Thursday, November 15, 2007


Baby Bat - Either a young goth or a new-comer to the scene, previously derogatory. Many areas still use the term to refer to a "goth poser" or an emo kid trying to pretend to be goth.

Babygoth - A young goth, amateurish.

Batcaver - Originally a frequenter of the early goth nightclub the Batcave, now referring to older goths who are fans of the music played there.

Bleep - General term for electronic music within the goth subculture. Sometimes used negatively by traditionalists.

Bleepy - A Cybergoth. The term originated from the Bleepy room in Slimelight, London's biggest long running goth club.

Blowfish - A goth who wears too much spikey jewellery (and thus resembles a blowfish)

Boi - A boy (US)

Cactus - An article of clothing with a lot of studs or spikes.

Candy Goth - A Goth who likes to wear fairy wings and attire associated thereof.

Corbeau - Batcave/Cure oriented goths (used by French goths)

Corporate Goth - Goths that work in the corporate sector, and wear business attire.Corporate gothwear - Business clothes that are both goth in fashion and compatable with working in an office (standard corporate dress code)

Crow Makeup - Goth makeup applied a la Brandon Lee's character in The Crow...or any garish/OTT makeup. 99% of the time an insult.

Cybergoths - Cybergoths normally don't like tradgoth music but listen to EBM and dance-influenced tracks. Probably more likely to take dance party drugs. Cybergoths will also wear something figure hugging, in colourful PVC or rubber - electric blue, red, or silver - often with colourful hair or hair extensions, though some will wear black PVC. Big boots are also essential, and often silver/black raver goggles, or industrial goggles, just about always worn on the forehead instead of over the eyes. May also feature adorn themselves with circuitry or faux SF cyber implants.

Dark Side Story - Name for conflicts between Megabar (Melbourne goth venue) patrons and other nearby 'normal' clubs.

Doomcookie - A young gothling with no fashion sense, clown makeup or makeup like they are from The Crow, refuses to smile because of fear of loosing uber goth image. (this includers Flindersgoths)

Elder Goth - Goths who are 30+.

Flinders St Goth - Youngish goth know for hanging out at Flinders St Station in Melbourne(AUS)

Gogan - a gothic bogan. See the Wikipedia entry

Going goth up Elizabeth Street with Uncle Charlie - A group of babygoths realising they're babygoths as they get embarrassed on one of their 'freak the mundanes' trips.

Gosurori - see Gothlolita

Gothic Lolita or "GothLoli" (sometimes alternatively "Loli-Goth") is a fashion somewhat rare, but very highly visible, among Japanese teenagers and young women. It emphasizes Victorian-style girl's clothing and often aims to imitate the look of Victorian porcelain dolls.

Gothic Two Step - A particular Gothic dance prevalent in the late 1990'sGoth Compatable - someone who is not a goth but can appear to be one fairly easily.Gothanista - A designer or avid follower of Goth fashion.

Gothwalk - The Gothic two step (US)

Goth Juice - Absinthe.

Graver - Goth raver.

Grrl - Girl (US) Originally associated with Riot Grrrls

Gunk - Goth Punk . also Poth

House goth - A Goth that never goes clubbing, only dresses up at home.

ICPers - People who dress up like members from the band Insane Clown Posse

Insta-goth - Someone whose transformation from a normal to Goth is almost instantaneous. Often think they are Uber Goth or Old Skool after only a few weeks of being "Goth." Generally they go back to being normal very quickly. Also applied to young Goths who, using their parent's credit card, walk into the store (ex. Hot Topic) normal and walk out Goth.

Kindergoth - see babygoth

LARPGoth - Mistaken for a Goth as they Live Action Role Play.

Lifts - Big boots.

Mansonite - Youth primarily into Marilyn Manson, and may appear like him. Elder Goths derogatorily refer to them as Spooky Kids.

Mundane - See Normal

Normal - to describe someone who is not goth or another obvious subculture.

Oh My Goth - Oh my god - statement used to indicate shock or exasperation, often mockingly or sarcastically.

Old Skool - Traditional Goth - referring to early goth music vis The Cure, Siousxie Sioux, Bauhaus, and early fashion.

Panda Goth - Name for a goth whos gone out in public without removing make-up from the previous evening.

Perkygoth - would rather live with flopsey and bouncy than mopey.

Pocket Niners - 'Fun things' that a goth takes to a big night.

Posuer (aka poser) - Meant as an insult usually to Goths who like to play dress-up but don't mean it, which is referred to in a mocking song- "I'm a little Poser, SHort and Stout, here is my Candle and here is my Ankh" See Insta-Goth and Yuppie Goth

Raver Goth - Generally a Raver who wear clothes associated with Gothic culture.See Graver

Rivetheads - The newer wave of industrial fans, may look a bit like cybergoths

Schweppervescent - A 'Mansonite', except inspired by the band Evanescence (Note: Evanescence has never claimed to be goth.)

Siouxsie's cupboard - What a goth puts an embarrassing or awkward moment into: "Did you know I'm into watersports?" "...let's put that one into Siouxsie's cupboard, shall we?"

Smithing - Deliberately making uber goth comments as a joke, a mockery of babygoth behaivour.

Swampie - (1) Pre Goth subculture existing only in Australia, possibly influencing the development of the Goth subculture. Notable for wearing black clothing, also long hair and often unkempt. Often fans of the Birthday Party. (2) Also term for paisley wearing, tight jeans and long hair Psychaedelic person, particularly in Queensland.

Tradgoth - Traditional Goth music and fashion from the 70's and early 80's.

Trench Coat Brigade - Normally youth/students who wear trench coats, may appear rebellious and disaffected, but to some may resemble Goths. Made famous by the student shooting at Columbine, the perpetrator of which were said to be the same.

Uber Goth - Particularly stylish...does goth well.

Weekender - Normal through the week, but "turns goth" for weekend clubbing also Weekend warrior

Yuppie Goth - Referring to Young Urban Professionals (Yuppies) who go into Goth stores and decide that it would be cute and quaint to play dress-up like the Goths. See also Poser and Insta-Goth

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Defining an explicit ideology for the gothic subculture is difficult for several reasons. First is the overwhelming importance of mood and aesthetic for those involved. This is, in part, inspired by romanticism and neoromanticism. The allure for goths of dark, mysterious, and morbid imagery and mood lies in the same tradition of Romanticism's gothic novel. During the 19th century, feelings of horror, and supernatural dread were widespread motifs in popular literature; The process continues in the modern horror film. Balancing this emphasis on mood and aesthetics, another central element of the gothic is a deliberate sense of camp theatricality and self-dramatization; present both in gothic literature as well as in the gothic subculture itself.

Goths, in terms of their membership in the subculture, are usually not supportive of violence, but rather with tolerance. Many in the media have incorrectly associated the Goth subculture with violence, hatred of minorities, white supremacy, and other acts of hate. However, violence and hate do not form elements of goth ideology; rather, the ideology is formed in part by recognition, identification, and grief over societal and personal evils that the mainstream culture wishes to ignore or forget. These are the prevalent themes in goth music.

The second impediment to explicitly defining a gothic ideology is goth's generally apolitical nature. While individual defiance of social norms was a very risky business in the nineteenth century, today it is far less socially radical. Thus, the significance of goth's subcultural rebellion is limited, and it draws on imagery at the heart of Western culture. Unlike the hippie or punk movements, the goth subculture has no pronounced political messages or cries for social activism. The subculture is marked by its emphasis on individualism, tolerance for diversity, a strong emphasis on creativity, tendency toward intellectualism, a dislike of social conservatism, and a mild tendency towards cynicism, but even these ideas are not universal to all goths. Goth ideology is based far more on aesthetics than ethics or politics.

Goths may, indeed, have political leanings ranging from left-liberal to anarchist, but they do not express them specifically as part of a cultural identity. Instead, political affiliation, like religion, is seen as a matter of personal conscience. Unlike punk, there are few clashes between political affiliation and being "goth".

For the individual goth, involvement with the subculture can be extremely valuable and personally fulfilling, especially in creative terms. However, it also can be risky, especially for the young, partly because of the negative attention it can attract due to public misconceptions of goth subculture. The value that young people find in the movement is evidenced by its continuing existence after other subcultures of the eighties (such as the New Romantics) have long since died out.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


The influence of the gothic novel on the goth subculture can be seen in numerous examples of the subculture's poetry and music, though this influence sometimes came second hand, through the popular imagery of horror films and television. The Byronic hero, in particular, was a key precursor to the male goth image, while Dracula's iconic portrayal by Bela Lugosi appealed powerfully to early goths. They were attracted by Lugosi's aura of camp menace, elegance and mystique. Some people even credit the band Bauhaus' first single "Bela Lugosi's Dead", released August 1979, with the start of the goth subculture, though many prior art house movements also influenced gothic fashion and style. Notable early examples include Siouxsie Sioux of the musical group Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Dave Vanian of the band The Damned. Some members of Bauhaus were, themselves, fine art students and/or active artists.

Some of the early gothic rock and death rock artists adopted traditional horror movie images, and also drew on horror movie soundtracks for inspiration. Their audiences responded in kind by further adopting appropriate dress and props. Use of standard horror film props like swirling smoke, rubber bats, and cobwebs were used as gothic club décor from the beginning in The Batcave. Such references in their music and image were originally tongue-in-cheek, but as time went on, bands and members of the subculture took the connection more seriously. As a result, morbid, supernatural, and occult themes became a more noticeably serious element in the subculture. The interconnection between horror and goth was highlighted in its early days by The Hunger, a 1983 vampire film, which starred David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve, and Susan Sarandon. The movie featured gothic rock group Bauhaus performing "Bela Lugosi's Dead" in a nightclub. In 1993, Whitby became the location for what became the UK's biggest goth festival as a direct result of being featured in Bram Stoker's Dracula.

The Revolutionary War-era "American Gothic" story of the Headless Horseman, immortalized in Washington Irving's story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (published in book form in 1820 along with Irving's equally fantastic "Rip Van Winkle" marked the arrival in the New World of dark, romantic story-telling. The tale was composed by Irving while he was living in England, and was based (as was its companion piece) on popular tales told by colonial Dutch settlers of New York's Hudson River valley. Although the first film adaptation was made in 1922, with Will Rogers as a silent and monochromatic Ichabod Crane, the tale solidly entered 20th century pop culture when Disney included it in the 1949 animated omnibus movie The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Nine years later it was separated from its Wind in the Willows partner, and as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow became a favorite on Disney's Sunday-night show on NBC, usually as a Halloween-week special.

Although another live-action film was shot in 1980 (starring Jeff Goldblum), the story found its richest treatment yet in Tim Burton's 1999 film Sleepy Hollow. Burton, already famous through his films Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice and Batman as producing a unique blend of myth, magic and the macabre, brought his full powers to bear on the story, creating a storybook atmosphere that nevertheless was filled with darkness and shadow. Burton's biggest departure from the admittedly dumbed-down Disney version was in giving equal weight to the stories of both Crane and the Horseman. As in Irving's original tale, the headless rider (Christopher Walken) is an undead Hessian mercenary, but Burton uses a whole raft of traditionally gothic, horrific, medieval and Inquisitional imagery in bringing his version alive.

Throughout the evolution of goth subculture, classic romantic, gothic and horror literature has played a significant role. For a certain sort of educated goth Keats, Poe, Baudelaire and other tragic and romantic writers have become as emblematic of the subculture as has using dark eyeliner or dressing in black. Baudelaire, in fact, in his preface to Les Fleurs du Mal (Flowers of Evil) penned lines that as much as anything can serve as a sort of goth malediction:

C'est l'Ennui! —l'œil chargé d'un pleur involontaire,

Il rêve d'échafauds en fumant son houka.

Tu le connais, lecteur, ce monstre délicat,

—Hypocrite lecteur,—mon semblable,—mon frère!

It is ennui! — an eye brimming with an involuntary tear,

he dreams of the gallows in the fumes of his water-pipe.

You apprehend, reader, this fragile monster,

—hypocrite reader,—my mirror,—my brother!

A newer literary influence on the gothic scene was Anne Rice's re-imagining of the idea of the vampire. Rice's characters were depicted as struggling with eternity and loneliness, this with their ambivalent or tragic sexuality had deep attractions for many goth readers, making her works very popular in the eighties through the nineties. Movies based on her books have been filmed in recent years — notably Interview with the Vampire, in which goths appear directly and indirectly

As the subculture became well-established, the connection between goth and horror fiction became almost a cliché, with Goths quite likely to appear as characters in horror novels and film. For example, The Crow drew directly on goth music and style. Neil Gaiman's acclaimed graphic novel series The Sandman influenced Goths with characters like the dark, brooding Dream and his sister Death. Anne Rice's book series The Vampire Chronicles and the popular World of Darkness roleplaying games, especially Vampire: The Masquerade, also referred directly to gothic music and culture and encouraged an interest in the scene. Influences from anime, cyberpunk fiction such as The Matrix and Shadowrun have increased interest in the goth scene although unrelated, adding to Cyber subculture, or Industrial/goth fusion; and the popularity of Industrial music.

A regular goth character is portrayed positively on the American television series NCIS. Abby Sciuto, played by Pauley Perrette, is uniquely goth, but works firmly on the side of the protagonists as a highly skilled forensic scientist.

