Archive-Name: alt-gothic-faq
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-Modified: 24 October 2000
Version: 3.24.1


NOTE: To help reduce e-mail 'spam' the e-mail addresses within this document 
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change this back.

This FAQ was created by Peter Wake, and is currently 
maintained by H*ydn (Greylock) and Jack.  Please send all comments, 
corrections, suggestions for new questions and hate-mail to

It is posted during the first week every month to the newsgroup alt.gothic

This document is available from the following places:
Primary WWW site

If you're are new to newsgroups the news.announce.newusers FAQs are 
also recommended, available from and its mirror
sites and on the newsgroup news.announce.newusers.

Table of Contents


Changes From Version 3.2.

Section: 1A Charter

Section: 1B Charter Questions and General Newsgroup Stuff.

    Subject: 1.1 What is this newsgroup really about then?
    Subject:1.2 I'm new, what should I do now?
    Subject: 1.3 Are there any subjects I should avoid?
    Subject: 1.4 What type of material is appropriate for this group?
    Subject: 1.5 What are all these abbreviations?
    Subject: 1.6 What is this GothCode?
    Subject: 1.7 What is a net.goth?
    Subject: 1.8 What is this Goth Test?
    Subject: 1.9 What is a troll?
    Subject: 1.10 What is AGSF (alt.gothic Special Forces)
    Subject: 1.11 How do I identify a net.goth?
    Subject: 1.12 What's with all these "Is XXXXX gothic" questions?
    Subject: 1.13 What is the [AG] tag?
    Subject: 1.14 What do you have against Marilyn Manson?
    Subject: 1.15 I want to post a picture/sound, can I do it?
    Subject: 1.16 What's the deal with this <insert name> character?
    Subject: 1.17 What do you have against vampires? 

Section: 2 Resources

    Subject: 2.1 What Gothic music lists exist?
    Subject: 2.2 Where are the gothic FTP & WWW 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 Are there any good goth clubs in <fill in city>?
    Subject: 2.6 Are there any location specific goth mailing lists?
    Subject: 2.7 Are there any goths in <X> City/Area?

Section: 3 The Gothic Subculture

    Subject: 3.1 What is a Goth?
    Subject: 3.2 Where did the term 'Gothic' come from?
    Subject: 3.3 What the history of the goth movement?
    Subject: 3.4 Is goth about religion?
    Subject: 3.5 What does gothic music sound like?
    Subject: 3.6 Is goth music anything to do with heavy/black metal?
    Subject: 3.7 So what does the word 'goth' mean.

Section: 4 Various Trivia (Music, arts and intoxicants)

   Subject: 4.1 Is the Nefilim a spelling mistake?
    Subject: 4.2 Has Fields of the Nephilim reformed ?
    Subject: 4.3 Has Bauhaus reformed ? 
    Subject: 4.3.1 Did you know one of the kids from New Kids on the Block...?
    Subject: 4.4 Where does the phrase Sisters of Mercy arise from?
    Subject: 4.5 Are the Sisterhood the same as the Sisters of Mercy?
    Subject: 4.6 What's this SSV thing I've heard about Andrew Eldritch doing?
    Subject: 4.7 What has Anne Rice written?
    Subject: 4.8 Who is Storm Constantine?
    Subject: 4.9 Any other interesting goth authors?
    Subject: 4.10 Any interesting goth movies?
    Subject: 4.11 Who is Andrew Eldritch; Carl McCoy; Wayne Hussey, etc? 
    Subject: 4.12 What do Pre-Raphaelites have to do with goth?
    Subject: 4.13 What is 'Snakebite'?
    Subject: 4.14 What's all this about Cloves?
    Subject: 4.15 All about Absinthe in 100 words or more.



This FAQ covers both the basics of the newsgroup and the basics of the gothic subculture, it is not, however intended to be extensive in either. For this reason it is recommended that it be read in conjunction with other material. For those new to this group, but not usenet, the following are suggested:

For those new to newsgroups, please read the news.newusers FAQs available from and its mirror sites  ( in the UK).

