Saturday, October 29, 2016

Travel Update: Where have I been?

The short answer: The UK, Norway, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and now Hawaii.

The long answer: phew.

I'm so glad that the queue system was invented for online posts, since I've hardly glanced at Tumblr and Blogger since August. I've been pretty much swamped. When I'm working, I'm working hard, and then it's my down time and I'm out exploring. Not much time to write blog posts. So, I thought I'd share a few of my highlights.

Na Pali Coast, Hawaii

Las Palmas, Canary Islands

Bay of Naples

Palermo, Italy

Pompeii, Italy

Rome, Italy

Olden, Norway 


Florence, Italy

Ajaccio, France


Pisa, Italy

How have you all been? Any fun trips coming up?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Origins of Gothic Rock

Most people reading this blog will know "the story" about how Goth came to be. We can recite pretty well how the punk music adopted darker, more romantic roots in the late seventies and into the eighties, how iconic clubs like The Batcave came to draw us all together. Still, intrepid nerd that I am, I wanted to learn more. So, I went digging and found the article to first use the term "gothic rock" to describe music.



Report : Lighting Fires In A Rejuvenated Rock Scene. 
Four Doors To The Future: Gothic Rock Is Their Thing

"Which one is Jim Morrison?" one girl said to another. But he was not on stage, and a drummer and an organist and a guitar player looked impatiently toward a curtained door.

They sat in darkness punctuated by the steady red lights of amplifiers as tall as a man and the glow of a hundred cigarettes dancing in the evening breeze. The curtain on the door hung like velvet one inch thick.

Contempt Greets Appearance

Two hands pierced the slit of the curtain and drew it back sharply as a spotlight racked the stage and exposed a man who squinted in the brightness. There was applause that he did not care to
hear, and the spotlight caught the contempt in the faces of the other musicians as Jim Morrison tentatively fingered the microphone.

He screamed and reeled, throttling the microphone and gazing at a sea of blank faces. He shouted a strung out, distorted and violated stream of word-images which twisted the faces into expressions of shock and yet fascination.

Then there were the drums, crashing against the pulsating rush of the organ while the guitar pirouetted around and through the rhythmic contest with a new sort of terrifying insistence. The
Doors were opening as Morrison's words found their way through the cicuitous maze of a thousand
wires in the impassive, deafening amplifiers.

He sang, or rather groaned, or talked to himself out loud as the group raced on through "break on Through" to lead off the set. The men and their instruments work well together in complete interaction, crystallizing the night air into a texture of sound which a person can run his hand over.

But Morrison gets all the attention, with black curls cascading over the upturned collar of a leather jacket worn the way all leather jackets should be: tight, tough, and somehow, menacing. Some people have said that Morrison is beautiful, and others have learned the meaning of the word charisma by watching him.

And then there is "Light my Fire," and Morrison's brass and leather voice strokes the lyrics with all the subtlety in which he handles the microphone. The song deserves to be done the Door's way, with suggestive intonation and instrumentation striving together to produce the incredible erotic pressure of the driving organ-scream climax.

After all, sex is what hard rock is all about. But there is terror in the sexuality of "The End," Morrison's black masterpiece of narrative poetry about a physical and spiritual odyssey which finishes in patricide and incest.

Morrison Finishes Strong

Morrison is at his best, in this song, doing his own thing while the organist bends low and presses hard on the keys and the guitarist walks unconcernedly in and out of the spotlight. The drummer sweats.

Morrison dislodged the microphone and staggered blindly across the stage as the lyrics and screams which are "The End" poured out of his mouth, malevolent, satanic, electric and on fire. He stumbled and fell in front of a towering amplifier and sobbed to himself. The guitarist nudged him with the neck of his guitar, and a mouth in the audience said knowingly, "He's stoned."

But he wasn't. He sat up on his knees and stretched out his arms in an attitude of worship toward the cold amplifier, the impartial mediator between the virtues and absurdity of a music dependent upon circuits and ohms.

