Forgive me father, for I have sinned. Yes, I love Goth, although I'm not one myself. This makes me the Goth equivalent of a Fag Hag - a Goth Moth, perhaps, drawn, to coin a phrase beloved of goth-boi poets, to their dark, fatalistic flame.

There's few things I like more now and then than slapping on the black garb and panstick and heading to Camden's Electric Ballroom for Full Tilt on a Friday, where, I kid you not, you will see some of the sexiest little creatures in London. The PVC! The androgyny! Those unbearably cute 'bois'! In addition, unlike so many fashion-slave Hoxton joints, you can pick up some most original style ideas…

For a while in the mid-90s, 'The Ballroom' was little more than a rocked-up indie club, with a few tight-kecked 80's throwbacks, a few lost-looking Britpop kids. Oh, and cheap drinks. The drinks aren't cheap anymore, but they don't need to be - the queues stretch up the High Street by eleven o'clock; pale-faced pierced boys and girls and indeterminates.

The Ballroom itself is a marvellous relic - when you step inside, it automatically brings to mind that Hollywood clichŽ of the nasty bar/club full of weird punks and rockers where the clean-cut hero finds himself for some reason. The difference being that in the film, the clientele, being weird-looking, and this being Hollywood, would proceed to pull out knives and crowbars and act vicious, whereas in the Ballroom, the clientele are more likely to have nice chat with you and buy you a drink. Of course, once you get really into the scene daaahling, you get a member to sign you into the Slimelight on a Saturday, where they'd just die if they thought you ever went anywhere as common as the Ballroom - I mean, it's a meat market there. Exactly, I'd sayÉ



What is it about Goth? There is something sexy in the death/beauty axis and something frustrating in the way most of them don't seem to quite get it right; if I was one, I know I'd be Gother-Than-Thou, no question. Wishful thinking, of course, but part of the attraction has to be the way that even the most ordinary-looking boy or girl can become mysterious and sexy when squished into a good corset, whilst wearing lashings of eye-and-lip-exaggerating make-up. In the US, of course, burger chomping Bible-Belters have helped too, with their accusations of Satanism levelled at anyone who wears too much black eyeliner. What teenager can resist the lure of being called 'evil', as opposed to an 'annoying little sod'?

However, call most self-respecting black-dressed white-faced kid a Goth, and he or she will vehemently deny it, claiming that they're 'Just being themselves', or, if they're less self-conscious, that they're a 'creature of the night', or 'beautiful bitter dark whore' or some such. I envy those with the delightful self-possession to float around cyberspace calling themselves 'Rayvenn', 'DarkAngel' or 'Slutkitten.




The Web's proved a marvellous resource for Goths (hey, even the name's Gothic), and I could circle round their webrings for many an hour. Insecure self-worship, heartfelt rantings against this cruel and unfeeling world and frantic denials of being a Goth, with the obligatory angels, skulls, blood and bondage clothes. There's a panoply of 'Look At Me' sites for cute bois, grrrls, and couples. Ooh! Work that tombstone, baby!
From an anthropological point of view, it's just fascinating trying to follow the disparate strands that bound these people together - hardcore piercings 'n' PVC pervs will sneer at half-hearted 'Spooky Kids' and cute Glitter Goth girls will laugh off white-swathed Medievalists, and everyone will deride role-players.

Maybe it's just a phase, or maybe the Web's ability to bring together the disparate tribes of our lovely green orb will mean no subculture need lack a solid base of support again. But as long as there are teenagers and those who want to be that bit more beautiful (without resorting to surgery), there will always be Goth. And I will be watching. You have been warned...

Claudia Conway


Further reading:

Links to everything, whole pages of photos, oh joy!

'Disgustingly cute goth couples' (and links to their pages)
The original Goth Boi of the week page - swoon! Links to their pages, too




W H E R E ?
Relief Fund For Romania, Clapham.

W H E N ?
June 2001.

W H A T ?
Trying on a pinstripe man's suit jacket for that Patti Smith look. I slide my hands into the pockets in order to slouch attractively before the mirror. My hands touch something cold, plastic, wet. A knotted, used condom full of sperm. Neeurgh. How gross! Just this once, the shop let me use their staff's hand-washing facilities. Thank fuck.

Everyone's got a thrift trauma... what's yours?
Tell us!


A L S O   O N  C H A Z Z I N G The Perfect Score
Charlie, Scope and the perfect white fur coat. A thrift-store love affair.

The Wierd World of Men's Thrifting
'Do not look at the records. Do not look at the records.' Andy K lets us in on some secrets.

Wonderful Walworth Road
It's a booty crawl down South London's thrifting hotspot


T H R I F T   F A C T I O D

Then again, there's always BARTERING. Have a clothes swap in your front room and give the leftovers to charity. No cash involved. Revolution!!!!