For those not acquainted with online trends, today’s big social media topic has been World Goth Day. Launched off the back of BBC 6 Music’s Goth Day back in 2009 and sent global, WGD originally aimed to raise goth’s public profile and has since provided the opportunity for us to appreciate the very cogs that keep the gothic wheel turning. From bands to media and clubs, we’re being encouraged to embrace it all and quite simply ‘Get Our Goth On!’ As Rhys The Goth from those recent home insurance adverts might say: “Lovely!”
There has been criticism both from goth and non-goth quarters about the day – many ask whether we really need it after all this time – but the big thing is, all this trending proves that goth is still very much undead. As I proved in my recent book Worldwide Gothic (Independent Music Press, 2011), this subcultural movement has undergone dramatic changes throughout the years not just musically but image-wise and culturally as well. Goth is now very much a global phenomena and WGD aims to reflect this. But for me, it’s these changes that represent the most important message that World Goth Day should be spreading. No longer is goth just about wearing black, painting your face white and listing to bands from the ’80s but it’s a dark aesthetic that still remains at the core of contemporary culture and has the potential to really shake things up. Whether that’s music, film, literature or even fashion, without goth things would arguably be very different.
Goth was originally about taking punk’s ideas and shrouding them in dark metaphors and that’s something we might occasionally lose sight of as the “gothic” prefix is applied to some of the most unlikeliest of ventures… So whether you have ever embraced the dark side in your life or not, let’s not forget the role this humble movement has played over the last four decades. Here’s to goth’s continued existence!