The audience did not know whether to applaud or not. The guitarist unplugged the electric cord which makes his instrument play, the organist stepped off left, the drummer threw his sticks to the ground in contempt and disgust, and Morrison had disappeared through the velvet curtain without a wave of a smile.

The Doors do not cater to the nameless faces beyond the foot lights. The group is not kind, and they do not entertain in any traditional sense. They allow other people to witness the manner of their existence and the pain and pleasure inherent in their imaginations.

The audience was scared, and rightly so. The Doors are not pleasant, amusing hippies preferring a grin and a flower; they wield a knife with a gold and terrifying edge. The Doors are closely akin to the national taste for violence, and the power of their music forces each listener to realize what violence is in himself.

"I think the Doors are a representative American group," says Ray Manzarek, group organist. "America is a melting pot and so are we. Our influences spring from a myriad of sources which we have amalgamated, blending divergent styles into our own thing. We're like the country itself."

Manzarek and Morrison both have degrees from UCLA, and the organist in conversation speaks so articulately and precisely that he gives the impression of being an English professor forced out of academia and into a world of long hair, reverb and the fuzz bass.

The Doors met New York for better or for worse at a press conference in the gloomy vaulted wine cellar of the Delmonico hotel, the perfect room to honor the Gothic rock of the Doors.

It was a good scene. Very few press people, and a lot of the city's rock hangers-on, hirsute and free, were there, all sampling a new sort of high: alcohol. Plastic chicks in mischievous miniskirts sipped daiquiris and waited for Morrison to show. No one was sure he would. But Andy Warhol walked in, and everybody breathed a sigh of relief to find that this indeed was the place to be.

There is a story of the meeting of two electric world-historical heroes; that is, Jim Morrison and Nico, underground film star and singer with Warhol's Velvet Underground. It was love at first sight which later grew into lust, according to a friend of Morrison. Anyway, Warhol seems to be interested in Morrison's potential as a movie star.

Morrison Makes Entrance

Suddenly all eyes turned to the door, where Morrison was making another entrance, sweeping into the room and gathering up the adulation to put in the pocket of his leather jacket.

He put his arm around a reporter, spilling his drink, and compelled him toward the bar. A question which Morrison has been asked before came out somehow, "Jim, were you stoned up there on stage?" And the reply came back, "Man, I'm always stoned."

But apparently Morrison is not into drugs but has stuck with the old American stand-by, alcohol. He got his drink, spoke to the reporter in words which sailed over his head and bounced off the walls of the wine cellar like dead tennis balls. Morrison caromed off and hugged a chick. He was in his element. All the eyes were his.

"You could say it's an accident that I was ideally suited for the work I am doing," says Morrison. "It's the feeling of a bow string being pulled back for 22 years and suddenly being let go.

"I am interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos, especially activity that seems to have no meaning," he says. "It seems to be the road toward freedom."

Morrison writes nearly all of the Doors' lyrics, and his work does have meaning. There are rock critics in our time, and when they speak of Morrison's lyrics, visions of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Joyce and Artaud pop out of their critiques.

But hard rock was never meant for academicism. There is truth in the Doors' beat which drives home the meaning of their fascination with symbolism, streams of consciousness, cruelty and the bizarre in whatever form. That's where the Doors are.

The themes, symbols, and imagery of the Doors are stronger in their second album, which manages to transcend the fever-pitch intensity and macabre beauty of their first. The Doors have grown, a good sign.

Significantly titled "Strange Days," the new album's music is just as erotic, just as hard-driving, just as compelling but twice as terrifying as their first effort.

Rock Stasis is Bad

The album contains neither the sophistication and cautious optimism of the Beatles, nor the self-conscious hedonism of the Rolling Stones. The Doors are doing their own thing, and innovation is better than stasis as far as rock is concerned. With the Doors, it's getting better all the time.

Even the name is significant. Morrison once explained why it exists: "We're the Doors because you go into a strange town, you check into a hotel. Then after you have played your gig, you go back to your room, down an endless corridor lined with doors until you get to your own.

"But when you open the door you find there are lots of people inside, and you wonder: Am I in the wrong room? Or is it some kind of party?"

John  Stickney."


