Dark Greetings to you,
 
My name is Sir William Welles, and I am the creator of New Goth City! Let me take this chance to bid you welcome to the Goth scene. If you are reading this, then you are either: A) new to the Goth lifestyle and scene, or B) interested in exploring our little dark corner of the woods, and are a bit lost on how to go about it or how to get started. In either case, I would like to say that, first, you've come to the right place, and secondly, know that you are not alone in this lifestyle choice.

  

Following my little commencement speech here, you will find all sorts of advice, information, and tips amassed from fellow Goths who, just like you, were once 'Newbies' too at one point in their lives...on is not simply born with bat wings and wearing black nail polish! Is being Goth just a teenage phase, you maybe asking yourself. Maybe...that strictly depends on you. For some being Goth is a phase that allows one to get in touch with the dark and haunting recesses of their self, while for others, such as myself, it remains a full and active lifestyle. Think of it as it being Halloween 365 days of the year, but without all the candy!

 

Now, while the Goth culture originated in the early 1980's from the the Post-punk and Glam music movement in England and the United States, it has seen it's fair share of ups and downs. The Goth scene is like a dark black orb-blob that has no hierarchy, politics, or set leadership...it is an ever-changing mass that forms itself to the present time and culture while also hanging on feverishly to its history and traditions. You will soon find out that "Goth" spans a very, very wide spectrum, just take the different music genres that are accepted as Goth music (see Tip# 1 below).

 

But enough about history...you are entering this scene at quite an exciting time! No longer are Goths considered "angst-ridden teenagers going through a depressed phase," now there are individuals in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, and even up to their 60's who are proud to call themselves Goth! Within the scene you will meet artists, medical professionals, performers, musicians, business people, students, dancers, writers, lawyers, web designers, magazine editors, professors, architects, filmmakers, and many other professionals. The first rule of being Goth is to "be yourself" and under no circumstances should your values be swayed by the popular mainstream standards. You are an individual, and you will express yourself as such. And if others resent or are frightened by your confidence and creative expression of self, then they can go fuck off...they are not worth your time and/or energy...you are superior to those who are closed minded and live within a mundane world.  

 

Many newcomers to the Goth scene, no matter where, are usually very intimidated by being judged by those around them. This is the number one concern, across the board, from those I've talked to who recanted their tales of "Newbie-ness." The chief complaint was that the elder Goths came off as cold and non-accepting of those new to the scene...this makes for a lot of gloomy people standing in corners at events and parties. Hell, everyone goes through it...I still do! While it is, as tradition would dictate, the very nature of a Goth to be standoff-ish and wary of those around them, the constant fear off being labeled a "Poser" is fresh in everyone's paranoid mind. However, it is when you gain the mindset of "I don't give a flyin' fuck what anyone here thinks about me!" will you realize that you are truly immersed within the Goth lifestyle and scene...with some other mandatory details, of course.

 

So, without any further ado...let's get started with the information and tips that will help you navigate our wonderful dark realm!!!

 

The first, very important, thing you should know about the Goth culture is that it is primarily centered around music. This is because Goth grew out from Britain's Post-Punk, New Wave, and Glam movements. The remarkable thing about Goth music is that, especially today, it covers so many genres of sound such as Darkwave, EBM, Deathrock, Industrial, and the like. We can have huge debates about Goth music on any given night, but for now I want you to get familiar with certain music "staples" that define the basic Goth sound, and that you will eventually hear time and time again within the scene. Below is a list of must-have Albums compiled by my good friend and original NYC Goth scene pioneer, DJ Cyn, and suggestions from various friends (Explore the links for band profiles). Sure, more can and be added to the list, but let's start here:

(Band Name - Album Name)
And One - Best of And One
Apoptygma Berzerk - 7
Bauhaus - Crackle
The Birthday Massacre - Walking with Strangers
The Chameleons - Return of the Roughnecks
Clan of Xymox - Medusa
Combichrist - Everybody Hates You
Covenant - Sequencer
The Cure - Disintegration
Frontline Assembly - Live Wired
Front 242 - Front by Front (reissue)
LeŠther Strip - Solitary Confinement
London After Midnight - Selected Scenes from the End of the World
Ministry - The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste
Nitzer Ebb - Body of Work
Project Pitchfork - Early Years
Rosetta Stone - Adrenaline
Sisters of Mercy - Slight Case of Overbombing
Siouxsie and the Banshees - Twice Upon a Time
Skinny Puppy - The Singles Collected & Too Dark Park
KMFDM - Angst & Curse (Symbols)
VNV Nation - Praise the Fallen & Empires
Wolfsheim - Best of 1987-1995
Wumpscut - Music for a Slaughtering Tribe II & EmbryoDead
 
There are also some compilation CDs in most major music stores or online at the very end of the Rock/Alternative section. While very general, they could be a good representation of the more classic Goth sound of the 80's and 90's.

For additional music, check out these Free online radio links:

Gothradio.com
Gothville.com
Vampirefreaks.com
www.wfku-radio.com (a N.Y.C. based internet radio station featuring local DJs)

Ask any Goth what his or her favorite color is, and the answer will always be the same: Black. While white is the combination of all visible light, black is the complete absence of light, meaning that (if you remember science class in High School) anything black absorbs light and reflects none back to your eyes. You can do what you will with that nugget of information, but the appeal to black clothing within the Goth culture represents many-a-thing. Mourning, mystery, state of emotion, absence, elegance, tradition, etc., are all very good reasons. But other colors do appear in the scene from time to time...red, blue, and purple are popular...as well as a deeper shade of black...but you have to look toward the Cybergoths for a wild assortment of color.

Whatever your style is, just remember one thing: make your own style, and own it! Use others' style and sense of dress as inspiration, but never, ever, ever copy it. To be Goth is to be creative...use your wardrobe as a blank canvas. Just be sure not to include jeans as one of your palette choices!!!


Then you might look to the internet for some more fashions. Personally, I use Gentleman's Emporium for Victorian gear, or for more bold fashions be sure to visit the VampireFreaks Store. There are scores of website out there that are all too willing to dress you...but for that I'm going to direct your attention to a certain magazine called Gothic Beauty Magazine. They are chock full of information in regards to fashion, lifestyle, music, and a good resource for online shopping.

And that leads to...

Along with the mandatory reading of Gothic Beauty Magazine mentioned above, there are a few selected books that delve into the history, and current pulse of the Goth scene (and some just for fun...Goths do have a sense of humor, you know...just a really dark one). I suggest that you read at least three of these books to get a good sense of the scene as a whole.

 

 

 

The Goth Bible
by Nancy KilPatrick

Goth: Undead Subculture
Lauren M. E. Goodlad & Michael Bibby

 

 

Goth: The Dark Romantics
by Lucy Westenra

Goth Chic
by Gavin Baddeley

Goth: Identity, Style and Subculture
by Paul Hodkinson

Gothic Charm School
by Jillian Venters

Always, always, ALWAYS have your I.D. (Driver's License, Non-Driver's I.D., Passport) with you at all times! This is a no-brainer and shouldn't even be a tip here, but you would be amazed at how many times I've seen people (even in their 30's) walk around without any source of identification on them...especially in a post 9/11 world! I know that I am rather adamant about this subject, but this is due to a personal tragedy I went through as a child. So, once again...If you don't have I.D. on you, don't leave your house!!!

And speaking of I.D.s...let's discuss Night Club etiquette! (This is gonna be a long tip)

Entering into a nightclub at a Goth event for the first time can be quite intimidating, to say the least. Every one of us feel the same way every time we go to a brand new club, we don't know what to expect or who'll we see there...unfamiliar territory, as it were. And if you think you're nervous about it, just think how jittery the event's organizer is, trying to get as many elusive Gothlings to his or her event! No wonder we Goths come across as solemn, we're all too busy hiding the fact that we're all nervous and jittery! LOL!!!

But all kidding aside, in a perfect world, every event we'd step into would be a gloriously dark room with just the right music playing, where everyone knows your name...and were all glad you came (Great! Now I have the 'Cheers' theme song stuck in my head!). Well, until New Goth City Project mission is complete, that perfect world remains a fantasy. So now, as a Newbie about to take his or her first steps into the underworld nightlife scene, here's what you're going to do...

First, pick a Goth night club event in your city that has a very lax dress code policy. Now, while none of these events have a strict dress code policy, try to wear at least all black clothing as to not stand out like Miley Cyrus at a Mensa meeting! (If you've just been offended by that last joke...you don't belong here...Goodbye!) Moving on...

