Having been a teen in the 1980’s I remember all of the ‘red scare’ propaganda that would bombard me on almost a daily basis. From the rhetoric of Reagan’s ‘The U.S.S.R. is an evil empire’ propaganda to not being taught a single thing about the Cold War in highschool. If you were a leftist in the 80’s you were seen as the enemy, not only by the US Government, but also by most of society.
I heavily disliked Reagan in high school in the 80’s; even now I think he was an evil son of a bitch who made the poor more destitute and whose racist dog whistles satisfied his white racist supporters. My high school was in a conservative suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area called Fremont. Back in the 80’s I would say that it was probably around 80-90% white. As of the 2019 census it is now only 28% white, which I know makes some of the white people I went to high school with angry of course. I follow maybe only four or five people I went to high school with, including one who turned left after school. Proud of you Brent! Needless to say I have not been to a single class reunion, but I find joy in the fact that I look about 20 years younger than they do. Being a weirdo in the 80’s and staying out of sun has its perks!
Needless to say I was a leftist, and I knew about the political climate of the United States. I listened to a lot of albums by The Dead Kennedys and Jello’s music definitely helped me realise that I wasn’t alone even though I was surrounded by brainwashed Reagan worshippers. My mom took me out of my school one time to go to a Dukakis rally in San Francisco. I was 3 months too young to vote in the 88 election which really bummed me out, and when Bush Sr. won I was totally devastated and I remember crying a lot about it because it made me so angry. Bush Sr. used a huge racist dog whistle in the form of Willie Horton, and made it out like all African Americans were either welfare queens or dangerous thugs. Don’t believe me? Google Willie Horton and be prepared to be disgusted. Of course those Reagan worshippers in school gave me shit since I was very vocal about being a leftist and would constantly argue with them.
I never gave into the peer pressure to be right wing, and to this day I am very proud of that. Right now I see the same type of crap again; anybody who is a leftist is being called a communist as an insult. Sometimes they will call you a socialist but they usually will just jump onto the right wing train and start in on the anti-communist rhetoric. Hell, they even call people such as Biden, who is really not leftist at all, a communist. Anybody to the left of them is an evil commie who wants to destroy either the US, the UK, or all of Europe. In the US a commie is somebody who dares to want a fully socialised healthcare system and worker rights. These right wing morons lick the boots of their corporate masters gladly and are perfectly okay with people having to go bankrupt after being hospitalized because if they haven’t pulled themselves up enough by their bootstraps then that’s their own fault . Yep, they think people deserve shit healthcare because they are poor even when they are poor themselves. It’s a total mindfuck.
It’s not only people on the right who call leftists communists. The Democratic Party is owned by corporate oligarchs just like the GOP and if a leftist, be they a progressive or a communist, fights for free healthcare or worker rights they are told that they are taking things too far and to sit down, shut up and stop behaving like a child who has been caught stealing cookies out of a cookie jar. In the UK the press, which is predominantly far right-winged, will call any leftist politician a communist and smear them with obvious lies. The Labour Party kicks out members who they deem to be too far left and instead promotes weak middle of the road leaders who answer to, you guess it, corporate oligarchs. See a pattern?
All of this pisses me off, because once again you are being attacked for wanting a better world; one in which all people are treated equally, and have the right to free healthcare and a roof over their head. If you are a young leftist reading this rant please know that you are not, and never will be, alone. There are many others out there who feel the same as you do, who want a better future instead of one in which only the wealthy are allowed to exist comfortably while everybody else has to fight over affordable food and housing. If somebody calls you a commie or a socialist answer ‘So, what’s wrong with that?’. Stand up for yourself and don’t let others bully you into submission.
It’s not every single day that you get to argue with an edgy Russian label promoter/owner over a band’s name that appears on the goth/post-punk comp that they are shilling everywhere on Reddit. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
I clicked on the link to the comp that the Black Kingdom promoter posted on Reddit, just to see what kind of music it was because I was curious. I’m not the hugest fan of all of the repetitive post-punk bands coming out of that part of the world right now, but I believe in giving bands a chance before slagging them off. To my surprise I saw that the second band’s name on the comp’s track listing on Bandcamp was Pippi & The Faggots. I mean seriously, what in the ever living fuck? I immediately responded with the following:
The person responds, knowing exactly what the word means. Which makes me think that they are trying to be edgy and don’t really care what people who speak the English language think of the term. Since his/her friends are okay with the term that means that we must be too? Fuck that noise.
