What does Gothic mean to you?
The term Gothic can mean a number of different things to different people. In fact when I looked up Gothic on the internet I found that it was divided into 4 very different meanings or groups. I would describe my outlook as Gothic, being drawn to the Gothic style in many ways. But do I fit with the way Gothic is seen by those who have classed the meaning? Lets have a look… The four are:-
- Germanic people.
- Architecture type.
- Romanticism in novels.
- Goth subculture.
So looking at each in turn:-
Gothic means a group of East German tribes. An extinct language spoken by the Goths in the 6th century. Apparently only a few documents have survived. The most famous is the Codex Argenteus (a translation of the bible into the Goth language). They had a different letter and number structure. It looks like the tribe in the 6th century were defeated by the Franks and so their culture went into decline.
Then it is also attributed to Crimean Goths. From the 9th to the 18th centuries. A separate branch and different dialect than the 6th century tribe. However looking at the words used in comparison to English. It just looks like a phonetic version, with a bit of clearing phlegm from the back of your throat at the same time as trying to speak!!
When I first looked at this; I thought what has it got to do with my Gothic tendencies?
I know my great grandparents were German and have had my DNA tested. Which surprisingly came back East European as my higher percentage of DNA markers. As my other great grandparents were Irish and English and in the majority. Technically it should have not been so. So does the leaning towards Gothic-ism mean that it is possibly in your Germanic DNA and that there is nothing you can do about it?
Is it in my DNA?
Gothic art and the Medieval building style that flourished in the mid to late Middle Ages. Think Medieval monasteries, castles and old churches. High pointed arches, tall ribbed and carved pillars or dark gloomy, spiritual places.
Medieval Gothic architecture building
I just love the Medieval history period and find it fascinating to visit old churches and castles. I have done this my whole life. Which at over 1/2 a century, is for some time now…. I do not like modern and would much rather live in a brick built and stark old place than new. Don’t get me started on those ridiculous hub caps on the Birmingham building or the unfinished outside facade of the Birmingham library (in my opinion). Again why do I get drawn to this Medieval era and not modern subculture? Is it my DNA again, as it certainly was not from my parents or upbringing. School was more Latin and the bloody Romans. This is certainly something to ponder on more – if I have any time!
Romanticism in novels.
Gothic is linked to the famous Dracula novel by Bram Stoker and hence the whole vampire thing. Books, films and the whole vamp culture. Then there is the earlier book Northanger Abbey by Jane Austin, described as a Gothic tale. Frankenstein, Jane Ayre, Jamaica Inn, the list goes into the hundreds of most famous and more not so famous written over the years.
“Making its debut in the 18th century, (Northanger Abbey was written in 1804) Gothic fiction is a branch of Romanticism that sought to stimulate strong emotions in the reader – fear and apprehension in this case. Gothic fiction places heavy emphasis on atmosphere, using setting and diction to build suspense and a sense of unease in the reader. Common subject matter includes the supernatural, family curses, mystery, and madness”.
Taken From “The Best Gothic Books of all times” and changed a little!
Woman having a blood bath
Now inspired to actually read my way through this list. After I finish the novels I am reading about alien invasion on earth, that is. So would I describe myself as liking Gothic novels. Yes in a way. I haven’t read all of the books described as such. But I have read some. Most I know about by title, but have yet to read. But I have read a great many vampire, mysteries, supernatural and such. I watch most of the films and TV programs of this genera. Much to my families amusement. So I suppose this is another tick in my Gothic box.
A culture typically emerging in the 1980s to early 1990s, after the Punk Rock era. Fashion typically recognized by dyed black hair, pale face makeup, dark Victorian or similar clothing and dark eye liner.
But I would say that it was a evolution of fashion from the 1960s, led by the Rock bands progression through the following decades. Eventually becoming noticeable in the 1980s, when the bands became more artistic in this style and so led the way. It was a revolt against the main fashion and culture of each decade since. The hippy 60s was a revolt against the straight laced, short haired singers of the day. In the 1970s, it was a stereotypical view of the disco years that led to Rock music becoming popular. In the 1980s, Punk Rock was the extreme, load and brash compared to the sweet, sometimes sickly tuneful music of the New romantic. There had to be a middle ground to emerge from this two very contrasting sounds. It had a link to original Rock music of the 70s evolving. Metal and Rock music in the 80s, emerged into a refined, sorrowful and atmospheric, Gothic Deathrock and Death Metal cultures. It built on the young adult feelings of disillusion, death, macabre and loss of life. Often mixed with Gothic fiction.
A woman is a vampire with pale skin and red hair in a black dress and a necklace on her neck. Girl witch with vampire claws and red lips. Gothic look. Outfit for Halloween.
My own experiences are of wanting to rebel. I did not want to be just one of the crowd and felt angry at them for following the normal. Exploring music led to my distinctive look. In the 70s, I found Rock music. This led to long hair, denim clothing, cheese cloth shirts and heavy leather belts. When I went to discos, most of the women were dancing around their handbags in the same looking clothes. The men were situated around the dance floor just watching. My friends and I stood out. In our clothing and the way we enjoyed dancing to Rock music. It was a thrill and it made me feel different and special. In the early 80s, my look became darker, black lace skirts over short pencil skirts, high heel boots and shoes and different to what was classed as the normal of that time. My husband always says I was a rock chick! I tried to look sexy and felt very confident in myself. Unfortunately I missed out on the Gothic Deathrock & Death Metal era, too busy bringing up kids and working to keep a roof over our heads. But as the years go by I look back. Yes if I was born in the late 80s to 90s, I would have been in that Gothic subculture.
Portrait of the gorgeous goth (Deathrock) girl dressed in leaky blouse, skirt and bra standing among industrial ruins
It is a really rebellion against conforming, a way to depict your artistic, musical and inner self. But once a Gothic follower, always one. It never leaves you and is always lurking in the background. Today it is more accepted that there are different subcultures. With large festivals and music events taking place.
Do we change from being Gothic?
Okay as you age, clothing may change to gain access to the lifestyle and work that you want to do. We all need money. But it reflects when you wear clothes for relaxation. The style may not be black, but you do not quite conform to what women/men are expected of the same age.
Jewellery has that Gothic style and so does the music you choose. You hanker towards skulls and a more Medieval interior design. You are more relaxed about your kids trying different ways to express themselves. But that still didn’t mean that they could have piercings or tattoos before they were 16!.
Black hair is one of those things that has to go as you age. Black dyed hair makes you look older and gives you a surreal and harsh look. To be honest, if I see a person a my age with jet black hair, I think they are quite laughable. Better to age gracefully. Going grey is inevitable, but easy now to dye it a light color with white tones. As the years progress, I will go white, never grey, white with maybe a hint of bright color. Yes the old blue rinse comes to mind. However that was with a conforming blouse, same style skirt and set of pearls. Not going to happen to me.
In fact as I age, I think what the hell. I have never conformed and I do not give a rat’s ass to conform now.
So be Gothic.