Thursday 4 January 2018


Right you lot, that's enough moping. Lift up your faces and get with the frelling programme. There's only so much sour, dirty reality we can stand before we realise that dreams – BIG, STUPID, GLORIOUS DREAMS – are infinitely preferable.

Let's look at where we are in our own backyard. The 'goth is dead' brigade have been ramming home their remarkably dour message of doom for so long that many of us have almost begun to believe it. 'Oh, that? Old hat. Yesterday's helmet. We don't do that anymore – we're post-dark-indie-alternative-wave. We wear polo shirts and everything!' And as for our old communities, our covenants made in blood and snakebite & black, they have long since been broken. 'Oh, those bastards – we haven't spoken in years. Wouldn't cross the street to piss on them if they were on fire, mate. May they go to a different, crapper hell that I will!' The sweet sugar rush of our shared dream has become the shared stale trough of our collective nightmare, circling the drain of disappointment until someone turns off the light and puts on their Coldplay mixtape.

But, by Vanian's stripe, it doesn't have to be like this. We are participants in the most gloriously panoramic, passionate, multi-faceted cultural enterprise in history. Whether that has been for the past 40 years, or 80 years, or 300 years, or even longer (where were you we sacked Rome?) the Gothic has blazed a velvet trail across the world. And you want to sit on your throne and quit? Never. Snap out of it, Vlad – it's never gonna happen. Or, rather, it's never gonna not happen.

All we need are the following ingredients.

First, spirit. Get in the mood. Remember why you're in this. Purge your bad memories, the rows, the breakups, the hangovers, the crap gigs, the empty clubs, and commune with this spirit of countercultural glamour. What is it all about? It's about schlock and awe, my friends. Schlock. And. Awe.

Second, enthusiasm. Stop incessantly slagging things off  like you're addicted to the negative buzz of the whingeflower. In fact, if you stopped defining yourself in criticising things then you might begin to grow – after all, there is much to be found in most anything creative if you're open to it. That crap band you saw the other week? Dial down your bile a notch and can you at least imagine what their appeal is? Do they have something to say? Are you willing to view their art from their perspective? Do you have the good grace to admit that maybe, just maybe, they have might something? Stop taking everything so seriously. You never know – you might even have fun!

Third, imagination. We don't just take meaning and content from art and events as consumers, we give them meaning by what we put into them. Everything that has lasted, from Whitby Gothic Weekend to the Mobile Gothic Infantry to Real Gothic FC to the Otley Run and beyond, all began with an idea that someone had either from scratch or by riffing on something else. You can enhance and embellish any experience by what you put it into it. And we have so much to choose from – literature, music, fashion, humour, food, drink, art, architecture – that we can't complain about being bored. We make ourselves bored by not being creative with our own experiences.

And finally, participation. This isn't a plea to 'support the sceeeeeeene' as that's akin to making cultural participation a chore, on a par with putting the bins out or doing the dishes. Rather, this is about joining in - getting on board for the great times, the fun, the joy to come. Let's breathe life into what we have all created, let's give it wings so we can have the truly great times back again.

So, see you in Whitby, Reading, Bradford, Leicester, York, Leeds, London and everywhere else.
Goth is dead – long live Goth!

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