowadays to hear Evanescence or MCR at a Goth club. It's a nod to the tastes of the patrons, not a symbol of that band's Gothiness.
  • There is no rule that says ‘if you are Goth, you can only listen to Goth music’. Therefore, if a Goth listens to a certain type of music, that doesn’t make it Goth by default.
Over to you guys.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The downsides of Goth #2: Rivalry

There has always been rivalry amongst Goths. Usually it's friendly bickering and teasing over who has the biggest hair, the smallest corseted waist, the awesome-est boots or the biggest bat collection. Comments flying back and forth are usually quite complimentary: "GORGEOUS make-up!" (with a mental note to go home and practise eyeliner squiggles until one's arm drops off). Unfortunately, somewhere between mild envy and good-natured teasing and Gother-than-thou syndrome lies the uncomfortable territory of overcompetitiveness.

This brand of rivalry can sometimes occur when someone you've known for a long time, perhaps from school if you're younger, begins to express an interest in the scene. Almost overnight, they've transformed from Average Joanne into Gothier-Than-Thou Mistress Melancholia. And just as suddenly, your mild-mannered, pleasant friendship is a minefield of competitive jibes.

It's very draining if every time you meet up with said person or switch on your computer, you're but needled by snide comments and remarks. You just got new boots? Well, theirs have a higher platform and are from a 'better' brand. You just got a snakebite piercing? How passe. They just got their first tattoo. You just dyed your hair red? Theirs was like that last month, but brighter. -_-

If this person starts attending the same events as you, they spend that time trying to 'out-Goth' you, which would be amusing if it wasn't so irritating. You just want to have a good time and a laugh, but instead you have to put up with them rolling their eyes because you chose to order a Malibu and Coke instead of a snakebite and black.

Over-competitiveness may take many forms. At the extreme end of the spectrum, she may offer to help you do your make-up for the event of the year... and screw it up accidentally on purpose. Perhaps she 'just happens' to stab her stiletto heel through the train of your new dress. Is he less honest than he could be about precisely how big your butt looks in those PVC trousers so you go out feeling chunky whilst he's snake-hipped and svelte?

Everyone is likely to indulge in a little Gothier-than-thou from time to time - it's perfectly normal to be secretly proud if your hair looks better or whatever. But most of us know where to draw the line because really, why would you want to take yourself so seriously all the time? Why would you want to take Goth so seriously? Perhaps a bit rich coming from someone who writes a blog called 'the Ultimate Goth Guide', but it's not only natural but encouraged to pop your tongue in your cheek from time to time. It's not nice to feel pressured to be the spookiest Goth in the graveyard all the damn time.

But look on the bright side, dear darkling. It isn't actually as bad as it seems. The only logical reason for someone to start playing the Gothier Than Thou game in this way is because... they're threatened by you. They haven't yet discovered that 'Gothiness' is different for each individual and can't be marked on a sliding scale, so they're huffing and puffing to try and prove that THEY are the darkest and spookiest kid in town.

It's irritating. And frustrating. Particularly if you helped to guide this person into Gothdom by letting them borrow your Sisters CDs and your second best eyeliner. But feel smug in the knowledge that, in a few years time, this person (depending on how self-aware they are) may look back and realise that whilst they have been trying to prove How Very Goth they are, they have only succeeded in making themselves look like an insecure newbie. Plus, their newfound scene popularity at your local Goth joint is hardly going to last unless they learn to make conversation on a subject other than themselves and how dark/sexy/creative they are. It might be annoying at the time, but people are going to be able to see through this kind of self-absorbed behaviour.

On the other side of the fence, we all like to look nice, but if you're continually trying to outdo everybody else, not only are you doomed to eventually fail but you're showing signs of overcompensating for a lack of genuine self-confidence. If you're turning all your interactions with somebody into a competition, they may be amused at first but after a while they're going to get ticked off with your behaviour and probably won't want to spend much time with you.

Not to mention that what you're doing screams insecurity - you may think you're coming off looking cool, confident, and the Gothiest Goth in Spooksville, but since this kind of rivalry is usually the preserve of mallgoths, poseurs and less experienced Goths, at best you're currently looking insecure and a little childish - at worst, downright conceited and maybe a bit of a bully. Maybe you should stop trying to be the all-singing, all-dancing ookiest spookiest member of the Addams Family all the time and learn to chill out.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Outfit Post (with a nod to Filthy Victorians)

I decided that a more sensible thing to be doing with outfit posts is to put them together in batches and post them occasionally, instead of spamming my face all over this blog every day!

So without further ado, here are some outfits from last week, sparing you the days I spent in bed with a stonking cold (my voice sounds like Yoda at the moment, not even kidding) and the typical grab-first-clean-black-shirt-and-jeans-because-you-overslept-AGAIN day that I seem to have once a week minimum. XP

Work, followed by dinner with friends
I never have time to change after work so I try to come up with outfits that are warm, comfy, practical and pretty, which isn't always easy! However I liked this one. ^^

Oh, and look what came in the post! Abney Park's The Wrath of Fate! <3

Jumper: bootsale, 10p
Collar: Double Discount, £1 (I'm so classy)
Wristbands: £1.50 each, charity shop
Skirt: £3.30, charity shop
Tights: Marks and Spencers, I think...?
Flower: Primark sale, £1.50
Boots: Attitude Clothing, £150

Work and hot date

Blouse: charity shop, £4.75
Waistcoat: charity shop, £4.30
Skirt: Camden market, £20
Tights: as above
Boots: came out of a skip XD

Work again
Honestly, the amount of times I've been told I could never hold down a customer-facing role because of my piercings and attire... it's been almost two years now so I'd say I'm doing all right. ;-D

Blouse: charity shop, £1
Skirt: ...mooch sale, £20
Tights: Peacocks, £2
Boots: Peacocks sale, £20
Necklace: gift

Burns Night haggis spree and supermarket shop

I had two children and one nice lady tell me how much they liked this outfit. ^^ (I also saw a friend in Tesco who later commented on my 'peculiar' hat...) This was my nod to Filthy Victorians for the week!

Blouse: charity shop, £3.30
Hat: charity shop, £3.50
Waistcoat: as above
Necklace: Claire's, £5
Skirt: charity shop, £3.30
Boots: Tesco, £19.99
Bootstraps: found on a pair of shoes somebody was throwing away

Informal joint birthday party for Jodie and Bronwyn

Hat: £15, Abney
Top: £17, Jed Phoenix of London
Shorts: £26, Topshop
Tights: £4.99, New Look
Bullet belt: £35, Camden
Boots: £6, bootsale (I haggled!)

Today, work

Those marks are on the mirror by the way, not my jeans!