So, not only is it historical, but I think I have to hold this article up as the best example of music journalism I've ever read. Lordy. It's good.

Wikipedia mentioned the article on its Gothic Rock page, but the links they provided were broken. So, if you were curious, it was published in the Williams Record, the Williams College newspaper, on October 24th, 1967. It's nestled among articles about student protests, the Vietnam war, and college life. The author's name is John Stickney. I wonder if he knows the sensation he caused. You can find it on the archive link here (it's a pain to link directly to, so open the folder called 1967 October, then folder 24, then number 3.)

Of course, Wikipedia could be totally wrong here. Have you heard of earlier origins of the term Gothic rock?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

5 Bloody Halloween Cocktails

Being as it's my second Halloween as a 21+ year old person in the US (despite the fact that I was in the UK for two Halloweens when I was 18 and 20 so I have boozed up... but anyway) I've had Halloween cocktails on my mind. To celebrate my bold Halloween tradition of pretty much always going as a vampire, I've also been experimenting with blood cocktails. So, here are five blood-themed adult treats I've been trying and loving for the Halloween season.

Note: If you're under the legal drinking age of your country, virgin Halloween punches and mocktails are pretty easy to come across. When in doubt, add food coloring and a fancy garnish.

This Bloody Orange cocktail is all about the presentation. Homemade raspberry syrup is placed into a plastic syringe for the guests to squirt into a fruity orange mix, creating a bloody blob in their drink. 

This white coconut martini is made bloody by the lovely red rim garnish. Theoretically you could add this bloody rim to any drink, alcoholic or not, but I think it just looks delightfully spooky with the white martini. 

This bloody shot is created by our own Goth darling It's Black Friday on Youtube as a sequel to her black death alcoholic punch and is a mixture of cherry brandy and Grenadine. Watch her mix it up on her Youtube video here.

Milkshakes are well-loved around here and this bloody twist is absolutely perfect for a Halloween celebration. This recipe actually has no alcohol, but I've made it with various boozy add-ins like Rumchata and Brandy and all are super good. 

This is a standard martini recipe that has a bit of a twist: a bloody heart in the middle! The secret to this bleeding-heart martini is a baby beat which serves to redden the water and looks like a creepy little bloody heart. I like beets and this idea is really cute.

Do you drink on Halloween? What are your favorite spooky type cocktails?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Five Cemeteries I Would Love to Visit

Since my job requires a lot of travel, I've been expanding my horizons and making tons of lists of places I want to go and things I want to do while I'm there. Since my hotel and plane costs are covered by my company, this seems like the time to get out and do things (when I'm not busy. And I usually am, haha.)

Of course, my interests as a tourist are a little bit different than most people's, so for now, here is my list of five cemeteries I would love to visit.

1. Hollywood Forever Cemetery - California

Okay, to be frank here, I mostly want to go for one of their movie nights. I have a lot of interest in watching people reclaim a positive nature with death, and what could be better than watching movies in a cemetery with a group of friends? I'll just need to get to the West Coast sometime.

2. St. Roch Cemetery #1 - New Orleans, Louisiana

St. Roch is known for another modern burial practice that I find interesting--leaving seemingly ordinary objects on tombs. New Orleans cemeteries are truly incredible for the mixture of cultures that gave them birth, so the history in them tends to be truly rich and incredible. I'd love to walk around as many of them as I can.

3. Père Lachaise Cemetery - Paris, France

My only European pick on this list is Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris's largest cemetery. Burials began in the early nineteenth century, so picking your way through the cemetery you can find a lot of information about the evolution of burial practices throughout the decades and centuries. One day I'm going to make a trip out of seeing all the death sites in Paris, what a delightfully gruesome city.

4. Bonaventure Cemetery - Savannah Georgia 

As a lover of Southern Gothic literature and aesthetics, I feel like it's time to make a pilgrimage to one of the most incredibly beautiful cemeteries in the South. Bonaventure was featured on the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt, and the delightful Caitlin Doughty of Ask a Mortician has a video up talking a bit about her time in the cemetery.

