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Monday, 31 January 2011

A solution to subcultural wars? DANCE.

Agent Tony DiNozzo to Goth-girl forensic scientist Abby Sciuto: "You'll be fine, Abs. Just do what you do best."
Abby: "Dance?" - from hit TV show NCIS

According to Goth-beloved industrial band Skinny Puppy, Abby might just have the right idea. I was recently reminded of the music video for Pro-Test when I came across it posted on Goths In Hot Weather, one of my favourite blogs. I'm sure most of you guys have probably seen it, but I still can't resist posting it here.



I wouldn't want to try that in five-inch Demonias... but hot damn, that is badass.

Styles of Goth fashion: glitter Goth

Glitter Goths, aka 'Glam Goths', are closely related to the perkygoth tribe, and the look incorporates some familiar elements of perkygoth fashion, such as brighter colours (although not necessarily pink). Glitter Goths may style themselves to resemble glam rock artists such as David Bowie, but the key word, obviously, is 'glitter'. On your face, in your hair, on your clothes... if you don't look like a walking disco ball (in a good way) then you're not doing it right.

Glitter Goth make-up may be inspired by the colourful designs of the New Wave and New Romantic eras, and electroclash styles - and of course, if it shines, shimmers or sparkles, you're on to a winner. Rhinestones and other stick-on jewels are also popular.

Source: Miss Kitty T on Deviant Art, via Google Images
Perfect example of what I'm talking about...
'Glitter Goth' may simply refer to a Goth who enjoys wearing brighter colours and loves glitter, but often the look is taken further, combined with glam, 80s, and electroclash styles to create a fashion subset. Accessories for this look are obviously often glam or 80s-inspired, such as feather boas, platform shoes and anything shaped like a lightning bolt. 'Cute' or kitsch accessories such as sparkly plastic hairclips, cat ears and fairy wings are also a nice touch. Hats such as bowler hats or top hats add to the decadent image.

Between the bright make-up, the glitz and the glamour, the overall look is slightly surreal - it's hard for the onlooker to decide whether the glitter Goth on the high street has whizzed through a time portal from the 80s or simply been beamed down from another planet.

Baggy clothes are generally a no-go, although for casual wear the 80s theme may continue with an oversized off-the-shoulder tee combined with leggings and platforms (however, please draw the line at poodle perms and shoulder pads... we're still talking alternative 80s, remember?). Black, of course, is the base for the bright colours of the glitter Goth, and pixie boots and leather jackets give a more strongly Goth vibe to an outfit.
Adora BatBrat rocks the New Wave glam look...
Although a glitter Goth's music taste varies from person to person, it is likely to feature some of the bouncier 80s pop, rock, new wave and electro artists such as Depeche Mode, The Cure, Danielle Dax, Gary Numan, Cyndi Lauper, New Order, Gene Loves Jezebel, Pink Turns Blue and the New York Dolls; darkwave bands like The Cruxshadows and Switchblade Symphony; electro, synthpop and cyber bands like Ashbury Heights, Mind.In.A.Box and Apoptygma Berserk - oh, and they probably listen to David Bowie too...

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Babybat on holiday!

I'm posting this a little tentatively, as I'm not sure how interesting True Life of an English Babybat will be for my readers.

Those of you who came across from the old site may have read my Diary of Doom from my 2008 summer holiday? Well, here are the illustrated highlights, straight from the pages of my personal journal... but mostly, this is an excuse to post my old holiday snaps. Don't say you weren't warned.

Saturday 5th July, 2008
This cannot be happening to me. I'm going on holiday the day after tomorrow - and I've just realised I'm almost out of black eyeshadow. Thankfully, I packed most of my holiday wardrobe, including swimming costume and pajamas (and two bottles of SPF 50 suncream - of course!), last week, on the premise that if it's safely in my bag I can't lose it or get it dirty. I've decided against bringing my parasol - it's going to hard enough fitting everyone's bags in the boot with Nan's mobility scooter already.

Sunday 6th July
At half past eleven last night I was playing with the dog (a golden cocker spaniel called Spice) when Mum offered me a small but oh-so-beautiful item.

"From Tesco's?" I gasped, clutching it. "I didn't think Tesco's did the essentials. I thought they only sold frivolous stuff - like food."

Mum has saved the day with a black eyeshadow compact. Thank heaven.

Today I'm painfully excited, like a kid at Christmas, but there are a few hazards that Dan (my boyfriend) and I are going to have to watch out for on this holiday. I'll give you a list (I like lists):

1) Grandfer must not spot my tongue stud or all hell will break loose (which might be fun but I will probably regret it when I urgently need a fiver).
2) Dan and I must not join in with the grandparents' planned activities (Day One - A Nice Cup of Tea). Dan and I are both SERIOUS shopaholics - places to be, things to buy... the tea can wait.
3) Must not get caught by the grandparents sneaking in and out of each other's rooms.
4) Must keep Grandfer away from all unusal-looking people. He can be VERY rude. 

Monday 7th July
Have had a great day. After arriving at the hotel (and swapping rooms behind the grandparents' backs so that Dan and I are sharing a double and Mum is in the single) Dan and I took a wander into town. It was great!Basically, to sum up - BRILLIANT shopping trip, and I am sharing a hotel room with the most gorgeous guy in the world (who's been a real gentleman tonight - pouring my drinks for me and everything!).
Me and Dan; on the steps of our hotel in Torquay
In our hotel room... hmm, those are not the most flattering jeans. My butt does not sag, people, honest.
Oh, and the hotel manageress is not exactly what you could call Goth-friendly. When we got back from town, she stopped us at the door. Admittedly, everyone else here is either old or chavvy (in the hotel, that is, there were loads of alternatives and Goths down town), but still...   

She said, "Can I help you?" in the tone of voice that unmistakeably says, "Where the hell do you think you're going?" Dan just looked her straight in the eye and was like, "Well actually, we're going to our rooms..."

She deigned to let us in, but then actually followed us to see where we went! How rude! Ten out of ten to Dan, though. He was also great when a couple of chavs were staring at me in the lounge - he gave them right evils! Go Dan!
Tuesday 8th July
Alternatives, 2. Manageress, 0. We were walking out of the hotel with Mum when she gave Dan an evil look (the manageress, not Mum) so he pulled a face at her (literally) and we waltzed out (not literally). That woman is SO not getting a tip.

Today, we got a bus to a nearby village called Cockington. It's a really picturesque, old-fashioned little village, and hasn't changed a bit since I was here five years ago. We looked around some gift shops and the manor house, and took a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. Thankfully, the weather stayed pretty good and even brightened up a bit. (Typical English weather...)

