Wednesday, November 27, 2013

15 Things Goths can be Thankful For

Thanksgiving is a contentious holiday at the best of times, it's history is a troubling one and the way it is directly followed by Black Friday (which you can probably guess how I feel about) means that it's not exactly everyone's favorite holiday. But, I like the idea of setting aside a day to feel Thankful for things, because whether we like it or not, life gets busy and sometimes we forget to be grateful. So, here are fifteen Goth-relate things I want to express my gratitude for today:



  1. Our local thrift stores, and the people that donate to them
  2. The Usual Suspects: Siouxsie Sioux, Robert Smith, Peter Murphy, and other Goth musicians that gave our subculture it's unique sound and flavor. 
  3. The professional tattooists and Piercers that give many Goths our distinctive body mods (tip generously, folks!)
  4. The caretakers of our local graveyards, especially ones that welcome the occasional picnic 
  5. Small businesses dedicated to bringing well-made crafts, art objects, clothes, and more to the Goth community
  6. Slack dress codes at work and school that allow for Goth-y clothing
  7. Hammer Horror movies
  8. Black liquid eyeliner that stays put
  9. Bats, and all they do for our ecosystems as well as our wardrobes
  10. Jillian Venters and other Goths that dispense advice to those in need
  11. Whatever committee of high-fashion mobsters that sit around and decide every couple of years that we need another Goth trend, allowing for the abundance of darker clothing on sales racks and in thrift-stores everywhere
  12. YA Novelists who write with freak-y kids in mind.
  13. Tim Burton. You can guess why.
  14. Shoes and boots that break in easily
  15. The online community of Goths all over the net that bring us together and let us express ourselves
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Giving Back to Bats

Bats need no introduction to the Goth subculture, they've been there from the beginning, and they're one of the subculture's favorite motifs and mascots. But, bats aren't in great standing ecologically, so I thought I'd write a little post listing some of the ways we, as a subculture, can give back to our favorite animals.


So, why do bats need help? Bat populations, particularly in the United States, have been in trouble for a while. White Nose syndrome, a fungal infection you can read more about here, and loss of habitat have driven bat population to dire levels (also, surprisingly, wind turbines that generate wind power have been damaging to bats). Bats, which contribute to flower pollination and insect population control, are a big player in our ecosystems, and without them, we'll definitely notice. So, they're not just cute faces! Bat conservation is extremely important.

Besides, how can you say no to these faces? 


But what can we do?

Firstly, I don't know many Goths who would have a huge problem with finding a bat in their home, but there are good and bad ways to get them out. So, if you or someone you know finds yourself with a bat in your home, Bat Conservation International has a video on how to get it out without hurting yourself or the bat, and here is a quick written tutorial for outdoor and indoor bat extraction. There are slightly different procedures if you live in the UK, where bats are protected by law, so doing a quick search on your country's bat-related laws would be a good first step.

Secondly, for all your gardners out there, there are ways to make your garden more bat friendly. The Bat Conservation Trust has an essay outlining how to encourage bats, but it basically comes down to these tips: Build a bat box, build a pond, go light on the pesticides, let your garden get a little overgrown, and plant night-scented flowers (such as Four O'Clock and Night-Scented Stock.)

One of the biggest problems leading to bat endangerment is deforestation, which depletes the habitats and food sources of bats. Building a bat box is one way to give back to bats if you have enough space on your property, and it has the added bonus that you'll be able to see the bats swooping in and out during the evening and early morning hours. If you're interested in building one of your own, you can find plans and information about bat houses on the Bat World Sanctuary website, and another one here.

If you have $40 (plus shipping) you can sponsor a bat in Bat World sanctuary. Just follow the link to scroll through the pictures, read the bats' stories, and choose one to sponsor. Sponsors receive a packet with a big, glossy picture, more information about your bat, plus some other goodies.

Bonus: If you're a geek like me, you might appreciate this virtual tour of the bat world sanctuary.

How do you all think goths could help bats in our day-to-day lives? Or, do you have any cool bat stories?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Style Inspiration... The Wiggles?

Way back (in October) I posted a list of 25 Goth Posts I'd Read In a Heart Beat, which was a not-so-serious list of suggestions for blog posts. Well, I'd nearly forgotten about that post until a reader send me this link to a Polyvore collection based on #25 - Style Inspiration: The Wiggles.

...what?

"Goth Fashion Inspiration: The Wiggles" Purple


"Goth Fashion Inspiration: The Wiggles" Blue


"Goth Fashion Inspiration: The Wiggles" Red


"Goth Fashion Inspiration: The Wiggles" Yellow


Thank you for sending these to me! They certainly gave me a good chuckle. (And I'm not even a little bit ashamed to say that, with some tweaking, I might wear these.)

Now, tell me, what are the weirdest sorts of Goth style inspiration you can think of?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Review: Body Jewellery Shop


 Ever since I got my tragus pierced I've been really into earrings. Maybe it's because the little black stud looks so lonely there all by himself, maybe because I now know what to look for in jewelry. Anyway, my interests in earrings has been re-kindled and I was happy to receive a few pieces from BodyJewelleryShop.com.



