This document is posted monthly to uk.people.gothic and alt.gothic.announce. The latest version is available from:
Mirror sites are:
You can obtain the latest copy via email by sending any message to:
Last updated 1/9/99 by James Savage - Updated Helix URLs, added more music shops, changed B&RV name. Thanks to Dave H.
Thanks to all involved- credits at the end.
The inclusion or exclusion of a company or brand name in this document does not necessarily mean that uk.people.gothic readers endorse or object to a particular product. This document represents suggestions and opinions of some but not all people on uk.people.gothic, and as such you should not rely on any medical or legal advice contained within.
Updates are welcomed. Please email James Savage <email@example.com> with subject "UPG FAQ".
1. Newsgroup charter and administrative information
Our single line description is:
uk.people.gothic: Gothic culture, music, fashion and events in the UK
"The uk.people.gothic newsgroup will be open to discussion of all aspects of gothic lifestyle, including the aspects of art and science that are relevant to gothic culture. It is hoped that the newsgroup will become a central place for discussions about the medium within the UK."
uk.people.gothic is not moderated. It came into existence on Monday the 5th of June 1995. Binary posts are not permitted. Text posts giving URLs of binary material or pointers to binary material on alt.binaries.gothic are welcomed.
Brief infrequent commercial posts advertising products and services relevant to the UK goth community are permitted. Long, frequent or irrelevant commercial posts are not welcomed.
uk.people.gothic carries around 100 messages per day.
The UPG charter is not listed at the UK Usenet Committee website http://www.usenet.org.uk for the simple reason that we came into existence before they did, ergo the formation of this newsgroup does not adhere to their rules. Our charter has been formally voted on twice- once on formation and once on the adoption of this FAQ. Our relationship with usenet.org.uk is, at best, indifferent. Please do NOT email UK Usenet Committee members regarding our charter or one-line description. We have agreed to differ.
2. What is the gothic subculture in the UK?
The word "gothic" is derived from the name of an early European tribe called the Visigoths, who enjoyed pillaging and raping and were famous for being uneducated and lacking in artistic taste. The term was also used from the middle ages onwards to describe a type of architecture; in particular cathedral arches with a sharp high point in the centre. Around the Victorian era, the label was also applied to horror novels by authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelly and Bram Stoker.
Use of "gothic" to describe the music and social subculture began in the late 1970's with Punk and New Romantic, but origins can be traced back Egyptian times and before. The scene blossomed in the 1980s and spawned many chart-topping hits from goth bands including The Sisters of Mercy, The Mission, All About Eve, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Fields of the Nephilim and Christian Death. The mid-80's "classic goth" sound was characterised by jangly mandolin-style semi- acoustic guitar, steady one-note basslines, simple but fast rhythms, heavy use of synthesisers or effects processing and powerfully dark vocals. Early 80's goth bands had a far more punky feel. Although some of the "classic" bands are still going, and much loved by many of today's goths, they are not the main focus of goth culture today.
In the 1980's, goth became not just a musical style but also a clothing fashion. The look was typified by dyed black voluminous hair, pale skin, tight black clothes, pointed boots and lots of silver jewellery (often using religious designs from early European and ancient Egyptian culture). In particular black leather biker jackets, black skin-tight jeans, black fishnet stockings and black aviator sunglasses became goth trademarks.
The early 1990's saw a huge change in the goth scene. The media coverage died quite quickly, spurred on by the press hunt for something- anything- new, despite a short burst of continuing chart hits by big-name 80's goth bands. Goth music soon lost media coverage and new goth bands found it difficult to get airplay or even record deals.
However, the subculture not only survived, but strengthened. Networks of goth organisations, held together mainly by the booming nightclub business, ignored the media's ridicule and continued to develop. Cheap, readily available technology, such as desktop publishing and home recording, kept the scene alive with hundreds of fanzines and demo tapes of varying quality. This rebirth was helped greatly by a Hollywood Victorian Horror revival, with box-office hit films including "The Crow", "Edward Scissorhands" and "Interview with the Vampire" bringing new interest in the goth scene. Goth fashion changed subtly, with crimped hair, high ponytails and combat trousers from the Grebo/Crusty scene, long straight hair, velvet and lace from Victorian Horror, leather and rubberwear from the fettish scene, hair bunches, zips tops and hooded tops from techno. There is also a slow take-up of tattooing and piercing, but with nothing like the popularity in the US and Canada. By far the most popular goth fashion item remains skin tight black jeans.
Music plays a smaller part in the goth scene of the 1990's than it did in the 1980's. There isn't a definitive goth sound any more; although there are still common factors such as haunting vocals and synthesised dark effects.
The 1990's goth subculture in the UK is more to do with style, attitude and the social scene- the style is black, the attitude is dark and the social scene is buzzing.
Pete Scathe has a rather good Early History of Goth web site, which has lots more detail on early goings on.
3. Isn't goth dead?
The UK goth scene not only continues today, but is attracting a new young crowd. There are certainly a number of goths who enjoyed the scene in the 1980's and continue to enjoy it today; but on the whole most of today's goths are aged between late teens and late twenties. This isn't discriminatory, but a reflection of most nightclub audiences.
There are several 90's goth bands who have had hits in the national or independent charts, including Garbage, Rosetta Stone, Sheep On Drugs, Nick Cave, Nosferatu, Curve and so forth. Many of these bands may not admit to being goths, but neither did many of the so-called goth bands of the 80's. They may not sound like 80's goths- often they don't use the jangly guitars and driving basslines associated with the 80's- but they all have powerful, haunting vocals and a dark theme to their music, without resorting to death metal nor industrial styles. And they look like goths. What else would you call them?
On the whole, 90's goth bands find it difficult to get media coverage or radio airplay, and there are scores of 90's goth bands which can pull good crowds- easily selling out small to medium-sized venues- which you'll never hear of in the charts. For example London After Midnight, Stun (formerly Children On Stun), Die Laughing, Inkubus Sukkubus and Manuskript.
There are also many goths who don't listen to much goth music; who dress goth and think goth but listen to industrial, metal, techno or alternative. Popular bands that goths tend to like include The Prodigy, Front 242, Cubanate, Menswear, White Zombie, Pop Will Eat Itself, Front Line Assembly and Nine Inch Nails.
4. Why is goth ignored by the music media?
The music media aren't there to reflect the current music scene; they exist to sell magazines and advertising space. Journalists like to see themselves as "discovering" new talent, rather than having talent evolve gradually from one genre to the next.
Thus the music press won't entertain the possibility that goth has slowly evolved into something new. They have to wait for the scene to die away so that they can "discover" it again. But goth hasn't died away, so the press label goths as "hangers-on" who still listen to 80's music- despite a wealth of new talent!
This is where the Internet comes into its own. There are no editors to decide what's "cool" and what's not. You don't need the approval of a record company boss to advertise your album. No-one can censor the letters page. A thousand fellow fans can be contacted for less than the price of one stamp. The Internet represents media democracy; goth is popular in the real world and this is reflected on the Internet.
