Once again the weather is changeable, and sometimes it’s hard for me to tell if it’s warm or cold, especially when at my work office they have the air conditioner blasting for artic frost. I’m going to post several post’s this weekend only because my evenings have been mentally stimulating.
First an Update:
I’ve signed up for the PEERS Events--- This is the Period Events and Entertainment Re-creation Society. Their most famous event is the Le Bal Des Vampires which they hold either in October or early November (its early November this year), and has a tendency to sell out early.
I’ve had fun attending their Titanic Ball, their Film Noir Ball and several previous Vampire Balls.
Usually I just look at their web site but I finally succumbed to my Male friend’s blandishments and signed up to receive reminders. Each monthly dance has a theme, from Steampunk to Film Noir, to The Titanic to Pirates and a lot in-between.
So Darklings if you want to go dancing and show off your finery check out the dance events offered by PEERS I’ll have their link set up soon www.peers.org/
And yes, I do have a Male Admirer, he is a retired police officer, I mentioned him as a friend in an earlier post and we remained friends every since. Having finally put in nearly 35 years of police work, he continues to work part time as a private investigator, focusing mostly on missing children. He worked for a period of time with youth counselors dealing with children in drug and abusive families, even studying the pagan religion as well as the Goth sub-culture,
Doyle has been a friend of mine during and since college, widowed with grown children who have left the nest, and fortunately in these troubled times all are doing well, even if they had to do some belt tightening. On occasion he’s baby-sat Belladonna, when my other friend hasn’t been available and it’s too late to have her kenneled.
He says he likes “the little rat” and she likes him so that is all to the good. He enjoys dressing up in period clothing although he prefers the 1940-50’s film noir period. He even found a police uniform from the 1950’s as well as badges from that time period. It seems to suit him and he puts up with my gothicness, personally I think he had a secret crush on Morticia Addams.
Besides having restored two vintage cars and maintaining them, his other favorite hobby is photography especially night shots of some of our older buildings that have been around for a long time, to give that “film noir” look. He has a nice collection of old time cameras; he still prefers film but has been working with digital and Photoshop.
Speaking of Goth sub-culture, some of you have asked me more specifics about being Goth; all I can say is that it is not the same for each person.
For myself, I understand and deal with the dark side of life, not just its morbidity but that it is there for us to understand goodness and light, I’ve even immersed myself in understanding the symbols used in old cemeteries and graveyards, the symbols sometimes speaks more than what little is carved on a tombstone.
I’m not necessarily into the Goth bands or music, but darkly written classical pieces, I enjoy horror movies and television shows, including Johnny Depp’s version of “Dark Shadows” because it’s so “tongue in cheek” and delightfully morbid at the same time.
I think the best way is to provide you with a link or two that might help you understand this subculture, which some people say took off in 1979 mostly with the music scene, frankly I believe it started much sooner before Bauhaus recorded “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”.
A lot of the morbid thoughts of angst may have started with Blatty’s book “The Exorcist”, the feeling of possible defeat against an evil entity, the “Darkness itself” so to speak. I would have to say that is the tip of the ice berg.
But I feel that the Television Soap Opera “Dark Shadows” was a precursor to the 20th century take on the romantic, tragic feeling of gothicness, especially as portrayed by Jonathan Frid, giving the spin of the tragic vampire, I’m inclined to say that “Dark Shadows” paved the pathway; but it was Anne Rice’s re-working of the vampire myth with the tragic and self-flagellating hero of her book, the Vampire Louis in “Interview with a Vampire” published in 1976.
It quickly shifted to the hedonistic protagonist/ anti-hero Lestate who reveled in his Vampirism, pushed the envelop and really had no conscience or care of the adverse reactions to his selfish actions. He simply did things because it amused him. Much like Satanists of today and bygone years, this was continued in Rice’s two sequels in 1985 and 1988 “Lestat” and “Queen of the Damned.”
To the point that it became darkly romantic, or reactionary, to have this power to inflict one’s will upon another, and to revel in gloom and misery, which reflected much of the teenagers’ questions about life in and of itself.
This was the very thing that my Father and Grandmother warned me about some years before, to not give away my own self-empowerment.
When I say reactionary, it is because almost for every “light movement” that is too “pie-in-the-sky” it will have an opposite creation. I feel that this may have come about as a reaction to the “Summer of Love” aka Woodstock, and flower power and feel good feelings and Luv, Luv, Luv. I sensed that the Goth movement was a way of saying “Wake UP People!! You’re acting like Lemmings about to go over the cliff!!!”
I noticed that on television during the late 60’s and into the 70’s there were a number of made-for-T.V. movies dealing with the occult themes of evil and darkness, two especially which I remember with the actor Louis Jourdan, titled “Fear No Evil” (1969) and “Ritual of Evil” (1970), before Anne Rice’s books came out.
Let me explain this further, take for example the author Edgar Allen Poe, to quote wikipedia “ Poe's best known fiction works are Gothic, a genre he followed to appease the public taste. His most recurring themes deal with questions of death, including its physical signs, the effects of decomposition, concerns of premature burial, the reanimation of the dead, and mourning. Many of his works are generally considered part of the dark romanticism genre, a literary reaction to transcendentalism, which Poe strongly disliked. He referred to followers of the movement as "Frog-Pondians" after the pond on Boston Common. and ridiculed their writings as "metaphor-run mad," lapsing into "obscurity for obscurity's sake" or "mysticism for mysticism's sake." Poe once wrote in a letter to Thomas Holley Chivers that he did not dislike Transcendentalists, "only the pretenders and sophists among them."”
