Gothic Text files Take A Bite 2

Take a Bite 2

THE VAMPIRE BITES BACK


Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away........

Things were getting out of control again.

I had been drinking too much wine, watching the home shopping channel, and letting my hair grow. I'd even moved the bulk of the CD's to the office so I could listen to the Sisters on the ROM drive.

In the days where it's possible to go clubbing in Los Angeles before breakfast without even leaving London, it's getting increasingly hard to deal with the real world. There's no virtue in a virtual world, it doesn't rain in cyberspace!

I found the bottles of lovingly imported aquanet, took my cow out from behind the swivel chair, and did what had to be done - I went shopping. After months of browsing, drinking Guiness, and eating curry, it was a simple choice - get fat, or get writing....

This time it took a little longer.

And so, we present the second in a series of vodka inspired volumes of the net.goth handbook, which will, over the months, form a unique and important reference for you, for your family, and for generations to come.

Or maybe not - how the hell should I know?

/\../\
Sexbat
(editor from Hell)

"The Look of Love"


An ABC of those classix days when Heaven 17 walked the earth ...

I remember the first time I saw the album sleeve for "The Anvil" by Visage. I had but one comment to make- "What the hell is a goth doing on the cover of poncy trash like this?" It puzzled me for a while, until I figured something out. That is, there was once a period when it was quite fashionable to be a goth, and that time coincided with the end of another period; the period when in was quite fashionable to be a new romantic.

It's quite hard these days to believe that there ever was such a time. After all, those who partake these days seem to believe that goth is a subculture, something quite "alternative" to be. There's a great deal of sneering at other subcultures involved, and a great deal of elitism- yet I can remember when I held in my hands a copy of "Chart Hits '82", and there was a Bauhaus track on it amidst the gilded synth-trash.

New romantics and goths had a lot in common. They both indulged occaisionally in cross-dressing, new romantic males wore makeup. Let's face it, if you took the clothes Duran Duran were wearing in '81, back when they released their first album, and dyed them black, there would not be a single garment there that wouldn't fit in a goth's wardrobe. Some things, like their gorgeous billowing shirts (which they've long since abandoned for a sort of dreadful Vic Reeves 70's look) would not need the dye. One of them even wore black leather trousers.

I must admit goth makeup differs slightly from the new romantic sort; pastel eyeshadow is far less prominent, and few goths would be seen dead in that glittery lipgloss that some poor fools wore. Pale skins were in, though. The new romantics were probably the first people on the streets to go for a beautiful, painted androgynous look, not dissimilar to the one that goths have been aiming at all these years. They danced better, too.

New romantic music is rarely credited as an influence on gothic music of any sort but (be it vicious rock or floaty-girlie-stuff) its impossible that it is not, in some way or another. After all, the two were contemporaries. Perhaps its an idea to consider an almost-goth new romantic song, "Hallowe'en" by Japan (1979). Listen to it. Its fast, spooky, slightly vicious and has some of the most wonderful haunting guitar sounds I've heard. In comparison, some atrocities such as.... oh, let's say the remix of "Temple of Love" have an epic dreadfulness slightly more reminiscent of some of the worst new romantic bands. That's a cheap shot, I admit, but its only an example of the dud goth songs that have been released over the years, which often suffered from the same malaise as dud new romantic songs- over-indulgent production of a poseur's uninspired output.

As record companies pillage the 80's for compilation-album material, many of these poor forgotten songs are briefly ressurected. Perhaps it would be kinder to let them rest in peace, for on the whole they were fairly crap. There are but a few songs that stand out from the new romantic fad as being genuinely special, and they are buried among all the other pop-trash that filled the charts, and always will. Be charitable, though; for many, goth too was just a fad to be adopted when it was "in" and abandoned when it went "out". How many of those ex-goths will go back at their old goth rock albums and be as surprised pleasantly at what they might find? I certainly still love my new romantic records.

I met a lass called Kaz at a party. She confessed that she'd done the new romantic bit first, then slowly slipped into the gothic bit, then when that wasn't in anymore, she changed again. That she did so is not really surprising. Lots of people did. Lots of people do. Those who stay faithful to a style forever are in the minority, and goth, like new romantic, is to most little more than a way of wearing your hair, a set of bands it is permitted to like, a label to wear while you seek a more interesting one.

Kaz also confessed to me that of the two, being new romantic was far more fun. I agree- I'd go back to it if there was a hairdresser left on the planet that could do a decent bleached-and-flicked cut, or a person left on the planet who wouldn't laugh at me for doing it.


Rodent Corner


Take a Bite is delighted to present RAT CARE part 1, an article cobbled together from books, drunken memories, and eating curry with people who know people who own rats, and buying Tennants Extra for people who used to breed rats and now have snakes.

Selecting Your Rat

Places to get a rat:

  1. From a pet shop
  2. From someone who breeds rats

Make sure the cages are clean and not full of other rats - otherwise you might end up with a bad tempered or diseased one.

Places not to get a rat:

  1. Between the live rails on the underground (no matter how cute they are)
  2. KFC
  3. Biohazard Animal Experiment Labs
  4. The sewer

Things to look for in a rat:

  1. Alertness
  2. Intelligence
  3. Healthy Plumpness
  4. Clear Eyes
  5. Livelyness

Things to avoid:

  1. Cuts, Scratches, patchy fur
  2. Runny eyes/nose
  3. Mice

How Old?

You should get a rat when it's about six weeks old as they are easier to tame when they are young.