5. General Cemetery of Guayaquil - Guayaquil, Ecuador 

Lastly, the cemetery that Historic Houston has called the most beautiful cemetery in South America, General Cemetery of Guayaquil. Also known as the White City, this cemetery is filled with incredible white marble architecture and monuments. It looks truly incredible in the photographs, and I would love to see for myself.

What cemeteries would you all love to visit? What are your favorites?

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Black and Gold Halloween Decor Inspiration

My work situation does mean that I can't exactly decorate tons, but that hasn't stopped me from daydreaming about Halloween decor. Specifically this year I am thinking about is a black and gold Halloween decor scheme. Gold can add an awesome vintage occult vibe, so I'm completely a fan of it for year round decor, but Halloween is the perfect time to bust out all the glimmering gold for people who are less certain.

Besides, so much of this can be DIYed with a can of gold spray paint!

So, here are some things that are inspiring me:

Halloween Mantel Ideas

Moon Phase Sheets

DIY Gilded Insect Taxidermy

Palmistry Jewelry Hand Display

Gold Branches (I think some of these in a tall vase of bare black branches would be very elegant.)

Black Gold Leaf Deer Skull

Gold Spider Black and White Decor

For more inspiration, check out my Halloweentown Ideas and Gothic Gold Pinterest boards!

How are you all planning on decorating for Halloween this year?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Things for Goths to Buy in October

It's October, so if ever shops were going to stock things appropriate for Goths, now is the time. This list may not apply as much if you live in a country that doesn't celebrate Halloween, but hopefully online is also an option. Personally I have a list of things to get now that black and purple colorschemes, stripes, vampire motifs, and more have come into fashion for the month.

So, here's my list:

  • Candles! Look for colors and shapes you can't get year-round. Black and white stripes have been very popular lately, for example.
  • Washi tape! I'm sure you all know about my love of Washi tape, right? Well, now is the time!
  • Baking supplies! Cupcake wrappers, spooky sprinkles, cookie molds/cutters, etc. are now coming out in all sorts of spooky shapes. For more inspiration, check out my Goth Kitchen Accesso
  • ries Pinterest board!
  • Small accessories! Obviously these are probably not going to be of the highest quality, but even the drug stores near me seem to have earrings and hair clips with bats or whatever on them. Something cute if not worn daily!
  • Stationary! Greeting cards and envelopes are the best thing to look for around Halloween time, imho. Stock up so you'll have something spooky to send out the rest of the year!
  • Stockings! Fishnets and stripey stockings come out during the Halloween season with a vengeance. If you're anything like me and tend to rip stockings all the time anyway, it's better to stock up when they're less expensive! 
  • Stickers and stamps! Obviously if you're a planner person like me, now is the time to go to your local craft outlets and look for what they have available. 
  • Throw pillows! Throw pillows are a relatively inexpensive (usually. I have seem ones go for 60$, which is frankly ridiculous.) addition to your home decor and all of the ones I have I've found in the Halloween season. 
  • Nail art supplies! Check your favorite beauty supplier for nail stickers and stamps with a gothic flair, or unusual polish colors to add to your day-to-day look.
  • Books! Mainstream book stores tend to have specials on classic gothic and horror literature around this time of year, and if you prefer indie second-hand book stores they usually have fun Halloween events as well!
  • Bath products! Bath &Body Works and Lush, my two favorite places to get bath bombs, hand sanitizer, and soap sell seasonal Halloween items, and there are tons more Indie shops who do as well (just check Etsy!) Personally the silly thing I'm looking forward to the most is the Pocket Bacs (hand-sanitizers) from Bath & Bodyworks in scents like "vampire blood." 
  • Mugs! I can't be the only one who loves mugs, right? And now they're coming out in so many cute shapes and patterns. Keep an eye on my Pinterest board dedicated to Gothy Mugs if you want to see the ones I've found this season.
  • Office supplies! My grocery store is selling post-it notes and etc. in Halloween shapes, so I grabbed a few just to be sure I had them!

Is October a big shopping month for you? What are you planning on stocking up on this Halloween season?