How completely edgy of them! Russia is very well known homophobic country right now because of Putin’s regime. That isn’t a secret at all, so trying to deny that is a huge insult.
Trying to push the blame onto somebody else when they are the person who decides what goes on the comp? Nah.
Now they are not making any sense at all, which is not surprising. After this exchange he responded maybe two more times, with a parting shot of calling me a ‘social warrior’. Yep, a person who tries to justify the use of the word faggot thinks I’m being a social justice warrior. Hmmmmm…..who usually uses that term as an insult when a leftist calls them out for being racist, homophobic, sexist, etc…. moron? The far right. So, what could we assume from this exchange? This probably isn’t the first time that this sort of thing has happened with this label, and it will probably continue because people like this are morons who think that their edgy crap doesn’t stink.
He/She actually changed the band’s name back to its native Russian soon after that last exchange, but I saw that he/she had posted the link to their comp on about ten other communities on Reddit. So I went to the post-punk one and warned them about the band name. What happened after that? He/she changed the name back into English and included my Reddit name in the title. A couple of minutes later, before I could take a screen shot, they not only blocked me on Reddit they also deleted the band completely off of the comp.
As you can see from the above screen shot they are still advertising that the band is on the comp. Will they put them back on it when nobody is looking? Possibly, because I wouldn’t put it past him/her. This kind of proves the point that there are new people coming into the goth/wave/post-punk subculture who hold homophobic and racist type views who will try to justify them in whatever way they can. When you see something like this going on you have to call them out on their bullshit, because if you don’t confront them crap like this will flourish.
First, let me start out by saying that I am not going to name a single wannabe 80’s modern post-punk band in this post. So, if you are looking for some spicy drama you ain’t going to find it here. If you are a person who has been trying to find new music in the modern post-punk genre you will know exactly what I am talking about. Same thing applies if you are trying to find good goth bands since the line between the genres is very blurred right now. Suffice it to say that this issue is very out in the open for anybody to easily observe.
In music there are always trend trains that some musicians want to jump on because they think it will bring them more attention. For the last few years the 1980’s have been very popular with teens and those who actually don’t remember the decade. It’s a nostalgia trip down memory lane based partially on the music that they think was popular at that time. Joy Division being featured on Stranger Things is a prime example of this. However, what these people don’t realise is that Joy Division actually wasn’t that well known back then. Chicks with huge perms and wearing neon workout gear were not Jazzercising to Joy Division. Trust me. I had a gym class back then that made us Jazzercise to Wham. Yeah, that’s right, most people back then listened to really corny pop music.
What these trend jumpers don’t understand is that not every single ‘post-punk’ band in the 80’s sounded the same. They weren’t all copying Joy Division and many had their own sound going on. Back then you could listen to the radio or a mix-tape and know what bands were being played just by their sound. Instead of trying to sound different from one another many of these modern self described ‘post-punk’ bands think that they have to lift Peter Hook’s bass riffs in order to be included in the genre. I am not saying that every single one of the modern post-punk bands does this, but enough do it to the point that it has become tedious having to wade through an endless number of clones to find bands that have the creativity to actually mix the now stereotypical sound with the music of other subgenres.
All of this has gotten the point in which people ask in online goth communities about how to start a post-punk band and how to copy the sound. I always tell people to create their own sound because there are way too many clone bands around right now. I think it takes a lot of creativity to start a band, however that creativity is thrown out of the window when the musicians in a band play the same bass and guitar riffs as Joy Division.
BE YOURSELF, NOT SOMEBODY THAT YOU THINK YOU HAVE TO BE IN ORDER TO ‘FIT IN’ !!!!! Screw fitting in. Screw music trends. Do you know what is going to happen? If the music industry tries to mainstream the goth subculture yet again I guarantee that they are going to sign these wannabe 80’s post-punk bands. Why? Because they are safe sounding and don’t challenge the listener in any way, shape or form. I was around in the SF Bay Area when pop-punk reared its ugly head, and tons of non threatening bands got signed to major labels. What is happening right now is very similar. Meaning that a more mainstream commercial type sound is being popularized and being promoted as being ‘different’ right now, when in fact it’s about as challenging as eating a bowl of cornflakes.
Lately there has been a lot of talk about how goth music is political, which in turn would mean that the subculture is political as well. When it comes down to it is the subculture actually politically minded?
