Middle-class Kenyan teens are inventing a local version of goth subculture, and are at the center of a moral panic about kids-gone-wild -- according to an article in Think Africa Press. The article is shy on details or photographic evidence, but I hope its true about the subculture (and not about the moral panic). Anyone have more evidence of this?
The negative public image of the goth scene also extends beyond the general public and is apparent in the attitudes of local authorities, at times with dramatic consequences. David used to have long hair, another way to stand out in a country where men tend to wear it very short. A couple of weeks before I met him, he was walking in town at dusk, waiting for the bus back to Nakuru, when a police car pulled over in front of him. The police approached him and asked to see his passport, which he was not carrying, before they accused him of looking like ‘an al-Shabaab’ – a Somali militant Islamist group responsible for several terrorist attacks in the region.
David denied this, stating that he was a Kenyan. The police then challenged him as to why he had untidy hair and facial piercings, preposterously claiming that these are hallmarks of Somali terrorists. They put him in their car and drove him to a nearby barber where they forced him to shave his head. They said that this would "stop confusing them", and they told him to "dress like a decent person" in future.
When I first met David one of the first things I asked was whether he wore his preferred clothes all the time. I asked most of the goths this question and generally they admitted to travelling incognito, blending into the crowd. David, however, looked vaguely insulted at my question before replying, simply, “Me, I even wear this in Church”.
For BB pals Gil and Steph, here's a fan-made video for alt-country group Lambchop's wonderful folky, loungy cover of "This Corrosion," the epic 1987 triumph of goth bombast by The Sisters of Mercy. And if it makes you yearn for some Sisters, check out the original video below.
Peter Murphy, singer for Bauhaus, was arrested this weekend in Los Angeles for an alleged DUI hit-and-run that reportedly injured the other driver. A witness followed Murphy and blocked him until cops arrived. According to police, Murphy appeared to be "very confused." From the Glendale News Press:
Murphy denied drinking alcohol that day, adding that he had only taken his regular prescription pills for depression, according to police.
Murphy — who’s from England but lives in Turkey — reportedly admitted to being involved in a traffic collision, telling officers he was jet-lagged from a recent flight, police said.
Inside the Los Angeles police patrol car where Murphy had been detained, officers reported finding a small plastic bag, possibly of methamphetamine, police said. Murphy denied the bag belonged to him, but officers said they believed he was trying to discard it in the patrol car.
The first two albums by seminal proto-goth band Bauhaus, have been reissued today on vinyl in the US. These pressings of In The Flat Field (1980) and Mask (1981) feature the remastered tracks previously released in 2008. The UK reissues, available in a few weeks according to the Beggars Archive label, include CDs of the albums as well. This music is essential listening. Again and again. (Video above from The Old Vic Theatre, London, February 24, 1982.)
Caitlin Doughty, host of AskAMortician has a message to the "little deathlings" out there who face social disapprobation due to their fascination with death and dying: it gets better. Life as a mortician, coroner, or affiliated professional is good and rewarding.
PS: I just discovered AskAMortician and I am as happy as a pig in liquefying corpses!
At Coilhouse online, a feature exploring racism and goth culture in the age of Tumblr: "Is the goth scene unfriendly to people with dark skin? What do non-white goths think about the fetishization of paleness in the gothic subculture?" [warning: linked-to site contains boobage]
Revellers attend the Wave and Goth festival in Leipzig, on May 25, 2012. The annual festival, known in Germany as Wave-Gotik Treffen, features up to 150 bands and musicians playing Gothic rock and other styles of the "dark wave" music subculture attracting a regular audience of up to 20000, according to organizers. The festival runs through May 28.
Los Angeles-based Chelsea Wolfe's intense, artful folk dirges bring to mind a slightly morbid young Joni Mitchell had she grown up listening to Black Metal bands instead of the Carter Family (Still, when asked about her influences Wolfe simply replied “Hank Williams”).
Surrey University sociologist Dr Paul Hodkinson conducted a series of follow-up interviews with goths he'd studied as teenagers in the 90s and found that the cohort has made a pretty graceful transition into middle age and parenthood:
"It's a relatively middle-class subculture, so despite … all the going out and being into the music, goths have always had a fairly positive view of people who are also achieving academically."
It means goths may have better career options than an outsider might expect. Succeeding in their chosen career had, Hodkinson observes, become increasingly important to those he interviewed as they moved into their late 20s and 30s, and he was surprised by how much participants in his study were willing to adapt their look to fit in at work. "I even gave people scenarios where they couldn't wear certain things. I expected them to say that they'd have to leave [their job], but they said they'd have to seriously consider it."
Most of his sample said they still were recognised as goths at work, but had toned down their look. "They retained a residual element of the appearance, but felt, for example, that colourful dyed hair wasn't going to work, and they'd stopped painting their nails black."
Don't yet have a copy in my hands (it's not out 'til October), but I've pre-Amazonned one for myself. The book is packed with hundreds of gorgeous color photographs of these sites throughout the world, many of which are usually inaccessible to outsiders.