Have you ever asked yourself what Goth means to you? Can you actually tell what it means to you? What facets of Goth do you like most? Which ones do you identify with? Or do you just not care...? I am very interested in Human Sciences, and my interest in Goth is strongly related to that interest. I have therefore always wondered what people particularly like in the Goth scene. "Goths" are typically known for being depressed or rebellious or "fed up with this crap world" or unhappy, whatever. But I am very positive. I don't like the "system" either, but I have found happiness and hope towards the future. I think that almost all the Goths with whom I have discussed these things (they are mostly French), only one is positive and happy about life. In the present writing I shall reveal why "Goth" means so much to me, and at the same time, which aspects of it make me dream, which aspects I identify with; in other words, how my mind interprets "Goth"...
I have only known the Goth scene since summer 1995; I discovered it when I found myself by chance in a club in London (the Limelight, which today puts on no more Goth nights). I didn't even know it existed when I *suddenly* was thrown amongst all these dark weirdoes. I only knew Depeche Mode and The Cure. It was a real shock for the 18 year-old innocent little girl I was! But a revelation, too. It was so odd because it was a scary atmosphere but also somewhere I deeply liked, and I felt I could identify with these people. I had always known that I like music when sadness comes out of it. I liked big boots, long hair, dark colours. I liked heavy and rough beats in music. I liked dancing a lot. I had liked dressing-up when I was a child. I loved make-up and drawing, shadows... Suddenly I was in an atmosphere that included all these features. A culture that matched me. How incredible! These people were so beautiful; they *seemed* to be themselves. The room was not overcrowded; there was lots of space to dance. I tried. It was so good; I was inspired... To me, it was simply more natural and human than "normal" and trendy clubs.
Human. Yes, that is what I find in Goth. Or it is the facet of Goth I perceive and love. For some Goths it must be different, I guess. We must all more or less have different interpretations of this broad and wealthy culture... Because some seem to have different attitudes and behaviours. This is where I have to explain what Goth means to me, how I define Goth. Because if I want to interpret it, I guess you must know which aspects of the gothic culture I am talking about. I usually mean "dark music" more than "Goth music". This includes Gothic Rock, Darkwave, Medieval music, Heavenly Voices, Industrial, Dark Electro, Black Metal, Gothic Metal, Doom Metal, Dark Ambient... I like subtlety and contrasts, darkness and sadness, in music as well as in clothes, poetry, make-up. To me, Goth allows creation. Goths usually reject how the world works, which relates to a more critical mind about people, society... *ideally* my interest in Psychology and Human Sciences... Basically, as I like to say it, I interpret Goth (in its largest meaning) as a *Beautiful Metaphor of Life*... I shall explain this through various, maybe a bit unordered points...
(1) When I discovered Goth, finding myself in a Goth club, I perceived an atmosphere that was more *human*. The place was well ventilated, and there were not as many people as in unbearable trendy clubs. *These people* looked profound; they looked like themselves; they were beautiful. I was looking at them, like I was enchanted. It was like Art. The way they were dancing made me so happy. I was thinking, these people are dancing the way everyone should dance: They looked as if they were integrating the music in their hearts and interpreting it through their movements (which I have always done and I was happy to *see* for the first time). When I was looking at one person, his/her style was unique. And another one, unique. Then I looked at the crowd of dancing weirdoes. It looked like an amalgam of unique styles, a wonderful whole. In the same way that Human Beings are unique and all different but shape a marvellous whole, Humanity.
