Gothic Text files alt.gothic FAQ

Archive-name: gothic-faq
Last modified: 4 March 1995
Version: 2.1

Frequently Asked Questions list for alt.gothic newsgroup


This FAQ was created by Peter Wake (peterw@cs.man.ac.uk), and is currently maintained by Ryan Watkins (vamp@vamp.org). Please direct corrections and additions to vamp@vamp.org.

This list is posted on a monthly basis to the alt.gothic news group, and is also available via anonymous FTP at ftp.maths.tcd.ie:/pub/music/gothic/gothic-faq (mirrored at goth-ftp.acc.brad.ac.uk:/ftp.maths.tcd.ie/gothic/gothic-faq) and in HTML format at http://www.vamp.org/Gothic/Text/gothic-faq.html.

Special thanx to the following for information provided within :

   Peter Wake             (peterw@cs.man.ac.uk)
   John Mc Donagh         (mcdonghj@unix2.tcd.ie)
   Digitar                (digitar@io.org)
   Ian Grimstead          (I.J.Grimstead@cm.cf.ac.uk)
   Jeff Harmon            (harmon@elia.epfl.ch)
   The Great Grendel-Khan (argent@iastate.edu)
   Sexbat                 (sexbat@batt.demon.co.uk)
   Ace of Hearts          (uaceohrt@mcl.mcl.ucsb.edu)
   Petro                  (petro@mcs.com)
   Austen Jackson         (Ozric@tentacle.demon.co.uk)
   LadyRenee              (michelle@dagda.ili.net)

and others to numerous to mention....
Contents

Section: 1 Basics

Subject: 1.1 What is a Goth?
Subject: 1.2 What the history of the goth movement?
Subject: 1.3 Is goth about religion?
Subject: 1.4 What does gothic music sound like?
Subject: 1.5 So what does the word 'goth' mean.

Section: 2 Resources

Subject: 2.1 What Gothic music lists exist?
Subject: 2.2 Where are the gothic FTP sites?
Subject: 2.3 Where can I find lyrics, pictures, etc for a goth band?
Subject: 2.4 What are some various Vampire related net resources?
Subject: 2.5 Where can I find this "Goth Test"?
Subject: 2.6 What are the mail addresses of some goth bands?
Subject: 2.7 What comics are Goth?
Subject: 2.8 Are there any good goth clubs in <fill in city?>

Section: 3 Various Trivia

Subject: 3.1 Is the Nefilim a spelling mistake?
Subject: 3.2 Where does the phrase Sisters of Mercy arise from?
Subject: 3.3 Are the Sisterhood the same as the Sisters of Mercy?
Subject: 3.4 What is the best black dye?
Subject: 3.5 What should I use to paint my jacket?
Subject: 3.6 How do I identify a net goth?
Subject: 3.7 What has Anne Rice written?
Subject: 3.8 Who is Storm Constantine?
Subject: 3.9 Any other interesting goth authors?
Subject: 3.10 Any interesting goth movies?
Subject: 3.11 Who is Andrew Eldritch, Carl McCoy, Wayne Hussey, ...?
Subject: 3.12 What do Pre-Raphaelites have to do with goth?
Subject: 3.13 What is 'Snakebite'?
Subject: 3.14 Whats the best way to dye my hair?


Section: 1 Basics


Subject: 1.1 What is a Goth?

The term 'Goth' was used by Ian Astbury who described Andi Sex Gang as a 'gothic pixie' and popularised by the UK music magazines New Musical Express and Sounds (NME) and was used to describe a class of music. For some people that music became the basis for a 'way of life'. They brought their own backgrounds and interests along and a sub-culture was formed and it took for itself the name Gothic.

Subject: 1.2 What the history of the goth movement?

NME and Sounds reputedly took the term Gothic from Siouxsie Sioux (of the Banshees) who used it to describe the new direction for her band. However the earliest significant usage of the term (as applied to music) was by Anthony H. Wilson who was overcome by a rare moment of lucidity on a 1978 BBC TV program when he described Joy Division as Gothic compared with the pop mainstream. Perhaps Joy Division (who he was managing) are not what we now think of as Goth but it is possible that they are at the source of the term. Bauhaus were labelled as Gothic as early as 1979 when they released Bela Lugosi's Dead.