Upon arrival at the event you have chosen, show your I.D. to the Door Keeper...unless you're an old fart like me and they just wave you in. But showing your I.D. isn't just to prove that you are of legal age to drink.

Next, pay the price of admission and get stamped on the hand, or get a fancy-schmancy, brightly colored, plastic wristband that will inevitably clash with everything you are wearing! [POP QUIZ: What color clothes should you be wearing?]

After that ordeal, walk forth to your DOOM!!! Not really...just walk into the club. Now, the good thing about Goth nightclub events is that they are none too bright, so if you are really petrified about looking or feeling out of place, just pick a dark corner and observe the scene. If you are a bit braver, and I know that you are (how patronizing am I right now, hmm?), you're going to confidently move onto the next crucial step...

Go to the bar! *GASP* This is the nexus of the entire place...the watering hole, if you will...and for the time being, the bartender will be the only friend you have in this dark, cold world. As bartenders, they have to be attentive to you...it's just good business practice. However, at a vey busy night the bartender(s) may be distracted or in over their head to pay attention or even notice you...don't take it personally. And if you've been to any hipster joints where you have to wait on line to get in, you know that it is much, much worse in those places! Whether you are a drinker or not, order something...a plastic cup of soda, a bottle of beer, a glass of blood(bath), a flute of Champagne...anything! Whatever you do...don't order a glass of water! If H2O is your poison of choice order a bottle of spring water...never, ever, a free glass of water! That's the quickest way to make an enemy out of your only ally here. Now that you have your drink in hand, and after the "UNHOLY-SHIT-THAT'S-A-LOT-OF-MONEY-FOR-WHAT-I-JUST-ORDERED!" shock has left your brain, be sure to tip the bartender very well for this first drink (I recommend $2.00). This somewhat small act of generosity will come back and reward you in the not-to-distant future...trust me. The next course of action is to now nurse your drink for a while and observe the scene around you. Take in the sights and the sounds. Let your eyes adjust to the comfort of the darkness surrounding you. Notice those around you (without staring them down as if they were freaks at a sideshow...well...maybe that guy over there...), and pay particular attention to everyone's sense of style. You will soon find that those around you are quite individualistic when it comes to their personal style. Me, for example, I sport a more Victorian Romantigoth style with a splash of Vampyre elegance...but that's just me. Other Goth styles are helpful in recognizing and remembering individuals at future events as you get to know more and more people and start seeing the same familiar faces month after month.

O.K., from here you have several options for your next plan of action: A) You can remain at the bar; B) You can go and look for someplace to sit; C) Go out onto the dance floor; or D) Go home 'cause your bored out of your gourd! Let's explain each option, shall we:

A) Remain at the bar. With this option you're going to get a little bored after a while. This is perfectly normal, and it is during this lull of interest that you start to notice all the various postcard sized flyers that are littered on the bar's countertop. These are pint-sized advertisements tossed about by other event promoters to alert you to their next event. This is a time tested practice, and in the time before New Goth City, this was how Goths learned of the next big party to attend. Problem was, if you missed one night, you were out of the loop! With your nursed drink getting smaller, take this time to read through some flyers that seem appealing to you, and remember to keep them for your next night out (some flyers act as a coupon for admission at certain events).

B) Go sit somewhere. Getting to a nightclub and standing at the bar can be some tiresome work! Looking for a comfy seat, and maybe a table for your "running-on-fumes" beverage, gives you the opportunity to move through the crowd and explore the venue a bit. Take notice of the restroom's location...
yeah, you'll need to know that important bit of info for later use...also take notice of the DJ booth. Why? I don't know...just take notice of it...couldn't hurt. If you are lucky enough to find an available seat, park yourself in it and continue to observe the scene from a different perspective, while putting on you best brooding face!