Sadly the real world prejudice applied to goth means it can be difficult attracting new interest off-line and this affects bands and clubs who have a problem publicising their events. Due to media "goth racism", events are publicised off-line by flyers at other events, mailing lists and fanzines- in other words, a goth grapevine.
5. What makes something gothic? Am I a goth?
There are no hard and fast rules; anything which has an air of dark power is gothic. Some people also refer to goth music as "darkwave" "goth techno", "dark alternative", "electro", "ambient ethereal" and a hundred other phrases which may or may not be strictly applicable.
Whether or not you choose to adopt the "goth" tag is up to you. Certainly, dressing in black, crimping your hair and attending the Whitby festival will get you classified as a goth by your friends. But there are plenty of people who think of themselves as goths who don't do any of these things.
6. Where does industrial music / darkwave / cyber culture fit in?
There are many industrial bands which can be considered goth, and these two musical genres often share common styles, sounds and dress. But there's plenty of industrial bands which aren't goth (Nitzer Ebb) and goth bands that aren't industrial (Die Laughing).
Darkwave and Electro is also referred to as Goth Techno and these bands represent a very extreme interpretation of the goth ideal which has picked up fans rapidly in the mid 90's. These bands (such as Girls Under Glass) generally mix slowed-down analogue techno with digital new romantic synths and goth vocals.
Cyberpunk is closely allied with goth, but focuses on a dark future rather than drawing on a dark past, and is also primarily concerned with fiction rather than music. From a fashion and attitude perspective these two genres are easily intermixed.
7. Umm vampires?
Vampires are a rather contravercial subject, so to simplify matters a bit (and start more arguments probably) we will split this one up.
7.1 Are vampires goth?
Yes. In the same way goths tend to enjoy things relating to magick, ghosts, the paranormal and alternative religions, they will very often seek out and absorb anything vampire related too. Threads in UPG regarding shows like Ultraviolet, The Masquerade and even Forever Knight back this up, and the idea of more movies based on Anne Rice novels is always a source of excitement.
Vampire legends exist in most cultures and hence are an important part of world mythology. Vampires are used as and make excelent allegories for all that some of us see as evil in the world, for example corporate greed, dictatorship and fascism. Also the relationship between vampires, sex and death is not entirely alien to the goth mindset, but more because of the romanticism of vampires than anything else.
Oh, and they dress nice :-)
7.2 Are goths vampires?
No! Your average goth thinks that people pretending to be or acting like vampires represent all that is pants in goth. Plastic fangs are not merely frowned upon, they are completely and utterly taboo and anyone wearing them might as well go the whole hog with a T-shirt saying "I am tosser. Please do not talk to me or even make eye contact". Genuine teeth extensions are considered less naff (although few get past the inquiry stage- when they realise it's an affordable £80 upwards from willing dentists. However you will still seem like tosser if you pretend to be a vampire in public, regardless of how good the fangs are!
For more information on vampires but not goths, see alt.vampyres.
8. Are goths involved with Satanism or paganism? I'm black/fat/old/gay/disabled/Conservative, can I still be a goth?
Goth is not a religious, political, racial, sexual nor occult movement, and there are goths of all faiths, races, beliefs and orientations. If you want to be a goth, be one.
The majority of goth bands are either non-religious or actively anti- religious. Religious imagery, particularly that of Christian Catholic (crucifixes), Ancient Egyptian (Ankhs) and Pagan (Pentacles) is popular, as it conveys the "darkly powerful" feeling associated with goth music.
The number of Pagans is noticeably higher amongst goths than other similar social groups, this is probably due to the cynicism over organised religions. Goths tend not to want to worship a religion which often treats gothdom as 'evil'.
Paganism should not be confused with Satanism, although the Pentacle and Pentagram are identicle in appearance. Pagans believe in the balance of nature, and do not have fixed notions of "good" and "evil". Many Pagans also practice magicke, which links them to the Wiccan religion and technically makes them Witches, however in the same way not all goths are Pagans, not all Pagans are Wiccan. The band Inkubus Sukkubus are particularly pro-Wiccan.
There are few genuinely Satanist goths. It is important to realise however that Satanism has nothing to do with sacrifices or ritual abuse, this is merely a media image. Satanism is no more or less evil than other beliefs.
You can find FAQs on Paganism, Wicca and Satanism at rtfm.mit.edu.
Goths tend towards socialism in much the same proportions as any social group with a majority aged late teens to late twenties. There are also Young Conservative goths, communist goths, fascist goths and anarchist goths. Another, growing trend in amongst 90's goths is that of political apathy; the view that none of the political parties make any difference, sometimes allied to conspiracy theories. This is a favourite topic of the band Rosetta Stone.
Racially, goth is a very "white" culture, although there are a number of Asian and Oriental goths, together with smaller groups from other races. The reason for the abnormal white population may have something to do with style (a pale, gaunt appearance is fashionable) or the fact that there is a very strong black rap subculture which is more readily available. Neil Gaimen's Neverwhere series on BBC2 proved that being black is no reason to not be goth. Goths are rarely racist and are often concerned at the lack of multiethnicity within the culture.
Despite their often androgynous or transvestite appearance, goths have pretty much the same spread of sexuality as any other similarly aged social group. There may appear to be a higher incidence of bisexuality, but this could simply be because goths tend to be more open about their preference. Many goths- particularly heterosexual males- can feel misunderstood when picked upon just because of transvestite elements of their dress, and will take offence from being called "queer" or so forth even when they don't consider homosexuality as bad.
Whilst goths generally do aspire towards a thin, gaunt appearance there are many "porky" goths, and people of a larger than average size will have few problems mixing with goths.
Disabled goths are a very common sight, and it is almost impossible to go to a goth event without seeing a wheelchair. Unfortunately most night clubs are upstairs or in older, less wheelchair friendly buildings.
9. Why not use alt.gothic or uk.music.alternative? When and to where should I cross-post? What is a troll/trolling?
9.1 Other goth-oriented newsgroups.
uk.people.gothic carries about 120 messages per day. It is about the social culture of goth in the United Kingdom. This includes fashion, music, events and other related cultural topics. It was created because alt.gothic became too large for people with lives or jobs to keep up with. Which may well seem like a contradiction.
alt.gothic carries well over 300 messages per day, and many UK goths see much of alt.gothic's traffic as either childish or specifically American, but that's 90% of Usenet culture for you. There are many nuggets of gold to be found in alt.gothic, but sadly they are often very well hidden.
alt.gothic.announce is alt.gothic's sister group and is widely read by uk.people.gothic readers, carrying about 3 messages per day. The group carries news items such as tour dates, new releases, new web sites, events and so forth. It is moderated but few posts are ever rejected. Send your post by EMAIL to:
This will post to alt.gothic.announce only. You should NEVER followup on alt.gothic.announce. There is no longer any way to automatically cross-post between alt.gothic.announce and uk.people.gothic.
alt.gothic.fashion is currently as busy as u.p.g, and finally has the propagation across news servers that it deserves. It is another child of alt.gothic, created to carry clothing and styling discussions.
