Fashionable for a Day

by Sam Baynham

“Barbie Goes Goth”
by Flock Ravelle

Here’s a little p’raps f’rinstance for you: What would you do if you woke up one day and moved from being an individual to a face in the crowd? This happened to me a while ago. This isn’t another mini essay or rant. This is merely a true record of one of the strangest events ever to occur to me, with a caveat for the learned reader.

It happened quite suddenly, in a cosmic sense. The quixotic whim of fashion is a closed book to me now, and always has been. Anyway, one day I woke up and went walking around town. A few Goths. I said Hi to some I knew, and Hi to others I didn’t know, because we should always try and get to know each other. Walk around some more. More Goths. Say Hi. Some smiles, some conversations, some sneers in reply. Sneers? A Goth sneering at a Goth he doesn’t know? Odd. Walk into the central shopping area. Goths! Fucking Goths as far as the eye could see! A million and one Goths! An angst of Goths! A plethora of Goths! An army of Go...sorry.

Anyway, dozens and dozens of Goths and semi-Goths had infested my hometown. How was I to react? What had happened?

Then the answer became clear to me: We had become Fashionable.

Oh, I said, to myself. No wonder I had come up against some nastiness from the random people I met. They were merely jocks in Goths clothing, and un-instructed as to our ways.

I began to think along the lines that the BNP thinks about asylum seekers, Bloody strangers. “Coming over here, stealing our culture, and they don’t even bother to learn the language and customs!” (The BNP is the British National Party and used to be called the National Front. In reality, everybody knows that the N used to stand for Nazi. Bastards, the lot of ’em.)

Then my Left-wing, liberal side took hold of me, hit me over the head and said, “Hey Sam, didn’t you write an essay a while ago against that kind of attitude? Go out there and practice what you preach, boy!” So yea, verily, I did so. I went out, meeting and greeting. I got an assortment of polite smiles, funny looks, and injunctions to kindly fuck off, mostly the latter.

I went home dejected and depressed, in spite of the fact that I had acquired a new happy crucifix to add to my collection. I got drunk out of depression, and went to our club, which I hadn’t visited for a while. There was a queue outside. A queue? On Alternative night? What the fuck? And then it struck me again. I knew what I was going to see when I got in there, and I was right. Goths, but not the usual friendly crowd. It was packed with the same people I had seen in the town centre, or might have been for all you could tell them apart. I went to look for my friends, and there they were, huddled in the back room, sharing a joint and bitching about how crowded it was.

“We were full of fashionable people. I went down to the bar next to the dance floor and ordered the strongest drink I could afford.”

We spoke for a bit. It was my first night back on the scene after leaving for a while to concentrate with nasty life, and when I spoke to my friends about my experiences, they just went: “Where the fuck have you been, man?”

This had been happening for some time. We were full of fashionable people. I went down to the bar next to the dance floor and ordered the strongest drink I could afford.

But then, as I walked back up, some strange things happened. Some of the new Goths I had met that day came over and said hi to me. They weren’t the ringleaders of their little groups. They were the ones lurking at the outside, the plainest, the least elegant, and ironically, the most Goth. They were just on the edge of the scene. We spoke, I got drunk, they got drunk, and we all had a lot of fun.

I went home, and stayed at home for a few months, thanks to an attack of nasty life, once more. I went back to town a month later. No Goths? Anywhere? Odd.

Again I went to the club. The place was virtually empty. Grunge and ’70s retro Kitsch were now in fashion.

But what about my new friends?

They were still there. They’d liked the scene so much that they stayed. Which goes to show something or other. During that little escapade, we gained some new long-term faces to the scene, but some of my other friends had left, pushed to the margins by the brashness of the jocks, and it takes time to persuade people back. If Goth ever comes back into fashion, it just might kill us!

Sam B, also known as The Universal Psychopath, can be reached at universalpsykopath (at) hotmail (dot) com. He’s already written for the once before, and probably will again. (Edit: Yup, sure did!)