Friday, 25 July 2008

Goth the life -- revisited

Somehow I've managed to not talk about one of my other fascinations. That is shocking to me, since it's possibly an even bigger obsession than Star Wars and blogging together. I know, it's that bad.

I've always been a fan of fantasy and the line between reality and makebelieve is one I find very interesting indeed. And as macabre as it may sound, the role death plays in that.

Sounds creepy? I bet. But I've always been fascinated by so-called "gothic novels" and the gothic subculture.

And vampires.

Vampires and the goth lifestyle are often associated, for obvious reasons. Goth wear black clothes, often oldfashioned style, dye their hair black and pale their faces. The resemblance to an undead corpse isn't that farfetched.

However, both vampires and goths are often misinterpreted. When talking about vampires, people quickly start to talk about stakes, garlic and full moons. Full moons? That's werewolves for you. Their ancient enemy. But vampires are fascinating. I once did an essay on them, and discovered that although cultures around the world have their own sort of vampires - just like dragons - they are all just a bit different.

So what defines a vampire?

Is it being a walking corpse? Nah, some cultures believe in vampires that have nonhuman origins, or no origin in life at all. Is it the human appearance? Nah, some believe in vampires made of flames. Is it the seducing aspect? Nah, some vampires are just plain gross. Kind of like zombies.

Is it the blooddrinking? There are some creatures that do not drink blood, yet they are most definately vampires.

So what defines a vampire?

And what defines a goth?

Goth, in my opinion, is misinterpreted by many people, even goths. Does that sound ridiculous? I'm sure. But please realize just how many people just try to fit in, even in such small and remarkable groups. However, misunderstanding is more common amongst those who are not gothics.

I once had a conversation with a religious woman who had read about goths, yet she never had encountered any. She was appalled, yet fascinated. Of course the article, in a christian magazine, was not too objective, and often reminded readers that some goths deny god, or are satanists. And I explained, that the essence of goth is not that.

Goth, in essence, is a philosophical view of life, in which death is acknowledged as the ultimate certainty. Every being is subject to death, human and animal alike, and also angels, demons and gods. Goths are not religious by that view, since they do not see any god or devil as mightier than death. Satanists are not gothics.

However, the misunderstanding stems from that view of death. Many people think gothics are fascinated by death, yet the opposite is true. In accepting the finality of death, gothics take more pleasure in life.

Gothics enjoy life on a more conscious level than most of us.

I know there are people that call themselves goths and disagree with this. But in essence, this is what gothic is all about. Misunderstanding comes from too few explanations from the gothic subculture, but also because people don't bother to look under the eerie surface.

I would call myself gothic if it wasn't for the fact that I don't wear makeup. I do like dark medieval-looking clothes, and I love the silvery jewelry with pentacles and such. I am not fascinated by death, yet I am fascinated by vampires. The nightstalking undead, caught between their previous lives and the death they cannot reach. The ultimate exception to the ultimate truth.

Please don't look down on goths ever again.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008


I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came, and went and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this desolation; and all hearts
Were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires - and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings, the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,
And men were gathered round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other's face;
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:
A fearful hope was all the world contain'd;
Forest were set on fire but hour by hour
They fell and faded and the crackling trunks
Extinguish'd with a crash and all was black.
The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them; some lay down
And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smiled;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and looked up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
The pall of a past world; and then again
With curses cast them down upon the dust,
And gnash'd their teeth and howl'd: the wild birds shriek'd,
And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,
And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremolous; and vipers crawl'd
And twined themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless, they were slain for food:
And War, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again; a meal was bought
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart
Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left;
All earth was but one thought and that was death,
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all entrails men
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;
The meagre by the meagre were devoured,
Even dogs assail'd their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a corpse, and kept
The birds and beasts and famish'd men at bay,
Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead
Lured their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,
But with a piteous and perpetual moan
And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answered not with a caress, he died.
The crowd was famish'd by degrees; but two
Of an enormous city did survive, And they were enemies;
They met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place
Where had been heap'd a mass of holy things
For an unholy usage; they raked up,
And shivering scraped with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath

Blew for a little life, and made a flame
Wich was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and
Each other's aspects. saw, and shriek'd, and died, beheld
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written Fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless,
A lump of death, a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes, and ocean stood still,
And nothing stirred within their silent depths;
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal; as they dropp'd
They slept on the abyss without a surge
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The moon their mistress had expired before;
The winds were withered in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perish'd; Darkness had no need
Of aid from them. She was the universe.

-- a poem by Lord Byron

For more enjoyment, play a Monster Magnet cd while reading.