We’re Getting Closer

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The Melbourne Gothic & Victorian Picnic, October 2017

It has been some time since I posted – so I thought I’d write a quick update.


Over the last few months I have been buried deep in the analysis of data for this research and am beginning to properly draft my PhD.   Survey responses came from all over the world, as illustrated below, and working through responses has been a huge – and hugely rewarding – task.   For the first part of 2018 my primary occupation will be writing up my thesis, and I hope to be closer to completion by this time next year.  During that time I will be able to post more regular updates.

It’s a long process… but we’re getting closer!

Respondent Location Data by Region

Just a Phase?  Respondent Data by region


For this research I have travelled to many countries, particularly in Europe, to attend Goth and alternative culture events, gigs, festivals, concerts and all sorts of gatherings.

The sense of community has been amazing.

Like other socially active groups we have developed common rituals, aesthetics and behaviours (clothing, dance styles, etc), which inform our personal interactions and provide comfortable social boundaries.  Of course, like all communities, not everyone in the Goth scene gets along; there can be rivalries and occasional bitching.  In my experience however, this has been minimal and has not disrupted the overwhelmingly positive mood of these events.

One of the principal characteristics of the culture observed on these trips has been participants  respectful collective response to one another when in large crowds; a consistent pattern of courteous social interaction and generally polite deportment.  …And an ever-present dark sense of humour.  The Goth community has developed natural, unspoken, yet internationally understood, etiquette responses which allow such events to progress amicably, irrespective of language barriers or other impediments to communication.

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The Melbourne Gothic & Victorian Picnic, October 2017

Most recently the Melbourne Gothic and Victorian Picnic was a fabulous display of the Australian Goth community:  brilliantly organised and well patronised by a glorious array of attendees.

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The Melbourne Gothic & Victorian Picnic, October 2017

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M’era Luna Festival, Germany, August 2017

At M’era Luna earlier this year it was overwhelming to be in the midst of such an enormous crowd of like-minded folk [25,000+], almost all of whom were considerate and welcoming.  Family groups stood alongside young Goths as well as veterans of the culture, in all manner of couture, each enjoying the atmosphere and entertainment.

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M’era Luna Festival, Germany, August 2017

There were many examples of generosity, humour and good will despite some fairly dismal weather, more mud than is decent, and often extremely long queues…

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M’era Luna Festival [Aftermath: Bondage Barbie], Germany, August 2017

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Infest Festival [Tardis Time], Bradford, England August 2017

Infest was similarly outstanding, as it always has been, with a great crowd in attendance every night and bands responding brilliantly to the energy in the room.

At each of these events I have collected a mass of visual and interview data as well as reflecting on my own experience in the Goth community and the importance these social events play in maintaining connections to and within the Goth culture.

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Infest Festival, Bradford, England August 2017

There have been a number of other events –  Whitby of course and lots of gigs etc – which I will document more fully later.

Thank you to everyone who made time to chat, I loved almost* every minute of it!

Once my research is completed I hope to publish images collected as part of this study in my thesis and will also post updates on planned future photographic projects next year.

Emma

*Almost…  I am especially thankful to the lovely people who provided assistance and support at the Sisters gig at Camden Roundhouse when I was knocked unconscious by a crowd-surfer – thank you!  …all part of the fun!     

 

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Melbourne Gothic and Victorian Picnic, October 2017

 

Happy World Goth Day 2016

001 Happy World Goth Day 2016

Today we celebrate World Goth Day!

To everyone who has found belonging, happiness, comfort and excitement in this fascinating culture, I wish you a fabulous day.   It is a day to celebrate  – so play your music loud, crimp your hair or perhaps eat glittery bat cookies!

May 22nd 2016 also marks the anniversary of Goth – Just a Phase? data collection and the formal close of the survey period.

Thank you again to all the wonderful people who completed my survey and to those I have interviewed for this project over the last year.

The research to date has provided insights into the different experiences of belonging in the Goth Culture around the world –  from hundreds of different perspectives.   I have been fortunate enough to talk to people from many different backgrounds, time-zones and life experience as well as Goths (and ex-Goths) of different ages.   I now look forward to reading through the data with a finer comb and teasing (and crimping) out all the details.

Over the next week or so I will be finalising interviews and closing off the surveys.

Goth – Just a Phase? One year on –  a snapshot…

I will continue to publish here and and on social media, and look forward to sharing my findings as the project continues.

If you are still keen to be involved please contact me directly – all contributions are valuable and add to our story.

WGD Bats 30Happy World Goth Day!

Emma

Thank you and Project Update

Thank you to everyone who has completed the surveys, and for the great interviews, conversations, web link ups, online chats, forums etc so far – without your contributions this project would not be able to continue.

THANK YOU APR 2016


Where to from here?