Alt.gothic.fashion FAQ -
alt.binaries.gothic is becoming popular, not only with warez doodz, porn spammers and the like. Due to the general nature of the alt.binaries.* hierarchy (gigabytes of filth, by and large), a lot of newsadmins on academic sites refuse to have anything to do with it. The group exists for binary posts such as pictures or sound files with a particularly gothic theme.
Alt.binaries.gothic FAQ -
aus.culture.gothic is (not surprisingly) the Australian equivalent of u.p.g. This is its charter, which is maintained by Tim Serong <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
This newsgroup is devoted to discussions of the music, fashion, ideologies and interests of those who consider themselves within the Gothic subculture in Australasia. It is primarily intended to allow for a better forum for the discussion of specifically local issues which may not be of interest to those living in other countries. It is also intended to provide people from Australasia with their own forum for discussion of general issues in the Gothic subculture and to receive information and reasonable announcments which are relevant to them and to their interests in the Gothic subculture.
The rest of the FAQ -
alt.personals.gothic exists, and that's about as much as I can tell you about it. It is also rumoured (by people who spend more time in alt.config than I do) that an alt.music.gothic is carried on some servers.
There are a handful of other goth-oriented newsgroups that may or may not be found on your local server.
uk.music.alternative carries around 20 messages per day and is specifically about alternative music liked by UK fans. Goth music is sometimes discussed there and there are often cross-posts with uk.people.gothic, but non-music topics are not appropriate.
rec.music.industrial carries about 150 messages per day and is rarely the subject of cross-posts from uk.people.gothic and alt.gothic, reflecting the mixed status of much modern goth music. Again, non-music discussions about culture or fashion are not appropriate here.
Other groups such as alt.music.* also sometimes discuss goth music.
You may also hear about a team called alt.gothic.special-forces (AGSF). One of the many web pages for these net.abuse hunters is:
9.2 Cross-posting. Why not to do it.
As with all Usenet groups, you should keep cross-posting to a minimum. If you do cross-post, try to limit the followup newsgroups to two or less. Sadly, cross-posting has become a depressingly easy way of starting an inter-newsgroup war. While this might sound incomprehensible or quaint to those of you fresh to Usenet culture (and believe you me it does have one), the results are spectacularly messy, as any veteran of the soc.bi/alt.gothic flamefest will tell you.
9.3 Troll-spotting for beginners.
A troll is one of -
i) A carefully disguised post containing (more or less) clearly false information. Obvious clues used to be crossposts to alt.troll or alt.fan.ted-frank.
ii) Any message along the lines of 'goths are a bunch of prats' or 'why don't you all get lives?'
iii) Anything crossposted to alt.fan.karl-malden.nose, ever.
The term is also now applied to the person perpetrating the troll, which grates somewhat on those of us old enough to remember bang-paths. It originally derived from its usage in fishing and the phrase 'trolling for newbies'. (Drop something attention-grabbing in the waters and see who'll bite.)
If you read a post and think to yourself 'What on *earth* is this person on?', the chances are you're dealing with a troll. Remain calm. Trollers are sad wee individuals who can't find sexual partners and take out their frustrations on the Usenet, where they get their gratification from winding you into an apoplectic frenzy. If you feel you must respond, make sure your posting style is more Oscar Wilde than Gerry Sadowitz. Sexbat's guide to napalming the clueless and the troll FAQ are both excellent sources of further reference. Indeed, the previous paragraph was unconciously channelled direct from Prunesquallor's estimable alt.gothic troll FAQ, for which I claim insanity.
The Troll FAQ. http://www.threnos-media.com/prune/trollfaq.html
Another excellent way to start a flamefest is to mistake a newbie or someone with the temerity to hold a different opinion to yourself for a troller. Relax and absorb vibes. Do not get self righteous, because people will point and laugh at you.
Hunting down trollers posting from bogus addresses and shopping the sad buggers to their postmasters is a fine way to learn how the Internet works and splendid fun to boot. [IMHO, anyway- JHR]
10. Which goth celebrities participate? Is that a genuine post from Rosetta Stone / James Ray etc?
An increasing number of goth bands have Internet access, many providing official contact points and information sites. Few of these participate in discussion.
Larger bands including London After Midnight, James Ray and so forth sometimes post to alt.gothic.announce, uk.people.gothic and alt.gothic with news of gigs and releases, but are far less likely to be found taking part in discussions. Often their posts are submitted by officially designated minions such as webmasters.
Porl King, Rosetta Stone's singer, does participate in uk.people.gothic quite often, particularly in response to post-gig discussions or questions about his records.
There is also a high level of participation from smaller bands, not just in relation to their own activities, but also in general newsgroup chatter. These include Phantasmagoria, Earth Calling Angela, Libitiana and The Tortured.
Nightbreed Recordings (Trev and Mark from Nottingham) have Internet access but have not yet posted to UPG. Contrary to their t-shirts' inferrences, they do not own the domain netgoth.co.uk (currently being registered by a collection of UK net.goths including Nic Gibson) nor the email address email@example.com (which has been offered to Rosetta Stone who have nothing to do with Nightbreed).
11. What is a net.goth? Is there really a test / T-shirt / meeting?
Originally, the term "net.goth" started out as something of a joke on alt.gothic, and was applied to anyone who scored over 80 points on The Goth Test, a humorous text article. References are occasionally made to there being a goth card (mainly to tease newbies/confuse trolls) and about losing goth points if you admit to liking something decidedly non-goth.
The Goth Test is available at Sexbat's Aircrash Monthly:
"net.goth" is now applied to anyone who frequently posts to uk.people.gothic, aus.culture.gothic or alt.gothic, and a strong sense of community has grown up around this Internet culture. In North America, net.goth get-togethers called Convergences started in 1995 as a meeting for net.goths. The first was in Chicago in 1995, the second in Boston in 1996 and 1997's will be in San Francisco. All net.goths worldwide are welcome. uk.people.gothic has not had events quite of this size, but postings are made before concerts, club nights or Whitby to UPG so that net.goths can meet up (usually in a convenient nearby pub). Identifying laminates were produced for Whitby 1996 to help the net.goths identify each other, and have been used since to help new people spot net.goths. net.goths will often invite other uk.people.gothic readers to their parties. There are also occasionally net.goth meets not connected to particular events such as shopping expeditions and some very large picnics.
T-shirts are often available for sale, usually printed in short runs of 20 or so and sold on either a reserve or first-come-first-served basis. Usually a post is made to a newsgroup with the information, and a URL given so those interested can see the design.
A selection of net.goth logos is available at
Most people ask for the newsgroups' input on slogan, colors and any non-logo design before printing.
Many net.goths have a web page with photos, writings, artworks and links. Check out this page for a well-rounded view of uk.people.gothic's denziens:
12. Can I legally put goth music samples/cover scans on my web page?
Under English law, any work of art is copyright provided the author is identifiable and has not stated that the work is not copyright.