Yup, we're in jolly old England all right...
Just had a chat with some random dude (who to start with I thought worked in the hotel) who said, "You're better dressed than everyone here - the only Goth in the place!" Well, I don't like to brag, but... ;-)

After dinner - five courses, I'm going to be HUGE by the time we get home - we went for a walk along the cliffs ('we' being me, Dan and Mum), then played a round of Crazy Golf. Dan won, Mum came second, and I absolutely sucked! Apparently I have a very violent golf swing!
Aaaand... there goes my Goth cred.
When we were on the cliffs, some chavs were staring at us. Mum said that they must have been surprised to see Gothy-type people smiling and having a laugh (since we're all supposed to be depressed and suicidal). They didn't shout any insults at us or anything, just stood there and watched us messing around. I'm glad we provide such good entertainment...
My favourite dress =)
It was a Christmas present, and it's from Drac In A Box
My homies
Wednesday 9th July
Dripping wet day today - the weather's bloody awful!

After lunch at the chippie, we caught a bus to a nearby town called Paignton and had a megashop in the pouring rain. Dan and I cooed over snakes, tarantulas and, er, fluffy bunnies in a pet shop, and I bought a pair of platform shoes and various other awesome bits and bobs.

At dinner I wore a blonde wig that I bought in Paignton - and it must have been pretty convincing as I was chatting to Grandfer in the corridor (with Dan hiding in our room) for a good few minutes before he recognised me!

I wish the weather was a bit better - I really want to wear my gorgeous swimming costume on the beach. It's a black fishnet halterneck tankini (with a lining on the inside, obviously!).
Crazy Golf, pool, line dancing... is there no end to my many fails?
Thursday 10th July
Today we visited Kent's Cavern, and it was AWESOME. Just before our tour guide led us into the caves, Dan and I overheard this woman talking to her little boy - "So what do you think is in the cave?" "DRAGONS!" "What else?" "GIANTS!" "What else?" "BEARS!" "What else?" "BANANAS!" I have to say, on behalf of the staff of Kent's Cavern, that there is not a single banana in the caves. (Well, if there was, I didn't see it.)

The tour guide led us around, sixty feet under the ground. It was chilly and damp and dark, but somehow strangely pleasant. I would quite happily live down there! The tour guide showed us a natural rock formation that cavemen used to worship, called the Face in the Stone. It looked a lot like Mick Jagger.
Kent's Cavern apparently decorate for Halloween all year round, just like me!
Screaming weirdo not included.
After dinner, Mum, Dan and I went down to the beach. Dan was yelling about how cold the water was, but I didn't think it was that bad. I went in up to my thighs and ended up completely soaking my skirt!
Later we had a game of pool in the bar, and then the bloke who'd been saying nice stuff all week ('best dressed', etc) came over, absolutely sloshed out of his wits, and started coming on to Mum, using a sausage-shaped balloon as a prop. Heading back to our rooms, we headed past a group of our fellow guests, who were also seriously drunk, and one shouted out, "Got your whips and chains ready, then?" I wasn't really sure how to answer that...

Friday 11th July
Dan and I got caught up in the rain this morning during a serious brain fart... we forgot we needed to get the bags into the car and set off for Babbacombe. We'd got about a mile when we we realised we had to get back in a hurry...
After loading the car we spent a couple of hours at Babbacombe Model Village (and had quite a giggle at the nudist beach - aren't we mature?!). We noticed that most of the little model people were leaning sideways, though... what's up with that? Loads of people stared at us, and one older dude looked at us and then went, "Oh my God," but hey, we're used to it...

I can't usually sleep in a car, but I just couldn't keep my eyes open on the way back. I ended up snoozing on Dan's shoulder, and apparently drooling... Dan says that every time we went round a sharp corner, my head got flung around and I nearly knocked Nan out a couple of times...

Well, I've had a damn good week and I hope everyone else did too... looking forward to maybe taking another trip next year!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Russia's Goth ban



Yes, the Russian Government really was in the process of drafting a law to make emo and Goth music illegal. I don't know if the proposed ban was carried out or not, but - well, wow. And not in a good way. What more would this law entail? Regulation of Goth and emo-themed websites; and a ban on people dressed in Goth or emo fashions entering schools (!) or government buildings.

In the draft, these subcultures are described as a 'dangerous teen trend', and, interestingly, in an article I read on the subject, it said that 'young people' would not be allowed to enter government buildings in Goth clothing. Is this because they don't think that adults wear Goth clothes, or does this ban literally only apply to young Goths and emos? Either way, it's a little strange.

I am not entirely sure that the government should have the right to dictate how people dress and what music they listen to. In fact, I think that's stupid, ridiculous, and smacks just a little bit of fascism. Apparently this law will protect young people from depression, suicide and self-harm - I think the authorities of Russia will be in for a surprise. I expect they will discover that banning Goth will not have any effect on the teen suicide rate whatsoever, because I don't think that Goth music or fashion has any connection to suicide.

Honestly, wouldn't they do better to look into the causes of depression and mental health issues and find a sensible, logical way to protect young people instead of drafting legislations based on schoolyard stereotypes and silly misconceptions? I'm not sure what it says about the people running this country; making assumptions about an entire group of people and then legislating against them is generally known as discrimination, last I checked - and making these laws without, apparently, bothering to research what they are actually banning is idiocy, pure and simple.

Let's just hope that this frankly quite worrying approach to mental health concerns and treatment of subcultural enthusiasts does not begin a trend amongst other governments...

Friday, 28 January 2011

Goth pets

Stereotypically, the life of a Goth is a lonely existence... but bugger that for a game of soldiers. However, I'd like to make a handful of things clear right off the bat (no pun intended).

1. When I say 'Goth pets', I mean PETS. As in, beloved, well-treated, furry/feathered/scaly/bald (delete as applicable) friends. I am not talking about sacrifices (duh, everyone knows us Goths only use HUMAN sacrifices - that was a JOKE, in case you at the back there weren't paying attention). If anyone, Goth or not Goth, thinks it's a good idea to hurt or mistreat animals, then get off my blog.

2. OK, the big crossover between the Goth and fetish scenes may mean that some people came to this page looking for pictures of people on a collar and leash (or other various human-pet-centred whatnots). But, er, I'm afraid I'm talking about pets of the animal kingdom variety here. Just so's you know.

3. To keep exotic animals as household pets I believe requires some kind of license. I do not recommend you give your child a crocodile. Do not blame me if your black cat brings home fleas. Thorough research before buying new pet, yadda yadda. You get the point.

Wonderfully cliched Gothy pets:

  • Black cat
  • Raven
  • Rat
  • Snake
  • Tarantula
  • Bat
  • Owl
  • Three-headed dog (no, I just kid...)
(To date I've owned two animals from the above list (I'll let you guess which!). Currently I cohabit with an ancient black and white cat named Kally and two incredibly bossy guinea pigs called Toffee and Badger.)

Author of The Goth Bible, Nancy Kilpatrick, says, "Goths are overwhelmingly pet lovers. Goths have been known to cohabit with all manner of creatures, the most common, not surprisingly, cats. Other animals that Goths smile favourably upon are panthers, skunks, rats and wolves, treating them with respect, viewing them as kindred spirits. Many Goths find spiders and lizards fascinating, although insects per se are not high on the list of adorable creatures to share your home with. Many Goths hold a special spot in their hearts for ravens, crows and bats."

I must admit I never thought of a skunk as a kindred spirit before... but, jokes about stinky pits aside, I guess they are kind of the misfits of the animal kingdom...

In The Goth Bible, Ms. Kilpatrick interviewed a group of Goth panelists, known as The Cross Section, on various topics, including their pets. Pets owned by The Cross Section include:
  • Alligator - 1
  • Bat - 5
  • Source: Chameleon Kitty (DeviantArt) with kind permission
  • Chameleon - 1
  • Chinchilla - 2
  • Cockatoo - 1
  • Crocodile - 1
  • Dove - 2
  • Ferret - 6
  • Frog - 1
  • Gecko - 1
  • Gerbil and Hamster - 5
  • Goat - 1
  • Guinea Pig - 1
  • Hedgehog - 1
  • Lizard - 7
  • Piranha - 1
  • Prairie Dog - 1
  • Rats and Mice - 21
  • Raven - 1
  • Seagull - 1
  • Scorpion - 1
  • Snake - 12
  • Spider - 3
  • Sugar Glider - 2
  • Turtle and Tortoise - 4
However, there are definite downsides to owning pets, such as picking cat hairs off one's corsets and velvet; dog claws play merry hell with fishnet tights and stockings; keeping crawly icky buggies on hand to feed the tarantula; and let's face it, some clothes just aren't practical for dog walking in the rain. And you just know that everyone you know will see you in your mum's trackie bottoms and the lime green rainmac.

But you can give your dog some Goth cred with one of these hilarious 'Goth dog shirts' from Zazzle...

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Enough with the patronising, already

Source: Google Images
Well, I know this is a pretty old topic, but I've been going back over it a lot recently, and I've realised that it really, really, REALLY annoys me. Many of you reading this probably remember the petition that was set up online to have attacks on people because of their subculture or because they looked 'alternative' legally recognised as a hate crime under UK law. The details of the petition, for those who don't know, are as follows:

"In remembering the case of a Lancashire couple, who recieved an horrific beating, for the way they were dressed and, in which an innocent young woman lost her life, the Alternative & Gothic community puts forward that the definition of hate crimes should expand to protect subcultural people where the law is concerned. Most gothic/subcultural people regularly complain of being harrassed, abused, spat on or attacked for the way they look, having done or said nothing to otherwise provoke this. People who prefer 'darker' fashions; who sport facial piercings, alternative makeup or dyed hair regularly experience being singled out on these grounds, by the less tolerant. When this escalates to physical attack and, in this instance, death of an innocent person, it is clearly unnacceptable. According to the home office, the definitions of 'Hate Crime' include race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation and disability. We feel this list should also include: "On the basis of personal appearance or subculture"."

The UK Government's response was:

"The Government's current definition of 'hate crime' is as follows: A 'hate incident' is any incident which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by hate or prejudice.

A 'hate crime' is any incident which contributes to a criminal offence, perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hate.

Within this broad definition, legislation focuses on hate crimes on the basis of race, faith, sexual orientation, disability and gender identity - and it is these categories which are currently monitored. We do not plan to extend this to include hatred against people on the basis of their appearance or sub-cultural interests. These are not intrinsic characteristics of a person and could be potentially be very wide ranging, including for example allegiance to football teams - which makes this a very difficult category to legislate for. However, it is important to remember that this is within a legal framework that assumes that all violence is a very serious matter; and in addition, judges have discretion to look at a wide range of mitigating and aggravating factors when they are sentencing - and are likely to view attacks motivated by hatred of this kind as very serious indeed."

Personally, I strongly disagree with the notion that subcultural affiliation is as 'non-intrinsic' as allegiance to a football team. Have you ever tried getting a full sleeve of tattoos removed? Yes, for some people, Goth is a phase. For some, it is a passion. I think mostly it's the patronising attitude that irks me, as though the entire 'Alternative & Gothic' community are a bunch of pre-teens in Halloween make-up. Most of us do not change subcultural allegiance as easily as some people change allegiance between sports teams.

This attitude is reflected in so-called 'middle class media', for example, the Daily Mail. I read the Daily Mail, by the way, and I find it very irritating that, for example, not a single word was printed regarding the infamous emo protest march to, where was it now, ah yes, the Daily Mail offices. Apparently, emos object to having their subculture labelled as a 'cult', but unfortunately in Daily Mail-speak, everything subcultural is labelled a 'cult'.

Remember That Article (yes, That Article with capitals) by Sarah Sands? It was entitled 'Emo Cult Warning For Parents' and whined on about how us Goths and emos (for an article that was supposed to be about emos it certainly had a lot to say about Goths) are depressed and suicidal. As usual. Here are a few quotes for you to roll your eyes at:

"There is a also a term which is new to me and amounts to a much more dangerous teenage cult. The Emos - short for Emotional - regard themselves as a cool, young sub-set of the Goths." Er, they do? Damn, I missed that. And here I thought they were a whole separate subculture with some slight similarities. Shows how much I know. Good thing I don't write for the Daily Mail, eh?

"Many of the alluring women of our time - Nigella Lawson, Debbie Harry, Chrissie Hynde, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Lily Allen - have a touch of the Goth about them." Yes, Nigella Lawson, Lily Allen (the chav idol) and Sophie Ellis Bextor are soooooooo Goth. Somebody shoot me. (Hmm, now was that me showing my suicidal tendencies, or an attack of sarcastic nausea brought on by all this ignorance? Well, dear reader, I leave that for you to decide.)

"But compared to the music, the poetry is positively cheerful. The Gothic bands have names such as Bloody, Dead And Sexy or Colder Than Death." Talk about scaremongering! The band's name is actually Love Is Colder Than Death, which I think you'll agree is far less morbid.

"Although Goths are from the same family tree as punks, they are a lot less fun to be with. While I loved punk for its energy, Goths were too bloodless to lift a finger. One of the most annoying characteristics of teenagers is their refusal to open their curtains. Their world is dark and airless. If this environment is coupled with the psychological traits of self-pity, introspection, self-dramatisation and hormone imbalance, you have a fully-fledged Emo, even without the small T-shirt and black hair. The wondrous thing about being an adult is that you have so much more to worry about that you stop striking poses and get on with it." There is so much wrong with this paragraph that I'm not even sure where to begin. 'Too bloodless to lift a finger'?! Tell that to, for example, Adora BatBrat, or Rogue from the Cruxshadows, who can't seem to sit still.

And the whole 'curtains' thing? What on earth does that have to do with anything? Considering that earlier on in this same article, Ms. Sands was droning on about how Goth is 'depressingly retro' for those who lived through the 80s, surely she should have some small awareness that actually, not all Goths are fifteen years old. Also, where is the logic here? "I never open my curtains - dammit, I must be Goth."

HORMONE IMBALANCE? Oh, go away and worry about your own hormones. And that comment about adulthood? Madam Sands has clearly never been to the Whitby Gothic Weekend, or actually met any Goth who isn't a mallgoth.

"What worries me is that teenagers are less equipped to manage strong emotions and a cult of suicide could have real and horrible consequences. It is irresponsible for the fashion and music cultures to encourage it. If you want retro style, I recommend Ian Dury's song Reasons To Be Cheerful." One - THERE IS NO CULT OF SUICIDE. Two - fashion does not 'encourage' us. We are not sheep. Three - this bit of music recommendation here... see what I mean about patronising?

I can understand to a certain degree the level of misunderstanding in the response from the UK government - they are not journalists. Sarah Sands, on the other hand, should have had some sort of obligation to research both Goth AND emo before she sat down and wrote the above load of utter bollocks. How embarrassing that this ignorant, faintly ridiculous piece of nonsense was published in a national newspaper.

If you think you can bring yourself to read the whole article (which claims, by the way, that emo conversation consists of sighing, wailing and poetry... oh, dear) you can find it here.

Right, sorry about this very long rant about really outdated things. I'm now off to slit my wrists and listen to songs about murder and mutilation. While I'm at it I might write some depressing poetry.

Oh, hold on, I DO write depressing poetry... never mind.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Why do Goths love cemeteries?

I'm sure that if you asked any of my Goth readers what it is about cemeteries that particularly appeals to them, you would probably receive a wide-ranging variety of answers, and I'm sure there'd be a fair handful who'd say "Cemeteries? What? We're not all death-obsessed freaks, y'know..." and glare at you.

However, on the whole Goths do love cemeteries - that stereotype exists for a reason. The question is: why?

Graveyards are peaceful and serene; and by and large people tend to stay away from them. The subject of death, for the mainstream, is taboo, which makes the resting place of the dead somewhere to be feared. Whereas Goths, as I have previously mentioned, are more appreciative of the beauty that can be found in dark or even frightening things. Death is not something that is hoped for or courted, but it is a fact of life, and as such has a beauty of its own. Non-Goths may find it uncomfortable to appreciate the beauty of a cemetery, but the ornate statues and crumbling gravestones are beautiful nonetheless.

Source: Photobucket
But chances are, a Goth in a graveyard probably isn't thinking about death at all - they are likely to enjoy the sense of history, the tranquil atmosphere, the beautiful carvings. In a quiet graveyard, a Goth can sit and while away the hours with a book, a camera, or a notepad and pen.

In addition, I suspect that more than a few Goths identify themselves as tapophiles. Tapophilia is defined as having a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries, and may involve collecting interesting epitaphs, taking gravestone rubbings (which, incidentally, is something I have been doing since approximately age five), and cemetery-related photography and art.

It has been known for groups of Goths to picnic at the cemetery on a sunny afternoon, tidying up behind themselves and leaving no trace that they were ever there. In fact, not only does The Goth Bible by Nancy Kilpatrick give detailed instructions on how to organise a cemetery picnic, but to celebrate the launch of Jillian Venters's Gothic Charm School book, a huge cemetery tea party was held, which even found its way into the New York Post.



Interestingly, spending time picnicking in cemeteries was common in the Victorian era; families would spend Sunday afternoons eating beside the graves of their dead or sitting on their own pre-paid plots. It could be said that Goths have taken this a step or so further - there are many who would consider a moonlit trip to the cemetery to be a very romantic date.

Listening to: Seven Times - STandART (click song title to download on Last.fm)

Vampire reading challenge (because I need an excuse... ;-) )

OK, that's a lie, I don't really need an excuse to read more books about vampires, but, for the sake of blogger solidarity and some great reviews, I shall sacrifice myself to this cause. It's all for you guys. Honest.

So yup, I'm all signed up for Parajunkee's View Vampire Reading Challenge, which means that this year I have to read 20 books with a vampire as the main character and post my reviews for you lovely people to read. As I am technically new to the bloggerverse I have not done anything like this before and am quite excited!

Will anyone else be joining me?

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Gothy reading material for young darklings

One of the things that I have to thank Twilightmania for, as a commentor pointed out to me on a long-ago post, is that Goth and vampire-inspired products are now more readily available and accessible for those of us who are unemployed, cannot order online and/or are on a very tight budget. I was reminded of this yesterday when I was in the bookstore, as I stumbled across the kids' section - which was absolutely full-to-the-brim with Gothy goodies, perfect for young babybats seeking to bury their noses in dark culture. When I was 12, the average Goth reference I was likely to discover in a bookstore was that snide comment about 'death cult zombie chicks' in the Mates, Dates series.

As a death cult zombie chick (and proud) who loves to read, it is my pleasure to share with you the gems I have unearthed in the '9-12 years fiction' section of the bookstore, and beyond...

Firstly, if I may, I'd like to point my babybat readers in the direction of the books I enjoyed when I was but a wee, Halloween-obsessed teeny-bopper, some of which I have a feeling some of my older readers will also have devoured:

The Whitby Witches by Robin Jarvis. In fact, anything by Robin Jarvis that you can get your fishnet-gloved mitts on is probably a safe bet. (My other favourites being The Wyrd Sisters and Thorn Ogres of Hagwood.) Robin Jarvis is the undisputed king of things that go bump in the night, although babybats of a nervous disposition (yup, like me) would do well not to read these before bedtime.

Castle Twilight and Other Stories by Colin Thompson and Korky Paul. I used to re-read this over and over - it's a collection of twelve ghastly stories about the occupants of Castle Twilight, including the beautiful, intelligent, slightly odd and largely ignored Princess Chocolate, Creepeasy the butler, and Headache the dog.

Holy Moley, I'm a Dead Dude by C.M Hopkins (yup, the same Cathy Hopkins of Mates, Dates...) is a strange but funny story about teen rock star Dude, tragically dead after a crowd-surfing accident. Dude and his gang of ghosts (including Goth girl Bella) still have a few lessons to learn about life - despite being dead. Body-swapping, ghostbusters and general mayhem ensue.

The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. I absolutely love these books - darkly comic young adult fantasy at its very best. Fantastic illustrations, too. Cannot recommend these highly enough.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. These books are considered an ageless classic for a reason (although, pet peeve - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is NOT the first book in the series, it is the SECOND. The Magician's Nephew is the first book) - they have enough dreamlike fantasy to appeal to faerie-lovers and those who love folklore and myths; with enough dark moments to keep even the spookiest of Gothlings enthralled. My favourites are The Lion..., and The Silver Chair.

Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan. Like Robin Jarvis, Darren Shan is a monster master, and it's hard to choose between his Vampire's Assistant series (don't be put off if you didn't like the movie, the books are better) and the Demonata. Actually, I think the Demonata series edges it for me, but Cirque Du Freak has vampires... take your pick.

Night World by L.J. Smith. I started buying the Night World books in early secondary school... my friends and I were all really into these vampire romances and are STILL waiting to get our hands on the last book in the series.

Wicca or Sweep by Cate Tiernan (same series, different names). A fascinating series about witchcraft, magick, romance, betrayal - and a token Goth girl named Raven. Of course.

Death: At Death's Door by Jill Thompson is a manga spin-off from Neil Gaiman's classic Sandman series of graphic novels, (eternal favourites in the Goth scene) aimed specifically at younger readers. Gorgeous artwork, and an unusually light-hearted introduction to Neil Gaiman's very dark world.

I also used to enjoy the Goosebumps, Shivers and Point Horror collections - even if they did give me nightmares (yes, I was a big wuss. Still am, actually).

Nowadays, my favourite young adult books include:
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schrieber
Kimmie66 by Aaron Alexovich
Emily the Strange: The Lost Days by Rob Reger
Clubbing by Andi Watson and Josh Howard
Missing Abby by Lee Weatherly

I am a great fan of books which feature a 'token Goth' character, which nowadays is about 98% of what's lurking on the Young Adult shelves. However, token Goths can be divided into three categories - the good, the bad, and the seriously 2D... probably my favourite token Goth that I have recently come across is Sylv in An Urgent Message of Wowness by Karen McCrombie, who is a very sweet, smart, and exceptionally believeable perkygoth. I loved reading about her, and I'm supposed to be an adult...

Changeling by Steve Feasey features a very average Goth girl whose name I have forgotten, but is still worth a read if you're into werewolves, vampires, djinns or sorcery.

The Adventures of Fan Boy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga is an infinitely popular comic, but I am highly dubious about it due to the suicidal tendencies of its main Goth character, Kyra. Can we move on from these stereotypes, please, people?

For dark fantasy lovers and those who like their fairy tales served with a side of spooky, I recommend:
Heretic by Sarah Singleton
The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black
Poison by Chris Wooding
Verdigris Deep by Frances Hardinge
Wondrous Strange by Leslie Livingston

I have not read any of the following, but I am sure that many of them will appeal to a young Goth audience:
My Sister The Vampire by Sienna Mercer
Eyetooth by Frank Rodgers
Blood Sinister by Celia Rees
Gothic Goddess by Carrie Bright
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy.
Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror by Chris Priestley
Nightmare Academy by Dean Lorey
The Bone Magician by F.E. Higgins
Crow Girl by Kate Cann
Shadowmancer by G.P. Taylor
The Thornethwaite Inheritance by Gareth P. Jones
Mortlock by John Mayhew
Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley
Monster High by Lisi Harrison
The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
Diary of a Wimpy Vampire by Tim Collins
The Raven Mysteries by Marcus Sedgwick

Monday, 24 January 2011

Styles of Goth fashion: burlesque Goth

Elements of burlesque have inspired many areas of the Goth scene, from dark cabaret music to flirtatious burlesque Goth (or cabaret Goth) fashion. So what is burlesque?

Well, basically, burlesque could be described as Ye Olde Striptease. Yup, in the days when showing an ankle was considered the height of slutdom, young ladies of questionable reputation performed as burlesque dancers, showcasing their curves in tightly-laced corsets, stockings and suspenders - there may even have been the occasional glimpse of a thigh. *swoons*

Dead sexy...
Source: Tumblr
However, there has always been more to the art of burlesque (yes, it's known as an 'art') than simply the titillation of the gentlemen. A burlesque performance is designed to be humourous, laced with quick-witted puns or pointed satire. Some modern 'alternative' burlesque performers specialise in the shock factor; although both performers and enthusiasts often insist that a burlesque show should be classy rather than just sexy.

What about cabaret? The definition of cabaret is basically thus, 'a form of entertainment featuring comedy, song, dance and theatre'. In today's world, cabaret tends to be considered as cheesy as it is glamorous, featuring a large amount of spangles, sequins and feather fans, and a lot of high-kicking. Despite this (and the fact that your grandma probably watches cabaret shows on holiday), cabaret has long been associated with 'counter-culture' and all things alternative, and often covers dark or disturbing subject matter - such as the song 'Gloomy Sunday', written by Rezso Seress in 1933; or 'Mack the Knife' by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. 

And how does this all link in with Goth? Well, corsets, red lipstick, black suits and fishnet stockings have been fashion staples in the subculture for a good couple of decades. And of course, the term 'dark cabaret' has come to define a music genre that has reached quite a height of popularity within the Goth scene.

Dark cabaret music is the result of combining the visual aesthetics and 'feel' of burlesque and cabaret shows with the stylings of punk and/or Goth music. The term was popularised by a 2005 Projekt Records compilation entitled Projekt Presents: A Dark Cabaret, and the stagewear of many dark cabaret performers can be credited with inspiring burlesque/cabaret Goth fashion.

Believe it or not, burlesque is very elegant, and a lot of burlesque-inspired Goth fashion reflects this, incorporating skirts and dresses rather than trousers for the ladies; the ever-popular corsets and fishnets; feathered headdresses, capes or even boas; and retro-inspired finishing touches such as garters, lace or satin gloves, cigarette holders (for those who smoke, obviously) and high heels, preferably court shoes.

If the gentlemen are feeling a little left out, allow me to lift your spirits with the following quote from the rather excellent Black Waterfall website: "[Male cabaret Goths] often resemble a peculiar cross between Dracula, Charlie Chaplin and a mime: but they have a style and class that is all their own."
Source: Tumblr
Photographer: Danny Sotzny
Of course, I could hardly write a post on burlesque without mentioning Dita Von Teese, ex-wife of the Antichrist Superstar himself, the Mallgoth God Marilyn Manson. Dita Von Teese is a stunning burlesque performer, who is often credited with bringing the art back into the spotlight over recent years. Dita's lily-white skin, raven curls, retro 40s and 50s-inspired fashion and red lipstick have been inspirational to many a Goth girl seeking to add a touch of slightly saucy glamour to her apparel.

There is a wealth of music that may garner (or should that be 'garter'? Heh heh...) the interest of the cabaret Goth. The song 'Peek-A-Boo' by Siouxsie and the Banshees draws on circus and burlesque imagery, and Dream Home Heartache, the album that resulted from a collaboration between former Christian Death members Rozz Williams and Gitane Demone, was described in reviews as "cabaret noir".

The biggest name in dark cabaret is probably the Dresden Dolls, although singer Amanda Palmer (married to Goth-beloved author Neil Gaiman, might I add) describes the Dolls' music as 'Brechtian punk cabaret', allegedly to avoid being labelled 'Goth' by the media. Other bands and musicians which may appeal are: Tiger Lilies, Vermillion Lies, Jill Tracy, Voltaire, Stolen Babies, Revue Noir, The Tragic Tantrum, Katzenjammer Kabarett, Circus Contraption, Evelyn Evelyn, Hannah Fury and Harlequin Jones.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Pink and black attack! The return of Kynt and Vyxsin

The weird conversations just keep coming. My nan received a cold call yesterday from some telesales company, asking to speak to her husband (my grandfer) who died of motor neurone disease last year.
Nan: "No, this is Mrs. Bowers."
Cold caller: "Can I please speak to Mr. Bowers?"
Nan: "He passed away."
Caller: "When will he be back?"
*blinks* Excuse me, what?!

Those of you who followed me here from Piczo may recall a time when the weekly videos I used to post on the homepage suddenly began featuring an awful lot of clips from CBS's The Amazing Race. The Amazing Race is an American reality TV show where contestants compete in teams of two, racing around the world whilst completing various challenges to win prizes. Those who reach each destination last run the risk of elimination.

Why am I telling you this on a blog about Goth culture? Because this TV programme helped to shed some light on the dark world of Goth, and hopefully blast a few of those negative stereotypes out of the water. How? By bringing astonishingly perky, loveable Goth couple Kynt and Vyxsin onto hundreds of USA TV screens in series 12.

Source: Google Images
They may not have won the grand prize, but competing in the Amazing Race was a massive breakthrough for Kynt and Vyxsin, skyrocketing them to global infamy. The couple now regularly contribute to Goth glossy Gothic Beauty Magazine and have modelling contracts out the wazoo, including some names I'm sure you'll recognise such as Hot Topic, Skelanimals and Lip Service. And hey, an awful lot of hits to this blog are from people Googling 'Kynt and Vyxsin'.

So (other than those extra hits) why have I chosen today to run a post on this make-up loving, big-haired duo (who, incidentally, were described as 'the show's best-dressed contestants' for their neatly co-ordinated black and hot pink ensembles)? Well, because the perkygoth pair are scheduled to return to the TV screens of America for a second shot at that $1,000,000 first prize...

That's right, the Unfinished Business series is soon to air, and the stunning couple have been announced as one of the returning teams!



In their first CBS appearance, Kynt and Vyxsin may have been well-received by American families watching at home (and those of us in the rest of the world watching on YouTube and various illegal video-sharing websites), not to mention the African tribespeople they met on their round-the-world race, but their extravagant aesthetic didn't go down quite so well with the competition. Right from the get-go, some of the other contestants were snide and insulting, referring to the eyeliner-besmeared Gothlings as 'the freaks'. Their positive, cheery attitude, however, is the polar opposite of the stereotypical protrayal of Goth gloom and doom. Kynt says, "People think Goths are depressed and antisocial basement-dwellers. It’s so wrong since we love to meet new people everyday. Goth people are insightful, intelligent, and just plain fun."

It was interesting to see that amidst the in-fighting and arguments taking place on an almost daily basis amongst nearly all of the other teams, Kynt and Vyxsin only argued once - during the rest of their time on the series they were really supportive of each other and worked well together, unlike a certain other team who called them 'freaks', who were constantly bitching, yelling and insulting each other.

I thoroughly look forward to following the further adventures of the world's happiest Goths on YouTube... and wish them the very best of luck at netting that prize!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Shop review: Stinky Fish, Winchester, Hampshire. (Also, I am a ninja.)

I got asked the BEST question in the charity shop today. The conversation went:
Customer: "So... I guess black is your favourite colour?"
Me: "How'd you guess? Y'know, you're the second person who's asked me that today."
Customer: "Are you a ninja?"
Me: o.O
Me: =D

Speaking of shops, on to today's review - Stinky Fish in Winchester, Hampshire. They do have a website, but frankly it doesn't do the store justice by a long shot, showing only a teeny-tiny selection of what this family-run business has in stock, with a heavy emphasis on neon-coloured rave gear (yuck) - although it is gradually improving and may soon be worth a look.

Source: Google
However, despite the downright dubious name, the shop itself has earned a place in my current top five alt stores. It earns points for size - I do like a nice big spacious alt shop, and Stinky Fish not only has three changing rooms, but there is a whole room dedicated mostly to accessories, featuring an entire wall hung with a myriad of funky tights.

There is a huge Stargazer cosmetics counter (although, I do wish UK shops would branch out a bit; there are more alternative make-up brands than Stargazer, Manic Panic and Directions Hair Colour, y'know... I'm currently exploring the crazy and colourful worlds of Lime Crime, Medusa's Makeup, and Illamasqua), and a selection of hair products which, to my delight, includes not only accessories, hair dye and clip-in extensions in every colour imaginable, but a reasonable selection of fun Stargazer wigs.

There are several interesting things that I felt set Stinky Fish apart from some of the other alt shops in the area - one, not much head shop gear. OK, this might not be a plus for everyone, but as a girl who is very anti-illegal-substances, I prefer to browse whilst not having my personal space invaded by glazed-eyed chavs seeking out a new bong or crack pipe. Weirdly, instead of many bongs, Stinky Fish specialises in juggling equipment - well, it's definitely different!

Two, Stinky's stocks Gothy children's clothing. The Sharp Practise in Salisbury used to do a great line in T-shirts and babygrows for non-conformist brats, but they have now chosen to focus on the tattooing side of their business and no longer sell clothing. It's nice to see another shop branching out into children's clothes.

Three, this shop is craftster-friendly. Not in a huge way, but there is a reasonably good selection of both iron- and sew-on patches and a great selection of badges. I even managed to turn up an Alien Sex Fiend badge on a recent visit.

In the clothes section (another whole room) everything is neatly hand-labelled by section (e.g. men's trousers, skirts, etc.) - such dedication and attention to detail! There is no specific sale section, but a browse through the racks reveals many reduced items, and just below the counter there are three little trays filled with clearance accessories - all 50p each or three for £1!

Stinky Fish stocks many brands that I've never even heard of alongside the usual Iron Fist and Hell Bunny gear. And, thankfully, Goth is currently beating scene hands-down clothing-wise - many alt shops, such as Riverside Gifts (Salisbury), have almost phased out Goth clothing to make way for the more 'popular' emo and scene clothes. Stinky Fish does not seem to have followed suit (yet).

There is some band merch, but it's the 'traditional' selection (Misfits, Nirvana etc.). Perhaps this is one area where Stinky Fish could stand to diversify, as there are so few shops stocking 'real' Goth merch in the UK.
The couple who run the shop are both lovely - talkative, friendly and very helpful. I can't recommend Stinky Fish enough - but forget the website, stop by in person.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Castle Party, Eastern Europe's biggest dark music event

Castle Party is the biggest Goth and darkwave festival in Eastern Europe, and has hosted many major stars of the subculture since its beginnings in 1994, when about 300 dark music fans travelled to see five bands who were performing at the Grodziec Castle in Poland, namely Moonlight, Daimonion, T.R.H, Pornografia and Fading Colours. Attendees were so impressed by the event that a similar, two-day event was planned at the castle the following year. The line-up expanded, and the number of attendees also swelled, packing the castle with approximately 800 people.

