The G Word(s): The Gothic Genre

Two confessions. One: I’m one of those people who like to pigeonhole everything. Always have been. There are boxes all over my house, each one with its own specific contents. I section my books into fiction (ordered alphabetically) and reference (subdivided by subject). My iTunes library is organised fastidiously, using all the sort fields that my friends ignore. The second confession: I’m not a goth. But then if I was I wouldn’t admit to it. Anyway, what does gothic mean?

Gothic is everywhere

The gothic genre flitted into my periphery in my teens and, upon realising that it didn’t necessarily involve Satanism, death metal or noms de plume like ‘RavenRose’, I took a bit of a shine to it. I trawled the Wikipedia page on gothic rock and stuck a load on my iPod, before reading up on gothic architecture and poking around cathedrals. I even had a go at reading Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto on the internet – I didn’t get very far. It seemed to me that to be a goth, you had to listen to gothic music. Hang around gothic buildings reading gothic literature. Writing homework assignments in gothic typeface. I read that there were different categories of goths too – romantic goths, cyber goths, Victorian goths and gothabillies, and you could take online quizzes to find out which you were. I figured I should listen to the music of each in order to cover my bases. Obviously, I had missed the point. Retrospectively, whoever wrote the quiz must have too, unless they had their tongue in deathly-white cheek.

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Why I Love the Vinyl Revival

I’m big on my music. I think I treat my music library more as an art collection – with myself as the curator – than I do as an assortment of potential listening pleasures. All my albums are there, right now, alphabetically ordered on their shelves. I’ll buy an album even if it’s not my favourite, just to fill a hole in my collection. In my world, I don’t own an album till I own the CD – MP3 downloads are a bonus, but I treat them differently. They’re… musical ghosts. Not really there. Maybe that’s why I’m taking it further. Maybe that’s why I’m getting into the vinyl revival.

True Music

It takes owning a CD to its natural conclusion, doesn’t it? The vinyl revival is real; records have even got their own section in HMV, so I can’t be the only one who sees it as something a bit special. There’s something about owning an LP that means you possess that album in its ultimate form.

“Do you like The Dark Side of the Moon?”

“Mate, I’ve got the vinyl.”

I’ve got to confess, my copy of Dark Side was lifted many moons ago from my Dad’s collection up in the loft – maybe that adds an appeal too. Maybe it feels more like I’ve got the genuine article, and not just a repressing. Perhaps, subconsciously, it makes me feel like I was there, when the record was made. That the sense of wonder and amazement felt by those who heard that groundbreaking piece of music back in 1973, well, I’m feeling it too. Obviously, I downloaded the MP3s too to hear it in digital high quality.

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