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Spinning 45 Ballerina

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let me tell you the story of my life; (people are always eager to listen in fiction) [May. 7th, 2006|07:24 pm]
Spinning 45 Ballerina
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I’ve found yet an other anthem, it’s Sukie In the Graveyard by Belle and Sebastian. Even people who never hung out in graveyards should love this song, but I like it because I think it’s about me. On the island where we summer (I realise that using a posh expression like “we summer” for a place with no plumbing is a bit of a stretch) there is a graveyard and it contains many of my relatives. It’s a great place, as a child and I used to cycle there every day and just well, hang out. It has this wild west feeling over it cause everything around is so baron and dead. I listen to books on tape and sat under a tree that’s been sucking energy from the nouvelle desisted for the least hundred years. It was a bit of a secret, my grandmother thought it was quite morbid and more than a little bit embarrassing. I only have one picture of it though, but I found a landscape buy a man named boring, well actually Borring, anyways it’s the view from the graveyard.

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Me invoking some grim and evil powers 2002

An other anthem of mine is Hateful by the clash, but never mind that it’s obviously about drugs and addiction, I’ve never had that problem. “It’s hateful (…) and I’m so grateful to be nowhere” the it here being me, I’m hateful. The h8r grrl.

My father took an other picture of me the day he took the one in the graveyard. A tribute to the other one in the link, John Bauer was a genius.

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low quality, sorry
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And talking about graveyards and Bauer, I want to write something long and crappy about goth. I know so much about the term, and people seem to be confused. Here is the story of how some raving german savages supplied the name for a sub-culture that’s been plaguing the western world with youngsters who though quite often contemplate suicide but sadly almost never follow through, for twenty/thirty years:

I’ve read lots of crap on the internet on what Goth is and where the name came from. I’ve read serious music journalists who managed to compare bands like Joy Division to the "stolid ambience" of the gothic cathedral, I’ve read entire pages online that professed the genre to be a descended of the new romantic sett. Now let me set you straight. Sort of.

What is in a name?

The original Goths where a gang of blood hungry barbarians who fought just about anyone with a crucifix during the first centuries B.C, they didn’t build cathedrals. They did however give name to the sort of architecture that some people believe gave the sub-culture it’s name, and this in it self an interesting turn of history. If the 12th century Germans or indeed the French had named there style architecture they wouldn’t have named it after a 2nd century barbaric tribe. It is in fact a stylistic insult thought up during the Italian renaissance or during the reformation. "Your cathedral is so ugly, it looks like it was built by Goths" The gothic building was hated, loved, and has became a political icon (but this is of little consequence in this context). During the romantic era however it gave name to the insanely popular gothic novel. Gothic novels weren’t horror novels as such but at this time authors rarely wrote stories without any sort of ghosts fogging up the plot line, and most fiction was thoroughly low brow. The Novels are named after the gothic ruin that stands central to the plot. Some well known gothic novels are Whuthering Heights and Frankenstein, though really even these two, (and infact anything being read today) are mere descendants of the real gothic novel. Ruins were really big during the Romantic era, anything old and broke gave the novels the ever important setting to stuff full of women in distress, tyrannical men, prophesies and the sins of the forefathers. These components are easily spotted in “modern day” horror fiction. The classic gothic novels live today side buy side with new comers like Dracula, or indeed Chucky, up on the no longer to silvery silver screen. Gothic became a badge of horror, the movie it's most popular form. The ancient meaning of the word is all but lost to us, it's modern day connotations have taken over.

Okay, but what about the music?

Firstly the news papers thought up the term, and secondly not one of the performers ever felt comfortable under it.

I have already mentioned the term New Romantic, it is a quite accurate name for it all, goth I mean. However you have to be pretty deaf to think that Duran Duran was an influence of Siouxsie and the Banshees. Goths and New Romantics are related, lots of makeup and same sort of synthesizer energetic music that is a staple og the 80s. It's like the often made ironies monkey assumption, we humans are not descended from apes, we merely cheer a common ancestor. Personally I would list popular (horror/sci-fi) fiction, glam rock and the cabaret/art scene of the Weimar republic as the most important influences of Goth music. It makes more sense then just going oh it's influenced by gothic stuff like cathedrals and the Gutenberg press.

If you want to know if your favourite 80s rockers sleept in coffins you’ll get much further listening for the word “bat” in any of there lyrics. Most of the true black oldies played the bat man theme at some point, the bats where leaving Bauhaus bell tower but there where plenty left in the bat cave club. The Cure even sings of vampire bats, and when Robert Smith joined the Banshees for Hyena they sang if this same bloodthirsty creature. Nick Cave (and Rowland S. Howard) wrote a song about a hundred bats and mr.Cave would still hate you to call his Birthday Party Goth. Specimen have an album called Batastrophe. The bat is the common denominator that helps you tell witch bands where in to hammer horror and witch where just lonely and sexually frustrated in black. I don’t think bands like Joy Division or Jesus and the Marychain deserve to be called goth, it's a stylistic insult again. Musically they where working within the same musical idiom, but they where never costumey or camp. Bands like JD and JM where dark, they just weren't not dark enough.

Enough of your ramblings woman! Would you come to some sort of conclusion already, please?

The gloom ridden, post punk(/modern), horror obsessed, musician of the 80s moved on to bigger and better music, (well excepting the Damned's David Vanian). I probably never will though (or already have, I‘m not sure), after all I wasn’t even born back then. I still have some adolescent pining and lots of exhibitionism left in me.
But irony is key when it comes to Goth, it’s to stupid to be taken to seriously, like one of the bad old but still enthralling horror movies it draws from.

(I don’t mind newer bands like HIM, Marilyn Manson or Nightwish calling them self (or being called) Goth. They probably are in a anti post-modern/cathedral sense of the word. I just don‘t think there very interesting so I sadly left no room for them in the text. (Bitch-alert.))