Hoodie: charity shop, £3.99
Belt: somewhere in Southampton, £25
Jeans: Primark, £10-ish
Boots: as above
Necklace: British Heart Foundation new goods range, £3.49

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Vlogger Spotlight: BatcaveDilemma

BatcaveDilemma, aka Kill Natalie, is a Goth YouTuber who borders on the infamous for her dozens of helpful, fun and interesting videos all about... well, do I need to spell it out? This fang-wearing, big-haired vision of adorability does make-up tutorials, answers viewer questions, and gives advice on many aspects and areas of the Goth scene and lifestyle.

(I will be doing my make-up like this today!)

As well as having THE SWEETEST VOICE in the history of the world ever, Kill Natalie takes requests for make-up looks.

I love her channel because she's very genuine, I probably say that about all my spotlighted vloggers but if you take for example this video about bullying (below) she's very honest and forthright, as well as being relatable.

I enjoy her make-up tutorials because you don't need to have semi-professional make-up skills to apply them but they look awesome. Her advice and information about Goth culture is concise, understandable and accurate without being elitist.

You can find her channel here.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Dress codes, shopping, babybats and more!

This has to be one of my favourite reader questions of all time!

Anonymous asked, "Do you have any tips for a budding baby bat? I've just gotten my first parasol (^^) (sorry, I like the neo-victorian sort of a point, although it is rather expensive) from my grandparents and it's pretty... Anyway, back to the point. I've been interested in goth culture for a while, love the music (especially Emilie Autumn and Tori Amos :)) and I want to get involved! However, I'm a little baby bat (12) so can't go to goth clubs and stuff. I live in a quiet part of North London and have seen a total of 1 goth (that I can remember) in my time :'(. So, how can I get more involved in the gothic culture and do you know any good shops for clothes? I like 'The Gothic Catwalk' but, unsurprisingly, would like to buy things from more than one shop! And the greatest tragedy in my life right now is school uniform :( Any tips on how to avoid it would be greatly appreciated!"

OK, I'm going to divide this up into (vampire)bite-sized chunks so that I stand a chance of answering your questions properly, dear Anonymous.

The Cruxshadows
Tips for budding babybats
(I know, I know... not everyone likes the term 'babybat'. As an under-21 Goth to whom the term still applies, I personally think it's cute and am more than happy to be referred to as a babybat, but I know that some of you find it a bit patronising or think that it's used in a derogatory way. I will try to phase out the term.)

Just as an FYI to Gothy newbies as well as new blog readers (hello, everyone who popped across from Gothic Charm School, and welcome!) I do tag all my posts that I feel are relevant or helpful to fledgling Goths under 'babybat' (*ahem*, sorry) - you can find the tags list in the sidebar, or just click here to explore all my would-be-helpful babybat-friendly posts.
  • Get inspired. Buy magazines, read blogs, check out Tumblr and Polyvore, listen to music, watch music videos, check out Wave Gotik Treffen footage on YouTube... finding out what Goth is for you, personally, might take some time and is often subject to change as you get older, but exploring the fashion, music, art and literature of such a diverse culture makes a delightful pasttime as well as providing all the inspiration you'll need to experiment and find your own style.
  • Be yourself. Don't try to conform to someone else's idea of what Goth is. You don't need to love The Cruxshadows or have a fluffy bat collection if that's just not what interests you.
  • Be confident. I know, easier said than done, right?! The fact is that when you experiment you're going to make mistakes - I know I certainly cringe at some of the outfits I've posted on this blog! People are going to stare at you. Some people might make comments or make assumptions about you. But keep your head up, stay strong, and be you (as loud as you can, to paraphrase Gerard Way). If you are comfortable and confident with yourself, it will show, and you will look awesome no matter what you wear.
  • Don't expect to love everything about Goth. Chances are you won't love every fashion, every band, every person, every attitude. Every subculture has its downsides and Goth is no better or worse than any other.
  • Keep looking, keep trying new things. Didn't like that band? Look up another. You won't discover new and exciting things if you don't keep looking for them. Just because you didn't like one band doesn't mean you won't like another - don't get disillusioned just because you can't stand The Sisters of Mercy.
  • The best shopping advice I ever read came from a user on the Mookychick forums called Angels+Eyeliner, who said, "If you look at your wardrobe and find that nothing expresses anything about you, you need to have a think about why you bought those things in the first place. Take out the last thing you chose for yourself (as opposed to something someone picked out for you). How often do you wear this? And why? Is it because it's comfy, because it shows off who you are, because it's practical, or just fashionable? Why did you pick it out? Because you needed a new (whatever it is) or because you saw it and, whether you needed it or not, you HAD to buy it? If you find that you're buying whatever everyone else is, or what's cheap, or what isn't too showy, then next time you go shopping you need to have a better look. Don't instantly go into the same shops you always do. Lots of people get into a sort of routine when they go shopping ie Primark first for tops, then H+M for jeans, Peacocks for shoes, Claire's for jewellery, Superdrug for makeup then McDs for lunch before going home. Go to the places you haven't been to for a while. Look at everything, not just one particular thing. Don't buy ANYTHING until you're certain that you love it, that you will wear it, that you have things to wear it with, and that you want it because it's a little part of you that you previously haven't had. And since you seem to have a wardrobe of jeans and t-shirts that saynothing about you, why not make them say something? It's easier and cheaper then getting a whole new wardrobe and stops you finding one day that all your lovely new clothes are in the wash and you're forced back into boring stuff. Customise the hell out of (or should that be in to) your stuff. If you get some buckles and straps you could turn a pair of average jeans into a gothic masterpiece, and I'm damn sure it would be a lot cheaper then buying the same thing already made. Make like a hippie and turn those skinnies into gothic flares with panels of fabric. Cut up your t-shirts, or fabric paint lyrics and slogans onto them. I've seen people pay thirty quid for a plain t-shirt with a one liner on it before, and if they had a few brains they could pay a couple of quid for the shirt and make it their own." EXACTLY WHAT SHE SAID.
How can I get more involved with Goth?Oh, I know this feeling. I live in a small town, it took me years to meet anyone else who was into Goth, and of course I discovered the subculture when I was far too young to go to clubs, like many people do. Reading books and watching movies where the Goth kids all hung out IN GROUPS was almost akin to torture. Gothlings, you are not alone in feeling alone!
  • Get involved online. Don't look at me like that, I know it isn't the same, but you can chat with people who share the same interests as you, swap tips and advice, share inspirations and generally learn a bit more and feel a bit more connected. If you're as lucky as I have been, you'll meet amazing people who you'll consider great friends. Whether you start a blog, join a Facebook group or join a fan forum for your favourite band, don't be shy, get talking.
  • Keep on the lookout for non-club events in your area. Most concerts don't have age limits - do what I did and bat your lashes at your non-Goth friends (or parents if you have to) until they agree to come with you. Gothy markets, meet-ups and picnics also seem to be becoming more popular. See if you can get day-tickets for local festivals.
  • Don't be limited to specifically-Goth events either. You can often hunt down Gothy types at art or literature events, book signings, anime or horror cons and expos, craft fairs, alternative fashion shows, music festivals of most varieties, museums, or of course your local library.
  • If you should happen to meet another Goth, don't be afraid to nod, smile, or say hello. It's only a small gesture but you've made a connection (although, should you happen to get chatting, please bear in mind that this person, Goth or not, is still a STRANGER, and the obvious rules of common sense must apply).
Where can I buy Goth clothes?
Allow me to run through the usual spiel - charity shops, thrift stores, customising plain or 'normal' items, eBay, Etsy, and the odd Goth-friendly piece from mainstream shops! As a dedicated shopper, I do have some favourite Gothy sites, but bear in mind that most brand name Goth items are expensive!
How can I get around school dress codes?
I'm just going to hand this one over to the Lady of the Manners at GCS, because she has covered this topic on many occasions with elan.
I think that covers everything! Best of luck to you, dear Anonymous!