Top 10 Amazing Rat Facts

We really should tell you about housing and feeding your new pet, but we've run out of space, time, and inclination - so you'll have to wait for issue 3. As a result, we suggest that you don't rush out and buy one now - as it will be very hungry by then and may well start chewing your power cables!


Shadows on a Silver Screen


Gothic Horror Films - just what are they? Take a Bite asked Gary Slegg and Mitch Brian on the off chance that they knew ....

Many people may be familiar with the term Gothic Horror. The term probably conjures up images of mist encircled castles, with people draped in cloaks, shawls, or shrouds, and acting very mysteriously. But is this really true, do gothic movies have to be set in medieval buildings, with people running around in nothing more than a set of bed sheets, with maybe some type of supernatural power?

Well, if this was really all a gothic movie was then we would be forced into accepting that something like Robin Hood - Prince of Theives was a gothic movie, as it contains all the necessary criterai. A castle, people wearing the type of clothes that normal people wouldn't be seen dead in (or perhaps that should be 'would only be seen dead in'), and of course dear old Robin Hood has lots of supernatural powers (well - how else does he manage to live in a tree with his band of merry men!). Robin Hood as a goth film is probably something which many of those amongst us would find a bit unpalatable.

Okay then, lets try again at a definition. One of the most prolific type of Gothic genre movie is the 'Hammer Horror' (as Kate Bush would say). There are of course two main distinguishing features in a Hammer film which we might want to extract and use as defining features of Gothic film in general. They all have Christopher Lee, or Peter Cushing, or both in them, and the acting in them is, well, not up to Oscar standard.

Other, lesser distinguishing characteristics of the Hammer film are that peasants are always portrayed as drunk, filth-covered morons, with a tendency to die violently, and the aristocracy are portrayed as arrogant, upperclass twits, with a tendency to die less violently. In fact, the only nice people in the Hammer film are the middle classes. You can guarantee that the Transylvanian tavern will be full of peasant with cockney accents who will warn the unwary traveller not to go near the Counts Castle. This warning, needless to say, will be ignored.

Finally, you can always play 'Spot the future star' with Hammer films. George Cole (yes - Arthur Daley) appears in the Vampire Lovers, Dennis Waterman is in Scars Of Dracula. Joanna Lumley is in The Satanic Rites Of Dracula, and Wendy Craig appears in The Nanny.

However, some of us might feel this defintition is a bit narrow. For starters, it would mean that Star Wars would be classed as a Gothic film. Also, most of us would want Bram Stokers Dracula included under the Gothic heading, but although Sir Anthony Hopkins and Kenaveau Reeves accents were a bit dodgy, the acting was never really that bad, and besides, neither Christopher Lee nor Peter Cushing appeared in it (probably because they were both dead - well Christopher Lee's career is anyway). So, again we must look else where for our definition.

One feature of Gothic films is perhaps that they have an erotic element to them. True, this is very debateable with Hammer films, although I am reliably informed by people not that much more older than me that they were considered erotic in their day. It is claimed that Gothic films, in particular Vampyr movies have a 'polymorphous perversity'.

Polymorphous perversity was a term used by Freud to describe the gaining of sexual pleasure from body parts other than the primary sexual organs (ie the genitals). For example, in Vampyr films sexual pleasure is denoted by the 'Vampyr Kiss', and thus this is oral satisfaction. People have what are known as erogenous zones, and this can include places like the neck, behind the ear, or, if you are Madonna, the big toe.

Another feature of Gothic films are the use of vivid colour. This might come as a shock to some Goths, but in Gothic films the dark surroundings are often contrasted with rich colours. One only has to think of Bram Stoker's Dracula with it's overindulgent use of blood, the flowing white, and orange outfits of Lucy (Sadie Frost), the red sky etc. This use of colour is also very evident in Hammer movies, and also in films such as Suspiria, with the clever use of red, blue and green light, and Roger Vadim's Metzengerstein. In these films colour is used in a highly styerlized, symbolic way, often representing the moods of the characters. For example in the film The Vampire Lovers the colour of the dress of Carmilla gets darker and darker as her victim becomes weaker and weaker, symbolizing the saddness that Carmilla feels for her victim.

Thus, if we define the Gothic film as being set around some type of medieval (ie gothic) building, erotic undertones, with a 'supernatural' or 'uncanny' element and use of vivid colour, then this rather neatly includes films such as Bram Stokers Dracula, and excludes films such as Robin Hood (unless of course you happen to think that Kevin Costners bum is erotic - in which case you are either a very sad person indeed, or my secreatary).

Okay, so this definition is better, but is it complete? As it stands at present Gothic films can only have European settings, America having no genuine medieval buildings. A bit of a downer that one, as it means films such as 'The Hunger' or 'Near Dark' and even the television classic 'Salems Lot' are excluded, while films such as 'Excalibur' are still included.

Well, although 'Excalibur' contains many element of the traditional Gothic film, the medeival setting, strong eroticism, and mystical events it can probably be excluded from the Gothic genre as it does not concern itself with the supernatural or uncanny. It does includes shape-shifting, but Merlins magic is nothing more than magic. It not about rising the dead, or losings ones soul. Excalibur then is a film that is as close to being a gothic film as possible, without actually being one.

As for The Hunger and other films set in America, if we are to include these films, then we are going to have to drop the stipulation that they require a medieval setting. It is wise to do this, as it then allows us to consider the Gothic Western. The best, and most recent of which is Clint Eastwoods 'Unforgiven'.

