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> What Exactly Is A Goth?
Pikasyuu
post Jun 5 2003, 06:42 PM
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Right. Ever since the question popped up on Mata's anim, I've been wondering exactly just what a goth is. As far as the people around me go, someone just dressed in black. I've been mistaken for a goth too many times. I'm guessing again, because of the black, the slightly cynical attitude, and the experimenting with different eye makeup from time to time. But can a social subculture this rampant really run on a looks only basis? Please, explain to me what a Goth really is. No, if I get dressed in black answers, you'll be smitten. Somehow. I'd like to hear every aspect and belief the Goth society holds dear to its members. Because I honestly have no clue.


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Sun Tsu
post Jun 5 2003, 06:54 PM
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Its incrediby hard to define....
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MistressAlti
post Jun 5 2003, 07:08 PM
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What is goth?

Goth is an alternative subculture; it is both a style of music and a fashion, like Punk. People who listen to the music don't necessarily dress in the style, but people who dress goth usually like the music (and are thus termed Goths). Although some metal fans and Marilyn Manson fans can look very similar...

Where did the name come from?

The name "goth" originally came from a Germanic tribe (ie the Goths). The Romans regarded them as barbaric and uncultured, much like the Vandals. "Gothic" was later applied to a style of medieval architecture by critics who regarded it as similarly barbaric and uncultured (something similar happened with the term "Vandal"). The term was later applied to a late 18th/early 19th century style of literature which had a fascination with death and the supernatural.

Exactly how "goth" became applied to the post-punk musical movement is unclear. The earliest use within the post-punk scene is likely to have been by Martin Hannett, Joy Division's producer (see below), in 1979. By late 1979 and early 1980, the term "gothic" seems to have been fairly common in music journalism to describe bands such as Joy Division and the Banshees. In 1981 Abbo used the term "gothic" to describe the emerging band movement. Then later, probably about 1982, Ian Astbury used the term "goths" to describe Sex Gang Children's fans. On the surface, there seems to be a clear progression here, with the term gothic/goth being used to describe first individual bands, then a movement of bands, then the followers of that movement.

However, it's not that simple. The term "goth" doesn't seem to have been commonly applied to the movement until some time in 1983, several years after it had originally been used. In early 1983, the most common term for what became the goth movement was "Positive Punk", or later "Posi-Punk", courtesy of Richard North in the NME (February 1983).

Somehow, presumably sometime in 1983, the term seems to have been replaced by "goth".

The first usage of the term "Goths" to describe the members of the subculture which I've been able to uncover is in an article by Tom Vague in the October 1983 re-launch issue of Zig Zag (under Mick Mercer's editorship).

Describing the audience for Death Cult's Berlin show, he says "...and a pretty motley crew they are too. Hordes of Goths. It could be London..."

What seems to have happened is that the term "gothic" had been floating around, was occasionally used to describe bands, and eventually stuck. Alongside this, the fans of these bands were described as goths, probably as a result of comments about Sex Gang Children and their fans.

No individual person was solely responsible, however.

What is the "Gothic Look"?

The early goths looked similar to punks, except that the predominant colours were black for hair & clothing (with the occasional outburst of white, red or purple) and silver for jewellery. Thus they had ripped clothing, and even mohicans, though the "Goth Mohican" was usually black and much wider than the punk version (shaved at the sides only). They also tended to spout a lot of fishnet (more usually on the arms for men) and had a distinctive style of makeup, with very white faces and lots of black eyeliner (for both men and women). Hair was usually dyed black, crimped and backcombed.

At first the hair was usually fairly short for men, backcombed up, but by the mid-to-late eighties long black hair became fashionable and it's now more usual to see hair long & down than shaved at the sides & spiked up. Makeup remains an integral part of the look, but clothing has diversified so that some now wear clothes influenced by 18th or early 19th century styles whilst others wear PVC, leather & fishnet. (crushed velvet tends to be another goth favourite). And some of them wear both, though not usually at the same time. Black and white remain the predominant colours, with red or purple still making an appearance. Distinctive fabrics tend to be silk, crushed velvet, leather & PVC.

What does Goth music sound like?

The first goth music grew out of punk, and some of the early bands were very lively, characterised by tribal drumming. Things changed in the mid-eighties, mainly due to the rise of the Sisters of Mercy, probably the most well-known goth band. The Sisters were characterised by deep vocals, simple yet prominent basslines, and simple drum machine rhythms. Unfortunately they came to typify the "Goth Sound" and too many later bands followed their example.

Later on, there was some crossover with the Industrial scene, and a lot of bands now use electronic sounds as well as the archetypal guitar/bass/drum machine/vocals (in fact some current "goth" bands sound suspiciously like old electro/industrial bands).

There is also a fair bit of "ambient" goth, characterised by subtle instrumentation and haunting female vocals.

Lyrically, goth tends to be on the doomy side- dark lyrics and a doomy sound are fairly typical of most (but not all) goth these days.

All information taken from http://www.scathe.demon.co.uk/histgoth.htm, there's still a lot more there if you get bored.
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HappyBunny
post Jun 5 2003, 07:16 PM
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*sigh* Yes. My nick name in school is The Little Goth Freak. NONE of the kids in that school have even SEEN a goth, let alone know what one is. It realy, really gets on my nerves. They'll suffer... one day... muahahahaha.


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ravein
post Jun 5 2003, 07:22 PM
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yep that is pretty much goth... I treid to be goth once.. I just looked like a depressed raver... dry.gif


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Smallsam
post Jun 5 2003, 07:49 PM
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They make depressed ravers?
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Pikasyuu
post Jun 5 2003, 07:53 PM
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Lol, thanks guys. That's a great site MissyA, much appreciated. :P


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craziness
post Jun 5 2003, 07:54 PM
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i dont believe in labels
so a goth is a nothing
goths dont exist unless you mean the visigoths from medieval europe.


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ravein
post Jun 5 2003, 08:03 PM
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QUOTE (Smallsam @ Jun 5 2003, 04:49 PM)
They make depressed ravers?

oh yeah, they where black jencos and black shiny shirts and they only roll on Sundays smile.gif
oh yeah and there glow sticks are pale blue wink.gif


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Proud Cronie since Feb 26, 2003
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And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. -Anais Nin
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dancing_altoid
post Jun 5 2003, 08:33 PM
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QUOTE (craziness @ Jun 5 2003, 08:54 PM)
goths dont exist unless you mean the visigoths from medieval europe.

Hehe...someone called me a goth once and I told them I was not from medievil europe. I laughed at their stupid attempts at understanding. Like so: MUWAHAHAHA. Ok, not really laughed, just rolled my eyes, but whatever.

If you want to know what the people who call you goth think a goth is ask them. It not only confuses them when you say, "Why am I goth(ic)?" but they usually give you a half-ass answer like, "Because you wear black." or "You hang out with those guys who wear black."

Lets all mock those idiot now. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!


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elf
post Jun 5 2003, 10:55 PM
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QUOTE (craziness @ Jun 5 2003, 12:54 PM)
i dont believe in labels
so a goth is a nothing
goths dont exist unless you mean the visigoths from medieval europe.

LOL, yeah. And people who think they're goth and stuff and punk or prep or whatever. I hate labels, but I sometimes use preppy as an adjective, not a noun. *shrug*


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