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UK Goth Mini-FAQ
Section - 2. What is the gothic subculture?

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The original Goths were an ancient Germanic tribe which split into the 
separate Ostrogoth and Visigoth tribes in the third century.  The 
Visigoths secured their place in history in the year 268, when they 
invaded the Roman Empire and swarmed over the Balkan peninsula.

Post-Roman invasion, the word "Gothic" became used to describe the 
uncivilised, ignorant or barbarous.  The Renaissance humanists of Italy 
used this negative sense to describe a style of architecture prevalent 
in Western Europe, which they detested.  This resulted in the term 
becoming synonymous with the dark and ominous, like the architecture 
itself.  Its use expanded to cover the macabre in the 19th century, when 
it was used to describe writings such as Mary Shelly's "Frankenstein."

The term "gothic" became increasing used throughout the 1980s to 
describe both a style of music and a movement growing out of the ashes 
of punk rock.  By the late 1980s goth had become mainstream, with bands 
such as All About Eve, The Sisters Of Mercy, The Mission and Fields of 
the Nephilim -- all labelled as gothic rock by the music press -- 
finding commercial success.  A distinctive and arresting fashion had 
developed too, with long crimped hair (dyed black), voluminous velvet 
dresses (black), tight jeans (black) and leather jackets (also black) 
all forming part of the staple goth look.

As the music media lost interest in goth in the early 1990s, it started 
to shrink from view.  However, united by a common love of dark music, a 
network of fanzines and friendships held the scene together.  Goth 
nights sprung up around the country to play the music more general 
alternative nights would not.

Goth re-established itself as a bona fide underground scene, rapidly 
finding new fans and exploring different directions in both look and 
sound.  Bands from the 1990s such as Rosetta Stone and Children on Stun 
explored electronic music to a great degree, whilst still maintaining a 
distinctive guitar-driven gothic feel.  Many goth nights were also 
havens for industrial rock, which resulted in a certain amount of 
crossover between the scenes.

Bands popular in today's scene include the Cruxshadows, Inkubus 
Sukkubus, the Last Dance, Manuskript, Screaming Banshee Aircrew and 
Swarf.  Electro-industrial and EBM (Electronic Body Music) projects such 
as Front Line Assembly, Velvet Acid Christ and VNV Nation are also 
popular with many, especially the contingent known as "cybergoths".  
Many cybergoths also enthuse about rhythmic noise; sometimes known as 
power noise, its sound is typified by projects such as Converter and 
early Noisex.

The scene is alive and active, supported by its own infrastructure of 
promoters, designers, manufacturers and musicians.  Furthermore, goth 
shows no sign of going away; it has an irrepressible persistence, much 
its namesake, the ancient Goths.

(See <http://www.sfgoth.com/primer/etymology.html> for more on the 
etymology of the term "gothic.")

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM