The Reason Why Goths/Punks/Freaks Don’t Greet One Another Any Longer

Gothpunk/freak fashion has gone mainstream folks, get used to it.

Goth/punk/freak fashion has gone mainstream folks, get used to it.

Why don’t weirdos greet each other any longer when they are out and about? I’ve heard that question asked time and time again on the internet. The answer is very simple; the visual differences that used to identify weirdos have gone mainstream, and you can never tell these days if somebody is merely copying the fashion or is truly strange.

I’m going to sound old, I know that and accept it. ‘Back in the day’, if you were a weirdo of any kind, you could be walking down the street, see another weirdo and give them a smile, wave or whatever and be acknowledged in turn. It was really easy back then to identify another of your species because they dressed funny like you and had funny colored or shaved hair. Seriously, it was like a club. I made friends back then with all sorts of freaks, from SHARP skinheads and Mods, to skaters. There were so few people in each distinct subculture that you kind of huddled together for safety. There weren’t the divides between the subcultures like there seem to be now. Also, I knew people from a lot of different areas within the San Francisco Bay Area.

What changed? The elements that made each subculture different have been co-opted by the fashion industry and popular culture over the years. When I first dyed my hair magenta in the very late 1980’s not very many people were doing it. Of course, I knew I wasn’t doing anything new, but it wasn’t exactly popular either. The only people who dyed their hair rainbow colors back then were weirdos. The same goes for dressing in strange outfits. Studs or spikes, that used to be seen just on punk gear and leather jackets, has now been stuck on everything from purses to sweatshirts. It’s to the point where I won’t wear studs or spikes because it’s become sort of crass to do so in my opinion.

This is crass folks.

This is crass…and I’m not talking about the band.

Where I am living now everybody from teen moms to pensioners are dyeing their hair every color of the rainbow. It’s so normal to do that here that I feel kind of strange dying my hair purple these days. Well, I did it before them, so there! There are also people who dress in black with their pre-manufactured spike covered gear walking around who for all intensive purposes are pretty much fashion victims just trying to follow some sort of ‘underground’ trend that they think makes them look unique. Um…no. They are known on the net as nu-goths, which is ridiculous since they don’t listen to Goth music. I mean, if we were going to label everybody who dresses in black a Goth does that mean that nuns and priests are God-Goths?

I personally don’t feel comfortable acknowledging any of the above mentioned types because I know that I will have absolutely nothing in common with any of these people. Yes, I’m making some assumptions, but really it isn’t worth the bother these days.

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Why I Dislike Steampunk

I can't even...

I can’t even…

Now, I know that the title of my rant will be a bit controversial to the people who actually enjoy steampunk. Oh well, it’s my opinion and my blog. I can’t be expected to find everything aesthetically pleasing just because others want to shove it down my throat. That’s what it feels like; a bunch of people online trying to put steampunk down my throat and telling me that it’s okay even though it tastes like crap.

The number one thing that bothers me is the fact that it’s just yet another sub-genre of the Goth subculture. Don’t argue with me on the fact because it is. If the majority of the people participating in it listen to Goth music, go to the clubs and act like it’s a secret cabal then yes it falls under that umbrella. When the modern incarnation of steampunk reared its ugly head the uber-goobers from the Goth subculture slid right on over and started dressing in brown.

I’ll admit it, I’ve been an uber-goober in the past. However, I’ve grown up and moved on. The uber-goobers in the steampunk ‘culture’ are out in force. I always see people online telling others how their clothes aren’t good enough, or that they shouldn’t be gluing gears onto things. Maybe they don’t realize that not everybody has a good paying job, or enough time on their hands, to put such a huge effort into how they look. Steampunk, after all, is mainly image based. People can go on and on about the literature end of things, but do you honestly think the a lot of people into it have actually cracked open some Jules Verne books?

Almost ten years ago I had an online confrontation with the lead singer of Abney Park. I wish I would have screen saved the conversation because it was very enlightening. He told me that the reason why the band turned steampunk was to cash in early on the trend. I hope that shot down some of you dirigibles! That’s what it is: a trend. It is an ‘underground’ part of the Goth subculture that people have been getting in on to make some cash. By becoming steampunk people are just trying to latch onto what they think is the next big in alternative culture. It’s the same that happened when a bunch of Goths leapt over to the rave scene in the 90’s. Like the rave scene steampunk has a limited shelf life before it becomes totally mainstreamed. Actually, I’ve seen people claim that it is already mainstreamed. The steampunk jumpers will just hop straight back into the goth subculture from whence they came. Whatever genre of Goth that they were into before will be their home to go back to. Instead of bringing back glow-sticks and repetitive music they will perhaps bring back steampunk water guns and accordions?

Then, there is the whole appeal of it. What appeal? I don’t find steam powered devices appealing, mostly because they look too damn complicated. Also, I don’t like the color brown. You can pry my black clothes from my cold dead hands! Then there are the goggles. No, just no. There are tons of photos online of steampunk chicks wearing brown leather corsets with those damn goggles perched on their heads. It’s like a steampunk machine has stamped them out. I almost forgot, there is also the colonization theme of some it that makes me very uncomfortable. Do these people realize that the only people who had it good during the Victorian age were white men? That without modern technology, and ideas, we would probably still be stuck with segregation and other really terrible things? Do you know what? Let them create a theme park that they can play in that would show the reality of what such an era of time would be like.