 I placed my order for these pieces on October 23rd and received them on November 8th, not bad for an order from the UK. They came in a small padded envelope, nicely organized into little baggies to keep the jewelry from getting lost or separated. Each of the Alchemy Gothic pieces included a little pamphlet on how to care for Alchemy Gothic, which I found to be a nice inclusion.

First up were these lovely little Alchemy Gothic skull studs, and when I say little I mean little. I dropped one on the floor at my work and it took me ten minutes to find it! But I'm so glad I did, they're really nice and subtle and you can't really tell what they are unless you're really getting up close to my ear, which I love for a more casual or even corp-goth look. They are made of surgical steel, so even when I wear them for a days they don't itch or pull at all. These earrings are $8.90 for a pair, which I feel is an absolute steal for earrings that I'll be wearing for a long time. If you want to buy your own, they're available on the shop here. ((They also send me two earring backs with the earrings, which is brilliant. I'm forever in need of new earring backs.))



 Next I got this wonderful little skeleton hand tragus stud. Unfortunately, my tragus is still healing and I've been advised not to try to swap out the jewelry for another couple months, so I have to hold off on that. This piece doesn't have a straight metal barbell but rather a bioflex stem, which is great if you're allergic to metals. My only gripe with this is that the skeleton hand I received doesn't have the black jewel featured in the picture on the website, it has a little clear one. Not a deal breaker, but a little annoying that it's not exactly as advertised. If you want your own little skeleton hand, it's on the website here for $5.90. I'll be sure to update this page with a picture of it being worn as soon as I can change my jewelry out.


 The next piece I ordered was a little steel clip-on cuff with two black balls. I've been considering getting my cartilage pierced for a while, so this was nice to be able to see what one of those piercings would look like without having to go through the piercing itself. I was worried about the clip being too tight or too loose, but it fits nicely on my ear and doesn't budge for the whole day. The website shows it being worn with the balls facing inward, but I've worn them facing both ways and they still look great. I don't think I'd recommend doing anything incredibly active with it on, or sleeping with it, but wearing it around all day for class was just fine. If you're aching for your own little clip, you can find it on the website here for $2.90.

 Next are these cute stainless steel spiderweb studs, which are slightly bigger than the skull earrings but still extremely pretty. The little gems inside them remind me of spiders themselves, but without the eight legs. Because they're a lot flatter and the light reflects across the whole surface of the spiderweb at once, they're not exactly subtle so I would recommend these for flashier looks. I've been thinking about wearing more spider themed outfits and these are definitely going to make it into those. They're listed online here for $4.40.

The last thing I got in this package was this Alchemy Gothic bat necklace, which to me was the total must-get of the order. It's a big bat, three-dimensional so that it projects off of the chest. It's definitely a showy piece, but it's my preferred length for necklaces and...it's a bat. Can't have too many bats! If you want to get your hands on one, they're on the website here for $25.


These spider earrings, oddly enough, came to me in an entirely separate package by themselves a few days later. I can't think of why that might be, but I'm not really complaining. I wore them yesterday (along with several other spider-themed items of clothing... it was that kind of day) and got lots of compliments on them. So, I'm pretty psyched, even with their late arrival date. 

Have you all made any new purchases recently?

Disclaimer: The items in this review were sent to me specifically for review purposes. However, as per my review policy, all opinions were completely my own. I really am thrilled with these pieces. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Goths in the New York Times

On Halloween the New York Times featured two articles of spooky interest in their paper. Two articles, one called "Goth is Dead, Long Live Goth" (read online here) and called "Halloween or not, a Softer Shade of Goth" (read online here) graced my mailbox this week courtesy of my dear old Gran. And how do they fare? Let's dive right in.


Refreshingly, "Goth is Dead, Long Live Goth" dispenses with those stock three sentence histories of Goth subculture (usually referencing Siouxsie Sioux, Bela Lugosi's Dead, and that time in the nineties that we Do Not Talk About) and dives right into the heart of the matter. What is the heart? Well, apparently just a compilation of weird little tidbits on how to really dress Goth. But it also begins with talking about how Goth never dies because Southpark talks about it occasionally? This section of the article is advised by a "self-proclaimed Mall-Goth" and "Lauren M.E. Goodlad, a professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana, and an expert on goth culture." Under a section entitled "Blood, Blogs, and Tears" the article kindly refers to the Goth spheres of Tumblr as places to cry where "Everything is incredible and everybody is sad."

Oddly, it's accompanied by blips under the header "Goth Goes Mainstream (Again)" about how Goth/Goth-y things are featured in mainstream media. Monster High Dolls are mentioned, as is "Bat's Day", and an album cover where Rihanna wears eyeliner and a black dress (2spoopy.) Apparently the thesis of this section, essentially, is that since Goth fashion has been used by the mainstream, Goth itself is dead. Apparently as soon as certain aspects of something become popular, the thing itself just disappears. Not like Goths have been dealing with mainstream fashion using black lipstick and fishnets and "Victorian" or "Punk" clothing for decades (and picking up nice clothing items on sales racks afterwards, of course.)