Everybody reading this knows that the goth subculture was birthed out of the punk subculture. The punk subculture has always been political to varying degrees. There are famous punk musicians such as Jello Biafra and Dick Lucas who have always talked the talk and walked the walk. When they write songs about supporting equal rights or about how evil corporations are they mean it. They aren’t being political to gain ‘scene’ points, they are being political because they think that speaking against injustices is important and something that must be done.
Do goth bands speak up about injustices? Sometimes, but not as often as their punk cousins. Sex Gang Children have recently put out the most politically charged album that I have ever heard come out from under the goth umbrella. It’s called Oligarch and it speaks up against corporations, religious hypocrisy and fascist politicians. I honestly hope that other goth bands listen to it and are inspired to make their own politically charged art. Christian Death is another band that has openly made politically charged music through the years. Both the Rozz and Valor versions of the band have done this. Then there are modern anarcho deathrock bands such as Mystic Priestess and the Creeping Terrors who make music with a political bent. With one foot in the punk subculture they are carrying on the tradition of speaking up against what is wrong in society.
If you spend any amount of time in online goth communities you will see people ask if they can be right wing and goth at the same time. The goth subculture has always leaned left because of the acceptance of those who society sees as the ‘other’. Are there racists within the subculture? There have always been those in the subculture who think that a person has to be white in order to be goth, which is a load of shit of course. Do some people wear white foundation and try to look as pale as possible? Of course but you don’t have to look like a Victorian ghost to enjoy the music. You don’t have to be a certain weight, a certain colour or dress a certain way to take part in the subculture.
All of this could be called political, but do people in the subculture actually stand up for the rights of others when it comes down to it? I would like to argue that there are some that do, but they are heavily outnumbered by those who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. The most important thing about being politically minded is standing behind what you say, even if it inconveniences you. A huge example of this are all of the people in the subculture who will be attending the Cruel World festival, even though the person putting it on is a proven homophobe. They will post about how they are for the rights of those who identify as LGBTQ, but they don’t want to be inconvenienced by missing a show. It’s hypocritical to not stand behind what you say.
Back thirty years ago the subculture was largely not political at all. To the point that Nazi skinheads would attend the clubs and nobody would lift a finger to boot them out. Seriously, I witnessed this shit myself. Back then I weighed 100 pounds and I knew that it would be impossible for me to do anything physically about it. However, there were several times back then that I told Nazi skins off because I didn’t like the crap that they were saying. I did all that I could do back then but when it came down to it there were definitely others who just didn’t care. As long as they could dance to their favourite songs everything was hunky dory.
When it comes down to it the goth subculture can be political, but there are many people in it who need to learn to stand up for what they claim to believe in. Supporting the LGBTQ community online is good, but if it is not followed through with some sort of physical action then that support becomes meaningless. Go to marches and events that are against racism and homophobia, and don’t attend events that are put on by racist or homophobic promoters.
Everybody is losing their minds over this festival. It’s the culmination of all of the 80’s worshipping that has been going on for the last ten plus years in society. The fact that PiL and Morrissey are on the bill has scared some people off of it, but there is a HUGE issue going on behind the scene that is even more heinous. Philip Anschutz, the man putting this show on, has been donating money to anti-LGBTQ causes: Alliance Defending Freedom, the National Christian Foundation, and the Family Research Council.
The Washington Post broke this story about five years ago, and the Daily Beast three years ago also wrote about it. The Daily Beast story is damning and really dives deep into the issue. When confronted Anschutz claimed that he didn’t know about his money funding those groups and that he would end it. He stated that his company was diverse and that he is for equal rights. Then a year or two after that it was found out, through his tax filings, that he had indeed stopped donating to those three anti-LGBTQ groups. However, he was now donating his money to two other equally problemic groups Dare 2 Share Ministries and Young Life, a youth ministry. On top of that he has been donating millions to conservative and libertarian groups, including ones linked to the Koch family.
I am really disappointed that some groups that I love are playing this show. I won’t stop listening to them, but it makes me wonder whether they actually do care about LGBTQ rights or not. The same thing can be said for all of the people planning to go to this. I think it’s highly hypocritical to go to this while also supporting LGBTQ rights, because they are handing a wad of cash to a man who has been proven to not give a shit about LGBTQ folks. I’m going to give people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to this because I know that not everybody has heard about it. However, if they learn about this and still go then I will be questioning who they really are.
