Dim the lights, slather on your eyeliner and get ready to sway in place to the strains of the Sisters of Mercy: May 22 is World Goth Day.
Every day is Halloween to devotees of Gothic music, art, fashion and lifestyle, but this spring celebration is a chance to shed some light on an often-misunderstood subculture. Ask a dozen self-described Goths what the word means, and you'll get 12 different takes, but generally the underpinnings of the aesthetic could be described as "dark." It's life scored in a minor key but not necessarily as morbid or death-obsessed as it's often made out to be.
For every faux fang-wearing, coffin-sleeping, blood-obsessed princess of the night or neon-dreadlocked Cybergoth, there's a pink ruffle-bedecked Gothic Lolita or a 40-something administrative assistant at his desk wearing a Polo shirt and listening to a Cure/Bauhaus/Siouxsie and the Banshees mix on Spotify. What unites them is an appreciation of another kind of beauty - and it's often met with some hostility.
The Cure saved my life. When I was a strange, bullied, sensitive and deeply depressed teenager in the late 1980s, lead singer Robert Smith’s weird, smeared beauty and bloody-voiced yowls were among the few glimmers of a world outside the one where my existence seemed less than entirely welcomed.
Though the band’s 35-year catalogue is often ghettoized as Goth (which they wholeheartedly dispute) and characterized as gloomy and morbid, a glimpse past the cursory reveals a sunny, romantic, terminally goofball side. Wild mood swings from staccato, near expressionless punk to happy, trippy, manic bliss to raging, gut-cutting nihilism are The Cure’s stock in trade, and with each new offering, fans’ appetites are whet.
Back in my basement-dwelling days, I had no inkling that I’d someday be listening to The Cure in the company of another living soul – let alone my future husband, certainly not the tens of thousands of fans singing along with every word at a sold-out Madison Square Garden show several years back, or the smaller, arguably more ardent crowd who fought tooth and nail to score seats at the six U.S. shows where The Cure played their first three (definitely not chart-topping) albums in order last month.
That’d be why so many of us were heard collectively howling into the wind on Wednesday when it was announced that The Cure was passed over for induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in favor of the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It is not up to me to denigrate anyone else’s fandom. We all like what we like, and over at my other gig as editor of CNN’s food blog Eatocracy, we’re fond of saying “If it tastes good, it IS good.” FULL POST
The sprawling, battered, hand-me-down sedan had slowed down to a putter alongside me in the dark for at least a block or two, but I willed myself not to acknowledge it. Head down, bangs yanked over eyes, one combat boot clomping in front of the other, I tried mightily to will myself to disappear into the night air - or at least brace for impact.
The passengers exploded into laughter and peeled off down the suburban avenue. They'd not offered any specific critique or cause for their verbal assault, but I had a sneaking suspicion that it was black lipstick I was wearing. Possibly the long black skirt and black fingernails. Definitely the dog collar. FULL POST