The anniversary of the project is approaching, and this will signal the conclusion of the data-gathering stage.  As data-gathering for this project draws to a close the focus will  shift to analysis and writing up of findings.

I will continue to conduct interviews until May 22nd 2016, mostly around Melbourne or online, so if you are interested please get in touch.


Update – Surveys Now Closed

28th May 2016 –   The surveys for Goth – Just a Phase? are now closed.  I always welcome talking to people about their experiences in the Goth subculture, so please contact me directly if you wish to be involved.

Sureys Closed Small

 

 

  CLOSED 10Quick WEB MINI Whitby RED

Thank you again to everyone who responded.


Australian Interviews conducted over the last few months in  Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane  as well as online  have provided the opportunity to talk with some fantastic people, all of whom have made valuable contributions to this project.

I have been interested to hear the different perspectives on the scene, individual understandings and experiences of Goth sub/culture and some of the quirks of belonging as a Goth – especially for those who have been involved in the scene for a long time.  Hearing how people  interpret the values of Goth culture, how Goths cope with change as well as the ongoing discussions around what is/not Goth/does it matter? and how we read those differences within the scene is fascinating.

Insights into how Goths in diverse geographic locations  – especially hot ones! – have altered their stylistic choices to suit their environment has been particularly interesting and an aspect of Goth identity which I hope to further explore.

Flinders St

In our conversations we covered topics as diverse as emerging new trends in the scene, music (always music!!!), changes in the club environment, hair techniques, elitism in Goth subculture, religion, ephemera and the value of Goth history, footwear, record stores, pubs, upcoming tours, new bands, image and style, Goth terminology, flour, band T-shirts, travelling in the Goth scene, hanging out on the Post Office steps, Goth aesthetics, hats, belonging within the Goth subculture, frilly shirts, shoes and boots, growing older as a Goth, safety-pins and fishnet, reconnecting with old friends,  urban tribes, DIY fashion, redefining Goth for new generations, Goth nostalgia, preferred tipples, online shopping and everything else in between…

Thank you for your generosity!

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Posters 2  Perth from the air

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Just a Phase Interview

Thank you to Daniel for contacting me for an interview about my project on his podcast Cemetery Confessions.   It was great to discuss the Goth culture in this forum and I look forward to sharing findings from this research in the future.

For the interview please see:

http://www.thebelfry.rip/blog/2016/3/29/just-a-phase-cemetery-confessions


 

ELB 2015

For those people who have already donated time, effort and energy to this research – my heartfelt thanks and gratitude.

I look forward to sharing the stories of our scene and furthering understanding of Goth culture over the course of this project.

Emma.

 

 

Melbourne Interviews: February 2016

Thank you to the wonderful people I met in Brisbane; it was fantastic to talk with you and to have the chance to enjoy your beautiful city, even if it was a tad hot!

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It was great to hear your perspectives on Goth identity and your experiences in the culture in the tropical North.  Exploring the city (and its pancakes) was a real pleasure.

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It was particularly fascinating to hear how the Brizzie scene – especially the clubs and retail outlets – has evolved over the years and how this has changed the way people connect, participate in the Goth scene and enjoy its music.  I look forward to discussing this more over the coming months.

 

Now it is Melbourne’s turn!

 

Melbourne Interviews

 

If you are interested in being interviewed for the Goth – Just a Phase?  research project I will be conducting interviews in Melbourne throughout February.

I am scheduling interviews at different restaurants, bars and other spots around the city, so please get in touch and let me know what suits you.

Also – if you are interested in taking part in a group discussion let me know.

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Please let me know via email or Facebook if you would like to participate or get in touch via the contact link.

Thanks again for your interest!

Emma

 

2016 Interviews

Interview Schedule Update


A quick note to Brisbane based folks…

I am currently planning the first Australian interviews.  Brisbane is first off the ranks!

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If you are interested in being interviewed for the Goth – Just a Phase?  research project I will be conducting interviews in Brisbane at the end of the month.

I will be in Brisbane  January 29th – 31st 2016.     Please let me know via email or Facebook if you would like to participate  or via the contact info link below.

There is some flexibility on these dates, so please get in touch and let me know what time or place suits you and I will try to fit in as best I can.
 
Melbourne, Sydney and Perth will be scheduled soon.
  ♥
Thanks again for your interest!
Emma

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Calling all Australian Goths…

Ok Australians, it’s your turn!

I am now scheduling interviews for Australian folk early in the new year.

I am based in Melbourne, but will be scheduling travel to other cities – so let me know if you are interested in participating.

As with the International survey, I have reopened the Australian survey (linked below) if you were unable to complete it last time.

Thank you if you completed this survey earlier in the year – there is no need to repeat it!

 

Once again, a massive thank you to everyone who has expressed interest in this research and to those who have already contributed.

If you are interested in participating further – feel free to contact me by email or Facebook.