For instance, a band does not have to say "Copyright 1996 Goth On A Rollercoaster" in order for their songs to be copyright. It is enough that they put their name on the CD.
Sometimes artists will specifically state that their work may be reproduced. Often there will be restrictions added into such statements, so make sure you're fulfilling the artists' requests.
It is illegal to reproduce any copyright work in any form. This includes sampling and scanning, even for back-up purposes. You can get a big fine and could even go to prison for breaching copyright.
MIDI files, unless they are produced with the permission of the original work's owners, breach copyright by their very existence.
Two ways to legally reproduce copyright material are:
Firstly- this is the easiest and best option- you could get permission from the copyright owner. Write to the band using snailmail (paper and ink). Usually, even big name bands will grant you permission for fan-based non-profitmaking purposes, but you should get that in writing. Sometimes you will be referred to a third party, such as the Mechanical Performance Copyright Society (MCPS), Performing Rights Society (PRS), record company or solicitor, who have made a legal agreement to represent the band in certain copyright matters.
Secondly, you could copy a small portion (for instance, a 30-second sample) of the copyright work to accompany a review. Just as magazines are allowed to quote short passages of books they are reviewing, so you can quote short passages of music you are reviewing. The quality of the sample is irrelevent. The review must be a genuine effort to review the work and not just as an excuse to include the sample.
The previous copyright exemption under English law for educational purposes no longer exists.
Finally, beware the Performing Rights Society. They have been known to claim to represent bands who don't have any agreement with them. Early in 1996 the PRS claimed to represent Rosetta Stone and threatened legal action if their samples weren't removed from the official alt.gothic FTP site. It turned out that not only had Rosetta Stone never asked the PRS to represent them, but Rosetta had placed their samples on the site themselves!
I would welcome advice from experts on Scots, Welsh or Ulster law.
13. What's so special about Whitby?
The Whitby Gothic Weekend is the Glastonbury of Goth; it is a three-day event featuring goth bands, goth DJ's, fashion shows, market stalls, games and other entertainment. Whitby started with 200 goths on holiday and has expanded to 1000 goths invading the fishing village of Whitby in Yorkshire with 120 net.goths present in 1996.
Whitby Gothic Weekend (WGW) started almost by accident in 1994 when a goth lady called Jo Hampshire decided to go on holiday to Whitby. The fact that it is legendary for being the landing place of Dracula didn't come into it - Jo just fancied a seaside holiday. Several friends decided to come along with her and in the end she invited some more and told them to 'bring a crowd'. When 200 goths tried to all get into the pub simultaneously on the first evening, it was clear that there was something of an enthusiasm for an event where goths effectively went on holiday.
The Whitby Gothic Weekend has an official web site:
Check there for the latest info on the event and how to get tickets.
Jo Hampshire (Top Mum) is the top "person behind it all" of the weekend. Every year she has put together a well-rounded weekend to please everyone from the net.goths to the Vampire Society and all in between. Jo has organised more and more activities, and the Weekend now has a full three days of events, including bands, DJs, a market, annual competitions, and of course, a certain amount of time is spent enjoying the seaside attractions of Whitby itself. Jo has soothed the locals' fears, tried to give the press a correct picture of goth and has booked some of the creme de la creme of goth bands. Jo is a UPG reader.
Whitby was also a location in the "Dracula" novel- the spot that Dracula's boat landed in England. There is a museum and related Dracula items are available. Vampire fudge, anyone? Whitby has many other attractions: touring St. Mary's church and graveyard, visiting the Captain Cook Museum, hiking up to the 13th/14th century Abbey, admiring the architecture, and looking into the art galleries, museums and jet works (the stone, not the engine).
14. How do goths cope in rural areas or towns with no goth scene?
Living in a rural area doesn't stop you listening to the music, wearing the clothes or participating with the culture through the Internet or fanzines. Equally, just because you're a goth it doesn't mean you can't wear blue jeans and chat with the locals one day and wear a black dress and bugger off to Birmingham the next. Don't alienate yourself unless you really can deal with it- you don't have to look like Morticia Addams 24 hours a day to be a goth. Try a hairstyle that can be washed out such as crimping, gelling, high bunches or hairspray. Build up a good collection of jewellery and accessories which can dress up monochromatic normal clothes to look goth.
Provincial goths will often "adopt" a non-goth nightclub (even just a pub with a disco), usually one which has an alternative, indie or student night. Try bringing along your own records early on in the evening- the DJ is more likely to take requests since there is no-one dancing anyway. Or you could badger your local pub to put a goth compilation in it's CD jukebox. Alternatively, visit dedicated goth nightclubs whenever transport is available.
You could also ask on uk.people.gothic whether there are any other goths in your area- there may be another just down the road from you that you never knew about! In particular, uk.people.gothic is useful for organising lifts from rural areas to large cities with goth events.
15. How do I keep my black clothes black?
Black clothes, particularly the cheaper T-shirts, can lose their colour very quickly if machine washed frequently and become a washed- out grey. The two most important factors when washing black clothes are detergent and heat. But before you even consider how to wash an item, read the label.
Bucket with number: Indicates maximum machine wash temperature in Celsius. Ignore this and the item may shrink or go grey very quickly. Bucket with hand: Do not machine wash; hand wash only. Often this means the item will crease, shrink or grey easily. Bucket crossed out: Do not wash. You might be able to dry clean it. Square with circle: Suitable for tumble-drying. Square with circle crossed out: Do not tumble dry. Usually seen on clothes that shrink or damage easily, or on printed clothes where the design will melt. Drip dry instead and beware of melting. Triangle: Suitable for dry cleaning using Chlorine bleach. Triangle crossed out: Do not dry clean using Chlorine bleach. Iron with dots: Shows the maximum iron setting. Higher settings may melt the fabric and printed design, or produce an irregular shiny sheen. Iron crossed out: Do not iron. Try drip-drying or drying on a flat surface if you want to get the item straight. P in a circle (ahem): May be dry cleaned. P in a circle crossed out: Do not dry clean.
With machine washing, most of the colour detergents are a considerable improvement over normal powders. However, if you machine wash black clothes frequently, even with colour detergent, you still will notice greying after six months or so.
Non-colour detergents often contain optical whiteners which will show up as thousands of white specks when exposed to ultraviolet light (such as at a nightclub).
Concentrated detergents are probably more trouble than they're worth, and in particular some concentrated detergents eat holes in thin fabric.
If you have a problem with greying, try doing a "black only" wash using half the recommended amount of colour detergent. Avoid using a programme over 40 degrees Celsius, and if possible wash at 30 degrees. Lower temperatures can also help avoid shrinkage.
Even better is to hand-wash valued black clothes. Use warm but not hot water (you should be able to immerse your hands comfortably) and only one tablespoon of Twin Tub detergent. Rub the clothes together to get rid of dirt; remember you only have a small amount of detergent so you have to put in a bit more manual effort to get the clothes clean.