The pop journalists were quick to latch onto the term and they applied it in a nasty sort of pigeonholing way to a number of bands that were around in the early 80s - most of which did not sound much like the Banshees (or anyone else for that matter), the journalists were more concerned with looks. The (Southern Death) Cult was foremost amongst these bands, like the Banshees they wore lots of black and silver and had extreme black hair. The Sisters of Mercy were also so labelled and when they split and Wayne Hussey founded the Mission they carried their label with them, despite being different musically. Finally The Fields of the Nephilim appeared and they (perhaps) consciously and deliberately got themselves labelled as Gothic despite looking and sounding quite different to what had previously been labelled Goth.

The fans of bands like the Sisters, Bauhaus and Siouxsie liked to dress up in lots of black. The music they liked was something of a backlash against the colourful disco music of the seventies. The Banshees were a punk band before they mellowed and punk was brathing its last as Gothdom gathered speed, and the so one could claim Gothdom grew out of punk. The music of Joy Division, the Sisters and Bauhaus was angst ridden but all the hatred was turned inwards and the music was typified by introspective lyrics. Many of the new Goth followers were introspective too. Some were a bit confused by the label and started to think that the label Goth was in some way connected with the Victorian Gothic revival and Gothic horror and because enough of them thought that eventually it became true.

NME and Sounds were not oblivious to this and produced many hilarious articles poking fun at the Goths amongst their readers. They said that being Goth was about sitting around in circles on the floor of pubs (bars) smoking a lot and talking about being a bat. Some readers of this list get angry at this. Luckily most Goths have a good enough sense of humour to laugh at themselves once in a while. The first generation Goths complain that second and third generation Goths often seem to think that Gothdom is about wearing the blackest black, with a lot of silver jewellery and looking as thin and pale as possible. In common with their older bretheren they avoid the crass comercialism of mainstream rock and gather together to share their woes :-) They read Bram Stoker and Anne Rice and talk about being vampires. They read H.P. Lovecraft and talk about the end of the world.

The sounds that were described as Gothic were appearing in other countries besides the UK in the late seventies, but I have yet to see any evidence that they were using the word. (If you have any...) Currently Germany is the bastion of Goth, where they are called Grufties. If German people are doing a write up on the Goth scene there, please send me a copy. So that's how we got where we are today. Today Goth is about music, literature, art and about clothes.

Subject: 1.3 Is goth about religion?

Gothdom embraces all religions, all denominations and all races. Many Goths are atheists and a sizable minority are new age spiritualists, Wiccans and members of other alternative religious groups. There are Christian Goths. Basically Goth is not about religion, but with the imagery of religion. May goths wear crosses or ankhs, and there are many religious references in goth songs, but it is not a religious movement.

Goth uses religous imagery in some songs. Christian Death are big on this. Bauhaus did a couple of tracks with religious imagery. The Sisters have a quasi-religious name but this is ironic, their music shows that religion is not Andrew Eldritch's main concern - he prefers politics. The Mission (UK) were fairly 'new age'. Carl McCoy favoured shamanistic traditions and gnostic revelation. Religious jewellery is often worn, particularly crucifixes and ankhs. These are strong symbols with powerful subconscious effects. Sometimes they are worn as an satirical statement, sometimes not. For some it is just fashion.

Subject: 1.4 What does gothic music sound like?

Thanks to John Mc Donagh aka Nascent Virion for a list of what bands he though typified the Gothic sound. Some may disagree, but this is a rather decent representaion of GENERAL catagories.

Original Goth:


Miscellaneous Goth:
Mellow Goth:
Metal/Industrial Goth:
Experimental/Folky/Occult Goth:
New Goth: * Southern Death Cult (SDC) later split in all directions. Only SDC are condsidered properly Gothic. However many of Southern Death Cult's Goth followers remained true even when they entered their 'The Cult' glam metal phase.

** Fields of the Nephilim were so unlike previous Goth it is amazing that they were ever considered Goth at all. Nonetheless they are one of the definitive Goth bands and most Goths took to them instantly because of their originality and talent.

See "The Gothlist" by Corey for a much more complete list of goth bands. See 'Subject: 2.2 Where are the gothic FTP sites?' for more detail on how to get a copy.

Subject: 1.5 So what does the word 'goth' mean.

The word 'Goth' does indeed refer to a tribe of the indo-european kind. The Goths slowly integrated into the melting pot of Europe and basically disappeared.