How to spot a 'real' Goth, v.2, part 3

I seem to have got side-tracked from regular postings over the last couple of months, so here's to hopefully getting back on track with everything I started and didn't finish! You may remember I had decided to explain and clarify the points I made in a slightly abrupt early post, 'How to spot a 'real' Goth' - if you missed it, you can find parts one and two here and here.

(I know I've used this image before, but Blogger won't let me upload pics today...)
Adora BatBrat, her blog is here.

Real Goths are likely to be open-minded.

I'm glad I was careful with how I phrased this. As I've explained in part one of this miniseries (and as you are probably already aware), earning the title of 'real Goth' is not actually that difficult. You don't have to submit an application form for your very own Goth card, nor should anybody else actually be in the business of telling you whether or not you're a 'real Goth'. As long as you have some sort of knowledge of Goth culture, you're likely to be welcomed by other members of the scene.

When I first got into the scene, I was quite naive and assumed that because Goths tend to share similar interests in music and fashion - and other areas such as film, literature and art to a certain extent - that I would automatically get on with and like all other Goths. I still struggle, sometimes, to accept that you can have almost the exact same tastes and interests as somebody else but you still may not like them.

Goth as a subculture is open to anyone and everyone. Which means that obnoxious people, unkind people, rude people, stuck-up people, even intolerant and bigoted people can be - and are - a part of this scene too. Sadly, a statement like 'all Goths are open-minded' is misleading.

However, I would dare to say that the majority of Goths are open-minded. I have read about nasty incidents where fuller-figured Goths, younger Goths, cyber Goths, black Goths and others have received rude remarks or basic ignorance from other members of a supposedly tolerant scene, but I would like to assume that it isn't naive of me to hope that such encounters are the exception and not the norm.

In a subculture where the majority pride themselves on being tolerant towards such diversities as gender, sexuality, religion, and fetishes, it is a shame that there are still a minority who still sneer at others based on body shape, age, fashion prefences or even make-up-applying ability. BUT I firmly believe that Goths are more likely to be open-minded, because, to use a bad analogy, a man wearing make-up and a PVC dress is far more likely to be shown acceptance in a small town Goth club than a small town mainstream nightclub.

So, sadly, one cannot assume that the bigot in the corner of a Goth club is not a 'real' Goth.

There is another facet, of course, to Gothy open-mindedness, which was what I was actually referring to when I wrote the original post. It's the fact that many 'poseurs' have difficulty accepting anything outside of a very blinkered definition of what 'Goth' is - "I'm not walking the dog/wearing those socks/listening to that band/eating that cookie. It isn't Goth."

I'm sure there are many newcomers, mallgoths and babybats who strongly believe that you cannot work in a hospital and be a Goth; that you cannot play sports and be a Goth; that you cannot enjoy chick lit and be a Goth; that you cannot dislike the works of Tim Burton and be a Goth; or even the good old favourite, that you cannot wear colour and be a Goth.

People who unintentionally use subcultures to place restrictions on themselves ("I can't go to that salsa class, it isn't Goth") will eventually find it frustrating and will move on, which I think is where a lot of those 'just a phase' examples come from. People become part of a subculture because it has meaning to them, because they like it - it should be an enjoyable addition to your way of life, not a way to put uncomfortable limits on your lifestyle and behaviour.

'Real' Goths are likely to have more knowledge about and experience of the subculture, and will have learned either first-hand or by example that being part of a scene such as Goth shouldn't place limits on what you can and can't do. Being accepting of and open-minded towards the facets of your lifestyle and personality (and those of others) that fall outside the category of 'Goth' should be part and parcel of being a member of the subculture.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Interview: Jamie Bahr, vocalist and bassist of Danger*Cakes

The fabulous Jamie Bahr
Image courtesy of Cherrybones Photography (c)
Readers may recall the name Jamie Bahr from a previous interview with her partner (in crime) Drew Edwards, in which case you will already know that she is glamorous, creative and brilliant. As well as possessing such attributes, Jamie is the frontwoman of Danger*Cakes, a band of feisty pin-up psychobilly sirens tearing up dance floors in their home state of Texas and beyond.

You are the founder of 'all-girl rock'n'roll orchestra' Danger*Cakes - what led to the formation of the group described as 'the hottest unsigned band in Texas'?

I relocated from upstate New York to Austin, Texas after I left my heart at SXSW in 2009. I was on tour with Punk Blues Review, playing our first show in Austin when I met my husband-to-be, Mr. Drew Edwards.I loved playing with PBR, but knew I had bigger fish to fry.

My sights were set on making my dream project, Danger*Cakes, a reality but couldn’t find the right people to make it work in New York. That’s when fate stepped in and two months later, I moved to Austin. Together, Drew and I immediately started looking for musicians. I was hopeful, since I was moving to the “Live Music Capital of the World” that finding female musicians would be as easy as pie, but boy, was I wrong.

It was definitely a labor of love, and that labor was a lot of digging and sifting.But through hard work and perseverance, we found the right ladies.Some say I’m lucky to have found everyone, but I know we worked very hard for that luck and still continue to do so.

The band's sound is a fusion of rockabilly, jazz, soul and blues (with nicknames ranging from Swing-Punk to Psycho-Jazz), and influences ranging from Dolly Parton to The Ramones! Was it always your intention to create such a mix? How would you personally describe the Danger*Cakes sound?