"Halloween or Not, A Softer Shade of Goth" tackles the very new and not talked about by everyone who
ever picked up a tube of black lipstick topic of how to balance a darker look without looking too spooky. It's a goldmine of terrible advice, including my absolute favorite from professional makeup artist Suzy Gerstein: "Don't even be afraid to mix in some black eye pencil with the [lip] color. The key is looking like you just ate a bird, or a rat."

...what?

The article also recommends that you embrace a "soft, feminine" version of the Goth look (represented, apparently, by Alice Cooper) as if Goths didn't already embrace a variety of makeup styles from Norwegian Black Metal Band to dark fairy princess. And Goth's don't own black nail polish. We've had this discussion already! Kim Kardashian's black nail polish isn't Goth, it's just black! Jeez.

Besides that, I'm troubled by both article's insistence on pale skin. Everywhere in the article: Pale, pale, pale, pale, pale. This is representative, at least in my eyes, of Goth's ever-present race issue. While Goth continues to struggle for representation of people of color, the mainstream media blunders around talking about how paleness is Goth's virtue (as long as you look "ethereal", not "chalky" or whatever.) And you know what? That's bullshit. Pale skin is about as relevant to Goth today as Nick Cave's weird porno mustache.

Honestly, I'm not that upset at these articles, just a little baffled by their existence. There is absolutely nothing in them that hasn't been said elsewhere (by Goths and "WE'RE NOT GOTHS WE JUST LIKE BLACK LIPSTICK OKAY" types alike) and they're just lazy pieces of journalism. What do you all think?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dream Goth Meet-Up: Glasgow Necropolis

In planning for studying abroad again, I've been thinking a lot about what places and things I really want to see for Scotland round two. Glasgow Necropolis, a Victorian cemetery in Glasgow, Scotland, has made the list again and again. Why? Well, because I can't stop fantasizing about holding a Goth meet up there, of course!


According to the website, Glasgow Necropolis is a multi-denominational cemetery founded in the 1830's and has extensive records of the deceased "including profession, ages, sex, and cause of death" and of visitors to the cemetery. There are also monuments "here designed by major architects and sculptors of the time, including Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson, Charles Rennie Macintosh and JT Rochead, in every architectural style." And for those of you that are still squeamish about hanging around cemeteries, it is a public park and trail, so you are allowed to be there without "disrespecting the dead" or what-have-you.

 (If you're a geek like me and get excited by this kind of thing, their children's page has a bunch of cool facts about the Necropolis.)

 Ideally I would take a few other Goths, maybe no more than eight, who also like history and cemeteries, and wander around Glasgow Necropolis in the afternoon sometime in early autumn. Dress code would be casual, whatever you can trek around in. Maybe we could hook in a photographer to go with us. There are walking tours available, but I probably wouldn't opt for one unless other people insisted.

Of course, I'll have to delay hosting an actual event until I actually get to Scotland, but it's fun to daydream. Here are more pictures to tide me over:

   Source. 


 


  Source. 

What are your dream meet ups? Is anything coming up?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Gothy Sweater Looks



 I have to say, I never really was big on sweaters until I went to college in New England. Here, everyone wears sweaters. Sweaters with jeans, sweaters with skirts, sweaters with slacks and, yes, sweaters with leggings. And after shivering in my thinner cover-ups, it's hard not to crave a big cozy sweater to cuddle up in (while studying, of course...) But, anyway, I thought I'd show a few pretty Goth looks with sweaters of varying kinds.

First is your basic spooky sweater with shorts and layered tights, a perfect low-key outfit for a lazy day. With ghosts, of course, just so we don't all go through Halloween withdrawal.


Sweaters


I like this look because it looks reminds me of a goth-y version of a look one of my professors might wear while running into class 5-10 minutes late and telling us stories about how hectic her morning has been. Still somewhat sophisticated, but cute and casual and completed by a Joy Division mug. What else could you want?


Sweater2

This one is another lazy sweater look, this time with leggings. I'm totally on board with the recent spike in popularity of clothing with skeleton prints and ouija boards, so this features both. Call me trendy, but they're just so cute and have been especially appropriate for the season. 


Sweater1

This set I wanted to make something with a little more edge, which I didn't know if I could pull off because sweaters...edgy? Really? They're just so cozy! But I like this look, I imagine it being worn by a Goth with fantastic hair freezing their butt off on a street corner while waiting for the bus to go do Gothy things. Like hanging out in a cemetery. Or picking up a Pumpkin Spice Latte. 


Cozy Goth

This last look uses a sweater dress, a fantastic invention which many designers seem to get horribly wrong. Seriously, you'd think it wouldn't be hard, but they all are weirdly long, lumpy, or have very dropped waists. But I liked this one, if you look closely the knit of the dress has a cool waist design that reminds me of a long-line corset.


Sweaterdress



Do you all wear sweaters? How do you pair yours with your Goth wardrobe?