I miss the days when no one had a clue what the term “Goth” meant. It was beyond “alternative” (note, the lowercase “a”). It was a total subculture. Then eMpTy Vee got their mitts on it and bands like “My Chemical Romance” and “Evanescence” became popular. Oh yeah, some idiot decided to throw the letters “ic” after the word making it even worse…but, I digress (as many goths do!).
In the beginning there was Punk. Punk was the sound of the disgruntled youth. They were tired of “flower power” and all that other granola-eating crap. They were angry. Well, some of them weren’t as angry, but were pretty disgruntled. From those days bands like The Cure, Bauhaus, and Joy Division rose up helping these kids find a niche. They weren’t as heavy as punk, but still just as strong in emotion. Thanks to movies like the classic Bela Legosi versions of “Dracula”, “Nosferatu”, and “The Hunger” (who would have thought that Susan Serandon could be hot?) a nice little sub-culture was born.
Over the next fifteen or so years other bands would form like Siouxie and the Banshees, Sisters of Mercy, The Mission, and The Cult. The Goths had a sound their own. They would have their little club nights where everyone would raid the local thrift stores for the blackest clothing they could find. Everyone found a unique style. Life was good.
Then, one day someone would walk into a club on their weekly “Goth Night” with a camera and everyone knew what they were. All of a sudden eMpTy Vee is turning them into the latest craze. Kids can no longer buy their stuff at thrift stores, but have to turn to places like Hot Topic to get their “official” Goth Gear so that they can look just as unique as their friends. They’re suddenly getting depressed for different reasons. It’s no longer that the world doesn’t understand them for being unique, but now it’s the world doesn’t understand them because they’re all the SAME.
Little sub-groups form: You’ve got your Raver Goths (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) with their glow sticks, your gravers (the ones that try to emulate the “old school” goths), your Anne Rice wannabes (“I’m so Goth, I’m dead!”), and my personal favourite: Emos (I guess even Goths need someone else to beat up on).
Needless to say a trip to the local coffeehouse became a joke and the clubs were getting too crowded. Nowadays, some Goth clubs have turned into chains with people that are actually paid to strut around looking depressed (one even has a former senator that struts around in a negligee all night. I shudder when I think of him) and it’s just another way to make a buck.
I look forward to the day when the popularity fades and I can break out my crushed velvet skirt and enjoy myself again.