True, the erotic element in the film is barely traceable (it does start of in a whore-house but that's about it). However, there is the polymorphous perverse element. Eastwoods character gets pleasure from killing (which is one of the two extremes of the libido, eros and thanatos - as with the vampyr), which he does with a gun. It also involves uncanny elements. Eastwoods characters claims at the start of the film that he "...ain't like that anymore" never quite ring true, and we see the torment in his soul as he ones again is driven to a blood lust at the end of the film. At this climax of the film there is a feeling of Eastwood being some supernatural being bringing death and destruction on those that have opposed him, like some avenging black angel. This is also a feature of the other Gothic films we have so far discussed - the Byronic Hero that is both the nemisis and victim in the film.

Indeed, many of Eastwoods films can be considered gothic in nature, or at least to have a Gothic flavour about them. This is probably most obvious in The Beguiled. Consisiting of decaying southern mansions, an incestuous brother/sister relationship, violence, madness, polymorphous perversity, castration - it's a lurid mishmash of Poe and Bierce. Also High Plains Drifter is very gothic, and it's twist is that the stranger coming into the new place dominates (rather than is dominated by) it.

The Medieval setting is useful to distinguish between European and American gothic films, as for that matter is the social class of the main characters (European films tend to be about aritocratic families, while American tend to be based on the cowboy/biker sub-culture), but it is too restrictive to be used as a defining feature of a gothic movie per se.

Thus then, we can now return to the original question of what exactly constitutes a gothic movie.

Gothic movies can thus be defined as films set in mysterious surroundings (medieval building, woods, or wide open plains). These maybe represents a 'journey into another reality', from whence on return the traveller will be in some way changed, either physically (as in the case of vampyr films) or psychologically (as in the case of The Unforgiven). This journey does not have to be a physical one, but can be a psycho/sexual one, such as in the Hunger, where the characters contact a strange new (for one of them) relationship that threatens to destroy them. This erotic element is also charged with either a supernatural or uncanny overtone. Within Gothic films there is also a destructive, dark figure that the hero or heroine is drawn too. This destructive figure often fits the Byronic Hero type - Heathcliff, Rochester, Max DeWinter and Dracula - and the hero or heroine is at once ensnared, repulsed and attracted into this destructive relationship.

If it hasn't got these characteristics, then it's not Gothic. So there!


Zombie cooking with Confidence


[Weird Music and FX - Scene a candle lit medieval kitchen with some 20th century essentials]

Welcome to my kitchen....[noise from earpiece] oh alright then, Welcome to a soundstage which is probably N times bigger than my kitchen, today we are going to make Curried Goth.

You will need:

        1lb of goth (thigh or breast)
        1 tin chopped tomatoe
        1 large onion
        1 packet of lady's fingers
        2 tablespoons of yoghurt
        1 tablespoon of ghee or vegetable oil
        1 clove garlic
        1 dash of balsamic vinegar

spices (in teaspoons):
        1 x tumeric, 1 x garam masala, 1 x chillie powder, 2 x cumin,
        1 x corriander, 3 x fenugreek 
You can replace the goth meat with chicken or vegetables if you so desire.

Vegetarians can use Okra instead of lady's fingers.

Next week, we will be making Spagetti Bolognese with my special guests - the Duke of Bologna and Sweeny Todd.

[Music, candles and cooking fire dim to black]


Prometheus in Chainmail


A guide to armour for the Quintessential Goth

Body armour or fashion statement? Take a Bite neither knows nor cares. What we do know is armour has been the height of club fashion since the club was a fashionable weapon.

Let's face it, large amounts of hard looking silver metal looks great! It could even keep you in one piece next time you fall out of a lamp post!

Take a Bite sent Daniel Stern to investigate...

How do I get some chainmail?

1: Buy it

Buying yourself a suit of chainmail is by far the easiest thing to do, but it is only an option if you are rich as it will probably cost you every penny you have though. Prices are typically around 200.00 for a hood and up to 800.00 for a decent shirt. More rational, or less well off people will refuse to fork out a grand on metal clothes, and therefore have little choice other than to...

2: Make it yourself

Compared to the price of buying chainmail, making one's own is relatively inexpensive. (averaging around 40.00). The downside is that its VERY tedious and time consuming, so if you want to make a suit in the near future, don't make any plans.

You'll need:

Mount the drill upright in the vice, and place the metal dowell in the drill (as if it were a bit), making sure the end with the hole drilled through is close to the chuck. Then, thread one end of the wire through the hole, letting it stick through the other side about an inch or so. Then, SLOWLY engage the drill, and guide the wire up the dowell. Wrap the wire tightly so that each pass is against the previous one. When you reach the end of the dowell. disengage the drill and cut the wire at the top of the dowell.

Do not rest the drill point over any major arteries, as the result, no matter how spectacular, will be short, and you'll probably miss most of it.

Remove the dowell from the drill, and cut the wire where it went through the dowell. Slide the wound up wire off the dowell, and you will have what looks like a tightly wound spring. Once you have the coiled wire, cut off each link until you reach the end of the coil. Repeat until you have a lot of links; the amount depends on what you are making.

Most people who make their own mail use 16 gauge wire; it is quite sturdy and quite easy to come by. Also, the most common pattern is what is called the "international" pattern, namely four links going through a fifth. The mail I make consists of EIGHT links going through a NINTH, giving a nice 2-1-2 pattern. On average, it takes about 50,000 links to make an average sized shirt (REMEMBER!! When making mail, make it OVERSIZED, or you wont be able to get the mail on unless you are very bendy). As far as the dowell is concerned, a 5/16" diameter is about average. The larger the diameter, the bigger the link (and, following logically) the less links needed.