Since very bright hair has become very mainstream it seems like more and more brands of bright hair dye are coming out of the woodwork. This itself isn’t a bad thing because what works on one person may not work on another person. What I personally take issue with is the fact that a lot of companies are charging a ton of money for these dyes, and a lot of people who have no experience with these type of dyes are being gouged in more ways than one.
Before I get stuck in I would like to let it be known that I am not a licensed hair stylist. However, I have been dyeing my own hair for about 35 years so I have a lot of experience. I have dark brown hair that is very coarse and consists of three different types of curls. Bleaching my type of hair is very difficult and time consuming. I would bleach it once and then in a day or two bleach it a second time. This would get it light enough to take in a magenta colour and that’s it. These days I would say that 80% of my new hair growth is white, which means that I no longer have to bleach it and I can dye it purple. My hair has been damaged many times in the past but it has never broken off, so my experiences may not be the same as others who have a different hair type.
With all of that being said there is no reason why people should be shelling £20.00 or more for one container of dye when they can get two, three, and in some cases even four containers of bright dyes for the same price. A lot of people wasting their money this way are doing almost no research on the subject. They are taking the word of beauty ‘influencers’ that are making a ton of money off of them by claiming that their bright hair dye is more ‘special’ than others. I’m looking at you Brad Mondo. I don’t care that you are an internet famous hair dresser, I am not going to pay over £20.00 for your bright coloured hair dye.
Certain brands work on my hair while others don’t, and that is a pretty common issue. The first main brand I ever tried was Manic Panic and it literally washed right out of my hair. These days it goes for about £10.00 a tub. The brand that I had the most success with when I lived in the US was Punky Colour. It was a little cheaper than Manic Panic and would actually stay in my hair for a few weeks. I would always mix one of their reds with one of their pinks to make my own magenta type colour. It is very pricey if you are living in Europe so I now use Directions, which is probably the most affordable brand out there. I have gotten pots of it for as low as £3.20. Their plum shade has the most cool fade that I have ever seen. Some of my hair will turn pink while other strands will turn a bright blue. When I recently went to get my hair cut my hairdresser was shocked that I had only used one shade to get that kind of multi colour fade.
In the end you can spend your money on whatever bright hair colour brand that you want, but just know that you do not need to spend an outrageous amount of cash. Do some research as to how your hair type reacts to bleach, because if you have dark hair you are not going to get a very bright hair shade unless you lighten it first. Some ads will claim that you don’t have to bleach your hair first. Quite frankly that is a load of shit. Also, ask others with your hair type what brand of dye that they use. If you do these things first before buying a bright coloured hair dye you will not only save money, you will also not be giving liars and grifters your hard earned cash.
Where do I even begin with this? I am on their mailing list and today they sent me an email that contained the above photo along with a link to an article on their site that describes what a ‘Romantic Goth’ is all about. Get ready to be schooled by Killstar!
Do I long for extravagant clothing? Sure! Personally I have always wanted to be dressed in corsets and black velvet and lace while wandering the halls of a spooky castle holding a candelabra that lights my way. All the while suffering from consumption, my deathly coughs echoing through the empty chambers, my bloody spittle blending into by black clothes. Since it was a simpler time there were no antibiotics so I would slowly die. Neat!
Yearn for arts, music and literature from the 1800’s? By golly gee you know I do! Nothing stirs me more than the Pre-Raphaelites, Mozart and Dracula! Wait, I’m not doing this right because Mozart was from the 1700’s. Shit. Oh, but I really love the hell out of Dracula! The Christopher Lee portrayal because he was a better actor and Hammer made the best Gothic type of horror film. I know I’m supposed to say Bela Lugosi but I cannot betray my heart!
So, a Romantic Goth is a classic type of goth fashion? Way back when, through the mists of time, wearing velvet and lace was just considered goth. In the 90’s different ‘types’ of goths were thought up to poke fun at the goth community, it was an inside joke that nobody took seriously. Am I supposed to be taking this seriously, because I have some velvet and lace items! Should I stop shaving part of my head and learn how to make elaborate buns out of my hair? I don’t know what to do! Bauhaus, Type O Negative and The Cure are to blame for the surge of the Romantic Goth style? Oh dear, somebody should tell them because I think some of the musicians in those bands will be very embarrassed. Break the news to them slowly because some of them aren’t in the best of health. Romantic Goths are some of the most commonly betrayed goth types in the media? How tragic!
