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By Liisa Ladouceur, Gary Pullin, Michael Holmes, Crissy Boylan
ECW PRESS Copyright © 2011 Liisa Ladouceur
All rights reserved.
ABSINTHE Liqueur of green colour and anise flavour distilled from wormwood, a potent psychedelic. Long favoured by Goths for its elegant preparation ritual and associations with madness, death and decadent creative types (POE, BAUDELAIRE, Wilde, etc.). Popularized in the 1990s after appearing in the NINE INCH NAILS video for "The Perfect Drug" and POPPY Z. BRITE's novel Lost Souls. Also known as "The Green Fairy" or "La fée verte."
ABYSS, AZRAEL Fictional co-host of GOTH TALK, a cable access TV spoof produced as a recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live (1997–1999). Portrayed by comedian Chris Kattan, he was the melodramatic Goth persona of high school student Todd Henderson, who worked a MUNDANE day job at CINNABON and tried to avoid beatings by his jock brother. Sporting cliché white face make-up, black clothing and BACKCOMBED hair, he spoke in a high-pitched voice, often screeched like a cat and signed off with "Stay out of the daylight!"
ADDAMS FAMILY, THE Fictional "creepy and kooky" family created by American cartoonist Charles Addams in the 1930s. Father Gomez, mother MORTICIA, daughter WEDNESDAY, son Pugsley, Uncle Fester and Cousin Itt were obsessed with the macabre and displayed a funereal style that could be considered proto-Goth. (The Addams Family Mansion has inspired many a home décor project.) Originally appearing as a cartoon in The New Yorker and adapted for several films in the 1990s, the clan's most beloved incarnation remains the black-and-white TV series (1964–1966), featuring its trademark theme song composed by Vic Mizzy. See also: Munsters, The
AGF Abbreviation for alt.gothic.fashion, a Usenet group for the discussion of Goth fashion and beauty that splintered off from ALT.GOTHIC in 1995 after one too many posts about pointy shoes. Typical post subjects: "How can I keep my clothes black?" or "How do I make a PARASOL?" At one point, it was used to identify community members in other online activities (e.g., including AGF in the title of an eBay auction). Members may be referred to as AGF-ers, although this is, like those baggy TRIPP pants, quite out of style.
ALCHEMY GOTHIC Jewelry design company founded in 1977 by British punks Geoff Kayson and Trevor Phillipson. Their MEDIEVAL -inspired pewter pieces were an immediate hit with '80s Goths, rockers and bikers alike; soon Alchemy became the go-to gang for spiders, skulls, bones and BATs on rings, necklaces and such. Having since expanded their empire to include clothing and lifestyle items (SILVER dragon goblet or ABSINTHE glassware set, anyone?), Alchemy's signature styles remain rooted in historical, Ye Olde English designs, from Victoriana to STEAMPUNK.
ALIEN SEX FIEND British GOTHIC ROCK band formed in 1982 in London. Generally considered the ultimate representation of the early '80s BATCAVE sound and style, so named for the first POST-PUNK nightclub night in London, at which singer Nik Fiend worked and ASF regularly performed. Fiend is best known for his horror-themed appearance, including ghoulish face make-up and FISHNET clothing. Hits include "Now I'm Feeling Zombified" and a cover of Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line." See also:Specimen
ALLEY, THE Chicago indoor mall of alternative retailers, offering more than 40,000 square feet of T-shirts, boots, jewelry, leather goods and other hallmarks of subcultural style at the corner of Belmont and Clark streets. Yes, you can buy this stuff cheaper at HOT TOPIC, and yes, RECOVERING GOTHs and other adults may not appreciate the punker-than-thou attitude of some staff, and no, it might not be the best place to get an extreme piercing or TATTOO. But many a teen has been very happily outfitted here. And they used to have a COFFIN in the shop full of band pins. (On a personal note, I bought the best pair of LATEX stiletto boots ever on sale here once. Thanks!)
ALT.GOTHIC Usenet group dedicated to the general discussion of Goth culture, founded (around HALLOWEEN 1991) as a spinoff of Dominion, the electronic mailing list for THE SISTERS OF MERCY. In general, Goths were early adopters of the net, and the forum acted as a social hub for hitherto far-flung FREAKs of all persuasions to discuss music, fashion, art as well as those Big Questions about life and death. Alt.gothic became the repository of much Goth news and lore and a significant source of slang, in-jokes, etc. Members launched the annual CONVERGENCE convention, which they organized when not busy typing catty replies to the question "Is MARILYN MANSON Goth?" In 1995, separate groups were created for Brits (uk.people.gothic) and fashion (alt.gothic.fashion). Like most such newsgroups, its use and influence have dwindled since the rise of social networks. See also:Net.goth
AMBIENT Musical genre encompassing a wide range of styles, most of them instrumental and electronic in nature, with an emphasis on atmosphere and non-musical elements, as popularized by Brian Eno in the 1970s and in chillout rooms at 1990s raves. More experimental ambient music is often sold by the same mail-order catalogues as underground Goth/Industrial records, and Goths often describe certain bands of a softer, more "exotic" nature — DEAD CAN DANCE, for example — as ambient, but it's not quite accurate to compare or confuse them. See also:Dark ambient
AMERICAN GOTHIC Despite its title and the prominent presence of a pitchfork, this iconic 1930 painting of rural America by Grant Wood is not Goth. The production company for Chicago DJ SCARY LADY SARAH is though.