When making a shirt, make 3"x3" squares, and after you have about ten or so, start joining them together. Keep trying the piece on for fit. The exact number of squares will depend on the size of the shirt, so make them as you need them.

To make chainmail, take one open link, and close it using the pliers. Then, take four (or, if you like, eight) open links and link them around the first. It should look like this:

                       00
                       00   
                     000000 
                  0000    0000  <---- Outer ring
                     000000
                       00 /\
                       00  L______ Inner ring
Then, link one ring to the four outer rings. Then link three to each. It will look like this:
                  00
                  00
                000000
             0000    0000
                000000
           00     00     00
         000000 000000 000000
      0000    000    000    0000
         000000 000000 000000
           00     00     00
                000000
             0000    0000
                000000
                  00
                  00
Continue expanding this pattern, and eventually you will form squares of mail. It is by far easier to link these squares later on than to work with one huge sheet of mail. Remember to close each link when you attach it to another one.

The types of things you can make with chainmail is endless; you can make everything from shirts to chokers, purses to gauntlets. Bracelets are a snap. So, get your tools and wire and get to it! Be the envy of your peers, and if they don't like it, eat them! better!

(Prices are either US dollars or UK pounds sterling at an approximate exchange rate of 1:1. This has something to do with economies of scale and supply and demand and market forces and other such stuff which will be dealt with in the net.goth guide to World Finance.)

You can also buy ready made links by mail order, ask on rec.org.sca or rec.games.frp.live action if you don't believe me!


Advertisment


(not for inclusion on usenet unless you are a immigration lawyer)

Introducing the Take a Bite
"Industrial Aerobics Video"

Filmed on a rubbish tip just on the edge of the Hackney Marshes on a wobbly old super-vhs camcorder in the pissing rain. Featuring several scantily clad models with cheap and nasty plastic and lycra outfits which could fall apart at any moment.

Including songs by Bodycount, Nine inch Nails, The Utah Saints, Ministry, and Alien Sex Fiend. This video will work your lower carpal muscles as you press the fast forward button in an attempt to find the new and exclusive Sisters of Mercy track which isn't actually on the tape at all but the artwork was already finished and we're still waiting for our calls to be returned.

Exercises include:

For further information e-mail FAT@batt.demon.co.uk

net.goth


net.goth: one (goth) who, having access to usenet, both posts to alt.gothic and wants to be known as a 'net.goth'.

This differs from 'Cybergoth': those covered with tinfoil who insist on wearing wrap around sunglasses with bits of wire stuck to them.

This differs from 'Idontwannalabelgoth': one who does not believe in subcultural labels, but is still a 'goth', "but that's not a label, it's a way of life err... death, um... yeah"

If you want to find out more, stalk down to your local book shop, arrive alarmingly in front of the information counter and say:

"Forsooth, I desire a tome about the Internet which lists local service providers. Provide me with such a work or the minions of hell will strike you down!"
Pull out your quill and vellum and, using the blood of the bookseller as ink, copy out the relevant addresses and phone numbers. Replace the book on the shelf and repair to your waiting chariot. (or you could always go to the public library).

If you don't have access to a computer and modem you will have to learn to whistle very fast.


Take a Bite is delighted to present a "Tale from the Shades of Midnight"

The Tattoo


The Tattoo

by Laura Lemay

Ellen was nearly finished with her third drink when she noticed the man in black. He was standing by the edge of the dance floor, watching the crowd with a bored expression. The crowd deserved his disdain; for an underground nightclub, there were certainly a lot of normal-looking people at Shades of Midnight tonight. Ellen had been on the prowl all night, and had been decidedly unimpressed with the variety of men she had seen. Until now. She put down her glass and turned to Tamara, prodding her on the shoulder to get her attention.

"What do you think of that one?" she asked, leaning close so her voice could be heard over the blast of the music. She pointed through the crowd where the man was standing.

"Oooh, definitely do-able," Tamara replied, nodding. "And just your type, too."

"Who's this?" Andrew, the third at their table, asked. "Who are we talking about?"

"The longhair in the corner. Black jacket, black pants," Tamara replied, gesturing with her cigarette to the figure Ellen had indicated. "Ellen wants him."

Ellen put on an mock expression of indignance. "I only pointed him out, I didn't say I wanted him."

"Just your type," Andrew affirmed, as the man took a long drink from a bottle, completely oblivious to thier observations. "Long hair, black clothes, earrings. Yup. Ten bucks says you wants him."

"Ah, but you don't know if he's tattooed," Tamara noted as Ellen opened her mouth to protest.

"True," Andrew demurred. "Five bucks."

"Sucker's bet," Tamara said, refusing Andrew's outstretched hand.

"Cut that out," Ellen laughed. She had obviously spent far too many nights in nightclubs with these two; they knew her taste in men all too well. Although she had to admit her taste was all too predictable; to give Andrew credit, the mysterious man in black had most of the characteristics she looked for in fresh meat.

"Well?" Tamara asked, nudging her with her arm. "If you don't get a move on, some other sweet young goth thing'll steal him away from you, and I'll have to listen to you bitch all the way home."

"Wait, the song's ending," Ellen protested. "And besides, he sees me. I have time."

