Violence against goths is a hate crime
By: Simon Price of The Guardian
From emo kids to metallers, young people should be free to express themselves without fear of assault. I should know – I call myself a recovering goth, but I still get abuse on the streets of Brighton
Sophie Lancaster was murdered in 2007. Greater Manchester police has begun recording offences against members of alternative subcultures as hate crimes. Photograph: Lancashire Police/PA
When is a goth not a goth? The politics of nomenclatures and epithets, when it comes to youth culture, are fraught: people who have consciously separated themselves from the mainstream are understandably wary of accepting any label, especially one given to them by the media. "How do you spot a goth?" the old joke used to run. "They'll swear they're not a goth," was the punchline. The logic of the witches' ducking stool applied: you were damned if you did, damned if you didn't (and probably a fan of the Damned, either way).
These days, if anyone asks, I tend to say I'm a "recovering goth". My own gothic period was 1986-1993, and I seldom participate in the subculture itself any more, but certain habits still linger: I'm reluctant to leave the house without full makeup and carefully spiked hair, I have a tendency to dress entirely in black, and retain an undying fondness for the gloomy alternative rock of the 80s.
Siouxsie and the Banshees: goth's post-punk beginnings. Photograph: Stevenson/Rex Features
The goth scene emerged from the arty end of the post-punk fallout, when a gaggle of stray Blitz kids decamped to the Batcave Club and began listening to, and subsequently making, dark, doomy music whose primary obsessions were sex, death, decadence, horror and the mysteries of the occult. Early bands described as "goth" – though hardly ever by themselves – included Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, the Birthday Party, the Cure, Killing Joke, the Cult and the Sisters of Mercy.
Goth, with its twin capitals of Soho-Camden and Leeds-Bradford, became one of Britain's biggest youth tribes, and the goth look – big, backcombed black hair, ghostly white skin, scarlet lipstick, heavy eyeliner, lace, buckles and PVC – became an easy cultural identifier. By the early 90s, however, it had run out of steam, overshadowed by new crazes such as acid house, Madchester, grunge and Britpop. In the UK, the scene went underground, but was kept alive – or undead – by enclaves in Europe (where it turned electronic) and America (where it went metallic).
Marilyn Manson: goth revival. Photograph: Ferdy Damman/EPA
A full-scale revival occurred at the turn of the millennium, arguably powered by two forces: the global success of Marilyn Manson, and the existence of the internet. This time around, the dandyish look of the 80s had lost favour, and for male goths, long hair and trenchcoats had replaced mega-quiffs and frilly shirts, making them almost indistinguishable from (traditionally more masculine) metallers.
Meanwhile, a relatively new scene – emo – had arrived. Originally a minor subdivision of American hardcore punk, emo became a worldwide phenomenon, as bands including My Chemical Romance, Panic! at the Disco and Paramore welded pained teenage angst to urgent pop-punk melodies. Older goths tend to view shopping-mall emo kids, with their smudged eyeliner and dyed hair, as merely "baby goths".
Paramore: 'Teenage angst with urgent pop-punk melodies.'
And, while there are dozens of even smaller subgenres, from cybergoth to screamo to steampunk, there's no doubt that the distinctions between the four main tribes identified by Greater Manchester police – goths, punks, emos, metallers – are now extremely blurred to the untrained eye, with significant crossover between them.> >
- Dephe Mode; Delta Machine
- Whitby Goth Weekend Festival
- Bauhaus' Peter Murphy pleads not guilty to hit and run and drug possession charges Read more at http://www.nme.com/news/bauhaus/69331#FaJ4PVWSE9ttLy6y.99
- Peter Murphy arrested for alleged DUI hit-and-run in Glendale
- PETER MURPHY ANNOUNCES THE MR. MOONLIGHT TOUR CELEBRATING 35 YEARS OF BAUHAUS