The word 'gothic' is first found in common usage in 1611, referring mainly to an 'uncivilized lack of taste or education'. The people who built in the 'gothic' style would have never used this term. These people were monks or artisans who worked for the church to build a land of Cathedrals from the 11th century on. They also built castles and other edifices. The 16th century saw a large amount of turmoil with the reform and all. This opened up the architecture field quite a bit. This new wave of artists looked back on what they saw as a bland repetitive style of architecture as 'gothic'. Unfortunatly, because of the shallowness of the learned men at that time, it stuck. It was also referred to as Ogive - or the characteristic arch of this style - this word is usually used by most politically correct historians.

The fact is: Ogive architecture today is extremely inspiring and beautiful. The nameless men who designed and built these works of grandor were very talented and inspired. One merely has to look at the Cathedral of Chartres, Paris, Amiens, Canterbury or any of the other edifices of this age to realize irony of using 'gothic'. In fact, to augment the irony, the popular opinion today is that much of the baroque architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries is gaudy and flamboyant.


Section: 2 Internet Resources


Subject: 2.1 What Gothic music lists exist?

The Sisters of Mercy Electronic mailing list run by Pete French (-bat). Send mail to dominion-request@ohm.york.ac.uk to ask to be added to the list. Send postings to dominion@ohm.york.ac.uk.

There is also a Fields of the Nephilim Electronic mailing list. Mail to neph-request@wave.cerf.net to ask be added to the mailing list. The address to post to the list is neph@wave.cerf.net

Subject: 2.2 Where are the gothic FTP sites?

ftp.maths.tcd.ie:/pub/music/gothic. This site is maintained by Nascent Virion <mcdonghj@unix2.tcd.ie>, who will be graduating and leaving the net in June. A mirror site at goth-ftp.acc.brad.ac.uk (143.53.1.4) has been set up to contain all the info at ftp.maths.tcd.ie:/pub/music, as well as a number of other goth resources, including various gothic lyrics, discographies, faqs, images, and Corey's Goth List, etc can be found. Get the README and INDEX files from the pub/music directory for the full contents of the music area, which included guitar tabs, and other music resources. When you FTP use 'anonymous' as the username and your email address as the password. If you don't have FTP access mail to ftpmail@decwrl.dec.com.

There is also another gothic archive site in the United States by Peter Stone (bat@cyberden.com) at cyberden.com. It contains much of the original gothic archive site as of 12/93, as well as other new material.

Subject: 2.3 Where can I find lyrics, pictures, etc for a goth band?

There is a huge music archive available via anonymous FTP at ftp.uwp.edu:/pub/music. If a band isnt at the goth archive, it might very well be at the main music archive.

There are also a number of goth World Wide Web servers out there, and the following should get you started, and most have links to other sites.

The Dark Side by VampLestat (vamp@vamp.org) is at
http://www.vamp.org/Gothic/
Rob's Gothic Section is at
http://web.cs.nott.ac.uk/~rji/index.html
Subject: 2.4 What are some various Vampire related net resources?

Go ask in alt.vampyres and check out the alt.vampyres FAQ file posted there.

Subject: 2.5 Where can I find this "Goth Test"?

Its available via anonymous FTP at ftp.maths.tcd.ie in /pub/music/gothic/ as 'the_goth_test'. It can also be found in Take a Bite 1.0 - jokingly subtitled 'the net.goth handbook', which is also available at the same site.

Subject: 2.6 What are the mail addresses of some goth bands?

Sisters of Mercy Information Service:

The Reptile House Ltd.
PO Box HP29
Leeds LS6 1LS
West Yourshire
England

The Nefilim Information Service:

The Watchman
P.O. Box 17
Stevenage
Herts
SG2 0QX
England

Rosetta Stone Information Service:

Rosetta Stone
31 Ivanhoe Road
Aigburth
Liverpool
L17 8FX
England
Phone: +44 051 728 8998

Subject: 2.7 What comics are Goth?

Sandman - written by Neil Gaiman and published by Vertigo. Also various offshoot projects: Books of magic, High Cost of Living (about his sister, Death) etc.

The Crow:

Love and Rockets - (sort of punk/goth) by Los Bros Hernandez, published by Fantagraphics. This is where the band name came from by the way.