Changes from version 3.2
  • Minor link tinkering, added various helpful URLs.
  • Section 4 rearranged.
  • Questions added about Bauhaus reunion and the NKOTB/Bauhaus connection. 
  • Subject: 2.7 Are there any goths in <X> City/Area? added;
  • Subject: 1.17 What do you have against vampires? added.
  • alt.gothic.cybergoth and alt.gothic.francophone newsgroup FAQs added.
  • HTML tidied up a lot, the table of contents should now work properly.
  • and links added.

Section: 1A The Charter

The newsgroup alt.gothic is for the purpose of discussing all aspects of the gothic subculture and lifestyle, including any relevant material from other areas. alt.gothic came into existence on 1 November 1991. alt.gothic is not for the discussion of the 'gothic' Germanic tribes, the gothic architectural style, or gothic literature (except where relevant to the subculture).

Binaries (pictures, sounds etc.) are not permitted.

In general, no advertising is permitted. Discreet and short adverts relevant to the gothic subculture are acceptable provided they are not posted more than once. Ads should be marked with an [AD] tag.

7-bit ASCII, formatted to under 80 columns. Don't post in MIME format or in HTML (whole articles or signature attachments), lots of people get annoyed if you do, and they reserve the right to contact your Internet Service Provider informing them of a violation of our charter. This may, in turn, place you in the position of violating your ISP's Terms Of Service (TOS) - and you don't want to do that.



 This list is not exhaustive; other groups exist including:

 alt.gothic.culture;;;; alt.gothic.suicide; alt.gothic.convergence;
   alt.gothic.imperia; and a couple of others. 

Many of these groups have no FAQ file, and some have no purpose. For the record, they are generally held to follow nettiqute and the alt.gothic FAQ (where appropriate).

Section: 1B Charter Questions and General Newsgroup Stuff

Subject: 1.1 So What is this newsgroup really about?

Well, to be honest the vast majority of the discussion that goes on isn't 100% in line with the purpose. It deals with death and weirdness or anything of interest to us really.

If you read the newsgroup for a while (say a month or so) it's pretty easy to pick up on the sorts of things we're interested in.

Subject: 1.2 I'm new, what should I do now?

First of all, familiarise yourself with this document and those referenced from it. There's nothing like striding into a newsgroup and asking _really_ silly questions to get you flamed (attacked).

Next, although it may be tempting to reply to _every_ article, please don't. Its our experience (and we were all newbies once) that it takes people a while to get into the rhythm of the group. Make sure that when you do post, you actually have something to say, and you know how you're going to say it. If you post lots meaningless fluff, you are quickly going to get a reputation for it an no-one will ever read your posts. Lastly, when you do post, make sure that your articles are formatted correctly. That is that you have quoted no more than you need to, you have correctly attributed the quotes, that you put line breaks in at 80 columns, lines between paragraphs and that you haven't done anything silly like posted it in HTML.

And, well, welcome to alt.gothic!

Subject: 1.3 Are there any subjects I should avoid?

Glad you asked. First of all, be nice. alt.gothic has had a reputation for being a little bit, erm, 'heated' at times.

  • First of all, familiarise yourself with this document and those referenced from it. There's nothing like striding into a newsgroup and asking _really_ silly questions to get you flamed (attacked).

  • De-lurking and saying "Hi I'm a goth" is not really a good idea, if you must introduce yourself, please try to be a little creative about it, eh?

  • Before posting a question, do a little digging, for starters read this fine piece of work :) and check an archive site like - if you can't find an answer, then post it.

  • Religion, of any denomination or tradition, is always a hotly debated issue, if you feel you _must_ post religious questions or topics, do not preach or proselytize.

  • Marilyn Manson. Sheesh - Please, please, please do not post anything like 'Why do you hate MM?' - see Subject 1.14

  • Frequently Asked Questions - So, some clueless newbie has come on and posted something already answered in the FAQ, want to gonna flame them to kingdom come?

  • Get that hand of the send button, Hopalong!
    Please apply some actual thought before doing so.
    As oddlystrange puts it: "If it doesn't make you spew coffee it's not worth posting."

Subject: 1.4 What type of material is appropriate for this group?

Pretty much anything that is relevant to the gothic subculture is admissible. It's a good idea to keep your original posts on-topic (if you can figure out what "on-topic" is =). Threads nearly always end up splitting into a bunch of off-topic discussion, which is perfectly valid. There is no set of rules which defines exactly what is on- or off-topic, especially since "gothic" is an extremely broad term. Bear in mind that the common bond between all of us who read/post to alt.gothic is that we have some interest in the gothic scene. Because of that, we often share many other interests, ranging from the esoteric (e.g. philosophy, religion, obscure Fields of the Nephilim trivia) to the mundane (e.g. hair colour preferences, gothic cat names). If you feel others who read this group will be interested, post it. 

A very few people post poetry or short written works on alt.gothic. If you are doing this, please let the rest of us know with an indication in the subject line (e.g. Dead Roses [poem]). Or better yet post it to the newsgroup alt.gothic.nights.

Subject: 1.5 What are all these abbreviations?

Most of them are band names, there are very many gothic bands with quite long names, these are normally abbreviated. Some common ones are as follows:

  • SoM  - The Sisters of Mercy 
  • FotN - Fields of the Nephilim
  • SDC  - Southern Death Cult 
  • ASF  - Alien Sex Fiend
  • C93  - Current 93 
  • DIJ  - Death In June

And so fourth. The use of abbreviations falls in and out of favour on a.g, but usually someone will use the full name. If in doubt, ask in e-mail.

Like many groups, alt.gothic has developed its own vernacular and jargon. We've done it for the express purpose of making communication difficult.

However, as you're smart enough to read this FAQ, here's a few clues:

  • GAF - Goth as Fuck - means 'pretty damn goth'
  • HSF or H-S-F - means 'Hand/Staple/Forehead', angst-ridden.
  • AGSF - alt.gothic.special-forces. See Subject: 1.10.
  • If you're wondering what ROTFL or IIRC means, then you should be reading the news.announce.newusers FAQs.

Subject: 1.6 What is this GothCode?

The goth code is simply a method by which one can very concisely describe oneself. For more information see -Synic-'s page at

There are encoders and decoders for various versions of the gothcode, most of which are available via the web, although the URLs change more  frequently than this document so are not included. Besides, real Goths code by hand.

Subject: 1.7 What is a net.goth?

Like many things this started out as part of a joke, a score of over 80 on the Goth Test (see 1.8) qualified one as a net.goth. Since then it has been used as a general handle for a goth who communicates a great deal via the internet.

Subject: 1.8 What is this "Goth Test"?

The Goth Test is a list of questions like any test, the difference  between the Goth Test and most others is that the Goth Test is a joke. It's available via anonymous FTP at:

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.

An on-line version of the goth test, similar in style to the purity tests, can be found at:

Subject: 1.9 What is a troll?

A troll is a person who posts messages with the express intention of annoying the people on the newsgroup. For more information see the AGSF FAQ at

If you suspect a post is of this type then please do not reply to it, trolls thrive on the attention of others, without replies they get bored and go away.

Subject: 1.10 What is AGSF (alt.gothic.Special-Forces)?

You. Whenever the newsgroup is being invaded by trolls or other lowlifes, we band together to bring these idiots to justice. Usually this involves mass emailing of said idiots' postmaster or system administrator, forwarding the offensive posts back and demanding that they do something about their user(s).

The official AGS-F page can be found here: , which is mirrored here (and elsewhere):

The AGSF FAQ is online at:

Subject: 1.11 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 :-)

Further to this there have been many versions of 'net.goth' t-shirts and net.goth ID cards have been produced at various events.

The denizens of aus.culture.gothic are reputed to pin a li'l black ribbon on their clothing. The method was created and made popular by Django Upton.

Subject: 1.12 What's with these "Is XXXXX gothic" questions?

There are three reasons why people post these messages.

  1. They are very sad and actually think that it matters.
  2. They think it would be interesting to debate the issue from a purely academic perspective.
  3. It's a joke to take the piss out of the people who post such questions for reason 1. Such posts are normally easily distinguished by the sheer stupidity of the question, ie "Are Bauhaus Gothic?" or "Are the Bee-Gees Gothic?".


Subject: 1.13 What is the [AG] tag?

This tag is placed at the beginning (and sometimes the end) of the subject line of a post intended for and posted only to alt.gothic. We started using this tagging system after some lunkhead subscribed alt.gothic to a bunch of mailing lists, resulting in massive amounts of messages (literally hundreds) with no relevance to alt.gothic whatsoever. It became difficult and frustrating to weed through all these posts in hopes of finding an alt.gothic post--with the [AG] tag they are easily identified. Sometimes we still use the tag whenever the newsgroup is getting full of spam and crossposts.

Another habit, although one which has fallen into disuse, is to preface music related posts with [agm].

Subject: 1.14 What have you got against Marilyn Manson?

The simple reason for all the disparaging remarks is that a lot people honestly don't like Manson, and are somewhat fed up with the media's having seized on MM as the definitive gothic icon 9which he is far from), and with it's constant characterization of them as Manson worshipping Spooky Kids.This is far from a majority opinion however. The only consensus that *does* exist is that most regulars are sick to death of seeing, "Why do you hate MM?" questions posted.

If you have a real interest in this topic, we recommend that you do some research on DejaNews. Most of the material is in the old databse now, the search string "(Marilyn Manson) ~g alt.gothic" should bring up plenty of information as this topic has been covered quite thoroughly in the past, nd any mention of it at present will likely get *lots* of flames, and few straight answers. (

Subject: 1.15 I want to post a picture/sound, can I do it?

Yes, but not to alt.gothic.
Pictures and sounds are called binary posts, and binary posts are strictly forbidden on alt.gothic.

Probably the best way to post one is to put it on a website and post the URL to alt.gothic.

The next best thing is to post it to alt.binaries.gothic and post ONE message to alt.gothic saying that you have done so - it's a good idea to include the message-id of your binary in the advertising post to alt.gothic.

Please read the alt.binaries.gothic FAQ before posting anything there. Its URL is

Subject: 1.16 What's the deal with this <insert name> character?

The chances are you're wondering why everyone seems to have so much respect for "just another poster". That's probably because the poster is a 'Great Old One'. Jack ( explains...

"It's not that the people who've been around for a while are really any *better* than the newer people, or even that they've got some sort of sooper-sekrit kabal" thingie going with the other oldsters. The power of the Great Old Ones comes, I think, simply from that fact that they've seen it all before, over, and over, and over, and over."

Subject: 1.17 What do you have against vampires? 

The mainstream media frequently correlates vampires/blood-drinkers/satanists and goths. This irritates a lot of the readers of the newsgroup and the wider subculture.

So, if  you post something that is about vampires you are going to be flamed. Make no assumptions.

There are several other newsgroups dealing with vampire culture which   are more appropriate forums for such matters.

They include:
 news:alt.vampyres and 

Section: 2 Internet Resources

Subject: 2.1 What Gothic music e-mail lists exist?

The Sisters of Mercy Electronic mailing list run by Pete French (-bat). Send mail to to ask to be added to the list. Send postings to Be warned, some of
the subscribers are anti-goth (aka Eldritch himself), so don't treat it like a generic goth discussion group.

There is also a Fields of the Nephilim Electronic mailing list. Mail to to ask be added to the mailing list. The address to post to the list is

24 Hours, the Joy Division, New Order and related list. You subscribe through the web, at

The World Serpent (label for Current 93 and Death in June) mailing list is available by sending a message to with no subject, whose body consists of the single line: subscribe wsd-l.

Subject: 2.2 Where are the gothic FTP & WWW sites?
A mirror site at ( hasbeen set up to contain all the info at, 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 e-mail address as the password. If you don't have FTP access mail to
This has a load of mostly UK-related gothic links, for FAQs, Bands, E-Zines, Shops, Music, and news. And mailing lists. And content. And this FAQ. This is one of dishmop's pet projects.

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

By far the greatest sites out there can be accessed by a little digging
from your favourite search engines (ie or 
Looking yourself if highly educational and often can be a lot more rewarding. 

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 If a band isn't 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 ( is at

Rob's Gothic Section is at

The Sisters of Mercy Home Page by Ian Grimstead is at

For those in the UK, refer to the UK Netgoth events list, maintained by jen at

The Dark Side of the Net is at

Subject: 2.4 What are some various Vampire related net resources?

Vampires? What are they? :)

You'd do best to start looking in alt.vampyres and their FAQ file, which should be archived at or

Alt.vampyres is only for the discussion of vampire literature, film, fiction, poetry, etc.

'Real' vampires should wing it to alt.culture.vampires and that groups FAQ    at:

Subject: 2.5 Are there any good goth clubs in <fill in city>?

Digitar ( maintains a list of Goth clubs worldwide. E-mail him for a copy, or FTP 'GothClubs' from the goth archive at gothic. There is also a hypertext version at Please e-mail in any additions you might have to digitar's list.

It is an onerous task to maintain such a list, and through no fault of his own Digitar's list can be inaccurate. It is better to look for a local list, which often be done by visiting WWW seach engines such as

For those in the UK, refer to HELIX, maintained by Doktor Joy at

For those in Australia, the aus.culture.gothic FAQ contains relevant information. The URL is

If you know of another country (or state) specific list, would you please mail details of how to get hold of it to the maintainer, currently

Subject 2.6: Are there any location specific goth mailing lists?

Yep. Go to - there's a whacking huge list of them.

UK goths might like to check out

Subject: 2.7 Are there any goths in <X> City/Area?

Probably. It is a valid question, but one can get a little dull if asked over and over again. So your first port of call should be the regional mailing lists (s2.6) or Pan't Net.Got Directory at . There are in excess of 700 people listed at this point, so sign up.

Again, there's a UK resource - the UK & Ireland gothmap, which is located at that covers shops, clubs, people, mailing lists and pubs in each county. Over 10,000 people are registered at this point, so go check it out. This is another one of dishmop's pet hosting/coding projects.

Section: 3 The Gothic Subculture

Subject: 3.1 What is a Goth?

An absolutely fabulous and essential 'Origins' web site, which collects and collates original reference material, maintained by Pete Scathe can be found at: It's well worth poking around the site to expand your horizons.

The Oxford English Dictionary gives the definition as: 
"goth n. 1) A style of rock music with an intense or droning blend of guitars, bass, and drums, often with apocalyptic or mystical lyrics. (2) A performer or devotee of this music, often dressing in black clothing and wearing black make-up."

Ask any goth through and you'll get a different definition. In fact you'll  get just about as many definitions as goths that you ask.

There are a few points that we do tend to agree on; it was originally a youth "movement" in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and was an offshoot of punk. From originally being little more than a fashion and a type of music though, it developed its own philosophies and became a subculture; even a way of life for some.

Subject: 3.2 Where did the term 'gothic' come from?

It was used three significant times by people in the music industry to refer to music.

The term 'Goth' was used by Ian Astbury who described Andi Sex Gang as a 'gothic pixie'.

Siouxsie Sioux (of the Banshees) used 'Gothic' to describe the new direction for her band.

Probably the earliest usage, as applied to music though was by Anthony H. Wilson (Joy Division manager) who was overcome by a rare moment of lucidity on a 1979 BBC TV program when he described Joy Division as Gothic compared with the pop mainstream.

How 'Goth' and 'Gothic' came to be used to describe the movement though is a little less clear. What is certain is that NME and Sounds used it, and there seem to be two suggestions as to where they got it from.

The first is that they took it directly from Siousxie Sioux and they themselves then used it to describe what we know as goths today. 

The second (and more probable) is that they took it from Abbo, singer of UK Decay, who said to a journalist: "We're into the whole Gothic thing", which naturally got printed.

It bears repeating: An absolutely fabulous 'Origins' website, which collects and collates original reference material, maintained by Pete Scathe can be found at:

Subject: 3.3 What the history of the goth movement?

