Black Page For A Gothic Banshee

(Being a Rant of Sorts)
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Do you feel like theres just no fashion in the world anymore? Do you go out to clubs, look at people writhing to some terrible booming beat, and say to yourself "Christ, dancing can be more than this"? Does LL BEAN make you feel like your dinner is coming up?

Well I do, and I do, and it does, and thats why I goth. Theres no clear global definition of goth; the number of goths who you ask to define gothic will approximate the number of different responses you'll get. For me, its fashion, music, and amusement. Its an escape of striking figures and lush fabrics and dizzying music. Its a romantic counterpoint to an increasingly sterile world of corporations, mass media, and simulated reality. Unlike the horrid goth children you might have known in high school, I've no deep rooted angst in my soul. At least not with a drink in my hand I don't.

The Horrors of Modern Fashion

Men's fashion depresses me terribly. So much energy goes into making things that have no personality. The recent heydays of style died with the post-romantic trend of the 80s: Adam Ant really had the right idea. Although silk shirts have made a happy appearance in men's fashion, where is the velvet? Where are the laces? Why is satin reserved for women's underclothes? What happened to brocade?

Look at any magazine featuring some sort of fancy party or a dress up event. The women are wearing cutting (sometime bleeding) edge fashion; clothing with textures and colors, clothing that catches. The men, all trapped in the latest recreation of the suit and tie. Who is the fool here?

I see more interesting fashion in one evening at a goth club than anywhere else in a weeks time. While, especially in San Francisco, there is an established society of transvestism, its not dressing as a woman which I desire -- the point is in reclaiming those elements of fashion which have become confined to women and expanding the elements of fashion unknown in our society. The importance is in the visualization and realization of a mode of dress outside the norm; a mode of dress driven by beauty and sensual aethetics. In such a world, men can wear velvet leggings. They can be corsetted. Lace drips from collars and cuffs. Clothing makes the person, be it man or woman.

Music Dances Behind Your Eyes

I've less to gripe about music than fashion. Music is reasonably easy to find, unlike attractive clothing. The goth genre of music spans only some of my tastes. Ambient goth, like the Cocteau Twins (at least up to Love's Easy Tears), Love Is Colder Than Death , Black Tape For A Blue Girl , merges easily with David Sylvian , Loreena McKennitt , and Bel Canto . Philip Glass provides a counterpoint to harsher things. Authentic Iraqii and Iranian music blends with Dead Can Dance .

There is, in fact, such a divergence of musical genres, that I'm amazed how little music some people enjoy.

Much of the goth I enjoy is ambient goth, though some gothic/techno cross-over is really very good. For an excellent overview of material, I suggest Hyperion's Heavenly Voices Part I compilation. In specific, these are some of the bands I enjoy: Bel Canto, Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Chris and Cosey, Cocteau Twins, Cranes, Dead Can Dance, Die Form, Eden, Grace Darling, Love is Colder than Death, Love Spirals Downwards, Lycia, Moon 7 Times, Opium Den, Ordo Equitum Solis, Stoa, This Ascension, This Mortal Coil, and Xymox.

New music I've bought includes: Anchorage, Collection D'Arnell Andrea, one of the few missing DCD cds, and FEAR. (Come on, More Beer is a GREAT song even though Lee Ving is a fuckup.) I'm still plotting to pick up cds by Faith and the Muse, Aurora, Rise and Fall of a Decade, Temps Perdu, and some others I have scribbled on small scraps of paper littering my room. Mail me others if you have suggestions! My favorite labels are Projekt, C'est La Morte, Hyperium, Tess, and Nettwerk. Yes, I find the Projekt ambient goth band descriptions as tedious and annoying as you do!

Though unfinished, here is a page of samples from the bands I enjoy. Samples are in AIFC format at 6x compression.

Prod The Sleeping Man

While goth is not unknown to the masses, its the sort of thing that most people don't see very often. As such, it challenges their acceptance of people and of the choices people make. While some react poorly, most are just somewhat baffled and goggle-eyed; reactions of that sort led to my drivers license photo. While the people in the DMV stared, none of them particularly commented. Now when I pull out my id, the uniform response is "they let you do that!?" Hell, I paid $10 for the photo, at least its a photo I find entertaining, and not some fucked up mug shot.

Extending this into other realms of the non-gothic social world can be equally entertaining. Why not dinner out, a concert recital, or a stroll in the park? Any goth who works for a living knows that workplaces seldom appreciate gothic regalia, and frankly, my work isn't worth the effort of dressing up. It seems that goths break down into the younger die-hards who dress the part everywhere (someone needs to, admire their conviction), and the older cynics who dress only to go out to clubs. Here then is the argument for a middle ground, a use of the image you find appealing, in places where its not well known or accepted. Everyone's mind needs be broadened, and any of us could be the means.

One should be cautious to note that this is not a confrontational thing. It would be improper to wander through churches solely for the purpose of eliciting reactions; similarly, funeral parties seldom welcome uninvited guests no matter how profound their, um, despair. However, I consider all government offices to be fair game.

The bottom line of course is that makeup on men is sexy.

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