Velvet and lace are a match made in hell? What’s hell got to do…got to do with it?
You mean I should be wearing baphomet necklaces, belts, and rings? I was wearing all of my lace and velvet clothing the wrong way? I now feel like I haven’t lived up to the required Romantic Goth angst level. All of those Hammer films lied to me! LIED!!! Damn you Christopher Lee and Ingrid Pitt…damn you! *cries dramatically and flings her cross laden jewellery across the room*
My heart is only semi dark, will that do? If I start spelling words with exxxtra x’s will that make my heart grow darker? So, there are more boxes to tick besides the Romantic Goth ones? If they involve the objectification of goth women I want to be all up in that. There is nothing like being a big tiddy goth girlfriend. Nothing.
First you call it Romantic Goth, now you call it new wave romantic fashion. Funny, I spent the last thirty years daring to think that New Wavers, New Romantics and Goths were all slightly different because those music genres weren’t exactly the same. Wait a second, are you trying to tell me that Goth has nothing to do with music and is just a fashion choice? Thank you for schooling me Killstar and for leading me into the light. Wait, am I supposed to say darkness because that would be more spooky and evil, right?
Do you want to learn more about Romantic Goths? You know you do! Click the link and you will be transformed into the Romantic Goth you knew you could always be.
Within the last few years there has been a resurgence of interest in anything having to do with the 80’s. Everything from endless posts about mediocre 80’s ‘post-punk’ bands to people asking questions as to how to directly copy the look of ‘trad’ goths litter the internet. Then there are the truly special individuals who constantly talk about how cool the decade was and how they wish they could have lived back then. They should never wish that. You want to know why? Because for the most part the 80’s was a hellish landscape of conservative neo-liberal politics mixed in with a highly conformist society that punished those who were in any way different.
I was a teen in the 80’s and graduated high school in 1989, so I spent pretty much the entirety of my teen years in that decade. I was very politically aware during that time and paid attention to the world events going on around me. For example, I went on a trip with some classmates to Washington DC in late 87 that was called Close Up. Teens from all over the US go every year to learn about politics. You get to meet your representatives and talk about important issues with others. We got enough free time to wander about the area exploring and one day two friends and I were walking near the Capital Building when a motorcade appeared. During that week Soviet officials were there to draw up the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty along with officials from Reagan’s cabinet which included the Secretary Of State George Shultz. I hated, and still hate, Reagan with the burning heat of a thousand suns so I was obviously not a fan of anybody serving under him. The first limos going past us had Soviet flags attached to the front, rolled down windows and Soviet guys waving at us with smiles on their faces. Seriously, it was as cool as it sounds. We smiled and waved back of course. Then the limos infested with the lice off of Reagan’s head rolled by and not one of them rolled down their windows. However, it was easy to see through the tint that one of them contained Shultz. I started yelling to him that he sucked and gave him the finger with both hands. Yes, I told a high ranking US official to basically go fuck himself. My friends were panicking telling me to stop but I wouldn’t. To this day I am still proud that at the age of 16 I had the balls to do something like that.
Now that you have learned a little bit about me I will now tell you a little bit about what it was really like to live in the 80’s.
THE COLD WAR AND THE CONSTANT FEAR OF NUCLEAR ANNIHILATION
I don’t think that younger people right now quite realize just how close we came to all being killed in a nuclear war. This fear was largely due to the constant posturing of Reagan. He would call the USSR the evil empire and threaten them on a very regular basis. Frankly I was way more afraid of Reagan back then than I was of the USSR. To the credit of the USSR back then they didn’t give in to Reagan and start a war. I honestly think the professional war mongerers who stood behind Reagan wanted an all out war with the USSR because they would have made billions from that. Both empires fought a proxy war in Afghanistan when the USSR invaded the country while the US backed and trained the rebels. By the way one of those rebels was Osama Bin Laden.
Nuclear war was such a possibility at the time that two powerful tv films were made about it happening. Threads in the UK and The Day After in the US. Since I was living in the US at the time I saw The Day After when it was first aired in 1983 when I was in the 7th grade. It freaked my friends and I out so much that we went to our vice principal and asked about whether the school had a nuclear fallout shelter. Think about that for a second. Imagine being a young teen and having that kind of fear hanging over your head on a constant basis. It sucked. A few years ago I finally saw Threads and it shows the reality of a nuclear war; people being burned alive and the unsanitized reality of what would happen after a nuclear conflagration. If I had seen it back in the 80’s I would have had full blown nightmares.
