Other things I Learned From The Goth Scene

Me in the early 00s.  SO GOTH.
Me in the early 00s. SO GOTH.

Because I’ve been thinking of these all day.

– Any scene that’s been around for more than five years or so is liable to get into a sine-wave state of oscillation between ‘The scene is dying! We must recruit new people!’ and ‘New people are coming into the scene! I liked it better without them!’ If you’re really lucky the flashpoints will be people’s taste in music or preference for clothing studded with oddly shaped lumps of dayglo foam, rather than the seismic shudders over institutionalised racism and sexism that are shaking the SFF world right now.

– If you charge money for a service, people will expect you to behave in a reasonably businesslike manner. Whether you’re running a small business selling crafts, a festival, or a music label, being part of a tribe that the mainstream world considers a bit odd does not exempt you from reasonable criticism or harsh feedback.

– If you want a good reason for not fostering the ‘But Z is one of us, so if you pick on her, you’re not supporting the scene!’ attitude mentioned above, you might want to consider that it creates an atmosphere where con artists thrive like cockroaches in high humidity.

– People probably don’t hate you. There are only so many hours in the day, and hating people takes energy. It’s possible someone is holding a grudge against you because you criticised their habit of wearing ripped-up fishnets on their arms in 1995, but it’s far more likely they just failed to consider you because they were busy wrapped up in their own stuff, whatever that is.

– Life is too short to go for group meals with people you can’t stand.

– If you want people to come up and talk to you, give them something to talk about. I usually wear something bizarre on my head.

– Do not judge people by how many piercings they have, unless you are adjudicating ‘Person With Most Piercings’ for the Guinness Book Of Records or similar.

– People who say ‘Oh, this? I found it in a charity shop’ probably spent a lot of time poking through racks of unappetising polyester before they found that thing, and probably customised it to hell and back after bringing it home.

– Observing human nature will always give you something to write about.

8 thoughts on “Other things I Learned From The Goth Scene

  1. Aaaah, I am always so envious of how great you look! Then and now, you’ve always been amazingly stylish.

    Good advice re:subcultures. Sometimes I feel lonely and not part of anything, but at least it means no drama…

  2. Not being involved in other people’s drama is SO WORTHWHILE. You are wise. And you pick and choose which events to go to and then do your own unique thing, which is something I admire you for a lot.

    I do keep wanting to charge into the ‘SFF conrunners versus SFF readers who might want to go to cons if it wasn’t for the parts of con culture they find off-putting’ wars and try to explain ‘Look, in my experience of subcultures and the wisdom I have gleaned from a mother and grandmother who were on a lot of committees, what you’re doing here is not coming over the way you think it is’ and ‘I think you are using the same term as the other side of the argument but you’re defining it in radically different ways’ and ‘Saying ‘Just come along and be the change you want to see’ does not work if the change they want to see is a con held in a place where the carpeting doesn’t critically impede their wheelchair’. But then I remember about other people’s drama.

    1. I sometimes wish I were less unique as it would be less lonely! But I figure it’s better to be true to yourself, because at least then you’ve got yourself at the end of it. Try and fail to be someone else and then you don’t even have that.

      Did you see that there’s a science-fiction con coming up in Bath? It looks quite small, which might be a good thing. Seems to be more comics than SF, mind you.

  3. Yes. Charity shops. I can’t do it properly now I’ve got children, because they tend to get very loudly bored after the third or fourth shop, but the answer to the question I have often been asked about how I find so many good clothes in charity shops when the questioner never does is that it is one of my hobbies and I devote an amount of time and energy to it that most people would find hard to believe. I will go through ten shops in my lunch hour, I will go on pilgrimages to posher areas to visit charity shops, I may not know who it is who gives all the White Stuff and Boden clothes in my size to the local British Heart Foundation shop but I go in three times a week to make sure no-one else buys them. And that, that is why I have the Nicole Farhi trousers, the bronze silk satin ones with silk ribbon roses embroidered all the way up the legs, the ones that could be framed and hung on the wall, the ones that cost me £2. Everyone’s got to have a hobby, picking through crimplene in search of silk or linen is (one of) mine…

    1. I envy you your skill and dedication. I tend to go ‘one charity shop, look at everything except the bric a brac: two charity shops, look at the jewellery and the books: three charity shops, just the books: more charity shops than that, this is too many charity shops and I want to go home now’.

      1. You can do hair though. I can’t, I get bored, or confused, or I discover yet another hair squick (I can’t stand the feeling of any detectable product on my hair, which is unhelpful when my basic natural state is brunette brillo pad). Anything more complicated than comb, twist, fix isn’t going to happen for me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s