Thursday, October 9, 2014

The History of Goth

of or in the style of architecture prevalent in western Europe in the 12th–16th centuries, characterized by pointed arches, rib vaults, and flying buttresses, together with large windows and elaborate tracery.

Goth culture or the Gothic Scene has it's history in history.  Today's Goths owe their existence to the 1980s but the scene itself derives it's motifs and aesthetic from Gothic architecture; poets Lord Byron, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Edgar Allan Poe; and fashion from Victorian mourning attire.  These are the roots of the culture.  The early years...

The character Lydia Deetz, spectacularly played by Winona Ryder in the 1988 film Beetlejuice, is the golden standard of the teenage Goth girl.  She's wonderfully melodramatic and melancholic, she contemplates suicide, her best friends are two ghosts that live in the attic, she dresses with such beautiful dark creative style and is startlingly childish and womanly simultaneously... and no one in her household takes her at all seriously.  She is the ultimate troubled teen.  But she is also very smart and caring and amazingly love able.

Of course Siouxie Sioux had already perfected the look in the late 70s.  But there was no 'Goth' scene at that time.  She was just doing her thing.  And so was the Cure and a couple of years later Bauhaus.  They were creating the Goth music scene unintentionally.  Or at least without corroborating with one another.

The sudden interest which quickly became an obsession with vampires coincided with the dark music scene in it's timing.  Anne Rice's book Interview with the Vampire was first published in 1976.  It gained popularity and became a component of this scene.  The gorgeously stylish, clubby, original and sexy movie The Hunger came out in 1983.  It was the first of an endless stream of sexy, stylish vampire movies.  But The Hunger can never be topped if for no other reason than it featured Peter Murphy on stage in the night club scene at the beginning singing Bela Lugosi's Dead.

The 80s took Goth from a handful of 'gloom and doomers' to a full on sub culture.  By 1991 they had a LARP game all their own called Vampire the Masquerade, 1993 gave the world Jack and Sally via The Nightmare Before Christmas and 1994 was the year Interview With the Vampire came out on the big screen.  The normal world was now aware of the Goth kids.  

Then the whole beautiful dark and lonely scene sort spiralled out of control in the mid '90s with episodes of Jerry Springer featuring Goth kids and the final death knell... Hot Topic.  

Well, that's my version of the History of Goth.  If you don't like it - bite me!
Happy Halloween kids!

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