IF YOU WERE IN ANY WAY ‘DIFFERENT’ YOU GOT CONSTANTLY SHIT ON AND CONFORMITY WAS A WAY OF LIFE
I always see younger people in online goth communities say that they wished that they could have experienced an ‘alternative’ subculture back in the 80’s. With confidence I can say that the vast majority of them wouldn’t have been emotionally equipped to have handled all of the shit that they would have gotten from others. It wasn’t just the ‘normal’ people that you had to deal with back then, you also had to deal with intense pressure within the alternative community to fit in by liking the same bands and behaving the same way. Woe onto you if you actually acted happy or liked a band that wasn’t considered cool. People think that ‘gatekeeping’ is bad now? They have no idea.
There was a huge amount of pressure back then by society to fit in. Reagan constantly preached about how America was better in the good old days, which were actually not good for anybody who wasn’t wealthy and white. If you didn’t go along with his not so hidden racist agenda you were seen as unpatriotic and a traitor. I am not exaggerating. You had to hate the USSR, be scared of black people, and look just like everybody else. If you didn’t have a perm, didn’t dress in the trendiest clothes and didn’t listen to the latest pop bands you didn’t fit in so you were considered fair game to tease and even physically attack. Luckily I was never physically attacked but I know that lots of people were. Far more violence happened back then than now. However, I had things yelled at me on a constant basis, for doing such things as simply walking down a street. In high school I was even told by a teacher that I wouldn’t have as many problems if I just dressed like everybody else.
IT WAS DIFFICULT AS HELL FINDING OUT ABOUT BANDSAND SHOWS
There was no functioning internet back in the 80’s. There were some bulletin board type communities but computers were expensive as hell so most people did not have them. There were thee ways of finding out about bands back then. You could be one of those lucky people that lived near a radio station that actually played alternative and punk music. These were usually college radio stations, but sometimes pop stations would play less popular music in the the middle of the night. There was a pop station in my area that did this. So much so that by the very late 80’s they became an ‘alternative’ station. However, by that time they played more radio friendly bands than experimental ones. However, I did learn about some bands by listening to them. Another way to learn about bands was by getting mix tapes from your friends. In early 86 I got one from a guy, who then ghosted me. There was no track listing written down so it took me literally years to figure some of them out. However, I had another person introduce me to Joy Division by handing me a tape with Unknown Pleasures on one side and Closer on the other. The last way to find out about music was by cold buying it. You would see somebody cool wearing a mysterious band shirt and you kept a log of those band names in the back of your head. I actually cold bought November Coming Fire by Samhain using this method, and more times than not I had really good luck.
On top of all of this there was a code of silence that the uber goober type people would pull when you would ask them about what bands they liked. Seriously. There was some sort of strange code that some weirdos lived by that made it very uncool to share musical knowledge with anybody. It was as if they were going to be killed by an evil cabal if they dared to utter the sacred names of bands. These were the same types who would try to dictate how you behaved in clubs.
Wanted to see your favourite band play a show? Good luck! Most of the time the only way you would find out about shows was at club nights, but if you were under 18, and sometimes 21, you weren’t allowed in them. I actually went to one that let you in of you were 17 or older and another that was all ages so I was lucky when it came to that. However, that didn’t mean you would find out about all of the shows because venues were usually total shit at advertising shows unless they were some of the better known ones that also hosted metal shows. There were some ‘alternative’ weekly papers where I lived so I would find out about some of them that way, but there were two times that I accidentally saw bands because I thought it was going to be a regular club night. I saw Meat Beat Manifesto and The Call that way which looking back on it was pretty darn cool.
Well, that’s it for today. I realise that I have probably broken some hearts and crushed some dreams but the amount of misinformation about the 80’s really needs to be balanced out with a reality check. I don’t look back at that decade with rose coloured glasses, even though I lived through those years. It could be fun, but it was also really difficult. If I had the ability to go back in time to those years I wouldn’t.