The Vampire Chronicles - Three different series - one for each of the first three Anne Rice vampire books, adapted by hacks, published by Innovation. OK only if you've already read the books. Anne Rice doesn't like them at all.

Stray Toasters - four issue mini series by Bill Sienkiewicz (pronounced as Sin-KEV-itch) published by Epic. Inspiration for a Creaming Jesus song.

Grendel - by Matt Wagner, published by Dark Horse (was published by Comico). Some stories are fairly Gothic others are not.

Sandman Mystery Theatre - by Matt Wagner, published by Vertigo. An old golden age DC character revived. Full of atmosphere.

Cerebus - by Dave Sim and Gerhard. Not strictly Gothic, but black and white. Flight and Women have a great Sandman satire.

Subject: 2.8 Are there any good goth clubs in <fill in city>?

There is a full list of internation clubs maintained by digitar (digitar@io.org). Email him for a copy, or FTP 'GothClubs' from the goth archive at ftp.maths.tcd.ie:/pub/music/gothic. There is also a hypertext version at http://www.vamp.org/Gothic/clublist.html. Please email in any additions you might have to digitar's list.


Section: 3 Various Trivia


Subject: 3.1 Is the Nefilim a spelling mistake?

This is the name for Carl McCoy's new (yet to appear) band. The rest of the original Fields are now called Rubicon and have a new singer. They are no longer considered Goth.

Subject: 3.2 Where does the phrase Sisters of Mercy arise from?

Andrew Eldritch chose the phrase as the name of this band from a Leonard Cohen song of that name. The song may be referring to prostitutes as 'Sisters of Mercy'. There is also a religious order who are sometimes known by that name.

Subject: 3.3 Are the Sisterhood the same as the Sisters of Mercy?

The Sisterhood was a one shot band created by Andrew Eldritch to stop Wayne Hussey using the name when Hussey left the Sisters of Mercy. By the way, 25000 pounds was not granted in a court case - it is merely the advance budget that the Mission didn't get.

Subject: 3.4 What is the best black dye?

Synthetic dyes are best. The 'Ritt' dye rarely works well and tends to be coloured, though it isnt available in the UK. There is a japanese semi-natural dye (Ginsa?) which is not bad if you can get it. As for tips on how to actually dye clothes with this:

Don't use a Washing machine. Get a big pot (no, not that one, I said a BIG POT. Put the object in that you wish to die, and fill it with enough water to cover the object and then some. Remove the object. This is done to make sure that when you put the article of clothing back in, you don't die the stove.

Put the pot on the stove and boil the water. The hotter the better. Unfortunately it is difficult to get the water much above 212f (100c). Add the Dye. Approxametly twice what the package says and stir (no, not with your arm, and don't use the spoon that you stir spaghetti with either) add the garment. Boil for a while, turn off the heat and let cool. When the BIG POT is cool enough, put in a corner overnight. The next day rinse the garment out with cold water as well as the pot. put the garment back in the pot and fill with vinegar. Let set a day or two, and wash in cold water with about half the amount of laundry soap you normally use.

Subject: 3.5 What should I use to paint my jacket?

Acrylics are best. Clean the jacket with warm soapy water. Use a 'flexible medium' if possible. If using Liquitex brand you may get away without. You can varnish with with clear acryclic coating to protect further.

T-Shirts can be done above but the flexible medium is essential. This way is better than buying fabric paints.

Subject: 3.6 How do I identify a net goth?

The words net.goth in lower case should be written on them somewhere. The jacket arm just below the shoulder is recommended by Sexbat (but he may be teasing you - be warned :-)

Subject: 3.7 What has Anne Rice written?

For the best answer, you should read the newsgroup alt.books.anne-rice. Anne Rice is alive and well and writes supernatural romance. Interview With a Vampire is her mort artistic work but other books are all good readable stuff with strong themes.

The Vampire Chronicles:
Interview With a Vampire
The Vampire Lestat
Queen of the Damned
The Tale of the Body Thief
She has also written:
The Mummy or Rameses the Damned
The Witching Hour

As well as a trilogy of bondage stories under the name of A.N. Roquelaire - which are not gothic. Two 'romance' novels as Anne Rampling, called Exit to Eden and Belinda, as well as a short story: Master of Rampling Gate.