In many ways I am like that but a combination of the dark romanticism with a touch of transcendentalism, but I make it a point to never deceive myself, I always remember that there are people out there to harm and deceive you.
To explain it further I cannot, at least in relationship to myself, except what has and had worked for me and what goes on in my mind before the word “Goth” was referred to as a “sub-culture”.
In that case for the modern interpretation I recommend these two web sites: www.gothicsubculture.com/ another is www.goth.net/
For an excellent overview I also recommend www.religioustolerance.org/goth.htm/ I feel that this web site gives an unbiased view of what it is and isn’t.
I will post these same links on my side bar for easy reference.
Another thing is that there is the possibility that for some of our younger persons there may have been a touch of psychotic mental illness that they have not grown out of, sort of remained “stuck there” like the shooter’s of Columbine, no one noticed the evil lurking within their own high school society so other students simply rejected them the eventual shooters, or felt frustrated with them and gave up.
Doyle said to me in regards to that event, that it wasn’t the Goth subculture, it was the shooters themselves, they were “mentally sick”, there was more psychological reasons as well far beyond what I can explain here. He told me that he has seen that although Goth culture focuses on the darker side of life and many people believe that the Goth culture to be antisocial, he has found many of them to be very involved in positive organizations to make a positive change in the universe as a reaction to their own feelings of morbidity, to be very artistic and articulate, nothing like the Columbine shooters.
.Nikki Foster Wrote an excellent blurb about what is Goth and I include it here even though it talks mostly about the music scene----
“Goth means many things to many people, and there is constant discussion even within the Goth community about what is and is not Goth. Basically, Goth can refer to both a genre of post-punk music with a dark or gloomy sound and subject matter, and the subculture that grew out of that music. Goth has many influences, including the Gothic fiction of the 18th and 19th centuries and the horror movies of the early 20th century. Those who identify as Goth typically have a love for the color black and for all things morbid, but they are a very diverse group of people.
Goth music began as an offshoot of punk and new wave genres in the late 1970s and flourished in the 1980s. Different pieces of music characterized as Goth may sound quite different, some melodic and ethereal, and others more driving and frenetic, but they are all generally downbeat and dramatic. The lyrical component of Goth music is extremely important. It can be characterized as introspective and depressive and is often full of macabre imagery and literary and religious allusions.
It is often difficult to label certain bands as Goth, since Goths as a group tend to reject labels. Many bands that heavily influenced both visual and acoustic elements of the Goth aesthetic, including The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Sisters of Mercy, do not identify themselves as Goth and find the term limiting.
While the Goth subculture is centered around music, there are other important elements. Goths often stand out because of their fashion. Black is the dominant color, though other dark shades, such as purple, gray, and blood red, also feature heavily. White, though less commonly seen, can also be a gothic color, due to its dramatic look and its evocation of a burial shroud. Black make-up, nail polish, and heavily teased hair are popular for both male and female Goths.
Much Goth fashion, following the aesthetic of Gothic literature and music, hearkens back to another era, particularly Victorian and Renaissance styles. Religious symbols such as crosses and ankhs feature in many Goth outfits as well. Personal expression is valued in Goth culture, so many Goths play with the conventions of Goth fashion to suit their own personal style.
Goth is more an aesthetic than an ideology, and there is no single religious or political stance that can be said to be typical of the culture. Goths tend to be tolerant of others and to focus their attention inwards rather than outwards. Though Goths often have an ill-deserved reputation for being violent or dangerously anti-social, most are creative, thoughtful, and passive, if pessimistic, individuals.”
My Doyle believes this description to be pretty accurate, although I feel that it more describes the feelings of the early 19th century “Dark romanticism” so I’m inclined to say that being a Goth is also being darkly romantic with all the angst that it has.
But for me why do I say I am Goth?
Because I am also attracted to the “Dark Side of Life”, I’ve always felt that nothing is always sunshine and lollipops. By studying and understanding the Dark Side it has made me stronger in facing things, and very leery about those organizations or cults that offer perfect peace or life because there is no such thing, there has to be struggle if one wants to spiritually grow.
For me it is to also accept what is and has to be because it is the balance of light and dark.
If one wants to eat one needs to kill and I don’t mean just animals, we kill vegetables as well when we cut them, rip them out of the ground and cook them, so we kill to live, even animals do the same, rabbit eats grass, wolf eats rabbit, wolf gets sick and dies and is eaten by micro organism which feeds the soil which the growing grass feeds on.
My Dad use to say “Praise the Lord, but ya better pass that ammunition!” He made it through World War II, and he saw “Hell”. When we were involved in Vietnam he told me that “they”, meaning the government is not prepared to deal with the “devils that are trapped in the men’s souls”, and he was right.
Now we call it “PTS” or Post Traumatic Stress syndrome. Talking to my Father helped him and it helped me; the more we talked the more I knew Darkness, its various aspects and he slowly crawled out into the light. He had my Mother and his Mother-in-law (Grandma) to help him and then I slowly took over without realizing it.
He said that the steadfastness of my Mother helped him, that and talking to his priest who was also a war survivor. That was another reason I became Goth. Now I do it with Doyle, to help him with some of his “demons”.
To be a true elder Goth you have to know and understand the Darkness, to know that as we become more and more populated there will be more and more human evils brought into the world, and we Elder Goths have to bring in both understanding, healing and yes “light” into the world, by understanding the darkness, we have to bring fun and light into it to prevent it from swallowing you up.
It cannot all be “Maybury, R.F.D.”, but Maybury is the light within the darkness that surrounds it.
I think in the future I will devote a special page as to what might be Goth, although it is as elusive as trying to find a unicorn or capturing smoke.