That felt good! No, you will not be able to change my mind.

How Not To Look Daft When You’re Old

These don't look good at any age.

These don’t look good at any age.

I mentioned in my ‘Woe Is Me’ post some of the items of clothing that I refuse to wear. When it comes down to it you don’t want to be ‘that person’. What person am I talking about? You’ll know them when you see them! For example, I went to Ozzfest one year (long story) and there was an older man, around my age, who was walking around wearing Tripp pants. You know the ones, wide legs, chains all over them. They just looked odd on somebody his age. Well, they quite frankly look odd on just about everybody but that’s not the point. Yes, you should be able to wear what you want at any age, but sometimes those choices aren’t the ‘right’ choices. Now, I’m not going to be telling you exactly what to wear, because I don’t know your personality or your exact style. If you don’t like what I have to say on the subject that’s fine, I’m an adult I can take criticism. However, don’t tell me I’m wrong just because my opinion is different from yours. Thanks in advance.

A lot of people have written about this subject but the majority of them have been younger than me. I find it odd when people younger than me try to tell me how I should dress. Yes, I’ll follow the fashion advice of some twenty year old living in a college dorm who thinks that Marilyn Manson invented the Goth subculture! That was sarcasm, by the way. If you are in your twenties, or even your thirties for that matter, just sit back and be quiet on the subject. Especially when you think that arm warmers are acceptable things to wear. I almost shuddered writing that.

You should automatically know what doesn’t and what does look good on you as you get older. Is that spiked collar that you wore twenty years ago not looking too good on you right now? There is a reason, it’s because you aren’t young any longer. Yes, it sucks that we have to get older and change the style of clothes that we wear, but it happens to each and every one of us. You aren’t all alone in the world striving for your individuality against all the odds! Did I just burst a bubble or two writing that? I certainly hope so!

About ten years ago I got rid of about 90% of my wardrobe? Why would I do such a crazy thing as that? For one I wasn’t going to clubs any longer and had nowhere to wear the clothes that I had collected over the years. Think about it, there is no point in keeping clothes when you have no place to wear them to. Yes, you can go around town wearing long net skirts and corsets, but you’d look a little over dressed. That may be fine for you, but that’s a tad too over the top for my tastes. Very, very rarely do people look good dressing like that every single day no matter where they go. I’ve never seen one in real life but I’m told they exist.

When I moved here the only items of clothing that I still had from my ubergoth past were my velvet coats, which I will NEVER get rid of no matter what. A nice velvet coat is hard to find damn it! Before I go on I would like to point out that I have gone through certain cycles of appearing ‘Goth’. Some years I care more about how I dress than others. I’m always the same on the inside but on the outside I can be a lazy wench. Lately though I have felt like dressing a bit better, hence the rebuilding of my wardrobe. Since I have been in that process for quite a few months now I have been very easily been able to pick out the things that I know will look good on me.

Things I have avoided:

SpikesĀ – Hell no. There has been a lot of clothing lately sold in shops that is mass produced that have spikes on them. At this point in history I think it’s crass to wear them.

Ripped Fishnets – If I wore them these days I would just look like a drunk woman who has fallen down some steps and ripped her tights.

CorsetsĀ – Granted I used to look damn good wearing them, but I can’t imagine going to M&S in the morning wearing one.

Mass produced ‘Goth’ clothing – I only have four items of clothing that fall into this category and since I don’t wear them with one another that’s okay. If your entire wardrobe consists of this it shows not only a lack of an imagination it also shows that you like to waste your money, because most of them look like cheaply made crap.

Where do I get my clothing? Half of my clothing comes from charity(thrift) shops and the other half comes from ‘normal’ high street shops. I always see kids online whining about how they don’t like regular shops because they aren’t ‘Goth’. Oh, get over it already. I have found some very cool pieces at New Look for very cheap. For instance I found a red, black and white plaid dress there for only 4 quid the other week. I’d much rather save some money and get something like that then spend ten times as much on something similar just because it’s a ‘Goth’ brand. The main charity shop where I live always has dark pieces of clothing there, and quite often they are of very good quality. Since some very rich people live here they will donate a skirt that original costs $300.00 and I’ll get it for five. I don’t care if it’s by a designer, but the fact that it’s sewn very well makes me happy. That means I won’t have to fix it any time soon!

Now I realize that what doesn’t work on me may work on you, or vice versa. For example, I wear horror and sci-fi t-shits sometimes. People may call that being lazy but I am a huge film nerd and can actually talk at some length about the film whose shirt I’m wearing. My husband and I don’t drive because this is Europe and you can actually walk to get to the store instead of having to drive 5 miles. Since that is the case wearing a t-shirt, jeans and boots makes a bunch more sense when we go for a long walk than wearing a long skirt and heels. Id rather be sensible that be in pain for a week.

So when it comes down to it you should automatically know what looks good on you as you reach middle age. Don’t hem and haw about it, only YOU know what looks good on you. You don’t need a twenty year old telling you how to dress and you certainly don’t need me. However, I’m really awesome,etc…