The Goth subculture has influenced different artists - not only musicians - but also painters and photographers. In particular their work is based on mystic, morbid and romantic motives. In photography and painting the spectrum varies from erotic artwork to romantic images of vampires or ghosts. To be present is a marked preference for dark colours and sentiments, similar to Gothic fiction, Pre-Raphaelites or Art Nouveau. In the Fine Art field, Anne Sudworth is a well known goth artist with her dark, nocturnal works and strong Gothic imagery.

The subculture was an influence on photographers such as Viona Ielegems from Belgium, Anni Bertram from Germany, Stéphane Lord from Canada and Nadja Lev from the USA. Famous graphic artists close to Goth are Rachael Huntington, Gerald Brom, Nene Thomas, Luis Royo, Dave McKean, Jhonen Vasquez, Alice Egoyan, Myka Jelina as well as the American comic artist James O'Barr. H R Giger of Switzerland is one of the first graphic artists to make serious contributions to the Gothic/Industrial look of much of modern cinema with his work on the film "Alien" by Ridley Scott


The original Goths were an Eastern Germanic tribe who played an important role in the fall of the western Roman Empire. In some circles, the name "goth" later became pejorative: synonymous with "barbarian" and the uncultured due to the then-contemporary view of the fall of Rome and depictions of the pagan Gothic tribes during and after the process of Christianization of Europe. During the Renaissance period in Europe, medieval architecture was retroactively labeled gothic architecture, and was considered unfashionable in contrast to the then-modern lines of classical architecture.

In the United Kingdom, by the late 1700s, however, nostalgia for the medieval period led people to become fascinated with medieval gothic ruins. This fascination was often combined with an interest in medieval romances, Roman Catholic religion and the supernatural. Enthusiasts for gothic revival architecture in the United Kingdom were led by Horace Walpole, and were sometimes nicknamed "goths", the first positive use of the term in the modern period.

The gothic novel of the late eighteenth century, a genre founded by Horace Walpole with the 1764 publication of The Castle of Otranto, was accountable for the more modern connotations of the term gothic. He originally claimed that the book was a real medieval romance he had discovered and republished. Thus was born the gothic novel's association with fake documentation to increase its effect. Henceforth, the term was associated with a mood of horror, morbidity, darkness and the supernatural as well as camp and self-parody. The gothic novel established much of the iconography of later horror literature and cinema, such as graveyards, ruined castles or churches, ghosts, vampires, nightmares, cursed families, being buried alive and melodramatic plots. An additional notable element was the brooding figure of the gothic villain, which developed into the Byronic hero. The most famous gothic villain is the vampire, Dracula, originally depicted in a novel by Bram Stoker, then made more famous through the medium of horror movies.

The powerful imagery of horror movies began in German expressionist cinema in the twenties then passed onto the Universal Studios films of the thirties, then to camp horror B films such as Plan 9 From Outer Space and then to Hammer Horror films. By the 1960s, TV series, such as The Addams Family and The Munsters, used these stereotypes for camp comedy.

Certain elements in the dark, atmospheric music and dress of the post punk scene were clearly gothic in this sense. The use of gothic as an adjective in describing this music and its followers led to the term goth.


The bands that began the gothic rock and death rock scene were limited in number, and included Bauhaus, Specimen, Siouxsie & the Banshees,The Damned, Southern Death Cult, Ausgang, Sex Gang Children, 45 Grave, UK Decay, The Virgin Prunes, Kommunity FK, Alien Sex Fiend and Christian Death. Gloria Mundi, Joy Division, The Cure, Dead Can Dance, early Adam and the Ants and Killing Joke have also been associated.

By the mid-eighties, the number of bands began proliferating and became increasingly popular, including The Sisters of Mercy, The Mission UK, Xmal Deutschland, The Bolshoi and Fields of the Nephilim. The nineties saw the further growth of eighties bands and emergence of many new bands. Factory Records, 4AD Records, and Beggars Banquet Records released much of this music in Europe, while Cleopatra Records amongst others released much of this music in the United States, where the subculture grew especially in New York, Los Angeles, and Orange County, California, with many nightclubs featuring "gothic/industrial" nights. The popularity of 4AD bands resulted in the creation of a similar US label called Projekt Records. This produces what is colloquially termed ethereal wave, a subgenre of dark wave music.

By the mid-1990s, styles of music that were heard in venues that goths attended ranged from gothic rock, death rock, industrial music, EBM, ambient, experimental, synthpop, shoegazing, punk rock, 1970s glam rock, indie rock, to 1980s dance music. This variety was a result of the eclectic tastes of the members of the subculture.