The difference between casual Goth and festival wear... imagine wearing THIS on your local high street.
Source: Google
By year three, a thousand people turned up for the festival, and Grodziec Castle was sadly deemed too small to continue hosting such a rapidly-growing event. From 1997 onwards, the festival has been held in the courtyard of the Bolkow Castle. By the event's 6th year, around 4000 people were swarming into the castle grounds to take part in Poland's iconic Goth festival.

This year, the line-up includes 'digital hardcore' group Atari Teenage Riot as headliners, and features other exciting names such as Project Pitchfork, Closterkeller (who have previously performed at Castle Party), Diary of Dreams and Umbra Et Imago. There are of course club nights during the event (which is now a four-day Goth extravaganza) at no extra charge. As with several of the biggest Goth fests, camping is optional.

Personally, I have Castle Party to thank for partly involving me with the 'real' Goth music genre and subculture - when I was searching online for information on Goth, I stumbled across a video of Castle Party attendees (which I have previously posted here) and was instantly hooked.

The idea of holding a Goth fest in a huge, beautiful castle is a truly inspired one... at night, when the main courtyard (which holds the stage) is full, attendees are granted the opportunity to spread out amongst the ruins and explore other parts of the castle grounds. There is of course a market, selling mainly food, drinks and accessories, although professional photographers have been known to sell the snaps they took at previous Castle Parties! Unfortunately, many of the incredible outfits I came across searching 'Castle Party' on Google were heavily copyrighted, but let me assure you, the Eastern Europeans are certainly not letting the side down when it comes to dark fashion.

In 2009, publishers Scriptoris released a book dedicated to the event, entitled Castle Party: Music, People, A Phenomenon, although judging from the fact that searching for the above title turned up no information online, I would have to assume that it is not written in English. However, the book (if you have better luck finding it) contains a collection of interviews from musicians who have performed at Castle Party, the mayor of Bolkow, the owner of one of the clubs that organises the after-party, and comes with a CD containing festival photos, audio interview clips and short films.
I'm having hair envy. In a big way.
Source: Wiadomosci
P.S. I had my first archery class last night... being ambidextrous in a rather unusual way (I write with my right hand despite actually being a leftie and doing everything else with my left, because my primary school teacher taught me to write right-handed) meant that I was the only person in the room shooting left-handed. I'm soooo non-conformist. ;-)

Listening to: Entre Moi Et Mon Amin - Qntal

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Guide to dark and Goth-friendly music, part 2: Punk and its various subgenres

Punk
Considering that the Goth subculture began with punk, it's hardly surprising that many Goths (particularly eldergoths and old-school or trad Goths) still enjoy listening to the subculture's musical roots. Punk, or more correctly punk rock, developed in the 70s and was characterised by short songs, fast, stripped-down music and controversial, often political lyrics covering anti-authoritarian themes. There are also dozens of subgenres of punk including Oi, hardcore, surf punk, Celtic punk (e.g. Flogging Molly, whom I adore), crust punk, folk punk, horror punk, riot grrl, ska punk, gypsy punk (e.g Gogol Bordello) and streetpunk, and punk has had a strong influence on many other genres - including Gothic rock.

Please note: punk and pop-punk are not the same. Most punks and Goths would be amused or downright offended if you suggested that their primary musical tastes covered bands such as Blink 182, Good Charlotte and The Offspring. Pop-punk is generally neither dark nor Goth-friendly, although I'm sure I'm not the only Goth who has occasionally been known to listen to one or two Green Day songs; and many mallgoths have shown a fondness for the likes of Good Charlotte.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Instruments typically used in punk music include electric guitars, an electric bass, vocals and a drum kit, nine point nine times out of ten eschewing fancy techniques and expensive special effects. Lyrics are often shouted rather than sung.

Punk and its various subgenres are considered Goth-friendly because of the influence it had on the Goth subculture, and the DIY ethic and non-conformist spirit that is inherent in both punk music and the punk subculture.

Punk bands include: The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, The Clash, The Adicts, The Gun Club (whose members included Patricia Morrison, later of The Sisters of Mercy, Fur Bible and The Damned, and Kid Congo Powers, later of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds), The 4-Skins, The Jam, Motion City Soundtrack, Rancid and Vice Squad.

Protopunk
Protopunk is a term that has been retrospectively applied to bands and musicians who were influential in the development of punk rock. Some of these bands are popular in the Goth scene and can be heard at Goth clubs all over the globe. Despite all being tagged 'protopunk', these bands do not come from a single specific genre.

Protopunk bands include: The Velvet Underground, Roxy Music (who were, incidentally, the first band I ever saw live), David Bowie, Iggy Pop (and of course The Stooges), Alice Cooper (the third band I ever saw!), Patti Smith, David Peel, The Who, New York Dolls, Doctors of Madness.

Riot Grrrl
Riot Grrrl began as an underground feminist punk movement, whose bands' lyrics address topics such as rape, domestic abuse and female empowerment. It continues today as an underground subculture and movement, with strong political and (obviously) feminist views and the typical rebellious DIY ethos. Female musicians that originally inspired the Riot Grrrl ethos included Lydia Lunch and Siouxsie Sioux. Jack Off Jill and Hole have also been somewhat dubiously associated with Riot Grrrl on Wikipedia; Jack Off Jill enjoy moderate popularity in the Goth subculture.

Riot Grrrl bands include: Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Heavens to Betsy, Calamity Jane, Excuse 17, Julie Ruin, Lunachicks, Tattle Tale, Voodoo Queens and Huggy Bear.

Emo
Emo as a music subgenre originated in 1980s America as a development of the hardcore punk movement. Nowadays it is a much-maligned subculture, often wrongly confused with Goth, and has spawned other subgenres such as scene, which is about as dark and Goth-friendly as most pop-punk music. I would suspect that most scene fans are relatively unaware of their culture's roots in punk.

However. Emo is generally characterised by moody and introspective lyrics and melodic musicianship, untypical of a lot of music that has its roots in punk rock. It was originally known as 'emotional hardcore' or 'emocore'. Modern emo music has been combined with indie rock, creating bands such as Panic! At The Disco and 30 Seconds To Mars.

Most crossover between the Goth and emo subcultures is fashion-based rather than musical, but because of its expressive lyrics and gloomy atmosphere, its punk roots and indie associations (independent music is, of course, a Good Thing to most Goths), I figured it was Goth-friendly enough to be included here.

Emotional (or emotive) hardcore bands include: Embrace and Rites of Spring.

Emo bands include: Dashboard Confessional, Hawthorne Heights, Jawbreaker, Matchbook Romance, The Used, Taking Back Sunday and Sunny Day Real Estate.

Apparently, as I am informed by commentor Becky, the difference between the two lists above is similar to the relations between Goth and mallgoth (and yes, I have seen fans of the latter list of groups referred to online as 'mall emos').