ANDROGYNY Blame it on BOWIE and BAUHAUS, but boys have been donning make-up and ladies' FISHNETS since before Goth was even called Goth. So common a sight is males pinching feminine style that nobody would bat a heavily mascaraed eyelash at boys in black EYELINER, nailpolish or even a CORSET at a Goth bar. Furthermore, few would assume anything about their sexual orientation as a result. Academics muse on how guys in skirts form part of Goth's overall gender transgressions while those in question simply enjoy the ritual of dressing up with friends of any gender and pissing off most jocks and parents.
ANKH Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol for eternal life, displayed as a cross with an oval head. Ever since DAVID BOWIE 's character whipped out a gold ankh pendant especially designed with a blade to slice into necks in the horror flick THE HUNGER, it's been especially associated with VAMPIRES. A must-have in every wannabe vamp's chest of jewels.
ANNE RICE VAMPIRE LESTAT FAN CLUB As it sounds, a fan club for author ANNE RICE and her vampire chronicles. Formed in 1988 in New Orleans, the ARVLFC's greatest contribution to Gothdom was producing the annual Vampires Ball, a lavishly themed costume party which gave you an excuse to buy that $1,000 velvet cloak you've always wanted.
ANT, ADAM British singer (né Stuart Leslie Goddard, b. November 3, 1954). Leader of punk band Adam and the Ants (1977–1982) and best known for 1982's #1 hit song "Goody Two Shoes." Ant personified the NEW ROMANTIC era of ANDROGYNOUS, glammed-up pop music. His pirate costumes, a suggestion of manager Malcolm McLaren, were probably responsible for the spread of POET SHIRTs to America.
APOPTYGMA BERZERK Norwegian INDUSTRIAL band formed by Stephan Groth in 1991, sometimes abbreviated as Apop. Alongside VNV NATION, part of the first wave of European acts mixing EBM with melodic SYNTHPOP that conquered North America's club playlists in the early 2000s, mostly through re-releases on METROPOLIS RECORDS. Peaked with 2002 album Harmonizer, but continue to enjoy heavy rotation at CYBERGOTH events.
AQUA NET Brand of American aerosol hairspray favoured by those wanting exceptionally strong hold at a budget price. Popularized during the 1980s for use on mohawks, DEATHHAWKS and other extreme styles requiring its tortoise-like shellac.
ASH, DANIEL British guitarist and singer (b. July 31, 1957), founder of Original Goth band BAUHAUS and its offshoots TONES ON TAIL and LOVE AND ROCKETS. Atmosphere and aggression are his musical trademarks, plus spiked hair and a penchant for psychedelia. His solo albums never quite hit the charts, but with the royalties from his bands' "BELA LUGOSI'S DEAD" and "Go!" he can enjoy a life of leisure and occasional stints as a special guest DJ. His latest release is the 2009 solo EP It's a Burn Out.
ASTBURY, IAN British singer (b. May 14, 1962) best known as leader of THE CULT. Wolf child, howler of hymns, shaker of hips and tambourines, Astbury is one of many credited with the first use of the word Goth in a musical context, although by the time he called singer Andi Sex Gang and his followers "Goth" in 1982, the term was already in use so it's probably a bit revisionist on his part. His contributions instead came from writing classic songs like "She Sells Sanctuary" and making it acceptable to wear aviator sunglasses and fur hats to a Goth show. Less influential: his post-Cult project Holy Barbarians and a stint fronting The Doors ("of the 21st Century"). Still, the man's got attitude, soul and a vocal style that's unmatched. Don't count him out for a resurrection.
AUTUMN, EMILIE American singer and violinist (née Emilie Autumn Liddell, b. September 22, 1979). A self-proclaimed Wayward Victorian Girl, her vaudevillian performances and songs about asylums have attracted a rabid fanbase of young girls into striped tights, brightly coloured hair and heavy metal–type vocal screeching over INDUSTRIAL beats. Her debut CD, Enchant, was released in 2002 and has become a kind of classic for the kids. She has performed with rock stars like Courtney Love and Billy Corgan, not that her legions would be particularly impressed by that. No, they like her for being a Goth Girl for their generation, not so much related to HAMMER HORROR and punk rock as to anime and cabaret. She's very cute.
BABYBAT A newcomer to the scene exhibiting limited knowledge, particularly one of a young age; sometimes used derogatorily. Alternatively, a term of endearment for underage Goths. Compare:Kindergoth
BABY, THE STARS SHINE BRIGHT Japanese fashion label created by Akinori and Fumiyo Isobe, credited with kickstarting the GOTHIC LOLITA style in 1988. Think babydolls and PARASOLS, with lots of lace. TRAD GOTHS may find it difficult to imagine how a powder blue outfit could appeal to anyone, but for enthusiasts of Loli lifestyle, Baby is the best. Retail outlets in Paris and San Francisco satisfy the foreign fans; the HQ is in Shibuya, Tokyo.