I always call it old school, Rock ‘N’ Roll! So many people are surprised to see a brass section in a Rock and Roll band that they assume we must play Classical, Jazz or be some sort of throwback from the ‘90’s Swing Revival. I’m sure there’s some in there from a little of column A, a little of column B. But that’s what Rock ‘N’ Roll is! I have a LittleRichard concert poster from the ‘50’s that says “Little Richard and his Orchestra!” That’s why I coined the term “Rock ‘N’ Roll Orchestra”, in homage. The music I write is the product of compounding all of my influences, not all at the same time (that would just be gauche and pretentious) but in a way that’s going to move you or at least make you want to move. I mean that in both the figurative and literal sense.

With a year of performing as vocalist of Danger*Cakes under your belt, what has been your greatest highlight?

Playing the Freak Show Festival was really the icing on the cake of a great first year.We had our very first show on Halloween night the year before so it was a great way to celebrate our first birthday.

How long have you been playing the upright bass?

It’s been just over two years. My fiancĂ©, Drew, bought me my first upright bass for Christmas after I had spent months unsuccessfully searching for a female bassist for the band. I’ve always loved the upright bass and thought it might be fun to learn, but never really gave it much thought until it was preventing the creation of my dream project. I’d played other instruments, but never while I sang, which definitely took some getting used to. But it’s been a very empowering experience.
Jamie and Beatrix, courtesy of His Ruin
You're also the lady in charge of songwriting for the group. How would you describe the songwriting process?

I keep it simple, I write the lyrics and melody first, then create lead sheets for the ladies with the lyrics and chord progressions and we go from there. We all work together in an improvisational setting until we figure out what we like and how we like it.

Which song are you currently the most proud of?

I’m most proud of “Judas Kiss” because the melody is evocative of a Be-Bop song, with a Doo-Wop hook and a whole lot of jive.

What can we expect from a Danger*Cakes live show?

Energy! Our music is fun and exciting without being shallow.It’s not everyday you see seven women on a stage, so we are a sight to behold. But all in all, it’s our passion that makes our live show such a spectacle. There’s something so magical about the synergy that comes from a group of individuals playing actual instruments. It’s that synergy that makes Rock ‘N’ Roll so special. It’s like the American Dream; a melting pot of music influences from musicians of different cultures. We live in a day of convenience and technology, and I can tell you first hand, it’s not actually convenient carrying around an upright bass that’s bigger than you. But we resist the canned sounds of synthesized instruments. It’ll never be the same as seeing a live band because you’re missing out on that convergence of energy and the human spirit. That’s what you get at a Danger*Cakes show, served hot and fresh.

What have been your best and worst live experiences?

Sometimes the best and worst are two sides of the same coin. I remember the first time the bridge of my bass collapsed on stage, mid-song about two songs into our set. We were playing outside on one of those infamous hundred degree Texan nights, rocking away to “In the Schoolyard” when I felt my strings go slack. I finished the second verse and went to lay Beatrix (my bass) down on the stage while the horns had their solos, but there really wasn’t enough room. I was still standing behind the bass, not close enough to reach the mic to finish out the song. In a knee-length dress, I threw my leg over the bass to step over it. In hindsight, it would have been much easier to have just stepped over the neck and grabbed the mic, but I threw my leg over Beatrix’s hips and literally impaled my inner thigh on the corner. I was stuck, but I didn’t panic. I grabbed her neck with one hand and threw up the other and began riding Beatrix like a bucking bronco. The crowd went wild, and it was enough movement to free my bleeding thigh from the bass. With adrenaline a-pumpin’, I grabbed the mic and belted out the last verse of the song.

I picked up Beatrix and gave her to my friend, Adam Burchfield of The Octanes to see if he could fix her up and continued the next few songs of the set sans bass. It was the first time I’d been on stage with Danger*Cakes without my bass in tow. It was intimidating but incredibly liberating. Adam fixed her up alright and Drew brought her back on stage so I could have her for the last few songs of the set. After we were done, I walked off the stage, badly bruised and still bleeding. I couldn’t believe how many people ran up to me to see if it had all been staged! I smiled and politely replied no.

That night could have gone in the memory bank labeled “Worst Shows Ever”, but instead I like to think of it as a “Courage under Fire” moment. However, I was a little irked to find out that the crowd thought I was basically humping my bass.
(c) His Ruin
What other musical projects are you / have you been pursuing?

I’ve been working on writing songs and possibly a score for a few independent films. My song, “Don’t Take Me Home” was in the closing credits of the indie film, Mockingbird and debuted at the Oklahoma City Film Festival. Besides that, I’m really involved with the non-profit organization, Kids In a New Groove (KING). We provide music lessons to children in foster care and those who have been recently adopted.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

I’d really love to collaborate with Danny Elfman, Jack White or Danger Mouse. I’ve always been a fan of Elfman, especially his scores. I have a lot respect for Jack White and what he has accomplished. I love Wanda Jackson, and believe he is a big reason for her resurgence in popularity. As for Danger Mouse, I loved the production work done on St. Elsewhere. I recently heard about Danger Mouse’s recent Spaghetti Western concept album and was quite intrigued. I’d love to see what Danger Mouse would dream up for Danger*Cakes.

How did you discover the rockabilly scene? What was it that made you want to become a part of it?

I may have started off doing Classical music before I was seduced by Jazz, but my heart beats Rock ‘N’ Roll in all its glory. I don’t know if I’m more a part of it or it’s a part of me. But Rockabilly is Rock and Roll’s Country cousin, and I do live in Texas! So I guess I wandered into the Rockabilly scene to be around other people with like-minded interests and a passion for the music. For years people have been saying Rock is dead. Well if it is, then here comes the Rockin’ Zombie Apocalypse!

I love the band's glamorous, vintage-inspired stagewear! Is this how you dress from day to day? Why do you think there has been such a surge of recent interest in rockabilly and pin-up style?

I have a broad spectrum of music that I enjoy and am inspired by, which tends to be reflected in my sense of style. Just like my music, I combine aspects of different fashions from each genre into what I wear. But I do dress this way on a day to day basis. I have really weak ankles and am too much of a weeble wabble to wear a heel over three inches while carrying my bass, so I usually only wear kitten heels for shows and the occasional night out. Otherwise, I’m usually wearing a pair of Chuck Taylors or Converse All-Star sneakers that color-coordinate with whatever I’m wearing, whether that be a simple black dress or my favorite ripped-up Misfits T-shirt and a pencil skirt.