* * *

Ellen took her time in approaching the man in black. For almost three songs she watched him as she had a fourth drink, watched him as he danced a little bit, danced with the showy air of someone who knows they are being watched. He had most definitely seen her in the corner, watching him; even though he was positioned on the dance floor at the opposite cornber of the room, he peered at her through the spaces in the crowd. Ellen felt herself flushing with drink and with the attention; she loved this game of tease and reply, of hide and seek.

All the while Tamara and Andrew made fun of her for not getting up from her chair, but she shushed them. The crowning glory in Andrew's and Tamara's evening came when the man removed his jacket after dancing to a particularly hard and fast song, revelealing his bare chest underneath. Covering the front of his upper torso, and snaking over his shoulders and around his sides, was a single, huge, tattoo. Andrew and Tamara practically crowed with glee.

"Ten bucks," Andrew reiterated his bet. Tamara merely gave him a sarcastic look.

"What is it of?" Ellen asked, peering through the darkness as the man wove between the dancers in his own rhythm. "I can't see clearly from here."

"Its some sort of monster, I think." Tamara said. "I can see claws, and....eyes."

"Its beautiful work," Andrew commented. Of the three of them, Andrew was the resident tatoo expert and owner of five of his own. He was on a first name basis with most of the artists in the city. "I don't think I've seen so many gradations of purple blended like that before...."

Tamara snorted. "Leave it to Andrew to provide a running commentary on the artistic qualities of punker tattoos."

"Oh, its ok," Ellen said, relishing the chance for the teasing to turn to someone other than herself. "You know how Andrew gets sometimes --"

"Holy shit." Andrew abruptly said, sitting upright in the chair. Tamara and Ellen turned to face him. "What?" Andrew's gaze was riveted upon the tattoo. "Thats a Mark Killock. I'd swear it, its his work." Andrew leaned even further foreward, trying to get a better view through the lights and the darkness. "Shit, I never thought I'd see one."

"Who's Mark Killock?" Ellen asked. "A tattoo artist, obviously." Tamara replied. Andrew looked sharply back at the two of them. "Not just any tattoo artist. Mark Killock is one of the very best tatoo artists...his work is incredible. That tat is just his style, the colors, the blending, and the subject matter...."

"Its delicious." Ellen commented, grinning, standing up and adjusting her short skirt over her thighs. "He's mine."

"Don't look so worried," Tamara commented after a pause, reaching out a hand. "Ellen will be fine. You know her, she likes dangerous-looking longhaired boys."

Andrew shook his head. "I was just thinking about that tattoo."

"Is it that special?"

"I've heard some really wild rumors about Mark Killock," Andrew replied, looking at Tamara mysteriously. Tamara laughed at him, taking his hands in hers as if to reassure him. "Ellen can take care of herself."

* * *

Ellen was pleased with hwo the night was progressing. When she had started dancing the man had ignored her, but he had been watching her the whole time. When this song had started he had given her his undivided attention. One more song and she would be sure. The music pounded in her ears as she swayed back and forth, and the man in front of her mimicked her movements, watching her with black eyes that radiated lust and made her breathe faster even before he had even touched her. And here on the dance floor, with the lights, Ellen could get a better view of the tattoo.

It was a shapeless monster of a tattoo that seemed to writhe as its owner moved. It appeared to have dozens of tenacles, tentacles that ended in claws, claws that were tinged with dark blood at the ends. It had no head, this monster, but it had eyes, thousands of them, greenish purple eyes over the exapanse of its gelatinous body that seemed to look straight at Ellen while she danced. Its mouth, in the center of its body, was ringed with teeth in rows, sharks' teeth. The creature was purple, varying shades of purple that reflected and glistened in the light, almost like scales. It was a repugnant picture, and Ellen could not fathom why anyone would want it painted permanently on thier skin. But at the same time she had to agree with Andrew that the work was fantastic. It was hard to believe that any single needle had crafted the lines and blended the inks so perfectly that you could not tell where one shade of purple ended and another one began. Reaching out playfully, Ellen ran a finger down the center of the man's chest, right over the creature's mouth. The man's shest was smooth and hairless, with nothing to break up the lines of the tattoo. Beautiful. "Do you like it?" the man mouthed to her as he danced.

"Yes," she nodded admirably. "He likes you too," the man smiled at her, and Ellen smiled back. Bingo, she thought. She had made her conquest.

* * *

Later on Ellen approached Tamara and Andrew, who had moved to the upstairs bar where the music was quieter. "So whats up? Progress?" Tamara said as Ellen approached thier table again.

"Oh, yes," Ellen said, smiling. "We're leaving."

"Have a good time," Andrew commented. It was ritual that made him say that; Ellen always had a good time.

The man approached Ellen from behind, wearing the discarded leather jacket over his bare skin once again. He reached out and took the back of Ellen's neck in the other. Andrew looked uneasily from the hand to the man's face; he looked like he could close his fist and snap her neck with barely a thought. "Ready?" the man asked, as Ellen took her jacket and purse from the chair where Tamra had put them.

"Yes," Ellen said, nodding politely to the pair, and turning to leave.

"Excuse me," Andrew suddenly asked. Ellen and the man stopped and turned back to the table. Andrew motioned to the tattoo with his chin. "Is that a Mark Killock?"

The man looked at Andrew, and his eyes pierced the darkness as if a light was shining behind them. "Yes," he replied. "It is."

"Are the rumors true?" Andrew asked, his voice straining to remain causal. Tamara could feel the tension behind it in the air. "The rumors about the rituals...?"

