Sir William is the mastermind behind the Gothic website New Goth City. He was nice enough to answer some questions about what the Gothic lifestyle entails and why vampires are always mentioned more times than not when it comes to all things dark.
How do you feel that the Goth scene has changed over the years?
The Goth “scene” (or sub-culture) has not really changed over the years as much as it has evolved. What once used to be revered as a bunch of outcast teens ridden with angst, wearing black clothes and whiteface make-up, smoking cigarettes behind the school cafeteria, and contemplating suicide, has become a verifiable culture that runs parallel to mainstream culture – “off stream,” if you wish.
The Goth culture is complete with, of course, music and fashion, but also art, literature, poetry, dance, film, and theater! There was a sliver of time in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s that the Goth scene, particularly in NYC, almost became extinct. Some say that it was due to the Columbine shootings (to which the murderers were NOT Goth), some say due to 9/11, others say due to the loss of some major nightclub venues …who really knows. But in 2004/5 there was what we like to call the “Gothic Renaissance” thanks to the pockets of loyal Goth kids who grew-up and continued to live in this lifestyle. One major contributor to this is Vampirefreaks.com, which broadened the lines of communication between Goths over the internet. And today we added a capital ‘G’ to the word ‘goth’ and claim that we are indeed an actual worldwide culture that is not based on race, color, creed, sexual orientation, or nationality, but rather on two common factors: first, a “state of mind” and then secondly, “a state of being.”
Why do you think that individuals of all ages turn to the Gothic scene if they feel like outcasts?
Well, not all outcasts automatically enter the Goth scene. The “scene” has to call out to someone. And sometimes an individual becomes an outcast because he or she decided to enter the culture. But to simply answer your question, “Because there is comfort in the Dark!” The Goth culture, as a whole, is not judgmental. Sure, there are some snarky people in various scenes who love nothing to do but criticize others … but they usually keep it to themselves. But generally, the culture is bonded by something stronger than age, size, social awkwardness, hair color preference, etc. Again, it’s that common “state of mind” thing that comes into play here. And when one who feels alienated from the mainstream finds him/herself among like-minded individuals, they find comfort in that … and in doing so ceases to be an “outcast.” Moreover, I find the Goth culture to be like a giant support group … it’s that feeling of “You’re not alone … come play with us” attitude that resonates through it.
Do you think that vampires and Goths have a lot in common? How so?
Ahh, the Vampire question! A wise friend once put it to me, “Not all Goths are Vampires, and not all Vampires are Goths.” But, as I’m sure you will agree, there is, of course, some strong overlapping happening! As for me personally, I am not a Vampire, although I have many friends who are, and admittedly I do look the part. However I am just plain ol’ Goth. Goths and Vampires share a common lore that stems from Gothic literature and legends of yore from distant lands. It also stems from the mysteries of the night, the macabre, and the sensuality that swims within it. Today, the Goth culture and Vampirism are distinctly linked together, but not completely; it’s a strange dynamic, if you stop and think about it. While attending several Vampire gatherings at Houses and Courts as a neutral guest to all, I’ve noticed something quite distinctive; the one main difference between Goths and Vampires is that while there is no real social hierarchy in the Goth culture but there is a strong one amongst Vampires (at least the ones that belong to a House and/or Court). In the end, those who choose to live the Vampire lifestyle find it easy to be part of the Goth culture, since it is so accepting (I’m a firm believer that Vampires are maybe the most closeted individuals today when it comes to a sub-culture). Vice Versa, Goths embrace the lore, style, mystery, and sense of being outside of the “normal” human race that Vampires have. It’s all very complimentary!
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