Horror punk
Horror punk (aka horror rock) blends horror movie themes with influences from early punk and sometimes rockabilly. The lyrics often express black humour and are generally non-political, although there are some exceptions. There are also a few, lesser-known subgenres such as horror hardcore (e.g. Samhain, Septic Death) and horror metal (e.g. Ripper, Necrophagia). It often has a heavier, more metal-oriented sound than traditional punk.

Horror punk has become associated with Goth via its dark and sometimes cheesily humourous B-movie imagery, and with the popularity amongst Goths of bands such as Misfits.

Horror punk bands include: Wednesday 13, The Creepshow, Michale Graves, Calabrese, Balzac, The Other, The Crimson Ghosts, Bloodsucking Zombies from Outer Space, American Werewolves and The Spook.
Source: Tumblr

Three more awards!

Yay, I can has blogging awards! Three of them, to be precise. I am going to try and fit them all into one ridiculously long post - wish me luck.

These first two I snagged from Stephanie at The Odd Duck, a lovely and very honest blogger whom I have just discovered. Also, she wore leather pants. In school. Which boosts her instantly to the top of my 'badass awesome' list, or would, if I had such a list. Thank you, Stephanie!

Rules:
1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
2. Pass it along to EVERYONE. If you're reading this right now, lovely followers, you may snag this award. Because I love you. A lot. I would love to hug you. =]

So there you have it; a pretty award for everyone! With cupcakes!
Rules:
 1. Answer the following 10 questions
2. Pass it on to three bloggers

1. If you blog anonymously, are you happy doing this? If you aren't anonymous, do you wish you started out anonymously so that you could be anonymous now?
Well, I'm clearly not anonymous... I do have some anonymous, more personal blogs floating around the net, but I rarely update them and frankly don't enjoy it. It's easier to interact with followers and readers as myself, plus I do kind of like talking about myself, which I couldn't do as openly, perhaps, if I was an anonymous poster.

2. Describe an incident that shows your inner stubborn side.
INNER stubborn side?! As Dan will tell you, I can be stubborn to the point of idiocy. Both of the two physical fights I have been in could have been avoided if I had chosen to walk away... in particular the second one, where I actually was walking away - then turned back because I couldn't stand to let that bitch have the last word. Oh yes, and I lost the fight, and then nearly had clumps of my hair pulled out because I refused to 'apologise'. Clearly, I am not a good role model...

3. What do you really see when you look at yourself in the mirror?
Depends which day you catch me on, really. Most of the time I am happy and comfortable with my body, at least (although I don't like my face much without make-up; I have been known to describe myself as 'the bastard lovechild of Michael Jackson and E.T.'), and I adore my tattoo; but throughout my teens I have struggled with eating disordered behaviours (though not a full-blown eating disorder, I hasten to add) which sometimes makes me very uncomfortable with my body despite being a healthy size ten (U.S. size six).

4. What is your favorite summer cold drink?
Apple Lucozade. I love apple-flavoured things =)

5. When you take time for yourself, what do you do?
Read, watch a movie, blog, do my nails or experiment with make-up (I broke a nail yesterday, which I am not happy about as I am trying to grow two-inch talons...), flick through my copies of Unscene, Gothic Beauty and Bite Me or go shopping.

6. Is there something you still want to accomplish in your life?
Oh, God, so many things! I want to gain some make-up, hair and beauty qualifications and set up with my friend Bronwyn as mobile beauticians, learn how to make my own clothes, travel abroad (to date, I have NEVER left the UK), get married (shut up), write some more trashy novels... the list is almost endless!

7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever, the shy person, or always ditching?
I guess to begin with I was a shy over-achiever with a really wacky dress sense (electric blue leather jacket, for example) which didn't exactly go down well with my peers. I ditched almost the entire year between ages twelve and thirteen because of bullying, so eventually Mum pulled me out of the system and I home-schooled myself with Open University courses.

8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment in your life, what would you see?
Well, I had a bit of a moment this morning when I realised that, aside from my current lack of a job (I have applied for loads but haven't heard back from any), my life is perfect. OK, it's not how it was supposed to be (I was supposed to go to college, then university, and become a famous writer), but I have two amazing and beautiful best friends whom I love very much; an almost-boyfriend (my ex, we were together for six years, have been separated for four months and are now dating - things are looking really good for us) whom I'm falling head-over-heels in love with all over again; two brilliant parents who I get on really well with, and I'm finally taking steps towards the career that I really want. And I still love writing, but it isn't going to make me any money - and that's OK. That felt pretty poignant to me.

9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog, or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?
Well, as you may have noticed, I do like to talk about myself, and I'm not one to lie or censor my thoughts. That being said, I do enjoy writing more 'factual' posts about Goth culture in general as well as just talking about my own experiences.

10. If you had the choice to sit down and read a book or talk on the phone, which would you do and why?
Read a book, definitely. I hate, hate, hate making or taking phonecalls. I don't know why. It just terrifies me. My new phone doesn't have voicemail, so I actually have to pick up my calls, which irritates me no end...

I would like to pass this award on to:
1. Laurel at Blind Goth
2. Miss Gracie at  A Goth in College
3. The Beard at Uncivilised Ramblings

Lastly, I picked up this award from Morrigan, who thoroughly deserves a 'Stylish' award for her great beauty blog. Thank you, Morrigan!
Rules:
1. Thank and link the person who gave you the award.
2. Jot down 7 random facts about you.
3. Give the award to 15 other bloggers and let them know about it.

1. This made my day. 
2. I had my first Mountain Dew this week (Mountain Dew and Gatorade have only recently become available in the UK).
3. Currently I am coveting a Draculaura doll, a pair of pink and white Skullcandy headphones, a bottle of Hapsburg Absinthe, a skirt from Folks Clothing, No She Didn't Lipstick from Lime Crime Make-up, and a Halloween Candle Pack from Dark Candles.
4. I bought some shoes from Etsy last week. They have vampires on. I am going nuts waiting for them to arrive.
5. The last CD I listened to was from Hatebreed.
6. The last movie I watched was Inception.
7. I have a pot of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream in the freezer that Dan bought me last night. Chances are, I will eat the whole pot by myself.

So these are the bloggers whom I feel are the most stylish (because, obviously, I'm an expert... d'oh); and those who write the best fashion, beauty and make-up posts - please don't feel you must re-post this award if I have given it to you, just take it as a compliment. =)

In no particular order:
1. The Green Fairy at If I Only Were a Goth
2. Miss Gracie at  A Goth in College
5. Khar at Darker Fashions
6. Amy at Juliet's Lace
8. Gabriella at Ella Etc.
9. Verbenna Nachtschatten at Everyday Goth With Verbenna
10. Opiate Vampire at  The Dark Victorian
11. Mysteria Violent at Mysteria Violent
12. xEllonEx at Pretty Lies
13. Trystan at This Is CorpGoth
14. Laurel at Blind Goth
15. Lady Euphoria Deathwatch at Thoughts from an eclectic goth mind. 

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