The man laughed, once, a short laugh that showed only in his mouth. "Of course not," he replied, taking Ellen by the shoulder and guiding her away from the table. Ellen waved back as she left, grinning.

Tamara waited until the couple was out of sight before turning to face Andrew. "Rituals?" she demanded, eyebrows raised, "what rituals?"

"Its just rumor." Andrew shrugged, watching at the doorway where the two of them had vanished. "I've heard a lot of rumors about Mark Killock's work.. wierd satanic shit."

Tamara waited several seconds for Andrew to continue and when he did not, asked, "what sort of satanic shit?"

Andrew shrugged again, reluctant to continue. "Mark Killock tattoos demons."

"I'll say," Tamara stated. "That creature was horrible --"

"That not what I mean. I don't mean that he tattooes pictures of demons; he tattoos the demons themselves." He took a pause as Tamara absentmindedly let the ash fall from her cigarrette onto the floor. "Its just rumor," he finally continued, when he realized he had said too much to just let it drop. "I've heard that just finding Mark Killock is a test; you have to be really determined to want to find him. It's not like he tattoos in any shops. Then once you find him if you want to get tattooed by him you have to go through years of training, to prove yourself, before he lets you go through the rituals. And the rituals are the wierdest part. I've heard claims that during the ritual, black magic draws out demons from your soul. Usually the worst kinds of demons. The magic enslaves them and then Killock tattoos the demon itself into your skin."

There was a long pause, and then Tamara took a long drag on her cigarrette and laughed. "Do you actually believe all that shit? Thats major twilight zone stuff...Personal demons, exorcised from the body and painted into the skin. Ooooh," she laughed, waving her hands about in the air in front of her.

Andrew looked over at her almost angrily, grasping one of her hands in his. "Does it really matter if I believe it or not, or even if its true or not? The point is that if someone goes through the trouble to get tattooed by Mark Killock, he very probably believes it himself. Regardless of the validity of the rumors, Ellen has just gone home with a man who believes that he has enslaved his own personal demon under his skin. And thats what worries me."

* * *

Ellen laughed as they walked to his apartment, feeling drunk and silly, and loving the feel of a new man in her arms. They weaved haphazardly down the sidewalk, occasionally taking breaks in the dark sections to grope each other. Inside the building, he stopped her abruptly in the hallway outside his door and shoved her up against the wall, one hand tangled in her hair, forcing her head back to kiss her, hard, and the bit at her neck. Ellen pushed her hands up under his jacket, gasping at the naked skin on his back. She gasped when he hurt her. Then as suddenly as he had grabbed her, he let her go, standing aside and reaching for the keys in his pocket. She had to press her hands up against the wall to keep her balance, t keep from collapsing in a heap on the floor. Lustfully she eyed him as he unlocked the door and gestured chivalrously into the apartment.

She giggled when he locked the door behind her and pulled her directly to the wide futon in the middle of the small studio. He pushed her onto the bed, and took off his jacket in the dark, dropping it absentmindedly on a chair. "Get undressed," he commanded her, turning away from her and moving about in the room. Ellen did as she was told, watching him in the half light as he lit candles around the bed. In the flickering of the yellow light the tattoo on his chest moved with the muscles in his body as if it were alive. "Come to bed," she said, impatient.

"In a bit." he said, ignoring her as he finished with the candles. It seemed like an hour before he finally put down the matches and climbed onto the bed next to her. She gasped as his body covered her, gasped as his teeth bit into her neck and her breasts. "Oh," she said, once, and he leaned over her, his hands on either side of her shoulders, the demon on his chest fully displayed by the light of the dozens of tiny flames around the room. "Oh," she said, again, finding herself drawn to stare at the work on the skin a few inches before her face. It was moving in the light. The clawed tentacles undulated towards her and the mouth appeared to open and close, dripping black saliva as it did. The demon's eyes looked down at her body in lust and hunger, and Ellen found she could not take her eyes away from them.

"Oh," she said, a third and final time, as the man bent his arms and crushed her body beneath his.

* * *

"She's not home," Andrew said, holding the receiver against his ear with one shoulder. "I'm telling you, she's not home."

"Well then where the hell is she?" Tamara asked. "She never misses Fridays."

"Maybe she has a new guy," Andrew shrugged as the phone rang over and over again in his ear. "Maybe she's out with him. You know her."

"She would never miss a Friday at Shades," Tamara insisted. "Never."

"When was the last time you talked to her?" Andrew asked, giving up and hanging up the phone.

"Same time you did," she replied. "Wednesday, when she went home with that guy with the tattoo. He's probably murdered her, dismembered her body in the bathtub and poured acid over it to get rid of the evidence."

Andrew smiled, once. "And you claim that I have a vivid imagination." Then looked worried. "I woulnd't put it past him. He does have a Mark Killock, after all. The type of people who get Mark Killock's tattoos are hardly the type who are into normalcy in any way shape or form. And I didn't like that guy to start with."

Tamara suddenly leaned close and pointed. "We could ask him." she said, her voice low. "Thats him over there."

He was standing by the bar, wearing the same battered leather jacket as before, once again bare-chested underneath it. The creature on his chest seemed much less frightening than when it was fully exposed. In the full flourescent light of the upper bar, it looked almost like a regular tattoo. Andrew and Tamara watched him for a while as he ordered a shot of something dark and sludgy looking, and swallowed it effortlessly. "Go ask him," Andrew said, nudging at her arm. He didn't admit that he was slightly afriad to ask himself.

