Yes, I’m dating myself when I say that I miss the traditional Gothic community that flourished around the planet through the 1980s and 1990s. I fell deeply, darkly in love with the entire scene for the better part of the 1990s. So much in love that I started my own Gothic literary magazine. Which is probably an oxymoron for the purist types, but it got some good reviews for those of us who are MFA challenged.
See, for me it all started with bands like The Cure, Joy Division, Sisters of Mercy, Fields of the Nepthilim, and New Order. Books written by Ann Rice and Poppy Z. Brite. The oldsters, I know. And even more obscure the two magazines that absolutely swept me into a new dimension of funereal loveliness: Ghastly and Project (both out of print), which were for the most part dedicated to Gothic fashion, but the only two Goth zines I knew of back in 1990.
I decided I would take things in a slightly different direction. New Order’s song Elegia gave me the name, and I sent for submissions at a writer’s collective (no longer around) called Scavenger’s Newsletter. I got enough submissions to publish the first issue in 5 X 8 format. I photocopied the edited stories and poems and some graphics I found in old books (the Internet wasn’t even a word anyone used back then), all at a little shop, then folded and stapled them myself.
I gave the pages a red cover and hand-lettered “Elegia: A Journey into the Gothic,” volume 1, issue 1, $1.50. No paid advertising, but I photocopied a few ads I found just for fun and mailed it out to everyone who had submitted. It was great fun. So much fun that I put out six more issues (in 8 X 12 format), although with longer time in bewtween each.
The reason I had to write this post is in memory of those days before technology and subsequent generations of the Gothic left the truly dark and lovely images behind. When I do a search for “Gothic” now, I see an entirely different mind-set. Not that it doesn’t have its place, but it lacks something I don’t have a language for.
Back in the day the elegance, the gorgeous lament, the music, the fascination with all things funereal captured my heart and soul. I dressed the part, yes, and wrote and thought, and created, and everything I did came from that exquisite sensibility. Leila Wendell, Timothy Renner, Sam Rosenthal, Drucilla Blood, and all the company of night lace and cemeteries…ah how I miss them.
Sigh. Yet there is still one corner of the Internet where I can listen and watch the old Gothic rush over and through me, and that’s whenever I listen to and watch Mary Fahl sing Bury My Lovely on YouTube. No one these days classifies October Project as Gothic, but I don’t care. I’ll take it where I can find it.
I guess my sentiment calls to me. It’s never very far beneath the surface, even though these days I rarely visit cemeteries and my wardrobe has colors besides black. I retired my Docs and my black cape. I still have my fangs. But nowadays the Gothic lives undead in my mind…wait…that’s where it always lived, undead.