Tumble drying will not normally affect black clothes. That said, many black shirts and skirts- particularly "one size fits all" imports- are made from viscose, which shrinks and creases irreparably when tumble-dried. Woollens may also be unsuited to tumble drying- check the label.
If you really must iron printed T-shirts, turn them inside out and place a clean tea towel on top of the printed area. Use a low heat setting with no steam.
You can blacken badly greyed clothes, provided they don't have a printed design, by dying them. This is especially effective for jeans with greyed knee areas.
16. How do I dye fabric?
The fabric must be able to withstand 60 degree Celsius water and must not be damaged by creasing. Cold dyes exist but they're a pain in the neck to use and the colour doesn't stand up to repeated washing.
Buy some Dylon Hand Dye (Woolworths sell it along with their sewing stuff) and a bag of cooking salt. Then get hold of an old bucket or bowl, a pair of rubber gloves and a clean wooden stick (the bowl, gloves and stick will be stained afterwards). You will also need access to a kettle, a large measuring jug and hot tap water.
To dye the fabric a solid colour such as black, simply follow the instructions supplied with the hand dye. Don't skimp on the salt as this fixes the dye and helps stop it going grey. For better results, use extra dye and leave things to soak overnight. To get hard wearing fabric (such as cotton or denim) really, really black, simmer the fabric in the dye for an hour in a jam cauldron.
You can produce weird colourations by tying up the fabric prior to immersion in the dye.
To produce tie-dye circles (spots of deep colour with undyed streaked circles around them) get some string and wrap it around the fabric tightly many, many times then tie securely. Alternatively tie knots in the fabric itself. Tied areas will not get as much dye as the rest of the fabric (or none at all if tied tightly).
To produce criss-crossing streaks of bold and light colour, less clashing than tie-dye circles, tie the item up with rubber bands in a random fashion. Use as many bands as possible and have the bands tied over each other.
To produce a really mental marbled effect with hard wearing fabric (such as cotton), cook the dye-soaked fabric in a microwave then rinse immediately. Beware that condensing dye may permanently splatter the inside of the microwave. Make sure the item has no metal fixtures such as buttons or zips. Microwaved dye tends to produce deep and brilliant colours which do not fade even after years of repeated washing.
It is vitally important that you rinse away excess dye when you've finished any dying process. The item might not be as well dyed as you thought, and might drip excess dye onto other items. Repeat rinsing until the water runs clear.
Further information on dying can be found at:
17. Which black hair dye is best? What is crimping? What is a "my little pony" / "pineapple" / "manic panic" hairstyle?
All these tips apply to Caucasian hair. I would welcome hair tips from Asian, Oriental, Afro or other ethnic minority goths.
Temporary black hair can be achieved by using one of the wash in/wash out colours available in Boots or Superdrug. These are usually one part gel or cream dyes which you use like a shampoo. Everything you need is supplied, however the plastic gloves which peel off the back of the instructions are useless, you should use household washing-up gloves or you can buy latex surgical gloves in Boots.
Temporary dying is easy. Simply wash the dye in to clean hair and wait the appropriate amount of time. You might need to use two packs if you have a lot of hair. Once the dye is on you do not need to heat it or wrap your head in clingfilm, just wait. Once the time is up wash the remaining dye out and rinse thoroughly.
Depending on which brand you buy, the colour will begin to wash out in 3 to 5 washes. Many people have said Boots own brand is not exactly temporary.
Dying your hair black permently is a little more involved. Permanent dyes are two part and must be used with care. You can not buy full strength permenent dye in the high street as it can be dangerous.
Unlike temporary dyes you apply the mixed chemicals to you hair with a brush or applicator. It is important to 'mask' off the skin around your hair line as the dye will stain. You can use vaseline as a barrier cream (much amusement can be gained by buying your vaseline and gloves at the same time!).
Once you have covered your hair you must wait. Because the dying process is a chemical reaction waiting longer will have no greater effect. After the required time you should rinse out the dye and wash your hair thoroughly. The colour will 'bleed' for a few days, but this is normal and is more likely to be coming off your scalp than your hair itself.
Recomend brands are Clairol Nice n Easy (124), Lorial and Boots 28 Wash, however results from Boots brand seem to vary.
A hair dying FAQ can be found at
If you want to bleach your hair, BBlonde from Boots works well and comes with full instructions. If you want a bright colour, but don't want to bleach your entire head, try bleaching small sections of it instead: bleach locks of hair, approx 5-10mm wide (larger sections will give a very stripey result), evenly distributed over your head - maybe bleach only 10-15% of your head to begin with.
You can use this technique to add 'white' stripes into black hair, or to add vivid colours. A good vivid colour dye is Directions by La Riche, which comes in a good range of shades and is available from many alternative clothing shops.
Another easy way of getting stripes in your hair is to use Hair Mascara. This is more or less exactly what it sounds like, coloured liquid you brush onto your hair with a long dippy brush.
There are now several makes available including Loreal, Boots and of course Stargazer. Loreal is the most expensive, but seems to work well on any colour hair (eg blue on black), Boots and Stargazer seem better if you use light mascara on dark hair or vice versa, but have a very good range of colours. They all wash out easily yet don't stain your pillow!
The best easily available hairspray for sculpting hair is probably Shockwaves Ultra Strong. The classic basic goth hair-do is the 'big hair' / 'manic panic'. A good example is the style adopted by Patricia Morrison (the female ex-Sister of Mercy). It requires long, dyed hair, which has been cut with layers to allow the top to gain enough height when backcombed. By crimping and backcombing, you can gain an enormous hairstyle which you can then proceed to pull back at the top and sides and clip into a high ponytail, leaving the rest to hang down.
To get through the crimp-and-backcomb process, I can't recommend highly enough the in-depth guide to gothic hair (and make-up) in Take A Bite, the net.goth handbook, written by the excellent and expert Count Von Sexbat. This is available from: http://www.demon.co.uk/bat/aircrash/archives.html and tells you in detail how to produce the basis for any 'big hair' look.
You *can* use spray-in colour of the sort available from party shops with 'Space Age! Unisex!' written on the can, but be warned, if you spray all your hair black with these and then go to a club, you will look like a coal-miner after about half an hour, as it smudges off on everything in sight. It's better to spray small sections, say, a white streak on black hair, or vice versa. It's around GBP2.50 a can so you can probably experiment a little. The main disadvantage of this stuff is that you will probably have to wash it all off before you go to bed; that or sleep with your head inside a bag.
Extensions are also a harmless way of getting amusing shades of non-natural hair - you can buy these in clumps from Kensington Market, or certain hairdressers will be able to get you the colour of your choice if you ask nicely. You can opt for a couple of locks in a different colour (my hairdresser currently charges a pound for putting in a clump of any colour you like); or a whole head of hair down to your knees which will hurt a lot, both physically and financially (100 quid plus) and frighten almost everyone.
Crimping produces hundreds of small, tight waves in the hair and is done by clamping locks of hair between hot curved metal plates. It is basically a "temporary perm" and lasts two or three days but will not withstand rain nor washing. Babylis are the leading crimper manufacturer and basic crimpers cost around GBP15 from Argos or Boots. Old goths also comment that if you can get older crimpers in a second hand shop ('especially gas-powered ones') these will be far more effective (if they work at all- check before you buy!).