I think the recent interest of Pin-up and Rockabilly styles has come about because people are tired of the same old routine. The economy is lousy. We’re cynical and untrusting of our government and each other. We’re over-worked, under-paid and under-insured. And on top of all that, we’re constantly being bombarded about the obesity epidemic. Yes, the measurements and weight of an average woman today are larger than past generations, yet the average print ad model is smaller than ever. This reflection of our society just adds a second helping of discontent and self-loathing onto our already full plates. So what can you do to spruce up a day of discontent? Get dolled up and go dancing! Pin-up styles are best suited for women with full-figured physiques and ample curves. I know I feel good when I look my best and I’m sure that goes for other people as well. It may not change your situation, but it’ll definitely change your outlook, which could potentially lead to a change in situation. And isn’t that exactly what we’re all hoping for right now?

As a confident, successful and stylish woman, do you have any advice to impart to younger readers?

Fashion is like food. Sure, it’s easy and cheap to eat at a drive-thru restaurant, but you do that everyday and you’re going to look and feel like the same level of quality as that burger and fries. Wouldn’t it be nicer to enjoy a dish of something that’s healthier and more delicious? Something that leaves your appetite truly appeased? Style is just like that. You want to find something that reflects your interests. Don’t just grab anything off the rack and buy it just because it’s cheap and it fits. Look at the quality of what you’re buying and don’t buy disposable. You want it to last, not fall apart the first time you wear it or throw it in the wash. My weight, like most women’s, fluctuates all the time. So I like movable materials that fit well, but aren’t too tight. And if you’re looking to show off those curves, the most inexpensive way to spruce up an old outfit are new accessories, especially belts.I love thick wasted belts. They cinch your waste just enough to help give you more of a svelte shape without being uncomfortable. And of course, Spanx are a full-figured gal’s not-so secret weapon. But what’s most important is to dress in what makes you feel confident and classy. There’s no better accessory than confidence.
(c) Cherrybones Photography
What's up next in the works for Danger*Cakes? Touring? Recording? Shooting a video?

We’re about to start working on our first full-length album, Dessert First. We will also be shooting a video within the next two months for our first single, “My Boyfriend is a Zombie!” Drew and I are tying the knot in April, so Danger*Cakes will be putting off any out of state or out of the country touring until after that. I’m hoping to tour nationally by the summer and tour in Europe before the year is out. There’s a lot of work to be done before that point. We do have a lot of exciting shows in Austin and Dallas in the upcoming months, including opening for Grammy nominated, Ruby Dee and The Snake Handlers on March 30th at Rusty’s. I am thrilled by the way 2012 is already shaping up!

You have an upcoming show (this Friday!) at Elysium, Austin's premier Goth club! You've played at Goth venues before - what sort of response do you usually get?

We’ve played a ton of different venues ranging from Goth to Reggae and Metal to Honky-Tonk and we always seem to get the same reactions of enthusiasm and delight! I’m sure there will be a time and a place where we go over like a lead balloon and that will definitely be a lesson in humility. But so far, people have been very supportive. I’ve had nothing but good experiences in Goth venues. Korova is San Antonio is one of my favorites and I’d like to play the Lizard Lounge in Dallas. I’m really excited about the Monster Masquerade at Elysium on Friday, January 27th. We’ll be playing with The Ghost Storys, The Crypt Creeps and Los Bones. There will be a monster-themed art show and classic monster movies being projected on two different screens. It’s my birthday shindig and it’s going to be a ball!

Anything you'd like to add?

If you’re jonesing for a taste of Danger*Cakes, please contact us and we’ll try to plan a show in a city near you! We love getting to know our fans and look forward to making your future acquaintance. So don’t be shy, find us on the interwebs via Facebook and ReverbNation!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Goths Up Trees is causing a stir

There's a new blog causing much hilarity amongst Goths, perhaps you have heard of it or are already a reader? If not, you'll probably be hearing about it soon, because I'm not the only one talking about Goths Up Trees.

Based on the same tried-and-true formula as the masterpiece of Gothy humour that is Goths in Hot Weather - that is to say, take a Goth, stick them somewhere they look rather out of their element, snap a photo, and add a witty, slightly nonsensical commentary - Goths Up Trees has ended up going viral.

I'm not even exaggerating. I ran a quick Google search after spotting a piece on the Daily Mail's website (yes, even the DAILY MAIL has jumped on this black-clad bandwagon, more on this in just a sec) and there are articles about this Tumblr top hit on Refinery29, UpRoxx, The Gloss, Wire To The Ear, Tree Blogging (this is a thing?!), Lost At E Minor, The Frisky, Buzzfeed, Slacktory, The World's Best Ever, Ektopia, Side-Line, FREEWilliamsburg, Brock Out... to name but a few.

The Daily Mail's piece was, well, what you'd expect from the Fail, describing the act of taking photos of Goths in trees as a 'new social craze' and ends with their typical patronising comment about 'gloominess'.

My favourite thing about Goths Up Trees is that our commentator is a self-described Goth rather than an ex-Goth (Goths in Hot Weather), and therefore has a few insider-y comments to make about several of the photos.

I don't know about you, but I will be taking more pictures of myself up trees pronto, and submitting them at once.

Oh, why do I say *more* pictures of myself up trees, you ask? Probably because I already have these:

And from my babybat years:

Saturday, 21 January 2012

January linksplosion

I thought that as this is the first month of a new year, I'd add a bit more pizazz to my monthlyish blog round-ups by adding something I'm probably going to think up a cheesy name for sooner or later - for every month of 2012 I'm going to post twelve links to photos I've found online of incredible, inspirational and mindblowing Gothy outfits, wherever they may be lurking.

Gratuitous Rob Smith
This means that I get to a) share the love, b) squee over people's amazing outfits and ideas, and c) show them all to you without trampling all over anyone's copyright. Sounds like a win-win-win from this side of the internets, but as usual do let me know if you think this is a good idea or not.

I'm also going to add ten Etsy picks for each month so we are looking at a total linksplosion here in 2012.

First things first, what has been going on around the internet this month?
  1. I came across a link to the Lolita blog Parfait Doll, which is totally new to me but utterly a delight; posts have names like "So you want to be a Lolita model?" and "Pastel pop darlings: the fairy kei guide". However the post that interested me most was Doll Complex - this is a really stunning and thoughtful post, and I felt that a lot of what was said could also apply to we Goths as well as Lolita devotees.
  2. The HouseCat wrote a post about a more serious subject (back in December so I'm cheating a little here, but I don't think I have linked to this before and it really should be read) - that is, Revealing Clothes, Unwanted Attention and Safety. Now, not all Goths wear revealing clothes but any kind of alternative appearance may be viewed by others as provocative and is likely to garner unwanted attention sooner or later. So even if you don't own a garter belt and prefer your corset worn over a shirt, I'd recommend giving this powerful article a read.
  3. The utterly adorablesome Ali Eckfeldt is on YouTube!! I have so much fangirlyness for Ali so no surprise that I loved her new tutorial for a bat-tastic backpack.
  4. Gothic Charm School is even more absolutely fabulous than usual with this spot-on post about labels within Goth (y'know, cyber, romantic, etc,) and why, whilst they can make useful shorthand to describe a style or outfit, there is no need to take them seriously - for example, just because you like to refer to yourself as a romantigoth does not mean you have FAILED in LIFE if one day you'd really like to go to the club wearing cyberfalls and a latex jockstrap.
  5. Darling Violetta always posts some really interesting things; she comes up trumps again with a reader request post on the topic, "Why aren't there more black people in the Goth scene?"
  6. Sophistique Noir took part in a homework assignment from Le Professeur Gothique - and rocked it.
  7. Jayne_Jezebel offers some advice on how to transition from Gothic Lolita to bittersweet Lolita fashion... I had never heard of bittersweet Lolita before and now I'm totally in love!
OK... now let's have a look at ten droolworthy pieces of craftwork that I'm lusting over this January:
  1. You have no idea how much I want some antlers. Just. No. Idea. So clearly this made-to-order headpiece from My Sweet Delirium is a must have for me this year...
  2. Bats. Bats on everything. You can never, EVER, have too many bats. I love this filigree bat necklace from Fable and Fury for its darkly elegant flair...
  3. There's very little from Spooky Boutique that I wouldn't buy, but at the moment I'm taken with the idea of their Horror Movie perfume, which smells like buttered popcorn!
  4. Goth boots. For babies. No, I'm not even kidding you! The aptly-named Goth Baby Knits has created these adorable knitted buckle boots for your young spooklings.
  5. You know what I was saying earlier about bats? :-3 Well, here's a really gorgeous ring from sandrandan that kinda proves my point. This would look lovely on Gothy types of all genders.
  6. Tribal and bellydance enthusiasts will surely appreciate this darling fascinator from Magic Tribal Hair. I adore the curled peacock feathers!
  7. Doesn't everyone want a 'death glam' bracelet made out of replica human teeth? Or is that just me? Either way, it's definitely a talking point, and I think it's fab - made by Deathany97.
  8. This choker by Roses For Clementine is a thing of beauty. I want this so badly I can't even find words to tell you.
  9. Ever wanted a batwing ceiling fan?! Well, now you can have one! It's by Darkwear Clothing Co. and is actually a very reasonable price. What's not to love?
  10. I clearly need more bizarre and beautiful faerie-esque headwear in my life, since I'm drooling over these satyr horns from noxhyde.
Last but certaintly not least, twelve beautiful outfits from darkly divine ladies and gents all over the internet:
  1. Eden, aka Lady Bone Flower, models a stunning all-white Victorian Gothic ensemble from Retroscope Fashions. This is a back view, but it's still beautiful and ethereal.
  2. This utterly charming ensemble incorporating pink, bats, and polka dots is an everyday outfit for Tumblr icon Pastelbat, a personal style icon of mine whom you can also find on Blogger here.
  3. This outfit has no source, sadly - I found it on somebody's LiveJournal which had a lot of, um, questionable content and I don't think it belonged there. However this is a great outfit, very fun and colourful. I would definitely wear something like this on days when I feel like giving the all-black schtick a break. (If this is you, please let me know so that I can credit and link you properly!)
  4. Blogger Mystral looks amazing in this post!
  5. I found this charming ensemble on Tumblr via Macabre Phantasm; it's completely perfect in every way.
  6. One of my biggest inspirations at the moment is the outfit that Tumblogger Alice Dollhouse wore to a Christmas Fair.
  7. I adore everything created by the prodigious mastermind(s?) that is/are Bibian Blue, and this lace-trimmed, exquisite dream of an outfit is certainly no exception.
  8. This couple are perfectly turned out; I especially love what the gentleman is wearing. A very decorative pair!
  9. Another exceptionally well-dressed couple. His feathers and her make-up steal the show for me.
  10. Countess Grotesque always looks phenomenal. I particularly like this haircut.
  11. What is it with well-dressed couples? I've seen this pair photographed by Viona, I think his tie is gorgeous and they look fantastic together.
  12. I really love this tribal-esque-meets-trad look!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Slipping away from Goth

Chloe asked, "Do you have any little Gothy tips to get me back into my (metaphorical, sadly) goth boots again, because I've kind of slipped away this summer, yikes!"

This question got me thinking - don't we all 'slip away' from time to time? I don't mean having a jeans-and-tee (or bloomers-and-tee) day because I'm sure we all do that, and perhaps more frequently than we'd like, but a jeans-and-tee week, or even month? Sometimes it's because something else seems more pressing than putting on lipstick and a corset; sometimes it's because we're going through that period of re-evaluating our style; sometimes it's because it's cold and gloomy and you just can't be bothered.

This happens to me quite a lot, every few months or so I have an off period where my 'uniform' consists of skinny jeans, boots and a hoodie. Sometimes it's because I'm having a month-long black mood and wearing petticoats feels like too much effort, but just as often it's because I'll have become fascinated by a completely un-Goth fashion substyle (at the moment I'm all over cyberpop and decora) and am having a bit of a seesaw moment, where I really really really want to try dressing in that substyle but don't want to give up my Goth roots. The resulting confusion leads to me wearing T-shirt and jeans until I stop giving an eff and just go for it.

So. To end this two-paragraph tangent, what I'm saying is that slipping out of Goth from time to time isn't unusual, doesn't make you any less of a Goth and for goodness' sake, don't do what I used to do in my younger years and panic, run around telling all your friends you're worried your Goth thing might have been 'just a phase after all' and then change your mind two days later (thankfully I only did that once...).

Skeletal Family
Hey. Maybe your cooling-off period towards Goth IS a signal that Goth isn't for you permanently. Don't worry about it. Don't try and force yourself back into all-black, all-the-time. Either you'll drift gradually into a different style (don't be afraid to experiment with new things during this time!) or something will trigger you (a nice picture on your Tumblr dash, THAT pair of boots going on sale and ending up in your closet, or, hey, even an especially charming blog post) and all of a sudden your enthusiam for Goth will flare back up again and you'll charge back into black lace with one hundred per cent vim and vigour.

Whilst trying to force yourself back into Goth style will just drive you further away, I do recommend browsing the web or flicking through magazines for inspiration. Don't just look for Gothy things if you don't feel like it - Google Harajuku style or read generally 'alternative' fashion magazines for example. You might see that one picture that kickstarts your Goth fashion passion or encourages you towards pastures new.

The thing about fashion is that when getting dressed in your favourite style feels like hard work, it's probably time for a change, so you might find that the key to getting back to your best is to revamp your look a little. As a therapist I know says, "Go where the energy is." Nuts for steampunk? Go hunt down some watch parts and give yourself a style make-over. Maybe you've been loving what the mainstream has to offer at the moment and feel like you're missing out - go bag some bargains from 'normal' stores and have fun trying to make them work with your existing wardrobe.

Or perhaps your sudden lurch towards tracksuits and trainers is a sign that you've been pushing it too hard, and it's just time to take a break from the daily grind of buckling up your boots and chill out in your comfy casual gear for a while. If you think this might be the case, sstop worrying and go look up some bands you've never heard of, watch some great films or put your face in a book. Put fun before fashion for a while and you might just find you get your pep back, and soon it'll be exciting to dress up all over again. OR you could discover that you prefer to be casual, in which case you've learned a valuable lesson.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Outfit post: more zany pants

Another Sunday lunch outfit... I stole these leggings from my mum.

T-shirt: with a Gothic Beauty subscription pack
Necklace: charity shop, £1.99
Spiked wristbands: Topshop sale, £3.50
Poison bracelet: gift
Other wristbands: charity shop, £1.50 each (I love these, you can't see them clearly but if you combined 20s art deco and punk you'd get these wristbands)

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Do you have a 'melancholic temperament'?

I was reading an issue of my mum's Natural Health magazine to get some healthy living ideas to help me along with BatFit when I came across something that really amused me. It was a personality test based on the theory of the 'four humours' and advised each personality type of which colours they should wear; "Are you being true to yourself, wearing the colours you were born to be seen in? Or have you unknowingly moved away from your true characteristics?"

Source: Google
Based on the score I got, apparently I have a melancholic temperament... and am advised to wear black, white, fuchsia pink, electric blue, dark grey and maroon with black, white and silver accessories. Out of all the four temperaments this was definitely the only decidedly Gothy palette - some of the others even stated bluntly, 'not black'.

The 'melancholic' humour is described thusly: "In company you may be quite self-conscious, feeling that people are looking at you, and on a bad day that they are being critical. You very much want people to think well of you and this may be why you are usually impeccably presented. You are inwardly aware that you are a special person but you still tend towards low self-esteem. Works of art can often trigger your deepest feelings: music, paintings, theatre and poetry. You may be intensely artistic."

The four temperaments are listed as patient Phleghmatic, sunny Sanguine, dynamic Choleric and introverted Melancholic.

I'm not sure how accurate this sort of test is, but I couldn't help wonder how many Goths would also score as Melancholic and be advised that wearing black 'enhances their personality'. Sadly I couldn't find the same article online so you guys could post your test results, but I found a very similar test over yonder. Let's put this theory to the test!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Goth beauty product reviews: GothRosary

(c) GothRosary
GothRosary is the brainchild of perfumier AntiSally; as the name suggests, the product range includes handmade beaded rosaries and rosary-style jewellery designed to appeal to those who prefer the darker side of life, sporting spiders, skulls, and other creepy little touches. But GothRosary is infamous for its perfumes and toiletries aimed at a Gothic market, with scents such as Nocturnal and Death by Chocolate. It's slogan is 'Uncommon Scents for Uncommon People', which, incidentally, is also the slogan on Anne Summers's relatively new perfume range. Not very nice of Anne Summers...

I had been intending to order from GothRosary for a long time after reading about it in Nancy Kilpatrick's The Goth Bible, and since my stash of toiletries was running low, I took the chance to order several different products in a variety of scents. The products I have reviewed below cost around £25 altogether, including shipping from the USA to England, which I felt was extremely reasonable. I will probably never buy bland toiletries from the supermarket or drugstore again now that I have Goth-themed soaps and shampoos available to me. All AntiSally's products are organic, vegan, kosher, hypo-allergenic, cruelty- and conflict-free and there is nothing in any of them that I can't pronounce, e.g. no preservatives or nasty chemicals.

The parcel took about ten days to arrive and was beautifully packaged - when I opened the box the loveliest scent drifted out! Everything was wrapped in black tissue paper, held in place with pretty labels featuring snippets of poetry (or Poe-etry to be more precise), curliques and other pretty touches. AntiSally had even included several sweets, and a printed page of product care advice, FAQs, and advice on refunds, returns and damaged goods.

Black rose vegetable glycerin soap in Graveyard

GothRosary soaps are available in many different shapes and colours and you can choose any fragrance you like! I treated myself to a black rose, scented with 'Graveyard'. I love this scent - it actually smells like a graveyard, which, OK, won't appeal to everyone, but as someone who eats lunch in the local cemetery almost every day... well, I was impressed. The little note on the packaging describes Graveyard thusly, "Green and floral... the smell of rich loamy soil, fresh green grass with a note of floral," and yes, the slightly unsettling smell of damp cemetery soil is spot-on.

As for the soap itself, I panicked the first time I used it as black colouring ran all over me and all over the bathroom surfaces, but thankfully it rinsed off in seconds without leaving even the faintest stain. With further use, it stopped oozing black dye and now exudes nothing but a gentle greyish lather. My skin doesn't feel tight - if anything it feels moisturised, but not oily or greasy. The fragrance remains on your skin for a good few hours.

Worry Free (TM) foaming hand sanitiser in Funeral Flowers

Alcohol free, no-rinse, antibacterial hand sanitiser that kills 99.99% of harmful bacteria, and contains softening aloe vera, vitamin E and green tea extract, which is making my hands feel lovely and silky after just a couple of uses. Best of all, it doesn't make my hands reek like vodka, unlike most hand sanitisers. The bottle will fit into most handbags although it might be a squeeze to get it into a small evening purse. Orange-coloured sediment settles at the bottom of the bottle between uses but this is normal for 100% natural products and AntiSally advises shaking the product before each use anyway. (I did discover that if you don't shake it very well, you end up with a not-very-nice scent all over your hands, so unless you want to smell like compost, shake it, baby, shake it...)

One small squirt of foam is enough to kill germs and leave my hands smelling delicious. The scent is a delicate, funereal bouquet; but not overpoweringly floral or old-lady-ish. Not sickly-sweet either. Perfect for romantigoths or ethergoths!

Hair detangling and softening creme rinse in Crypt

This product works in a similar way to hair masks - apply to wet hair after shampooing, leave for 1-2 minutes and rinse. It's enriched with natural oils such as sweet almond, grapeseed, jojoba and hemp, as well as pro-vitamin B5, and promises to leave your barnet 'softer than a baby's mustache'. It only takes a small amount of product to comb through your hair, and after just one use my hair feels soft and looks glossy. Not to mention it smells great! Crypt is one of my favourite GothRosary fragrances and I love the way it lingers on my locks after using this product. I am extremely impressed with the creme rinse, works much better than anything I've bought at the drugstore, making my hair feel really silky without greasiness or feeling heavy with product.

Crypt is described as 'surrounded, haunting... the smell of moss clinging to a marble mausoleum', and is a somewhat ethereal, melancholy scent, putting one in mind of ghost girls drifting wistfully through deserted halls or lingering at the graveside. Tim Burton's Corpse Bride probably wears this scent...

Nourishing hair and body wash in Nocturnal

This is lovely! Upon opening the bottle and having a sniff, Nocturnal smells just like your local alt shop - patchouli and nag champa incense, very earthy and with a touch of the hippie about it. However when in use the scent is slightly different, you can pick up the definite tang of black leather, y'know, that scent that you can almost taste in the back of your throat, which makes it smell more like the local pub after Goth night, but without the smoke and stale booze (to clarify: that's a good thing).

I was a little worried about using this as a shampoo - having never used products that aren't laden with chemicals, I had the preconception that something with natural and fragrance oils in it would leave my hair greasy. It doesn't. In fact, a small amount of product leaves my hair very clean but not dry or brittle. The scent lasts much longer than that of a 'normal' shampoo and you can still smell it even after using conditioner. I can see myself buying this product in many different fragrances!

This is also a reasonably effective body wash; much like the soap it doesn't leave skin feeling tight and the fragrance lingers on. It produces a pretty good lather, which I was not expecting from a natural, organic product.

All in all I am delighted with GothRosary and have some more products of theirs awaiting review. I will also certainly be buying more!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

BatFit 2012: Challenge Three

Our wonderful Professeur Gothique gives us this third challenge for BatFit 2012:
For this Bat Fit Challenge you are to give up a bad habit,

and in turn, replace it with a good habit.

"Bad habits come in many shapes and sizes; and can be physical, mental or emotional.  Bad habits gravely affect our total health, leading to physical health problems, depression, anxiety, and unfulfilling personal relationships. I challenge you, dear readers, to get rid of ONE bad habit. There's going to be a void where the bad habit was so fill it up with a good habit."
I'm going to be working on two of the same bad habits as Le Professeur, who has bravely chosen to tackle three negatives. Mine are:
  1. Procrastination
  2. Negative thinking
I'm going to stop spending so much time online looking at pretty pictures or watching telly when I could be writing, or exercising, going for a walk, shopping, baking, altering clothes, painting... basically all those things I keep telling myself I will do - later. The good habit I will replace procrastination with is basically just doing worthwhile things instead of lazing around putting everything off. I think that doing fun things counts as a 'habit', anyway. ;-)

Hopefully you can't tell too much from this blog, but I'm a fairly negative person. To illustrate, I borrowed my dad's copy of the book Grumpy Old Men and despite not being, well, an old man (honest) I was slightly alarmed to discover that I have every single character trait associated with grumpy old men AND the grouchy and downright rude internal monologue to match. Perhaps it's time to give up thinking of creative (and not-so-creative) insults for the poor unfortunates who have to interact with me in everyday life. The positive I am going to replace this with is, well, thinking of better things! As the Professeur says, I'm going to be more mindful of what I am thinking and try to replace snappy, negative thoughts with something a little more cheerful... I just hope that friends and coworkers will appreciate my Mary Poppins-esque mindset. ;-D

Spotlight on: Katie Metcalfe

Katie Metcalfe is a Goth girl who has suffered from the eating disorder anorexia nervosa; like many of us she has a passion for writing and I happened to pick up her book Anorexia: A Stranger In The Family in my local library.

Katie is honest and direct, even when analysing her own thoughts and behaviour, and clearly a talented writer. Now an adult, she is a published poet as well as an author, and her book Anorexia has been made into a play ('Pretty Ugly'  by Geoff Lawson) and is currently being made into a film. Katie's written works have also made it into alternative magazines including Alt Fashion and Bizarre, and she has appeared on many TV programmes including The Sharon Osbourne Show.

When Googling Katie so I could feature her as my spotlight, I was delighted to discover that she is a fellow blogger! You can find her on Wordpress here.

Katie's blog reveals that like many eating disorder sufferers, she still struggles at times with behaviours associated with her illness, but she has gone on to become a patron for the South Yorkshire Eating Disorders Associaton and has even featured in a video for the NHS (what lovely hair she has!) speaking out about anorexia.

Katie is also the editor of Beautiful Scruffiness magazine, which publishes the creations of writers, artists and poets from all over the world. Without wishing to be to cheesy it's the kind of zine you could describe as a work of heart, helping up-and-coming creative types get noticed and sharing beautiful things with the world at large - a truly worthwhile project driven largely by passion.

I've featured Katie in this Spotlight post because I think she is, simply put, an inspirational woman - I'm sure you will agree.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Goth jobs, continued

An old reader request I dug up reminded me of all the great comments I had on my December post about Goth jobs. The original post was a little bit tongue in cheek but so many of you posted about what jobs you have and what you are qualified to do - the responses were so varied! Just shows that stereotypical examples of  'Goth jobs' are way off track for many people.

Patricia Morrison
Source: Google
The reader request was from Craig, and went thusly, "I was wondering, I was going to go search for jobs, and I was wondering if there is a way I can continue to do what I want without being discriminated against. Any advice?"

Having never worked in a job with a strict dress code and suffered very little discrimination I was slightly stuck for an answer. I tend to override people's assumptions by being overwhelmingly cheery and friendly, which is probably the best advice I can give.

But I thought I would put up some of the comments I received from readers to show Craig that subcultural affiliation in no way holds one back from getting a job if you don't allow it to (e.g. tone it down when you know it will be required) and hopefully some of you can pass on some of your own advice.

So what jobs do Ultimate Goth Guide readers hold? Amongst us, we have:
  • two nurses (Lady Anhedonia and Kakuidori)
  • a painter/decorator (Leena)
  • a technical engineer (Linnea-Maria)
  • writers (Nightwind, Steff Metal)
  • a seamstress (akumaxkami)
  • a lecturer (and former teaching assistant) (InfiltratorN7)
  • a high-level security professional (S.Raven)
  • a volunteer firefighter (S.Raven)
  • a teacher (Tante Fledermaus)
  • an executive assistant for a CEO (Bane)
  • volunteering to make Braille books for the blind (Steff Metal)
  • radio show host (Tenebris In Lux)
  • several models (Toxic Tears, Saphire Rainforest)
  • a financial aid analyst for a university (BellaDonna)
  • several artists (Ghoulina Bones, Leena)
  • a domiciliary carer (SkeleDuck)
  • a freelance IT journalist (who used to work in TV) (Eurofighter)
  • an office worker (Loreia Lunatic)
  • a corporate receptionist (Maggie)
  • a mail sorter (anon)
  • a photographer (Mysteria Violent)
  • a pharmacist (Vulcan_Butterfly)

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