(2) The music itself (well, the music I like in Gothic Music because it is the style that suits my interpretation) sounds, to my ears, full of contrasts and paradoxes/ opposites, which is why I think Goth is a beautiful metaphor of life... Life is full of paradoxes, isn't it? Life doesn't exist without death; white doesn't exist without black. Happiness doesn't exist without sadness. Well-being doesn't exist without pain, and so forth. And to me, maturity consists of being aware that one extreme doesn't exist without the other... That there always is a paradox, or rather complementarity... For example, consider flexibility and rigidity (order and chaos): in my life I try to always be disciplined - I eat well, I don't take drugs, etc. I like a certain regularity and routine, so as to be psychologically and physiologically healthy. But I enjoy surprises and silliness. In a way, a certain rigidity and discipline allow me to be *ready for any good opportunity that occurs to me*, which will break these regular patterns if it is worth it. This allows my life to be healthier as well as more fun and intense and interesting. Rigidity allows flexibility! In the same way, we all want to be happy. Wisdom is to know that sadness, pain, negative sides in general, are unavoidable on the path to happiness. Effort, patience... they are key. In music, these paradoxes of life can be represented by a *subtle* marriage of feminine, high-pitched, and masculine low-pitch voices - commonly found in Gothic Metal. Or
feelings of power or aggression through the roughness of hard drums and bass, yet also weakness and vulnerability of sad, light melodies, etc. Often, I also perceive sadness coupled with a lot of hope, through the beautiful, enchanting melodies.
(3) The feminity/ masculinity contrast goes beyond music. Look at Goths: It seems that the distinction between men and women becomes more subtle/ ambiguous than the "normal" one. Make-up and skirts are no longer associated with women. The men wearing make-up and corsets don't look like women; the distinction is deeper than that. It is more interesting. Where lies the distinction? Can you tell? This style as well suits me better. I find myself quite masculine; I usually get along better with men than with women; but I usually look very feminine wearing long velvet clothes, although I do like wearing old clothes, army trousers and ripped tights, which I find more masculine... To me, the feminity/ masculinity distinction should always be more subtle; this should become normality...
(4) Like I said, I am very interested in Social Sciences, Psychology... studying Life. And death as well. My interest in darkness and death is not related to some unhappiness. In the contrary, I am interested in death because it is... interesting. When someone dies, well... *that's life*, isn't it? Have you ever read any books about the pshychology of death (dying beings) ? It's amazing. Death is important... I think it is important to ask oneself questions about death, because we will all go through it. So I think we'd better learn about it; it would just alleviate our fears, our uncertainties - we would be more prepared. I don't think death is something negative; it is just an unavoidable
(5) Before I discovered Goth, I already liked writing, drawing, and make-up. Dressing-up, too. Goth allowed me to summon these together into a whole. A culture. I like drawing and playing with shadows. Drawing weird, chaotic forms. It might be a balancing of my disciplined life (?), a way to compensate for it. A way to make things more beautiful, a way to dream. I have never had the opportunity to decorate my home yet, but I would love to. Creation, again... Combining stuff together in subtle ways... The gothic atmosphere is just beautiful - it makes life more beautiful... Or it is a beautiful metaphor of life... or a flight to a more beautiful life... The hope of a more beautiful
society in future.
(6) Now look at both points (4) and (5): (4) represents an understanding of Human Beings; in a very brief way it represents Science. (5) represents the pleasures and beauties of Art... Art is what makes Humanity beautiful - Science is what makes it evolve and progress. Both imply creativity and thinking and learning (the work of Brain; this magical tool, my most precious toy!...) They also may be thought of as two contrasting ways of thinking... the paradoxes of life... again! But to me, they are complementary. Scientists are artists... And Art plus Science equal the most beautiful/ important activities in our lives.... This is all Goth inspires me.
A note on my three blogs
A note on my blogs
(1) vio; in love with india - this one is the main blog about my Indian adventures, which started in 2005. I don't write much on this blog these days because I prefer to write privately in the confidential blog. But check out the categories and the index to figure out your way. I have kept some older posts not about India but which I still find interesting or relevant in Old words. Also check out my new, fun category Only in India in which I post photos of funny, unique, Indian situations...
(2) vio; sounds of india - this is my blog of sounds, because India wouldn't be as incredible if it was not so vibrant and just so full of incredible sounds!
(3) vio; confidential - this an extension of my main blog in which I post entries I do not want to reveal to the entire webspace for privacy or sensitivity reasons. You must receive an invitation from me and then accept the invitation to be able to read it. You may email me if you are interested in receiving an invitation.