For best crimping results, do not crimp immediately after washing your hair- allow at least a day. Long, straight, greasy hair is particularly well suited to crimping. Bleached hair is particularly NOT suited and may snap off. Consult your hairdresser if you are worried about damaging your hair, or try crimping a test section at the end of a lock of hair.
Crimping all your hair will take between thirty to ninety minutes depending on how much of the stuff you have. Switch on the crimper and allow it to heat for 10 minutes. Then, take a 2cm wide lock of hair and clamp the base of the hair between the hot plates. Don't crimp too close to the roots- it will hurt. You may notice steam rising from your hair or a smell of burning. This is normal, especially with greasy hair. Count to twenty then continue down the lock. When you reach the ends of your hair, only count to five since excessive crimping will result in split ends. Continue with the next lock of hair until all is done. Use a comb or hairband to separate the crimped from yet-to-be crimped hair. When finished, run through your hair with your fingers or a wide toothed comb to stop the locks sticking together. Do not brush your hair or use thin toothed combs as the crimp may be straightened.
"My Little Pony" is used to describe high bunches or ponytails; either one ponytail at the top centre of the head swinging backwards, or two bunches to each side of the top centre swinging backwards or to the sides. This works best with long straight hair or long crimped hair. Bend over so that your head is upside down, or lie down flat on a bed, and comb through your hair thoroughly. Grab a bunch of hair and tie it very tightly as close to the head as possible with a small hair band. If you wish, you can wrap lace around the base of the bunch to make the bunch stand up further away from the head. If you have loose hairs at the back of your neck you may wish to shave these off. Some goths have managed to combine extensions, big hair, crimping, backcombing and accessories together with small clothing and high heels to such a degree that they look as if they consist almost entirely of these hair-dos, and furthermore, can only dance by twisting their heads from side to side.
"Pineapple" describes a single high ponytail together with long loose hair at the back. Comb through thoroughly and separate the hair at the sides and top from that at the back. Put the front and side hair into a high central ponytail as outlined for a "My Little Pony" style. Leave the back hair loose over down your back and over your shoulders.
18. What type of paint should I use on my leather jacket?
Use acrylic paints and a clear acrylic lacquer/varnish (available from WH Smiths). Get a small, soft brush which can be moistened into a clearly defined point. Clean the jacket with a damp cloth and let it dry thoroughly.
Sketch the design out using feint chalk or make a stencil using masking tape. Paint in thinly applied layers and allow each layer to dry fully. Apply four or more coats. Finally, apply two coats of the lacquer over the design plus a 1cm border.
The more coats of paint, the less cracks appear. You may wish to touch up the design once a year or so. Lacquer will also stop the design cracking and getting dirty.
19. What musical equipment is used to achieve common goth sounds?
For the 80's sounding jangly guitar, a semi-acoustic guitar is a must. This has a more natural, medieval mandolin sound than an electric guitar, but packs more punch than an acoustic when used for melodies.
Drenching any guitar with a chorus effect seemed pretty much mandatory at one stage (most Mission, first Sisters LP). Flange the bass if you want to sound like the Cure or Souxsie, or just turn all your effects up to 11 and jam around if you want to sound like Bauhaus. The only mob with more effects than your average goth band were the shoegazers.
Digital synths such as the Yamaha SY and Korg M series can produce some excellent string sounds which have become more popular with 90's goth music. Don't skimp on your synths; old synths and home keyboards can sound cheesy with too much squeaky treble. A good digital synth should be able to produce deep, resonant string sounds. Choral sounds are also the domain of the digital synth; look for a range of human waveforms which can provide bass notes that don't sound too breathy and soprano notes which don't sound like the Smurfs. The Yamaha SY35 and SY22 have some stunning string and choral patches as factory settings (although they may require some fiddling with to make them more punchy) and can be bought second-hand for GBP250 or less.
The reverb effect is the most popular goth effect and is also the most expensive. It provides a cathedral-like echo used to make jangly semi-acoustic guitar riffs and haunting, swirling vocals. Units start with budget floor pedal boxes from GBP60, then quickly progress into MIDI multi-effects units and on to expensive dedicated reverb units. For synths, it is often better to look for a synth with reverb built-in as this usually allows for reverb on one voice whilst leaving other voices alone. Synth reverb is especially effective on string arpeggios, choral chords and staccato woodwind melodies.
A gate effect is popular with industrial crossover bands, to chop up vocals or guitar to make them sound more artificial. Repeatedly triggering gates from MIDI sequencers can make electric guitar chords sound like punchy rhythms. Gate effects can be found in many MIDI multi-effects boxes and some analogue synths, in addition to expensive dedicated racks.
Analogue drum machines were used on early 80's goth music and are becoming popular again, although you're going to have to fight a lot of techno-heads for them. These can produce very artificial sounding rhythms using white noise and basic waveforms through analogue filters. A good model is the Notavation Drum Station which retails for around GBP450 new, but if you don't have time to program your own drum sounds, you may be better off with a synth or sampler equipped with a good set of TB808 drumkit samples. For the adventurers, the Roland MC-303 Groovebox GBP500 seems to be an ideal piece of kit as this combines analogue drums with analogue synths, as does the Yamaha CS1X GBP600 which has a full sized keyboard. For purely analogue synths try the Notavation Bass Station at GBP350. If you have money and patience, some of the 'classic' analogue synths are worth a look (Prophet V, Jupiter 8) if you can find a good one.
Goth has been going for around twenty years now, so you'll need plenty of imagination and inspiration if you don't want to sound like Goth By Numbers.
20. What health implications are there in using speed / heavy caffeine use / being anorexic / avoiding the sun?
At this point I'd like to restate that the author has no medical qualifications and you should seek professional medical advice before acting on any information given here. Information was obtained from a variety of sources including the British Medical Journal and the top of my head.
A fine set of drug-related FAQs and archives are available at: http://hyperreal.com/drugs/
Dexamphetamine is the usual constituent of 'speed'. Because reduced appetite is also a side-effect of amphetamines, they have been used in the past as a treatment for obesity. A new amphetamine drug, dexfenfluramine, is now prescribed for this purpose as it carries no risk of addiction. Some amphetamines are prescribed to asthmatics.
Amphetamines promote the release of noradrenaline (a chemical that controls the level of activity in the brain stem where the spinal cord joins the brain) thus increasing brain activity in this and other parts of the brain. In low dosages, this increases wakefulness and concentration. Some individuals, particularly the elderly or those with psychiatric problems are particularly sensitive to stimulants and may suffer adverse effects, even if exposed to low doses.
Amphetamines reduce the levels of natural stimulants in the brain stem such that after regular (ie. daily) use individuals may come to physically depend upon them to function normally. When used by people who don't need them or in excessive doses they result in over-activity of the brain, extreme restlessness, nervousness and over-anxiety. Amphetamines can cause shaking, palpitations, sweating, breathing difficulties. Exceptionally high doses can produce fits (similar to epilepsy) and hallucinations.
