the Wilde Wood

What is Goth?

What is Goth?

A culture with it's own music, clothing styles, art and literature.
Goths usually dress in dark clothing with extreme hair, clothes and make-up.
Clothing styles influenced by regency, victorian and mediaeval fashions, amongst others.
Freedom of expression and creativity are major parts of the gothic lifestyle, whether socially, aesthetically or sexually. A theatrical bent, passion, deep rich, sensual and sensuous, positive, life-affirming. Nostalgic romanticism.
Tolerance, pacifist, non-mainstream religions and philosophies are quite common.
The music, the clothes, hanging out in the culture, clubs, pubs, festivals. Possibly encompasses some metal and dark ambient.
Many goths are interested in death, mythology, fantasy, the occult, rpgs and various creative passtimes, though not all goths are into any or all of these things.

what is goth not?

It is not about rebelling against the norm. Not that the 'norm' has much value with the diversity that surrounds us anyway. Goths do not reject society, though in many cases society has rejected Goths.

Implicitly about misery, suicide, vampires, satanism or violence. Like the rest of the population, not every goth is a manic depressive, though it could probably be claimed that the pressure to conceal such conditions is less in the goth scene.

What do Goths wear?

Clothes - leather, velvet, corsets, bodices, lace, fishnet, pvc, chains, zips, straps, satin. Usually black, but can be other dark colours - purples, dark reds, greens.
Hair - usually black, but can be red, purple, green, blue, short, long, spiked, shaved, braided, back combed ('teased' in the USA), fringes ('bangs').
Jewellry - silver features very highly, with chains, earrings, crosses, ankhs and pentacles occuring frequently.
Make-up - dramatic with pale (sometimes white) foundation, dark eyeliners and lipsticks (usually black).

What do Goths listen to?

Dark, moody musical styles
Goth does not easily fit into any single musical categorisation. If a listing of musical genres does not contain a general alternative section then bands and artistes associated with the Goth scene could easily appear in classical, rock, experimental, dance, folk and even pop.
Gothic rock, punk, electro, industrial, darkwave, ambient, black metal, death metal, thrash, heavy metal, new romantic, rock. Goths don't just listen to gothic music - their tastes vary and range outside the scene. Some goths listen to Marilyn Manson, Cradle of Filth, but that doesn't make either of these bands gothic (even if the members of said bands look gothic, or even if they are goths the band they're in aren't necessarily).

What do Goths believe in?

Religion - Goths are not necessarily satanist, pagan or christian, though it is possible to find examples of all three in the goth scene.
I personally have met goths who are christian, wiccan, jewish, taoist, buddhist, satanist, atheist, agnostic and more (if I remember any I'll add them).
Politics - as with religion, there are goths who support many different kinds of political party, including Labour, Tories, Liberal Democrats and Greens.
Philosophy - as open to debate as the above, though there is probably a belief that darkness is as beautiful and necessary as the light. An exploration of the dark aspects of life - death, insanity, irrationality - as well as (not instead of) happiness and joy.

The name 'Goth'

Visigoths and ostrogoths, germanic tribes which led to the overthrow of the roman empire from the 3rd to 5th centuries.
Western European style of architecture from twelfth to sixteenth century, characterised by large stone churches and cathedrals, tall thin arched windows, elaborate stonework, carvings and stained glass designs.
The gothic revival in architecture (also known as neo-gothic) took place in the early nineteenth century.
Style of art and literature extant in the late eighteenth / early nineteenth century, featuring a fascination with the dark and morbid, isolated or remote, desolate, gloomy settings, mysterious or violent events, psychological terror.


Major works

Modern Goth Reading


Early History

In the aftermath of punk a number of new music-based scenes arose, one of which later became goth as we know it.
Influenced by earlier music such as david bowie, iggy pop and the velvet underground as well as punk, bands such as siouxsie and the banshees, joy division, uk decay and bauhaus formed the nucleus of the new scene.
Many bands have a general outlook of irony, mistrust and lack of faith, though not necessarily doom and gloom. The backdrop was one of recession.


early eighties
kinda goth

Modern Gothic art

Subject matter consisting of graveyards, forests, cathedrals, lace, ribbons, fishnets, hair extensions, gowns, boots, period style clothing, fetish art.

What is a Goth

Someone who is into gothic music (whether early or new music) and who looks gothic. the gothic look generally involves lots of makeup, big hair and lots of black clothes.

Books about Goth:

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