Feature: Gothic and proud

IT’S easy to take the piss out of Goths – well, it was until the fashionistas went all Gothic-luxe on us. I’m sure it must have absolutely horrified original Goths, bless ’em. They must be an awful lot happier (it’s all relative) now that whole look is so last season.

I’ve never really had a problem with Goths. None of it really interested me. I never saw the Sisters of Mercy live, or bought any of their records – but I always used to dance to Alice and Temple Of Love when they came on at ‘alternative discos’. They’re great records. So sue me. Okay, so there may have been the odd Bauhaus record in my collection too. And maybe the Danse Society as well.

goth3Though I thought the whole look and philosophy was indicative of an innate narcissism and rather prissy conservatism when it appeared in the early Eighties, there was a lot of it about. It was the early Eighties. When you actually got talking to them, Goths were often gentle, kindly and timid souls who read books, wrote letters and wore eye-liner. So what if they danced like girls? They often were girls.

There was still a lot of it about when I moved over to Leeds a few years later and Leeds 6 seemed to be full of wan little kohl-eyed romantics in black lace with big, big hair. Being in such close proximity all the time – well, they started to get on my nerves a bit. I was quite angry, quite a lot of the time.  I blame Thatcher. And the drugs.

I was writing for a local arts, culture and politics mag called Grunt at the time, so when a Sisters ‘convention’ was advertised at the Astoria towards the end of 1988, me and Dallas got up ridiculously early one Sunday morning and went over, fully intending to take the piss.

It didn’t quite work out that way.

* * *

IT’S about 10am on Sunday morning and it’s spitting with rain. In fact it’s a miserable bastard of a Sunday morning and Dallas and me are walking from his house in Woodhouse to the Astoria on Roundhay Road. It’s a long way and not a good start to the day.

We’re going to the last of three Sisters of Mercy conventions, two quid in, a big screen video, memorabilia, rarities, lookalike competitions and the promise of what is described, mysteriously, as “personal appearances by people connected to the band”.

The person who drove the Sistermobile? The band chiropodist? Or would the Big E himself turn up?

Read the rest of this piece at the new home of Expletive Undeleted here.

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