Friday, August 12, 2011

The Goth Challenge

I found this challenge through a Google Sparks link to the Juliet's Lace blog. It looks like fun, so I will be going through the challenge here.

Day 1 – How did you come across the subculture?

I was in high school (my school was grades 7-12). It was somewhere around the late 80s or early 90s when I became aware that there was a goth subculture. But looking back, I was already immersed in gothiness long before the realization that there was definition for my tastes.

As a child, I had a thing for the creepy and scary. My mother said that when I watched the Wizard of Oz for the first time around age 2, I was enthralled by the Wicked Witch of the West. I was apparently terrified, but would not allow her to change the channel or turn off the TV. From there grew my fascination with movie villains. I adored the Evil Queen in Snow White. I was fascinated by Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. When the Black Cauldron came out, I thought it was the best Disney movie ever (I still think so).
I remember watching the Fiddler on the Roof and A Christmas Carol at a young age with my parents and being absolutely thrilled with the ghost scenes.

Disney Villains
I was introduced to monster movies and murder mysteries by my aunt and grandmother. My aunt used to take me to the theater for Godzilla double features and on occasions, the Hammer films. My grandmother watched the weekly Mystery! and Agatha Christie shows as well as movies like Arsenic and Old Lace with me.

By the early 80s, I would sneak down stairs to watch late night monster movies. And at sleep overs, my friends and I would manage to get our hands on the slasher movies. I recall watching A Nightmare on Elm Street in 1984 at a friend's house. Yes, it scared the hell out of me, but I couldn't get enough of the scary stuff either.

I have always been a very avid reader. I read children's versions of many of Charles Dickens' novels. I developed a deep love for the Dickensian and Victorian era. When I was 8 (1983), I read The Lord of the Rings and was drawn into the realms of science fiction and fantasy. That was also the year I discovered Edgar Allen Poe, thanks to my third grade teacher who recognized that I needed more advanced things to read, and that I liked scary things. From that point I read a strong mixture of sci-fi, fantasty, horror, and the classics.
Edgar Allen Poe
Musically, I was a little sheltered. I grew up about 30 minutes from Pittsburgh, PA. Now, that doesn't seem that far, but back then, where we lived was extremely rural. And the Pittsburgh area is steeped in classic rock and country music with a heavy dash of top 40. I never liked country music. I can tolerate classic rock, but I'd prefer to not listen to it. I did listen to top 40. But that was how I began to discover the sounds that I liked.

Once again, it was 1984, and I heard the new Depeche Mode album People are People and I fell in love with their sound. That lead me to The Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen and the wonderful sounds of 80s darkwave. In the early 90s I heard Nine Inch Nails' Pretty Hate Machine and took a trip down the Industrial and EBM path.

Echo and the Bunnymen
So, I guess I have always been a goth at heart. 1984 was a hugely formative year for me in the goth sense; but I really consciously joined and understood the subculture around 1989 or 90.

No comments:

Post a Comment