Regular users can expect to suffer constipation, mood swings, and become emotionally unstable. If amphetamines are always used for a particular activity, e.g. clubbing, users will gradually come to depend upon them to enjoy/be capable of performing that activity normally. They will also suffer a reduced resistance to infection (immune system is compromised).
Use of amphetamines at any stage of pregnancy increases the chances of premature birth and a low birth weight.
In short, they're pretty nasty if you overdo it. Amphetamines are classified under Schedule II (Class B) of the Misuse of Drugs Act. Possession in any form is illegal without a prescription. Theoretically, if you inject speed it becomes a Class A drug.
The sun interacts with a pigment (Melanin) in your skin to form Vitamin D. Vitamin D is vital for maintaining strong bone structure and teeth. In adults, a deficiency in Vitamin D causes backache, muscle pain and easily breakable bones. Vitamin D is available in perfectly adequate quantities from Oily fish (Sardines, Tuna, Herring), liver, most dairy products (milk, cheese, egg yolks). As long as the diet contains these, sunlight is not a requirement. Vitamin D supplements are available cross-counter. Skin ages more rapidly when exposed to the sun.
Essentially, risks associated with avoiding the sun are low as long as you eat sensibly, and your skin will be healthier than somebody who spends all day in the sun.
Heavy caffeine use will make you irritable and, in the extreme, could make you violent. Slight weight loss is not uncommon. You will tend to swear more and get annoyed easily. It can also increase your blood pressure, which can cause heart trouble. If you use caffeine tablets such as ProPlus or high-caffeine drinks such as Jolt or Virgin Energy to keep you dancing at nightclubs, drink other soft drinks to replenish your energy and quench your thirst (not Cola since that contains more caffeine, and not diet drinks since they do not contain much energy).
Anorexia Nervosa is a mental eating disorder which usually begins as a voluntary effort to lose weight. Anorexics simply don't eat very much, if at all. An Anorexic is unable to recognise when they have lost too much weight, or alternatively they may have some other reason for avoiding food (often family or social problems). Apart from being very thin and not eating, other symptoms include blotchy skin, general ill health, permanent tiredness, wasting muscles and depression. Death is not uncommon in extreme cases. Anorexia is a matter for a doctor who may refer the patient to a specialist.
Bulimia is very different to Anorexia. Bulimics will tend to eat as much, if not far more, than a normal person, but will employ various tactics to purge excess food from their system. Vomiting is common, and usually this results in strained stomach muscles and mouth ulcers from stomach acid. Only in extreme cases do stomach ulcers occur. Bulimics sometimes suffer from general ill health and long term circular phases of weight loss and filling out, but on the whole they do not feel depressed and are indistinguishable from normal people.
For professional help regarding eating disorders contact the Eating Disorders Association: Tel. 01603 621 414, Mon-Fri 9am-6:30pm. EDA Youth Helpline (18 & under) 01603 765 050, Mon-Fri 4pm-6pm.
If you want to loose weight safely and permanently, eat sensibly and exercise regularly. Exhertive nightclub dancing and sit-ups are good at shedding pounds, but you should consult your doctor before radically changing your lifestyle.
21. Why do so many goths listen to Radio 4? Why are people listing London underground stations? What is Mornington Crescent / ISIHAC?
BBC Radio 4 was formed in the late 60's out of the remains of the BBC Home Service, and continues a very similar schedule. It is especially well known for in-depth news coverage, science, drama and comedy and has virtually no music. It broadcasts between 92 and 94MHz FM/VHF and on 200kHz (1500m) AM/LW.
Radio 4's goth popularity may be because goths empathise with the historical days of the British Empire and the "stiff upper lip" style of Radio 4. Another theory is that Radio 4's news coverage is both intelligent and mainly about death, much like most goths' conversations.
Mornington Crescent is a game played on the Radio 4 comedy quiz show "I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue" (ISIHAC). The game is played using the London Underground railway map and the winner is the first to arrive at Mornington Crescent. Players name stations in turn, but some stations may constitute illegal moves. Newcomers are advised to learn from the experts at alt.games.mornington-crescent
Volvos are very popular with goths. It might have something to do with their hearse-like appearance (Volvos, not goths). Or maybe goths get ridiculed so much that they're the only people who can drive Volvos and not feel embarrassed. Who knows? But they are very popular with goths. [Based on a very small and biased sample -JHR]
Goth transport is whatever gets a goth to and from the pub/club/Miss Selfridge/Neff gig with appropriate comfort and convenience. This may range from clogs and a dog on a string (Neff/NMA gig) to a blown, lowered & tubbed '65 Chevy Impala with a 1K sound system. [Are you sure about this bit, John? -Ed]
[Yes, I am. Here's the relevant article from dejanews:
all on one line not two as shown above]
Matt black anything is bad, bright pink Stalwarts are good. Hearses, if you must, are fine when carried off with style. [You're sacked -Ed]
23. What does "perky" / "mopey" mean?
"Perky" is a term applied to goths who like to dance energetically and grin manically. Perky goths tend to dress more casual than mopey goths, preferring hooded sweaters, combat trousers, heavy boots or trainers- and some of their clothing may even be colourful! Polka dots are considered quite perky, mostly due to the Strawberry Switchblade style of dress. Perky make-up tends to be less precise and painstakingly done, as the most important thing is getting on that dancefloor! An inclination towards industrial or techno tastes is common.
"Mopey" refers to goths who take themselves too seriously. You can find mopey goths in the dark corners of clubs, staring blankly at their pointed feet and not talking. Should you be lucky enough to engage in conversation with a mopey goth you will most likely be told exactly why The Crow isn't the least bit goth and how the last Current93 album was poorly produced compared to their earlier work. Although primarily motionless creatures, mopey goths are prone to extreme physical violence.
These are, of course, sweeping generalisations with no basis in fact whatsoever.
24. What other Internet resources exist? What clubs / events are on?
A list of official band web sites is in section 25 "Which goth bands have official web pages?".
The official alt.gothic ftp site contains text documents, pictures, sound files, guitar tabs and more at: ftp://goth-ftp.acc.brad.ac.uk
Doktor Joy's Gig Guide is a well respected guide to UK goth and industrial clubs and events. It is posted weekly to uk.people.gothic and alt.gothic.announce and can be found on the Web at: http://www.pennangalan.co.uk/Helix/
Monochrome BBS is a British student telnet bulletin board which has a vibrant goth discussion section "Gotham City" with various text resources ([E][M][G] from main menu once you have an account). See: http://www.mono.org/
There are loads of unofficial band sites and other goth web pages; e- zines, clubs, people, you name it. It is pointless trying to list them all here because hundreds will complain they've been missed off, and by next week half the locations will be outdated.
