April 30, 2000

by Royce Carlson

In the mid-eighties a new subculture was born out of the punk movement. The gothic sub-culture derives its name from a certain kind of period romance novel full of unrequited love and intense passion. The modern-day Goths have adopted this sense of romance and a kind of fatalism born from disappointment.

Goths have their own music, fashion, literature, and lifestyle. Their clothing is black as is their lipstick and nail polish. They tend to look somewhat vampirish with pale skin and haunted eyes. Crushed velvet, black lace and leather are part of the goth appearance. The literature consists of dark poetry and fiction with themes like, "No one can feel love as intensely as I," or "Welcome to my miserable life."

Gothic music, also called Dark Wave, sounds kind of like synth-pop or heavy metal slowed down to a more depressing pace. Lyrics are dark and the bandsí names are image provoking. It is often classified with industrial and rave music.

Actually most goths arenít all that depressed. They revel in appearing dark and depressed but together they have a lot of fun. They enjoy their outsider reputation. They mostly have a sense of humor. They go to goth nightclubs (scary places!) and they have jobs like the rest of us. They arenít especially religious but those that are tend toward paganism in the Celtic vein.

Even gothic culture has its minorities. There are truly depressed goths that stand around quietly and brood. There are satanists and there are those who are into period clothing and hang out at Renaissance Faires. But, mostly, goths are extreme romantics in a decidedly unromantic mainstream world.

Find more information about the gothic sub-culture at A Goth Primer. This is a good introduction to the gothic world. Gothic Links has a good list of gothic and related web sites. You can also visit Zenzibarís Gothic Sub-Culture category for sites that sell gothic clothing, jewelry and music. Also there are regional gothic groups listed so you can connect with other gothguys and gothgirls in your area. Check out our Gothic Music category, too.

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