Thanks again,

Emma

Whitby – One Month On

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First and foremost : A huge thank you to all the wonderful people I met, interviewed, chatted with, photographed and spent time with in Whitby, London, Manchester, Vancouver and all the other stops along the way.   It was brilliant to meet so many folks who were willing to share their stories and be part of this project – thank you for donating your time to my research.

I owe particular thanks to the people I spoke with in Whitby at both the Bram Stoker International Film Festival and the Whitby Goth Weekend.  Thank you for giving up valuable festival time to talk with me about your experiences in the Goth Subculture.

I truly appreciate the efforts you made to fit this project into your schedule. Your honesty, good humour, acceptance, generosity and integrity is a rare and wonderful thing and your contributions are greatly valued.

Bram Stoker International Film Festival 2015

From a research perspective, the weeks in Whitby are critical to the data-gathering phase of my study and time spent there has generated material which I will draw on throughout my project including lots of fantastic conversations and visuals.

From a personal perspective, the trip was hugely inspiring and has renewed my commitment to pursue this research and to write about the Goth subculture.

At a time when so much energy seems to be devoted to writing about societal division it is of some comfort to be reflecting on experiences of belonging.


 

Bram Stoker International Film Festival 2015

 Where to from here?

For the immediate future, I am working through the data I amassed overseas and writing up my notes.

Then, it is time for the Australian contingent!

I will be scheduling interviews in Australia over the next few months, and will reopen the Australian survey to correspond with these interviews.

 

Once again, thank you to everyone who has contributed to and supported this research.

Cheers,

Emma

          Whitby Goth Weekend 2015 (October)

 

 

Just a Phase – New Mini Surveys

Welcome to Just a Phase? Goth Subculture as an identity constant beyond youth.  

This research seeks to improve understanding of the subculture, to share thoughts and experiences with other Goths (and researchers) especially those, like me, who have continued to be involved with Goth well beyond youth!

 

Thank you to all the wonderful people who recently responded to my series of long surveys about the Goth subculture.

Your contributions are greatly appreciated and the wealth of data provided will keep me busy for a long while to come…

The long surveys are now closed for analysis – however I am still keen to receive input.

 

Over the coming months I will be publishing a semi-regular series of very short short (5-10 question) surveys on particular aspects of the subculture identified by survey participants as being central to Goth.

The first in these mini surveys is about Music & Media.

 

Surveys now Closed – thank you for your responses!

 

Back in the Day: Perth Goth Club Scene 1989-1998

GothEye Back in the Day: Memories of the Perth Goth Club Scene 1989-1998 As discussed in a previous post, I have been exploring the visual nature of the Goth community as a source of inspiration and impetus for my research.  By digging through my old shoe-boxes of clubbing memorabilia and photographing some of its contents I am attempting to catalogue an indicative selection of club flyers, gig pamphlets and other ephemera from the Perth[1] Goth scene in the decade 1989-1998. A few are included here, and I will continue to add more to my Pinterest page as I digitise them throughout this project. During this time there were several highly creative, motivated and capable people in the Perth scene who collectively made stuff happen!

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Amnesia Club Entry Card …Admit One

The flyers provide an illustration of the club/event activities of the subculture at the time; the start of this time period marks my early involvement in the club scene through my most active clubbing years during which I helped organise and promote Goth and Goth-Industrial club nights. The geographic isolation of Perth inspired an entrepreneurial approach to social enterprise within the Goth scene during this period.  With the costs of travel high, bands seldom scheduled lengthy tours of Australia, and when they did the far-flung city of Perth was often left off itineraries.

Who else remembers the I need a Cure tour petition??

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Inner City Firm – Club entry card c.1991

While this resulted in a limited number of major bands performing in the city during this period,  it succeeded in creating a self-supporting culture with an active club and local bands scene. Additionally, for some this isolation inspired travel and provided a catalyst for establishing connections between Goths living in Perth and communities overseas and interstate, which in itself generated diversity through drawing in external influences.

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Skin – The New Loft

Most people involved in the Perth Goth scene during this period actively contributed towards sustaining its social and economic activities beyond attendance at club nights and gigs. Members of the subculture established record stores, fashion design labels/stores, club nights, publications and other services to keep the subculture not just alive but thriving. A result of this communal desire to improve and support the subculture was a proliferation of specialised club nights and events, (particularly between 1992-5) organised by scene members with the support of nightclub proprietors.  The level of activity, as illustrated by these flyers, gave the Perth Goth and Industrial scene a strong support base which was further enhanced by retail enterprises such as specialist stores and aesthetic services such as body piercing, tattooing and hair-dressing.