Probably the most comprensive and regularly updated index of goth pages is VampLeStat's Gothic Resources: http://www.vamp.org/Gothic/resources.html
Yahoo put goth pages mostly under Industrial, Alternative or Indie, but there is a gothic bands index: http://www.yahoo.co.uk/Entertainment/Music/Artists/By_Genre/Gothic/ Yahoo is subject based. For keyword searches try Altavista: http://www.altavista.digital.com
Keep an eye on alt.gothic.announce for news of new goth Internet resources including web pages.
Gothic IRC channels do exist, but they're not well used by British goths. #gothic is a good start.
25. Which goth bands have official web pages?
These following goth bands and record labels have OFFICIAL web pages. Where mirrors exist, only the UK/European site is listed. There are many more unofficial fan sites, try a search engine such as Altavista:
or VampLeStat's gothic resources:
- 4AD Records
- Alien Sex Fiend
- All Living Fear
- Big Electric Cat
- Chaos Engine
- Cleopatra Records
- http://www.the-cure.com (Band authored)
- http://miso.wwa.com/~anaconda/cure2.html (Fan authored)
- Darkling Thrush
- Das Ich
- Dead Can Dance
- Dreadful Shadows
- Earth Calling Angela
- London After Midnight
- Mephisto Walz
- Mute Records
- (Nick Cave, DM, Neubauten, etc.)
- Nightbreed Recordings
- (Suspiria, Midnight Configuration etc.)
- Projekt Records
- (Arcanta, Black Tape, Lycia, etc.)
- Rosetta Stone
- http://goth.acc.brad.ac.uk/rosettastone (Fan authored)
- http://www.blakmail.demon.co.uk (Band authored)
- Sheep On Drugs
- (Children on) Stun
- Sunshine Blind
- Switchblade Symphony
- The Wake
26. Where can I buy gothic clothes?
It's not actually that difficult to get hold of an immense gothic wardrobe, but it will take some imagination and a certain amount of cash for the particular. Although there are actual gothic clothes shops and manufacturers where you can buy off-the-peg velvet dresses, lace skirts, and what-have-you, many goths do not live near them and cannot afford forty pounds for a black crushed-velvet dress that lots of other goths have already bought. So here's some alternative suggestions (assuming you are, like most of us, on a budget and don't want to buy everything in London!). Personally I don't think I've ever paid over 25 pounds for a single item of goth clothing, and that was for a full-length velvet coat - most things come much, much cheaper if you keep looking.
First of all, you need to have a rough idea of the look you are going for - Victorian, scruffy, futuristic or clubby. After that, the best approach is to look hard in unlikely places...
The high street can have a huge amount of potential, particularly in the post-Xmas sales when a huge amount of black velvet and lace is on sale in the form of cut-price party dresses. Several goths I know get all their going-out-clothes in one massive sales swoop. This approach may not work so well in summer! Top Shop and Miss Selfridge are stores which frequently come up with some excellent goods - from PVC trousers and skirts, black mesh t-shirts, velvet bodices, fluffy jumpers... it's just a case of keeping your eyes open. This isn't limited to girls - larger sized shirts / t-shirts / skirts-for-blokes are often available.
Northern goths swear by the 'Schuh' chain for 'interesting' boots although their ranges can vary and they can be expensive if they don't have a sale on. Otherwise you may want to visit 'Ad Hoc' in London (see Yellow Pages for branches), although their boots are generally expensive all year round!
Second-hand and antique clothing shops are always worth a look although you may have to search long and hard to find something that fits you and that you can afford!
Beyond that, fetish and corset makers may offer some more expensive additions to your outfits - latex wear and corsetry are currently much in favour with goths; the trendier end of the 'club wear' market can provide some excellent (if pricey) alternatives to the standard range of clothes (e.g. Jan '97 - black devore dresses for 50 pounds); most of all, use your imagination, keep your eyes and mind open and don't feel you need to have to the 'Dark and Mournful Clothing Emporium' just to 'get the look'.
Having said that, here are some top recommendations of specialist goth shops:
Details of any more major cities are welcome if you feel they're really worth a visit! For other shopping tips including smaller towns and regions see:
27. Where can I buy gothic music?
This is a very common question, as Goth music is notoriously difficult to get. Shops like HMV, Virgin and Our Price often only stock more mainstream gothic music such as The Cure, Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus, although Rosetta Stone has been seen in HMV!
If you live in London or Nottingham things aren't quite so bad as there is Ressurection Records and Nightbreed, but if you live in a rural middle of nowhere town you have to depend on mail order.
The most well know online store is CDNow. They have an enourmous stock of all types of music and video at reasonable prices. Being US based you can get really good bargains, if import duty is not added.
iMVS is a UK based CDNow clone. Their stock is fairly good but prices are high once "sales tax" is added, bringing them above usual shop prices.
Resurrection Records offer a mail order service, and have an extensive list including goth and industrial. Their web site is regularly updated with new releases.
Cheeky Monkey is a mail order service brought to us by the same people behind the Whitby Gothic Weekend. It covers gothic/alternative, 80's pop and 'cheesy', and nothing in their main catalogue costs more than a tenner.
Nightbreed Recordings do have a web page but its not particularly good and does not allow online ordering. A printed catalogue is available and is a better option.
Shadowplay Band Descriptions is a regularly-updated site and is said to be the largest and most complete source of gothic music information on the Internet. It contains reviews and descriptions of over 1200 bands that play goth-rock, darkwave, goth-ethereal, goth-industrial, goth-metal, dark synthpop, etc. This site also contains many links to help you to find, listen to, and purchase this music.
28. What paper-based fanzines exist?
Although fanzines are forever coming and going by their very nature, here's some of the more respected reads, which vary in the regularity of their output but should certainly have something available. Send an SAE to the address given for subscription details.
Updates are welcomed. Please email James Savage <firstname.lastname@example.org> with subject "UPG FAQ".
The UPG FAQ was originally written by Andrew Oakley <email@example.com> 4/9/96
- UPG FAQ editorial committee 1996
- James "CountB" Savage <firstname.lastname@example.org> (sections 8, 17, 23, 27)
- JSA <email@example.com> (13, 17, 26 & 28)
- John Hawkes-Reed <firstname.lastname@example.org> (9, 19, 20, 22 & 25)
- Pat Hawkes-Reed <email@example.com> (11, 13 & 16)
- Charter and administrative info
- Alien <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Legal advice regarding copyright
- Chris Billington of Christopher Davidson & Co. Solicitors, Cheltenham
- Leather jacket painting
- Alison Gardner <email@example.com>
- Text mirroring & darkwave.org.uk sysadmin
- Dishmop Dave <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- netgoth.org.uk & netgoth.co.uk sysadmin
- Nic Gibson <email@example.com>
- HTML conversion 1996 edition
- Dave Hodder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- alt.gothic FTP site administrator
- Phil Jeffcock <P.J.Jeffcock@bradford.ac.uk>
- Medical data & Helix links
- Doktor Joy <email@example.com>
- Hair dyeing tips
- Emma <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Positive side of vampire culture
- Vlad <email@example.com>
...and everyone else on UPG who contributed.