BACKCOMBING Hairstyling technique also known as teasing where you grab a chunk of hair and aggressively comb backwards until it hurts too much or the hair stands high up on its own, whichever comes first. Add illogical amounts of AQUA NET hairspray and — voila! — instant ROBERT SMITH or SIOUXSIE SIOUX 'do.
BADDELEY, GAVIN British journalist (b. 1966), author of books on Goths, Satanism and Satanic Goths, including Goth Chic: A Connoisseur's Guide to Dark Culture; Lucifer Rising: A Book of Sin, Devil Worship and Rock 'n' Roll; and Goths: Vamps and Dandies, as well as biographies of MARILYN MANSON and CRADLE OF FILTH. An ordained minister of the CHURCH OF SATAN, he's the go-to guy whenever U.K. television producers need someone to talk about the dark side who actually has a clue.
BAD SEEDSSee:Cave, Nick
BAL DES VAMPIRES, LE Fancy costume ball produced by San Francisco's Period Events and Entertainments Recreation Society, held annually around HALLOWEEN. An elegant affair featuring formal dancing to baroque and waltz music, attracting ROMANTIGOTHS, STEAMPUNKS and others who like to party like it's 1899.
BALK, FAIRUZA American actress (née Fairuza Alejandra Feldthouse, b. May 21, 1974) best known for her starring role in the 1996 film The Craft, in which she played a teen witch with rather Goth style. She projected a dark, rock 'n' roll image in her real life as well — tattoed and pierced with black hair and copious EYELINER — and Goths were thrilled to learn she once owned an actual occult shop in Hollywood. In 2010, Balk announced a new music project, Armed Love Militia; first single "Stormwinds" featured guest DAVID J.
BANSHEES, THESee:Siouxsie and the Banshees
BARA, THEDA American silent film star (née Theodise Burr Goodman, 1885–1955). Nicknamed "The Vamp" for her femme fatale performances, she wore provocative costumes and posed for occult-themed promotional photos with skulls and snakes. If that wasn't enough to secure her honorary Goth Girl status, her 1917 role as Cleopatra set the template for the Egyptian eye make-up popularized by SIOUXSIE SIOUX some sixty years later. Ashes interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park columbarium in Glendale, California. See also:Brooks, Louise
BARELY EVIL Adult website offering porn pictorials of TATTOOED Goth Girls — pierced, bound, penetrated by machines. See also:Blue Blood, Gothic Sluts
BARGELD, BLIXA German singer and musician (né Hans Christian Emmerich, b. January 12, 1959). Co-founded seminal INDUSTRIAL noise group Einstürzende Neubauten in 1980. From 1983 to 2003, member of NICK CAVE'S band, The Bad Seeds. Says he's not Goth, but ample photographic evidence of him in leather pants, BACKCOMBED hair or funereal suits crumpled like he just crawled out of a coffin proves otherwise.
BARKER, CLIVE British author, filmmaker and visual artist (b. October 5, 1952). The leading voice in contemporary horror fiction, revered for his gory and imaginative explorations of sexuality and the supernatural. His debut collection, The Books of Blood (1984–1985), so impressed STEPHEN KING, he called Barker "the future of horror." Novella The Hellbound Heart (adapted into film as HELLRAISER) introduced the CENOBITES — a gang of interdimensional sadomasochistic demons with body piercings and mutilations.
BAT Flying mammal, patron animal of Goths. Maybe it's because they're nocturnal and live in caves. Or maybe it's because some of them drink blood for dinner or, as film legend has it, turn into VAMPIRES. But these tiny webbed and wingèd creatures have come to symbolize us, and in turn we've adopted them as our fantasy pets, designing purses in their shape, TATTOOING their image on our bodies, channelling their spirit while dancing. Guano aside, if we could live in a batcave, we probably would. See also:I'm So Goth, Vampire bats
BATCAVE 1. Nightclub operating in London, ENGLAND, from 1982 to 1986. Famed as the world's first Goth bar, although originally dedicated to NEW WAVE and glam rock and other fashion-conscious offshoots of punk. Before the term "Goth" was used to describe its death-obsessed crowd or their music, regulars were referred to as "Batcavers." Soon-to-be-Goth luminaries such as SIOUXSIE SIOUX, ROBERT SMITH and NICK CAVE regularly attended for live performances by SPECIMEN or ALIEN SEX FIEND or to just watch scary art movies. 2. Contemporary GOTHIC ROCK groups that look and sound like Alien Sex Fiend, mostly from Europe. 3. Lair of comic book superhero Batman, coveted by many. 4. An actual cave of BATS; great spot for a first date.
Excerpted from Encyclopedia Gothica by Liisa Ladouceur, Gary Pullin, Michael Holmes, Crissy Boylan. Copyright © 2011 Liisa Ladouceur. Excerpted by permission of ECW PRESS.
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