Here is a quick rundown on what has happened. Last year there were some screen shots of some very old problematic Facebook likes that Brandon Pybus made years ago that were passed around the internet as proof that he was racist. Then Brandon appeared on a show explaining his side of things, and what he said made sense to me so I believed him. My thought process at the time was that if he was currently actively racist why would he agree to speak about being against racism. Some people have been telling me that there was more evidence, but I personally never saw any. I based my opinion on those old likes that I saw and what Brandon said and that was it.
This all changed yesterday when definitive proof was produced. It has been shown that Brandon has been an active member of the Sons Of Confederate Veterans since 2015. This is considered to be a hate group because they want Confederate statues to be kept in place, Confederate flags to be flown freely and they spread lies about why the Civil War was fought.
To say I am pissed off at Brandon is a huge understatement. In the past we had actually spoken about the Civil War because I have several ancestors who fought for the Union and who were from West Virginia, an area that he lives near. Never once did he say anything about the Confederacy or about being a member of that group. Of course he didn’t, because he knew that it would instantly piss me off and that I would tell other people. If he thought it wasn’t a racist group then why would he hide being a member of it? He had also told me in other discussions that he was in no way racist and that he wasn’t that kind of person.
I am not the only person that he has majorly lied to. He has worked with many other musicians as either a producer, a guitar player or as a vocalist. I feel for these musicians more than anybody else because they were closer to him and knew him as a personal friend, as somebody that they would help if he needed it. He really put himself out there, helping people and being friendly with everybody. It felt like he was doing something that the goth subculture really needed; a musician that was willing to work with everybody instead of against everybody.
There isn’t very much money to be made in the subculture so I don’t think he did all of this for that reason. I witnessed the WAR (white aryan resistance) skins, in the late 80’s/early 90’s, try to heavily infiltrate the goth and punk club scenes on the US West Coast and there is something about this whole situation that reminds me of that ordeal. They had more success in the goth subculture because back then the people within it were generally more passive and not as political as now. I’m not saying that everybody ignored politics but a certain percentage of people really couldn’t be bothered. That is one of the reasons why I have always kept a foot in the punk scene because people tend to be more reactive when bad shit happens. The punks and SHARP skins did all of the heavy lifting back then and drove the WAR skins out. Maybe Brandon thought that the goth subculture would be an easy place for him to infiltrate because he thinks that a lot of the people within the subculture are still very passive? That in the end people would support him no matter what he believed or said?
I would like to state for the record that I’m sorry that I hurt the feelings of the people who shared those Facebook likes last year. I supported the wrong person in this whole situation. I tend to defend friends to the death if I think they have been wronged, so that is why I reacted the way that I did. I fully support BLM, stand against racism and want everybody to be treated equally no matter who they are or who they love.
My heart feels crushed right now. However, I am not going to let Brandon’s lying racist ass get to me. I have scrubbed all mention of him and Sonsombre from this blog and I have deleted all of Sonsombre’s music from my computer. I plan on making the Sonsombre vinyl records that I own into bowls, because I don’t want to make money off of them and throwing them away isn’t exactly environmentally friendly.
EDIT: Apparently Brandon has made a non apology and is blocking people from actually asking questions about the racist organization that he belongs to. He blocked me even before I could comment, go figure. I’m not linking it because I don’t want to give him any views. It’s easy to find on Sonsombre’s Facebook page. I dedicate Gwar’s song Sick Of You to him. It’s very apt at the moment.
Dollskill, for those of you who don’t know, is an ‘alternative’ clothing brand that has a very problemic past involving stealing designs, racism, ableism and all sorts of nefarious type things. These events are very well known and several videos on the subject have been made by illuminaughtii, Emily Boo, Ready To Glare and many other YouTube content creators. If you type in ‘Dollskill sucks’ you will be greeted by a ton of videos on the subject.
Their clothes for the most part are very cringe worthy, made for young women who are graduating from the school of Hot Topic. They are definitely not aimed towards older people such as myself. They have different looks listed under the profiles of different young women:
Mercy – Represents the ‘goth’ look, that according to them includes the wearing of pentagrams, crosses and lots of lace and see through clothing. In other words the exact same kind of crap being sold by a ton of other ‘alternative’ sites. The name is a play on the most basic goth band The Sisters Of Mercy, how droll of them.
Darby – Represents the ‘punk’ look, that according to them includes the wearing of plaid, short skirts and graphic printed shirts. Just like the Mercy section many of the clothes have lace and are see through. Do you sense a pattern going on? This name is based on the singer for the Germs Darby Crash. How rebellious!
Willow – