Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Magazine Reviews: Gothic Beauty, Company's 'Goth' Issue and The Cure Special

Hello my lovelies! I treated myself to three very different magazines this week - my favourite subcultural zine Gothic Beauty has had a bit of a make-over; Company magazine, a mainstream fashion zine which I usually buy for the quirkier fashions and DIY tutorials, had an apparently unintentional gothstravaganza going on; and the makers of Metal Hammer and Classic Rock released a special edition mag and free CD entitled The Cure & the Story of the Alternative 80s.

Gothic Beauty
(You can buy it here.)

I will always have a soft spot for Gothic Beauty as it was the first Goth zine I discovered, and I was surprised and delighted that the dark fashion and music scene I adored boasted its own glossy magazine. Now on issue 37 (four issues are released a year), the magazine still boasts absolutely stunning cover photography (this month features Vecona, although I was a tad disappointed that, as my favourite designer and the cover star, her work was not actually featured in this month's issue) and articles on anything and everything pertaining to Goth lifestyle, fashion, music and culture.

This month's issue is a little different than previous as it has been tweaked by a new addition to the design team, Vero. On the whole I like the new layout - it's sleek, striking and easy to read - but I wasn't sure about the slightly different cover design, I preferred the elegant white font to the big graphic reds and oranges. Only a small niggle, however, and rather an irrelevant one at that...

There are a lot of advertisements in GB - I would surmise that the magazine gets a lot of its revenue from advertising space - but they are mostly arranged around the articles rather than being mainly double-page spreads like many designers receive in mainstream fashion magazines, and honestly some of the images used are so lovely that it's not irritating or a problem.

I did notice that this month's zine seemed to be missing the usual fashion editorial near the back which was slightly disappointing; hopefully this is temporary and not a permanent change. Lately there also seems to be less and less content which for £7.25 a pop is a little bit worrying - however GB remains my favourite magazine and I will continue to be a staunch supporter as they have introduced me to many of my most-loved bands and brands over the years. Best for eye candy; not great for young Goths on a budget, which is a shame really as there is always plenty of inspiration and information to be found here.

Articles include: Kambriel: A Modern Mysterious Muse, Gothic Accessories - Don't Leave Home Without Them, The Original Vampire Obsession: Dark Shadows, Coffin Consulting #1: Are you ready to start your own company? and interviews with the likes of Julina Corsets, David J and In This Moment.

(You can buy it here.)

This month's issue of Company has a special price of £1 and has been produced by a group of fashion graduates instead of the magazine's usual crew. I have to say, I like the result. It also probably helps that three huge trends for the autumn/winter season are Edwardian, Gothic and Baroque, but still! More DIYs, more make-up, and more indie-style interior design was pleasing for me.

Whilst some of the references to the Gothic trend made me wince (I think it's the word 'trend' that does it), I enjoyed the spread on vampy make-up ("Dark Angels: Take inspiration from the goth scene and go for heavy charcoal eyes and dark, blood-stained lips"), usage of the word 'spooky', and spent a lot of time going, "Gosh, I'd actually wear that... and it's affordable? What... what is this madness?" (re: the red and black lacy dress from Internacionale on page 25, £19.99, and the spiked River Island sandals on page 147, £65).

Overall, I counted nine references to the current mainstream Goth revival, including several double-page spreads. Personally I would have bought it for £1 a time simply for curio value and pretty pictures of velvet boots.

Articles include: Hone Structure (on contouring the face with make-up for a 'haunted' look), #Metal Mani (metal false nails including spiderweb and thorn designs; gorgeous but kinda expensive), Things Are Getting Fugly (Fashion-Ugly), Forget the Catwalk - Do It Yourself (flocking a dress, embellishing a T-shirt and a pair of shoes).

The Cure & the Story of the Alternative 80s
(You can buy it here.)

This is a one-off magazine so if you're interested, I'd recommend buying your copy straight away! It comes with a free 15-track CD called Black Planet featuring the likes of Skeletal Family and Andi Sex Gang, as well as less well-known bands like Inca Babies and Demented Are Go. Despite the G-word itself not being mentioned in the zine's title, this is definitely a fitting tribute to dark music, featuring interviews with everyone from Andrew Eldritch to Karl McCoy, and even some pretty Batcave pictures thrown in there for good measure.

Unexpected humour is introduced with the battling egos of Andrew Eldritch and Wayne Hussey struggling to fit into the same magazine, but really I could probably sell this magazine just by listing its interviewees: Peter Murphy, Robert Smith, David J, Jaz Coleman - you get the picture. And apparently, the zine's creators solved the problem of any big name spooky types they couldn't pin down for interviews by simply writing about them, which means that Siouxsie Sioux, Ian Astbury and Dave Vanian fans are not neglected either (oddly, though, no Joy Division).

Despite being titled 'the Alternative 80s', the zine also offers a nod to the mainstream's perception of dark culture with the likes of Paradise Lost, Marilyn Manson, Evanescence, Type O Negative and HIM grabbing tiny bit-parts in this glossy Goth homage, which may raise an eyebrow here and there but does serve to round out the story of 'what happened next'.

A fantastic read; more like this please!

Articles include: The Dark Ages (a history of Goth before it became Goth), Ghosts in the Machine (what happened to bands like the March Violets, who bolstered the scene?), Into the Black ('how macabre became the mainstream'), The New Flesh ('what Goth did next').



Cupcake.on.Crack said...

Demented Are Go! :-) Iswear I didn't even get to reading the whole article... Beca use that name sticks out like a sore thumb to me. Eeee, I want these magazines now.

ZeroNovember said...

I think the future mister will definately want the Cure one.

I studied fashion at uni so I used to buy about £20 of fashion mags every month. It was so exciting to find something I liked in there, but the majority of the time it was purely celebrity and trend based. Unfortunately once this season has passed (after christmas) all the lovely things will start getting replaced by whatever is in for 2013 (On the plus side, the shops will be selling their winter stocks off!)

The only mags I buy these days are Bizarre and children's comics :/

I used to buy the Japanese version of Gothic & Lolita Bible but they are too expensive to buy very often.

I can also say that mainstream wedding magazines have nothing alternative in them at all :(

Anonymous said...

The Cure and the story of the Alternative 80's magazine sounds interesting. I shall may give that a read sometime, if I want to buy it and interested to read it. £7.99 may sound lot, but it sounds not expensive with a free old school goth compliation cd included in as well.

Max Corvus Tenebrus said...

Dear lady Asphodel!
I'm a 22 year old goth gent prone to art and literature and romantic/victorian/fetish clothes. I can't get any magazines in Croatia nad I do not want to spend my precious cash on them. Where can I freely download a gothic magazine I might like?

And please make more posts for gents because I'm a devoted reader of your blog.

Anonymous said...

Do you remember when they offered the comic strip "Apocalypse Not Quite Yet" within the Gothic Beauty magazine issues? I wonder why they stopped producing the comics, as they were quite cute, in my opinion.

Sheila said...

I found there to be something a bit off in the new issue of Gothic Beauty as well. Maybe there was not enough non-fashion related articles? I too disliked the red and orange on the coveer. It seemed to detract from the gorgeous cover art.

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