cerements uniform and uniformity
thorns self doubt
corpus favorite of pets
I tend to make judgements on the art people surround themselves with; but I recognize that each person is likely to have a different aesthetic orientation than any other. When people decide to agree upon similar aesthetics, that's when we have a community of sorts. Ours is the Gothic Scene, Ours is Death Rock and the Dark.
Behaviour, dress, the things we say, what we eat and drink -- all of life and every expression may be a part of our art. Our living is Art, that's what certain communities (punk, skin, hippy) realize. To demean any of these communities by, say, dressing punk on the weekends, is to emulate an art that some devote their life and lifestyle to -- to the detriment of the community's self-image, perhaps. You might adopt elements of the surreal into your painting, say, and a surrealist might hold you in contempt if you do it tactlessly.
If you're a friendly Goth who is happy frequently, fine. If you are a Goth whose vision of the Scene includes the Heavy Metal lifestyle, the violence and dress, so be it. I might not respect you but I'll probably still like you -- especially if you give me cloves or food or a place to stay. If you'll notice, the Gothic magazines are not filled with violence or happiness; neither is the music. The only sort of violence is done artistically and are metaphors unless it's selfharm. There's no beating people up or shooting lots of people. That's just not part of the Scene. Then again, I'm probably excluding a group of idiots who *like* that sort of thing.
The death and scars that are Ours are those of love.
Again, on the subject of dress, I am not saying one should judge a book by its cover; the covers for books are often illustrated by artists who have never read the contents. By no means is clothing the bookcover, nor are we books. You know your contents well enough and decide to clothe yourself in a certain way and conduct your affairs just so. What I am saying is that the exterior showcases the interior.
It would be foolish, you are right, to make any sort of character judgement based on a single affectation, such as clothing. Nor is it proper to ban the presence of others just because of their aesthetic or expression thereof. Unless they annoy you to no end. It is the work of years and friendship to interpret the reasons why someone appears as they do. Fortune plays the artist on our bodies and our tools. Know people through time and subtle signals if you would know them at all.
One person likes Gothic music, dresses in plaid, hair in long dreds, and claims to be a vampire and a Goth... Another wears black all the time and portrays the sullen beauty and strange grace of a demon -- and has no idea of what Christian Death or Bauhaus are... A third *must* wear business suits and power ties -- she showers in the dark while listening to Pink Floyd, visits graveyards and sings to the stones, and loves the works of Poe... these people might all be fine human beings and good in bed, to boot; but which of these three most gives you the feeling of a Goth? While the third is darker, the second has graciously adopted the aesthetics of the Gothic Scene, and the first is himself and beyond classification. None of these things are bad, but which one is Gothic?
I submit to you that none of these people are, although if the graceful demon in black were introduced to the proper music and took upon a Gothic Aesthetic, she'd soon be of Ours. And I would guess that all could take into them the Heart except the first, and of that one I will say this. Many have claimed to be a vampire but of these only Percy, who lives near Boston, is real, or so I believe.
The reason to apply one's art is not only for appreciation but for effect and internal gratification; your parents might not like it were you blackclad all the time, but they'd ask questions or simply look at you oddly. That's part of it: to appear different than the norm because one is different than the norm. The appearance matches what's inside: that's part of Goth and Punk and every other culture-movement.
Pink flowered dresses, cut like rectangles, are not Gothic. I might be pretentious in so saying, but hell, pretensions are a part of life and we make them real by believing in them. Love, God, Law: all are pretenses at abstracts which we make real by acting as if they're true.
It is not so bad to be pretentious so long as it doesn't make you into a cruel or evil person; and sometimes to be cruel or evil isn't the worst thing. Your jokes might be far worse than Charles Manson. I like your jokes more, though.
I think and this is my weak thinking. It is an empty thing to say "I feel Gothic" although the impression one is giving is that of a metalhead (ahem, hessian) or a punk rocker. If I don't project Gothic airs, I've failed in my art. The spirit may be dead but unless there is a grave or a cenotaph, we'll never know it. Some folk prefer friends. I do too. The darkness, however, is my faith. For the night, I am alone. A great many of you might dislike me, more than dislike the sun itself, for no small reason: I am insane and pity myself.
I'd decided to starve myself.
"What is Goth?" asked the young lady in black silk blouse, her limbs unclothed, her velvet skirt a soft line around her thighs. I could not answer. I am too ugly to speak. She was licking a peppermint blue lollipop and I wanted only to weep.
I bowed my head and said, "I know nothing and night."
Some believe one must be white and tall and slender to be perfectly Gothic; I've been told this echoes the raphaelite period in painting. While I find the raphaelite paintings lovely, I disbelieve this tenet and urge upon you that bodies are lovely. I do not believe gothic status to be genetically determined; Ours do not appreciate racism or racist organizations. There's a complex web of dress, appearance, and behaviour which go into the expression of the personal goth aesthetic.
A physique is a body aesthetic. Some have a preference for specific physiques, finding pleasure in the select bodies they claim as good. Others find joy in the heterogenous, the varied. Clean skin feels and tastes good to me. Still others... but I am not going to step all over Samuel Delany's philosophies artfully displayed in his recent Science Fiction (Triton, Stars in my Pocket like Grains of Sand).
So perhaps the lissome, pallid body aesthetic which has found some popular acceptance among Ours is an admiration of what this body type meant for those europeans: a vulnerability and beauty to resemble that of the finest souls. I cannot remember much of Illness and Metaphor and am unsure if the consumptive physique was due more to the drugs prescribed those sickened by tuberculosis or the ravages of the disease itself; I would guess it was both. I should re-read Illness as Metaphor. The body is not the soul's mirror, but the soul may work upon the body and guide its behaviour.
My eurasian heritage has given me a complexion of tangerines and cream, duskling hair, and dead leaf irises; I am a bony and small sprite. My aesthetic of desire and body aesthetic are changing constantly and I'm aware I've been found attractive by others, by my physique at times, at other times not. I am certainly not of the physique defined by the "romantic, pre-raphaelite" europeans and taken by us as definitively Ours, setting the pale and androgynous body aesthetic as the ideal beauty in Goth.
Do not mistake this missive as a protest. I love what you love; to be goth together is to agree we gain pleasure from a similar aesthetic and moreover to belong to this aesthetic as much as we can. This promise does not deny us the tempting choice of touching upon the accepted concepts, so we may construct a device that will last beyond our bodies and pleasures to withstand death and disgust.
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