Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Well, from where I'm looking at things there are about four hours and 45 minutes left to the year 2012. Perhaps for some of my readers the new year has already begun. In either event, I'd just like to offer you all my best wishes for 2013. May it be the year in which all of  your dreams come to reality--except of course, for your most frightening nightmares. Those hopefully, will be left to fantasy. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Finally, A Gothic Event--or Was It?

From time to time, either on this blog or in my comments on others, I bemoan the fact that there have been no Goth events in my community for quite some time; that is, as far as I know anyway. Sure, we have an active metal scene; but as much as I love metal, I have to admit that the gatherings are not the same. Imagine my surprise when, almost two weeks ago, I got on Facebook, looked at the local events and discovered that a group called Neo Victorian was co-sponsoring a costume and dance party called The Party at the End of the Universe at a nearby venue!

It just so happened that the tea society I belong to was holding its monthly gathering that Saturday, so when we got together I informed my friends, whom I suspected would be interested, about the upcoming; so, we made plans to dress up and attend. During the following week, DJ Infamouis, who along with DJ Dubspeak, would be providing the music, took song requests on the event's Facebook page. Both my excitement and expectations heightened when I looked at the bands the attendees were asking for--Bauhous, Souxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, Fields of the Nephilim and The Cure.Oh this is going to be good, I thought to myself. 

Saturday night finally arrived and we found ourselves sitting in a very comfortable and somewhat dark corner of the nightclub. As we sat with our drinks chatting, it eventually dawned on us that we weren't hearing any of the music that had been requested earlier in the week. Speaking only for myself, I fully expected to hear some electronic, but for most of the night, we were offered a musical itinerary that leaned heavily toward that genre and more specifically, dubstep. While the music was certainly danceable, very few attendees seemed overly inspired by it. Many it seemed, had been hoping for a lot more old-school Goth. 

We, the members of the tea society. From left to right, myself, Erin, Mimi the Victorian Clockwork Doll and G. 

Late in the evening--or should I say, early Sunday morning, a member of my party put in a request for Bauhaus and returned to tell me that DJ Infamous was going to play it. That's when the music finally took a turn for the better. Not only did he play Bauhaus' She's in Parties, but then he came down to me and asked if I had any requests. "Sisters of Mercy," I told him. Then, lo and behold, he played one of my favorite songs by them; Lucretia My Reflection, a most inspiring song indeed! The Goth set was finished off with something by the Cure. Now that's what we wanted to hear!

A clockwork doll and a storm trooper? Now that's an interesting combination!

All in all, there weren't as many folks at the event as I would like to have seen; but considering that mankind had just survived the apocalypse at the end of the Mayan calendar, it was common knowledge that there were parties all over the place that night. To tell you the truth, I was happy that I got to attend the event. I danced, drank a couple of margaritas that I have to rank as likely, the most lethal I've ever had, and overall, had a great time. I enjoyed seeing the ladies dressed in their finest and it was nice viewing some of the guys wearing top hats and other interesting apparel. There was even one of Darth Vader's Imperial Storm Troopers in attendance. It doesn't get much better than that. 

 D.J. Infamous supplying the tunes

 While I'm not sure that this was the Goth event that I'd been hoping for, it certainly was a step in the right direction. Still, further encouragement came to me after I had just exited the venue and was starting on my way home. I was only a half block down the street when I bumped into a lady I had met at the party a bit earlier. As we were exchanging pleasantries I mentioned the scarcity of Goth music and dark wave at the event and she, as an apparent organizer, was in general agreement. Much to my delight the lady informed me that her group wants to hold similar events at least every couple of months or so and that she at least, would like to see more dark wave offered in the future. After saying good night, I walked away feeling quite elated. Something good seems to be on the horizon.    




Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Newtown Tragedy, Goths and the Media

As a person who once worked for the local school system and had students of all ages under my care, it's really hard for me to think about the horror that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday. Sure, there were times when I would have liked to give a few students, especially a few smart-ass teenage boys, a quick trip home courtesy of my foot. Still, after all was said and done, I knew that they were just kids; and even though I sometimes had to use the existing disciplinary procedures in order to correct them, I certainly never wished them any real harm. It's hard to fathom how a person can commit as violent an act against children--young ones at that, as the one perpetrated in Connecticut last week.

As for the reasons why the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy took place or which preventative measures should be implemented--well, those are issues that will likely be discussed for years to come and it's not my intention to talk about them here. Instead, I want to take a few minutes to address how quickly the media began identifying the perpetrator, Adam Lanza, as a Goth. I know that this issue is being covered in other blogs as well, but I'd just like to throw in my two-cents worth on the subject.

In reporting on the Newtown tragedy, some news outlets made a point of it to mention that the shooter had been a Goth. The United Kingdom's Mail Online went so far as to call him a "killer Goth." Looking at his photos, the young man didn't look very Goth to me; but then again, many of us do agree that Goth is more a state of mind, which involves having certain interests in music, literature and aesthetics as opposed to specific styles of dress. According to some media reports, Lanza was a self-proclaimed Goth. Be that as it may, I find the media's desire to stress his so-called affiliation with us as a bit disingenuous. After all, the American domestic terrorist Timothy McViegh was a fundamentalist Christian; yet, the media rarely set out to link his religious beliefs with his abhorrent behavior. It does appear to me that the press, and especially through the tabloids, is trying to sensationalize this tragic story even further by exploiting mainstream society's fear and ignorance of our subculture. Like other Goth bloggers who have written on this subject in recent days, I do take offense at how easily the media sets out to demonize us.

There is one other aspect to this topic however, that I haven't seen anyone else mention. As Goths, we do go out of our way to appear spooky. Let's face it, that's a big part of what we're about. Even I (and I'm hardly in my teens or twenties anymore) still enjoy wearing my more expressive attire.. Oh yes, I have my vampire, skeleton and metal t-shirts, bat and dragon necklaces, skull and studded bracelets, a nose piercing, chains,--and I'm almost always wearing at least some black attire even in my most casual moments.

Since we are, as Gothic people, inclined to have a somewhat ghoulish aesthetic, can we reasonably complain when some folks get a little spooked by us? I'm not excusing the media's attempts to demonize us as they certainly have the resources to learn what we're really about. Still, it's probably just a fact of life that there is occasionally a price to be paid for being different. I don't like it, but this might be one of those times.

Photo source:
Author unknown



Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Surprising Acquisition

Although I'm kind of the outdoorsy type, I do like to occasionally take a pilgrimage to the mall, which is on the north end of town. My hour spent there is usually the same every time. First, I pop into Hot Topic just to see if they have anything new that is of interest. Next, I walk down the hall past the food court for a slightly longer browsing experience in Spencer's. I spend a bit more time there because their inventory seems a bit more extensive to me, and because, from time to time, I find some interesting jewelry or Living Dead Dolls there. Finally, I head to the food court for a bite to eat before making a quick exit. I suppose I'm a typical guy in this regard; when it comes to shopping, I'm in and out in little more than a heartbeat. 

Yesterday was no different--that is, not until I was leaving. That's when I saw it out of the corner of my eye--a simple T-shirt hanging on the wall in a store I had never before visited. Still, the garment stopped me in my tracks. When I went inside, the clerk told me that the shirt was a part of the O.G. Abel Collection, someone I had never heard of. Long story short, I made an unexpected purchase and took my new possession home. You can probably understand why. While I don't want to use this blog to make any commercial endorsements, you might want to go to this person's website just to see what type of material he or she creates.

That said, I love my new shirt.  

O.G. Abel's website