"OK, I will," Tamara took the challenge. Andrew watched as she pushed through the people standing around in her path, watched as she walked boldly up to the man and talked to him. Andrew could not hear thier conversation, but the man looked puzzled when she asked. Tamara made motions that were obviously a description; about this tall, longish hair. The man looked at her, and a slow languid smile spread across his face. He leaned over towards her, and Tamara seemed transfixed by her voice. The man's lips just touched her ear, and he whispered something to her. Tamara blinked, once, and then turned pale.

Andrew pushed himself away from the wall, ready to jump in if Tamara was being threatened. What was going on? Tamara took a step back, blinking, and the man leaned back and turned back to the bar, waving at the bartender with authority, that smile still stuck on his face.

Tamara stood stock still for nearly a minute, and Andrew was just about to go up to her to see if she was all right when she turned and bolted for the door, one hand pressed up against her mouth. Andrew paused, debating whether to confront the man, or run after Tamara. He chose to run after her, following her outside. He called her name as she stumbled along the sidewalk, chasing her, and finally caught up to her several doors down from the club.

"Tamara." He said, grasping her shoulders, turning her towards him as she went weak against the wall. Her expression was panicked, her eyes wide and full of frightened tears. "Tamara, what is it? What did he tell you?"

"She -- I--" Tamara started, and gulped for air, struggling for control. "He has her. He has her trapped."

"Wait here," Andrew said, turning back towards the club. He pushed past the door guy, pushed through the crowds to the bar where the man with the tattoo was still standing, talking to the bartender and looking as if nothing had happened.

"You," Andrew said, pulling on his shoulder, spinning him to face him. "What have you done with Ellen?"

The man stumbled a bit as he was spun, but he caught his balance and looked coolly at his attacker, a faint air of disdain in his glance. "Ah, its you," he said. "I just explained it to your friend, ask her." As if that was the end of the conversation, the man turned back to the bar. Andrew took hold of his shoulder again, grasped the front of his leather jacket in his fist and turned him forcibly back around again.

"She told me already. She said you had kidnapped Ellen. I want to know what the deal is, but if you've hurt her, I'll fucking kill you right here."

The man looked into Andrew's eyes for several seconds, and then laughed again with that faint humorless laugh. "I haven't done anything with her."

"Well, you certainly gave Tamara that impression. Why is that?"

The man pulled back, ripping his jacket out of Andrew's grasp. There was a long pause between them as thier eyes locked. "Perhaps because I showed her this," the man said, and pulled aside his jacket, turning slightly into the light.

The full glory of the tattoo was displayed in the flourescent light, and Andrew found his eyes drawn once again to the fine detail in the work, admiring it even as he was disgusted by its subject matter. The thousands of eyes appeared to be staring at him, almost blinking. The tentacles writhed in the light, and then as Andrew atched it, the creature actually was moving, rolling about on the fabric of the man's skin. And in one of its tentacles, viciously mauled, was Ellen. Andrew stepped back, unable to pull his eyes away from the scene. Ellen's lower body had been entirely eaten away, the remainder cut in slashes over every inch of her skin and her hair hung in her face, caked in her eyes with blood and slime. Andrew watched in horror as Ellen's body turned in the creature's claws, and saw with ever mounting panic that Ellen was still alive, that she was fully aware of what was happening to her, and that she was screaming at him, screaming mindlessly, trapped within the tattoo.


And now a word from our sponsor:


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Take A Bite presents the only foolproof guaranteed loose weight short of surgery!

* "The S-Plan Diet " *

Just take half a gram of speed for breakfast, nine cups of coffee for lunch, another half gram of speed for dinner, and chase it with a couple of aspirin to kill the headache then go out, drink 6 pints of bitter snakebite and lime have a take away sweet and sour dish, then go to a club and dance for three hours.

In a matter of months, you'll have the body of your dreams - you'll see the weight fall off!

"eat right, exercise lots, die anyway"

[Warning: there are some people out there who do not want you to be thin, they are waiting for you, outside, right now! They are after you, they are out to get you! Everywhere, plotting, planning, waiting! Anyone could be one of them, your best friend, your neighbor, me, even you! Best to lie down and get a couple of days sleep once in a blue moon - before the space aliens come and eat your brain!]


Strange things can happen, so, just in case you find yourself falling through a hole in space and time and find yourself stranded in in the middle of Europe towards the twilight years of the Roman Empire, here is a selection of useful phrases for YOU the 20th centruy goth tourist looking for a second hand record shop and a decent kebab...

A Visigothic Phrase Book


General Phrases

Hello -                            audags wisan (lit. blessed be)
meina namo is ... -                my name is ...
Hwar ist af-guths barns -          Where are the godless children at?
Hwar ist hlaiwgarda -              Where is the graveyard?
Hwar ist swistas bleidis spaurds - Where are the Sisters of Mercy 
                                   playing?
Hwar ist mein salithwos -          I am drunk, where is my hotel?
Lekeis! -                          Doctor!

In the Bar

Hiri Magus -                  Waiter
Hiri Magaths -                Waitress
                              (lit. Come Here Boy/Girl!)
sokja -                       I would like
sokjos -                      We would like
Sokjam -                      We would like (if there 
                              are three or more of you)
Ieithu -                      Strong drink
eins mel nadrs beitan 
jah swarts, leikan -          a snakebite and black please
                              (lit. the bite of an adder)
sokja drubjan -               I have come to smash the place up!
Ein qina-kunds insail jan -   A female to bind with ropes
mats -                        some meat
Skuggwa! -                    Get me a mirror!

At the Doctors

Lekeis -                      Doctor                        
Ikai -                        I have                        
Thuaih -                      You have                 
Slahs -                       The plague
thruts-fill -                 leprosy
ieithu siukie -               A hangover (lit. strong drink sickness)
Thuaih Un-hultha innana -     You are possessed by the devil
Dauthus -                     Death
Ga-tharban papurpura ieithu - Abstain from purple drinks

Top 10 Bad Taste Things to do:



The Good Lunchbox Guide


Take a Bite likes to think of itself as an international publication. Thus, to avoid a charge of parochialism, we though we'd do some further investigation into the gothic lunchbox. An accessory rarely seen outside of the United States, and indeed usually located in the more earthquake ridden areas of the west coast..

We grabbed a passing net.goth intercontinental traveller, and while I took notes in eye-liner pencil, other members of the editorial posed as customs officials and went through the contents:

We at Take a Bite have assembled our own lunch box contents, and have:

Which is a bit of a squeeze, but great fun on public transport.


Dear Ticia


Take a Bite's own Agony Aunt answers your questions! All letters are genuine, and on this occasion we'd like to point your attention to the file TaB2_1.JPG which accompanies this issue and was printed in the on paper edition in answer to our first letter.

Dear Ticia,
I am a janitor at MIT. When I look at you goths, you look like babies. You look like grandmothers. You are scared of the world. You look like apple pies. You are from Beverly Hills.

You look like Trendy Gothic Barbie(TM) Dolls in Black!

Um... baby,

Jeremy Flump

Dear JF,
Here is a photo of a gothic doll in black ( TaB2_1.JPG). If this is what we look like to you, then I suggest you change your brand of floor polish and seek urgent medical assistance!

I have sent you a leaflet on solvent abuse.

Dear Ticia,
When I stand on the platform waiting for the train, I often find myself surrounded by hoardes of screaming schoolchildren with no dress sense. Would it be bad manners to push them onto the tracks?

XX

Dear XX,
I receive many questions about manners, so to help I have produced a simple ettiquette quiz. But remember, manners come from breeding, and are difficult to learn any other way!

Auntie 'Tish's Ettiquette Quiz!

1) You walk into a record shop to see when the new album by Alien Sex Fiend is coming out. While scoping the 'A' section, you notice the plain clothes security man watching you suspiciously do you:

A) Leave the shop in disgust
B) Deliberately wind him up, wait 'til he stops you outside, refuse to co-operate, and when the police arrive and it is proved you are innocent, demand the name and address of their solicitor - and buy a car with the money
C) Put in some plastic vampire teeth and grin at him until he goes away

2) You are sauntering down a busy shopping street on a saturday afternoon making growling noises at anyone who gets in the way, when you see two young girls dressed in 'almost-designer-goth' clothing with make-up plastered inexpertly over their faces. Do you:

A) Put in some plastic vampire teeth and grin at them until they go away
B) Complement them on their appearance and regail them with stories of how it used to be
C) Slam them up against the wall and fix their make-up until it looks right

3) It's raining and you are standing in a taxi queue behind two other people in an underground carpark (yes, there is such a place). Suddenly two drunken idiots push to the front and try to get the next cab. Do you:

A) Let them get away with it and do the same thing to the people in front of you.
B) Close the fire doors and block the exits from the carpark and then pick off the idiots one at a time as they try to escape.
C) Skin them and make umbrellas from their bones, then walk.

4) You have decided to be in a band. Do you sound like:

A) A techno band with a guitarist
B) A drum machine and a singer with an auto-erotic asphyixiation fetish
C) Living proof that the Devil has all the best tunes and none of them are heavy metal.

5) It is time for afternoon tea. What do you drink:

A) Vodka
B) The blood of a virgin
C) Earl Grey

How did you score?
1) A-1 B-3 C-5
2) A-3 B-1 C-5
3) A-1 B-3 C-5
4) A-3 B-3 C-5
5) A-3 B-0 C-5

6 - You didn't do very well. The only way you could score lower than this is if your arithmatic was as bad as your manners. Take a bath!

7-12 Not bad, perhaps you should move to a city!

13-17 Average, average, average - It'd be more exciting if you did it again, go on, live dangerously, cheat!

17-24 Splendidly well done, you are obviously a creature of some breeding!

25 And you drink Earl Grey Too!


Top 10 Gothic Summer complaints:



Take a Bite 2.0
First published in 1994
by Battlebridge

pub@batt.demon.co.uk

(c) 1994 Battlebridge
except "The Tattoo" (c) 1993 L.Lemay
"The look of love" (c) 1994 E.J. Barker
"Chainmail for the quintessential goth" (c) 1994 D.Stern
"Gothic Horror Films" (c) 1994 G.Slegg, M.Brian

This publication is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding other than which it is published.

The Electronic edition may be circulated and distributed in full providing no charge is made for the service on any network to which free access is available. If printed, the electronic edition becomes the standard edition and is subject to the constraints of the previous paragraph

Transgressors will be persecuted to the full extent of the lore

ISBN 2 666 66666 6 (Internet SexBat Number)

Yeah!

NEXT ISSUE! (Winter 1994)

"Scouting for Goths"

featuring

Rat Care Part 2
A Tourist Guide to Hell
A beginners guide to mad science, and much more!

See you out there ....

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