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 labeled as Gothic despite looking and sounding quite different to what had previously been labeled 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 breathing its last as Gothdom gathered speed, and 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 brethren, they avoid the crass commercialism 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 there is not yet any hard evidence that they were using the word. If you have any, send it in. 

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 clothes. 

Subject: 3.4 Is goth about religion?

Goths, like individuals, share differing views on the existance (or lack thereof) of the supernatural. Some Goths are atheists and some are new age spiritualists, wiccans and members of other alternative religious groups. There are Christian Goths. Goth is not about religion, but uses 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 says 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: 3.5 What does gothic music sound like?

You have to ask the difficult ones, don't you? :)

Gothic music is very difficult to classify or categorise. Most people agree though that there are three general 'waves' of gothic music.

  • Old School (gothic punk). Late 1970s - Early 1980s.
  • Middle thingy. Early-1980s to somewhere in the lateish 1980s.
  • Modern. End of Middle thingy to now.

The old school was a direct descendant of punk. It had a distinctly punk sound, but with very dark overtones. This can be heard in the early work of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, Joy Division, Southern Death Cult, some early Cure and Danse Society.

The middle era ushered in bands such as the Sisters of Mercy, who had a distinctive power-pop flavour, it also saw the original punk sound mutate and become more experimental, Sex Gang Children typified this; Xmal-Deutschland are also worth considering. Alien Sex Fiend also fall into the same musical category, although their music is much more light-hearted and an 'acquired taste'. They also qualify as 'old school' by virtue of a stint at the Batcave - well, their music always has been, err, 'progressive'. The March Violets are a hybrid of the old school and power-pop and are well worth a listen.

To complicate matters further, there also sprang up a movement of   ethereal, experimental goth that didn't have much of a punk background   at all. Clan of Xymox, Dead Can Dance and the Cocteau Twins are notable here.

From here on it gets even more complicated. The Fields of the Nephilim   were considered a gothic band despite elements of heavy metal not seen before in gothic music. The baton was picked up later by Valor's Christian Death. 

From then until the early 1990s the scene went deatly quiet, with the only bands really making an impression being Fields of the Nephilim, The Mission and All About Eve. The last two bands started off being considered gothic and then drifted into other things.

The early to mid-1990s saw a revival, lead by Rosetta Stone, whose music at the time was similar in nature to that of the Sisters of Mercy in 1985.   Rosetta changed though and soon shed the label of a Sisters of Mercy soundalike. The 1990s has seen a wealth of new bands spring up, ranging  in sound from old school through to styles previously unheard.

Rosetta Stone became distinctly more industrial in later years, and joined the ranks of James Rays Gangwar in the goth industrial section. Midnight Configuration have made a mark for themselves in the fetish section. 

Inkkubus Sukkubus are probably the first goth band with a distinctive  religious flavour (Wiccan) to make any impression. 

The influence of heavy metal has become stronger, with bands like Creaming Jesus, the Dream Disciples and the Marionettes. Some people  consider Marilyn Manson, Type O Negative and even Cradle of Filth to be gothic although this is hotly debated, and widely considered a side-effect of the media incorrectly labelling these bands (see section 3.6).

The 1990s have also moved the geographic base of gothic music. The late   70s and 80s bands were pretty much UK based, but with notable input from Australia (Nick Cave, Birthday Party, Dead Can Dance), the USA (Christian Death) and Germany (Xmal Deutschland). It is true that the largest proportion of gothic bands are still UK-based, but the scene as a whole has a much more international flavour.

So, what is gothic music? No one seems entirely sure. There are key  elements of style, substance, presentation and past association.  It's generally dark, often so are the band - but it is definitely more than singing about vampires, blood, death, doom, love, sex and whipping;   although that's enough for some people. Most importantly the music must speak to you, the little bit which seems to enjoy the night, and the dark.

Subject: 3.6 Is goth music anything to do with heavy/black metal?

There are two main reasons why black metal and its followers are confused with goths and gothic rock.