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The Loft

This evolving sophistication of the Goth culture is also reflected in the production quality of the scene-generated ephemera.  Initially, the quality of the materials appears secondary to the primary purpose of effectively advertising events to the subculture in suitably familiar language, using in-culture references and styles to speak to the ‘right’ audience.   Improvements in technology, access to materials and reduction in printing costs during this period is evidenced by the transition of many of the brochures from cheap, photocopied amateur productions to more professional materials. Within this vibrant community, the emergence of subgenres is evidenced in the various club pamphlets.  Some venues specialised in particular styles of music – industrial, alternative, indie-pop, Goth – and  provided a venue in which events could be scheduled so as to satisfy the shared tastes of subsets within the larger Goth population.  Individual DJs delivered dependable setlists which catered to the needs of the various key audiences.

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Ascension

Growing from the Punk scene, early Goth nightclubs of the late 1980s (such as The Red Parrot, Asylum, Inner City Firm, Fruition, Amnesia among others) provided the Perth scene with predominantly English-influenced Gothic Rock nights and my first introduction to the scene.  These clubs featured music from bands who themselves often did not consider their music Goth, nevertheless the music was (and is) heavily favoured by Traditional (Trad) Goths and played in almost all Goth clubs.

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Berlin Club Flyer c.1992

Industrial music had begun to find commercial success in the early 1990s; frequently featuring Goth-influenced imagery, alternative iconography and dark themes; it was a natural high-energy companion to the comparatively sedate musical approach of Goth.   The flourishing Industrial genre heavily influenced Perth Goth club nights, with setlists often featuring a mixture of Goth/Electro/Industrial and other alternative genres to a lesser degree, with a marked increase in the number of dance-oriented club events being scheduled in the early-mid 1990s.

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Desolation at Geremiah’s Nightclub c.1995

The promotional material represents the spectrum of aesthetics within the Goth scene, with Industrial flyers often favouring harsher, mechanised forms and horror themes.  Goth flyers utilise vampire, kitsch-horror and Victorian-influenced imagery to define and promote more traditionally influenced Goth events.  Alongside these are other alternative bands and genres including shoe-gazer and indie sets.  These distinctions demonstrate the stylistic differences in terms of music styles and visual representation as well as  design/iconography within the scene, simultaneously it shows the Goth subculture’s ability to co-exist with compatible music styles and social groups. In 1990s Perth, there was an amicable yet apparent schism between those who principally favoured less energetic rock-based music (the Trad-Goth aesthetics) in comparison to the parallel genre broadly grouped under the moniker Industrial, featuring faster, more electronic dance-oriented music styles, less formal Goth-influenced dress and an emphasis on dancing rather than exclusively focussing on social interaction within the club environment.  Clubs nights at Geremiah’s, The Loft, Interzone and Skin  (among others) catered for those who sought dance-intensive nights primarily featuring Electro Body Music (EBM) and Industrial tracks with strong Goth influences.

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Recoil – The Loft, Post-Detonation c.1995

With music containing mechanical and electronic noises accompanying heavily distorted vocals, the Industrial music genre also generated an occasionally uneasy association with heavy metal and thrash music; genres less congruent with the more flamboyant Goth scene.  This shared patronage, however, helped sustain the subculture and provided financial stability in an otherwise niche market in a geographically isolated city. At times this resulted in uneasiness, when patrons unfamiliar with Goth aesthetics  reacted to the extreme styles of the Goth patrons, sometimes approaching Goths with benign curiosity, sometimes with genuine animosity and attempts to generate confrontation.  While these events were rare, the reliance on nightclub proprietors to provide space for Goth events, in part  prompted future generations of the scene to be more self-managing, establishing dedicated Goth events management and membership-based clubs such as Dominion to better serve the needs of the Goth community.

Interzone - Club Industrial

Interzone 1994

The flyers presented here articulate by example the self-generating and sustaining nature of the Perth Goth and Industrial scene and record a period of high creative activity in the subculture.   The ephemera itself represents examples of subculture specific iconography and thematic preoccupations, and demonstrate the scene’s ability to effectively self-promote and instinctively engage with its participants.[2]

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Dominion c. 1998

[1] Perth, Western Australia for basic information about the city see : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perth [2] Not all clubs of the period are represented here, just a sketch of the overall scene.  I will continue to add to this theme in future posts, including excerpts from various street press and other media.

Survey Update – Week One!

Survey Update

To all of you wonderful people who responded to my call for survey participants  – a heartfelt thank you.

I have been genuinely overwhelmed by your positivity, generosity and openness and your intelligent and articulate responses.    Collation and analysis of the data is going to take considerable time.

I am determined to present a thorough, authentic and detailed study of the subculture reflecting on the key themes of the research and hopefully incorporating as many of your contributions as possible.

To everyone who indicated that you are interested in participating in interviews, meetings or contributing through other means, thank you!  I will contact you in the coming weeks to discuss interview options.

Thank you all again.

Emma.

Whitby Spires Through Window Arch