C) Go dancing. This option is for either the incredibly brave, the incredibly dance-worthy, or the incredibly drunk! Now, I am not a dancer...at all...so I'm not going to give you any enlightened dancing advice; however, one of the greatest things about being a Goth is that you can dance like Frankenstein hopped up on ecstasy and crack and still look pretty damn capable on the dance floor....just don't go into a seizure type dance move. If the rhythm is hitting your hips at just the right tempo and you feel the need to go strut your stuff, by all means do it!!! Only once did I see an entire dancing crowd stop to gawk at a fool flailing about...and that fool they were gawking at was me because I am notorious for not dancing! This is also a good chance to get exposed to some new music beyond those mentioned in tip #1. If one song in particular really peaks your interest, don't be shy about asking the DJ (remember, you noticed the DJ booth before) what was the song that just played...DJs loooooove to talk about their playlists...just don't ask the name and artist of every other song! (Quick tip: Some DJs will actually post their playlists on their websites and/or Facebook profile for you to reference.)

D) Go home. If the club is totally lame and devoid of people, you could always opt out to just pack up and leave. But wait just a minute before you do, though! Before you go, realize that most, if not all, Goth nightclub events don't get really interesting and crowded before 12:30am...it's a bad habit within the scene, but that's the reality of it! Stick around and give it a chance up until 1am or so. I've seen scores of people pay for admission at 10pm, maybe get a drink or two, find themselves really bored, and suddenly bolt for the doors a mere 10 minutes before the real party got underway...don't be one of these people.

Now that you know the basics of what to expect at a Goth nightclub event, here are some other little obvious pointers worth mentioning:

Don't get sloppy drunk.

Never start or provoke a fight.

Never piss off anyone on the Venue's staff.

If you go outside to smoke, keep your voice down as to not annoy any surrounding Day-Crawler neighbors trying to sleep.

Carry a pair of foam earplugs if the music gets too loud...no one wants to be deaf at the age of 41.

If you use the coat check, pay the fee when you check your coat, and then leave a one or two dollar tip when you retrieve it.

Even though you technically have to be brooding and have an air of complete indifference about you...try to have fun! Just don't get caught smiling! LOL!!!

And, lastly, if you see me at a nightclub event, don't forget to come up and say "hi" and buy me a glass of white wine (with a glass of ice on the side)!
;)

If you haven't done so already, get yourself a social network profile and a Vampirefreaks.com account! They're  free (although Vampirefreaks.com does have a paid premium membership available), and it's the best way to communicate with, and keep in track of the people you'll eventually meet in the scene. You are more than welcome to visit and befriend the New Goth City profiles by going to to the following links: www.facebook.com/New-Goth-City and www.vampirefreaks.com/newgothcity!

This next particular tip might seem a bit self-serving at first...but hear me out...

Use the New Goth City R.I.P. Pin to you're advantage. The original purpose of the R.I.P. (Really Important Person) Pin is to serve as a Goth community symbol. Outside of also acting as a coupon to certain events, retail stores, restaurants, and such, it is intended to be worn proudly by those in the N.Y.C. Goth scene and identify, rather discreetly, of course, fellow like-minded Gothlings. If you see someone wearing a New Goth City R.I.P. pin, you should know that you automatically have something in common with them! Think of it as being part of a secret underground society...oh wait...it's exactly like being part of a secret underground society! And if there are any R.I.P. owners who are not Newbies but are reading this (and I know there are...I can hear you breathing), please be accepting to anyone you might encounter that utilizes the Pin as an ice-breaker. It's all in the name of preserving our community!

The easiest way to be part in, and integrate fully into the Goth scene is to actively contribute to it. If you can provide a service and/or skill that can be useful to those in the scene...by all means do it! For example, the entire New Goth City concept and website is my way of contributing. Don't just be a casual observer of the scene...be pro-active in it and you'll be recognized for it. Like I said before, this is a valuable, close-knit community...word spreads!

Going back to the chief complaint expressed by most Newbies about Goth elders giving them the cold shoulder, I'd like to say that if you see me on the street or at a nightclub event, do not hesitate to walk on over to me, say hello and introduce yourself, and have a conversation with me! Just like everyone else, I was a a Newbie to the scene at one point...I know how it's like..that's why I'd like to personally like to met you and welcome you to the greatest, most creative and unique offstream culture in the world!!!

 

And there you have it...my (and other Goths') pearls of wisdom! If you have any really good tips that you think should be included on this list, feel free to email them to me and I'll add them in! I hope that you use these tips to your advantage and in doing so you will find that the Goth scene isn't such a scary place after all...a spooky place, sure...but not scary!

 

And always remember...The Night Belongs To Us! 

 

See you in the Dark!

Sir William Welles 

 

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