Recent years have seen a resurgence in the early positive punk and death rock sound, in reaction to aggrotech, futurepop, and synthpop, which had taken over many goth clubs. Bands with an earlier goth sound like Cinema Strange, Bloody Dead And Sexy, Black Ice, and Antiworld are becoming very popular. Nights like Ghoul School and Release The Bats promote death rock heavily, and the Drop Dead Festival brings in death rock fans from all over the world. Goth and death rock magazines like Drop Dead Magazine (a companion to Drop Dead Festival) also help spread its popularity.

Today, the goth music scene thrives in Western Europe, especially Germany, with large festivals such as Wave-Gotik-Treffen, M'era Luna and others drawing tens of thousands of fans from all over the world. However, North America still sees large scale events, most recently, Chamber's Dark Art & Music Festival

Monday, November 12, 2007


The goth subculture is a contemporary subculture found in many countries. It began in the United Kingdom during the early 1980s in the gothic rock scene, an offshoot of the post-punk genre. The goth subculture has survived much longer than others of the same era, and has continued to diversify. Its imagery and cultural proclivities indicate influences from nineteenth century Gothic literature along with horror movies and -according to César Fuentes Rodríguez and Carol Siegel- to a lesser extent, the BDSM culture.

The goth subculture has associated tastes in music, aesthetics, and fashion, whether or not all individuals who share those tastes are in fact members of the goth subculture. Gothic music encompasses a number of different styles. Common to all is a tendency towards a lugubrious, mystical sound and outlook. Styles of dress within the subculture range from death rock, punk, androgynous, medieval, some Renaissance and Victorian style clothes, or combinations of the above, most often with black attire, makeup and hair.

By the late 1970s, there were a few post-punk bands in the United Kingdom labeled "gothic." However, it was not until the early 1980s that gothic rock became its own subgenre within post-punk, and that followers of these bands started to come together as a distinctly recognizable movement. The scene appears to have taken its name from an article published in UK rock weekly Sounds: ‘The face of Punk Gothique’, written by Steve Keaton and published on February 21 1981. The opening of the Batcave in London's Soho in July 1982 provided a prominent meeting point for the emerging scene, which had briefly been labeled positive punk by the New Musical Express. The term "Batcaver" was later used to describe old-school goths.

Independent of the British scene, the late 1970s and early 1980s saw death rock branch off from American punk. In 1980s and early 1990s, members of an emerging subculture in Germany were called Grufti[e]s (English "vault creatures" or "tomb creatures"); they generally followed a fusion of the gothic and new wave with an influence of new romantic, and formed the early stages of the "dark culture" (formerly called "dark wave culture").

After the waning in popularity of post-punk, the subculture diversified both musically and visually. This caused variations in style ("types" of goth). Usually, the appearance of each of the "types" of Goth reflects a certain mindset, although not necessarily. Local scenes also contributed to this variation. By the 1990s, Victorian fashion saw a renewed popularity in the goth scene, drawing on the mid-19th century gothic revival and the more morbid aspects of Victorian culture.

By the 1990s, the term "goth" and the boundaries of the associated subculture had become more contentious. New subcultures emerged, or became more popular, some of them being conflated with the goth subculture by the general public and the popular media. This conflation was primarily owing to similarities of appearance, social customs, and the fashions of the subcultures, rather than the musical genres of the bands associated with them. As time went on, the term was extended further in popular usage, sometimes to define groups that had neither musical nor fashion similarities to the original gothic subculture.

This has led to the introduction of goth slang terms that some goths and others use to sort and label members of loosely related or at times unrelated subcultures. These include but are not limited to mallgoths in the US, dark in Latin America and Italy, hackians in New Zealand and spooky kids, moshers or mini moshers in the UK. More positive terms, such as mini-goths or baby bats, are also used by some older goths to refer to youths whom they see as exhibiting potential for growth into mature goths later on. The prevalence of internet-based information regarding goth has resulted in a distorted and overstated perception of varying slang terms as used in reality and offline, particularly with regard to those terms allegedly used outside of the UK and US.

The response of these newer groups to the older subculture varies. Some, being secure in a separate subcultural identity, express offense at being called "goth" in the first place, while others choose to join the existing subculture on its own terms. Still others have simply ignored its existence, and decided to appropriate the term "goth" themselves, and redefine the idea in their own image. Even within the original subculture, changing trends have added to the complexity of attempting to define precise boundaries