Firstly, there are elements of dress and style in common; dark clothes, monochrome make-up, weird silver jewelry, etc. As a general rule though, if you see an upside-down cross, pentacle (five pointed start in a circle)with a point directly downwards, or any satanic message, the wearer is a black metaller and not a goth.

Secondly, black metal can quite correctly be referred to as "gothic music" - meaning "barbarous, uncouth" (OED). "Gothic Rock", or simply "goth" is what describes the music of the post-punk subculture that is the subject of this document.

Black metal tends to have associated with it Satanism, and in some cases racism. Goths abhor racism, and as Subject 3.4 states, goth is not about  religion (of any kind).

Heavy metal, in particular bands such as Black Sabbath and Metallica are sometimes labeled 'gothic' also. Again it is not part of the gothic movement. Some goths do appreciate the music however, but then there are those who appreciate the Spice Girls, Aqua, or the pop-trend of the day.

Subject: 3.7 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'. Unfortunately, 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 grandeur 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: 4 Various Trivia

Subject: 4.1 Is the Nefilim a spelling mistake?

This was the name for Carl McCoy's band after he left Fields of the Nephilim. The rest of the original Fields went on to form Rubicon, who   were not considered 'gothic'. 
Carl McCoy is no longer in the Nefilim. The Nefilim are now called Sensorium, and despite rumours to the contrary, Carl McCoy does not sing on their work. The new vocalist is Bob (aka Peter White).

Subject: 4.2 Has Fields of the Nephilim re-formed?

Yes, although a the time of writing the exact line-up is unclear. It is   understood that there is a new drummer. More information is always welcome. Carl McCoy continues to work on the Nefilim also, and new albums from both bands are expected in late 1999.

Subject: 4.3 Has Bauhaus reformed?

Yes, they did. The Bauhaus Resurrection tour wound its way through America and Europe before the lads called it a day. They've issued a new "Best Of" called 'Crackle' and they have just released a live album entitled 'Gotham'. Cheeky bastards. Two new songs, including a version of Dead Can Dance's 'Severance' have been recorded. A new original album is in the works.

For more info hike to:

Subject 4.3.1   Did you know one of the kids from New Kids on the Block...?

Yes! Yes, it hadn't failed to escape our attention that one of the (then) young tikes is wearing a Bauhaus T-shirt in their video for 'The Right Stuff'. We've been told a million times. Thank-you.

Further, in October 1999 Goddess of Freak uncovered the following:

“What's scary was I was watching MuchMusic one day and they did a little
special on Jordan Knight and they showed an old New Kids on the Block video,
and he was wearing a Bauhaus t-shirt in it.
The VJ asked him afterwards if he liked them, and he said "who's bauhaus?".
Apparently I don't think he had any clue where he even got the t-shirt.”

Subject: 4.4 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 is widely thought to be referring to prostitutes as 'Sisters of Mercy'. The truth is the song is just about a couple of nice friends who stayed with Mr Cohen once upon a time

There is also a religious order who are known by that name. They are not simply rapid fans.

Mick Mercer's Gothic Rock Book says something about a newspaper headline. It was not intended seriously.

Subject: 4.5 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: 4.6 What's this SSV thing I've heard about Andrew Eldritch doing?

In order to escape his contract with WEA/East West records for two remaining Sisters albums Andrew Eldritch reputedly spent an afternoon mumbling into a microphone to record what he calls an album that "bears no resemblance to *any* quality product, let alone the Sisters". For a total of two days work over "reject material of some amateur acquaintances" we have an album of "rather bad sub-techno" that dwells almost exclusively on the glorification of shooting people and selling drugs to school children. It is rumoured that the full name of the band (SSV-NSMABAAOTWMODAACOTIATW) apparently stands for 'Screw Shareholder Values'.

Of the (still officially unreleased) record, alt.gothic regular Pete Scathe said: "Imagine an early demo where they're still not sure where to put the drums, the vocals & the tune & that's about right."

The album's called 'Go Figure'.

As far as we are aware SSV has never been officially released, but it is available in the form of MP3 files from . Be warned, it's bad. 

Subject: 4.7 What has Anne Rice written? 