Anne Rice's Vampire LeStat Fan Club
Vampire LeStat
P.O. Box 58277
New Orleans, Lousiana 70158-8277

Subject: 3.8 Who is Storm Constantine?

Another Gothic author. Storm is more Gothic and less mainstream than Anne Rice. She has a series of books which have a lot in common with Anne Rice's vampire chronicles. She is interested in the occult and in very ancient mythology, biblical connections et cetera. Some of her ideas are very controversial, often in total contradiction with most well known academic research. She is published by Headline in the UK.

Inception: Storm Constantine Information Service
c/o Vikki Lee France & Steve Jeffery
44 White Way
Kidlington, Oxon OX5 2XA
England

Subject: 3.9 Any other interesting goth authors?

There are plenty, including Bram Stoker and H.P. Lovecraft. Bram Stoker wrote Dracula and Lair of the White Worm amongst others. He died of syphilis and was quite mad at the end. H.P. Lovecraft wrote many short stories, most of which involved the Cthulhu mythos which he invented. He died after a tragically short career. He had a phobia of cold and was quite reclusive. He wrote a classic paper on Gothic Horror which is a must read.

Subject: 3.10 Any interesting goth movies?

The German Expressionists are quite Gothic and the film Nosferatu (the B&W version) is considered very Gothic. The remake: Nosferatu the Vampyre is also Gothic despite being in colour. The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari is probably the most Gothic film of all.

And of course there are the common ones, "Dracula" (in its many remakes) and The Hunger staring David Bowie, and "Interview with a Vampire"

Subject: 3.11 Who is Andrew Eldritch, Carl McCoy, Wayne Hussey, ...?

Andrew Eldritch and Carl McCoy are the singers from The Sisters of Mercy and The Fields of the Nephilim respectively. They are pillars of the Goth community. Wayne Hussey was guitarist in the Sisters but he left in a bad mood. He then failed to get a slice of record company money allocated to the Sisters despite a court battle. He and Eldritch are now reconciled personally if not musically.

Subject: 3.12 What do Pre-Raphaelites have to do with goth?

The Pre-Raphaelites were an artistic movement in Victorian England. They were part of the revival of Gothic architecture. Their art is stunning - try and see the originals if you can.

Subject: 3.13 What is 'Snakebite'?

Half a lager and half a cider. Lager is what americans would call "beer" and cider is the same sort of thing made from apples basically. The combination is somewhat lethal. A lot of pubs will refuse to serve it. Variations: "snakebite black" - the same drink with a splash of blackcurrant in it, also known as a "purple nasty" up north and is the cliche goth drink (also can be prepared as snakebite and black with a pernod and a vodka in it). "red witch" - a snakebite with pernod and black in - not to be taken lightly under any circumstances. "Anaconda" - made with half a pint of Theakstons Old Peculiar (or another real ale) and a bottle of Diamond White or 1080 (or other strong dry cider), a dash of black and two straws. It can also be *real beer* and cider (i.e. ale) e.g. Theakston's Old Peculier (~5.5%) + Scrumpy Jack (erm, ~5%ish), a rather entertaining mix

Subject: 3.14 Whats the best way to dye my hair?

Note: all of the products below should and will need to be purchased at a beauty supply place, substitute equivalents as needed

Start with healthy hair. In order to do this I recommend using good products. ie Nexxuss etc. Seeing we cant all afford that kind of stuff, the generics usually work well.

If you are dying your hair just like a standard color try Wella - blue black, Black Cherry, Loreal- Aurelle Cherry Plum, Clairol- 70R Plum brown. TRY AND AVOID TORRIDS. It is death to your hair. They look cool but you pay a price in the end. Put a high intensity conditioner right in the mixture of dye. Use 20 volume developer but not any higher.

"But I want to manic panic my hair! and its already black.. or another color!" First, bleach your hair. This is a must unless you are a blond. Products that work include Effasol by loreal (use developer not water), Torrids Platinum Lightening (its death but it works. its a high power tint), SpeedLighT by Wella.

This can take several tries. It took Lady Renee 8 bleaches over 6 weeks to get my pretty purple hair, often bleaching her hair 3 times in day for several hours. Leave it in for up to an hour a process and when the bleach dries it quits working so mist it lightly with warm water. (It reactivates it) Condition between each process! Or watch your hair fall out.

For the actual Manic Panic, (you can also use Punky Colors or Krazy Colors):

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