Anne Rice is alive and well and writes supernatural romance. Interview with a Vampire is her most artistic work (and the book on which the film of the same name was based). 
 The Vampire Chronicles:
         Interview With a Vampire
         The Vampire Lestat
         Queen of the Damned
         The Tale of the Body Thief
         Memnoch the Devil

 She has also written:
    The Mummy or Rameses the Damned
         The Mayfair Witches series.

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

The newsgroup alt.books.anne-rice is, surprisingly enough, a good place   to look for more information :)

Subject: 4.8 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

There are also a large number of WWW sites dedicated to Storm Constantine, these can be searched for on etc.

Inception can be reached at   and there is an apparently official site at laktawus/Storm.htm

Subject: 4.9 Any other interesting goth authors?

It's all down to a matter of tatse. Quite often on alt.gothic there is a poll of favourite authors, highly recommended books and the like, and the ever-lovely Thessaly has collected the cream of the crop from

There are plenty of candidates (depending how you define a goth author), 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. 

Edgar Allen Poe was also a talented author. Many of his works can be    found at

Poppy Z Brite. If someone wants to write a short piece for the FAQ on her and mail it to me I would be most appreciative; We know very little about her.

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.

There's an excellent HPL/Cthulhu site at:

Subject: 4.10 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), "The Hunger" staring David Bowie, and "Interview with a Vampire" staring Tom Cruise. 

Subject: 4.11 Who is Andrew Eldritch; Carl McCoy; Wayne Hussey, etc?

Andrew Eldritch (aka Andrew Taylor) and Carl McCoy are the singers from The Sisters of Mercy and The Fields of the Nephilim respectively. They both were pillars of the Goth community. However, Andrew Eldritch has recently taken to being exceedingly obnoxious (rather than just plain obnoxious), trying to distance himself from the gothic 'scene'. Some nasty accusations have also surrounded Carl McCoy's departure from the Nefilim and reforming of Fields of the Nephilim.

Wayne Hussey was a 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: 4.12 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: 4.13 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 reputedly refuse to serve it.

Variations: "snakebite black" - the same drink with a splash of black currant 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  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: 4.14 What's all this about Cloves?

'Cloves' are normally used to refer to clove cigarettes, these are much like ordinary cigarettes, but contain a small amount of powdered clove.  They are (generally) more expensive than ordinary cigarettes, and are reputed to do very nasty things indeed to your lungs.

It is possible to manufacture your own clove cigarettes with ordinary  hand rolling tobacco and powdered clove from a spice supplier. It is extraordinarily easy to 'overload' home-made clove ciggies though, so the utmost caution is advised.

Cloves can be very difficult to obtain; apparently they are available by mail order from 'Tobacco and Novelty Boutique' at There is also a wholesaler Quintin at whose site is reputed to contain further information.

For more complete information, see

Subject 4.15: What's all this about Absinthe?

Absinthe is an alcoholic drink. It is also hallucinogenic and therefore illegal almost everywhere (if not everywhere).

It should be said that this FAQ does not encourage the  usage/manufacture/trade of illegal drugs, and that we do not believe that
it is the place of a document such as this to do so either, however, we get sick of being asksed about it.

The following URL is included then for two purposes.
   1) Education, that some people will be academically curious about it.
   2) Safety, we recognise that some people will try to make/use/obtain
      it regardless of what is said in this document and elsewhere, and
      that having good information could well prevent serious illness
      or death.


Special thanks to the following for information provided within, beware however that several of these wonderful and gorgeous people who have made the alt.gothic FAQ what it is today are no longer with us here on the 'net (sob sob).

Peter Wake (     little o ( 
Ryan J Watkins (     John McDonagh ( 
Sexbat (     Haydn Black (
Jeff Harmon (    Jack ( 
LadyReynee (    Petro ( 
oddlystrange (  Sleepycat 
Ian Grimstead ( 
Cassidy    Axel & fx
AceofHearts (
Richard something-or-other (
The Great Grendel-Khan ( 
Austen Jackson (
Rev Dr David Gerard (
Mike Jourard (

 and others to numerous to mention....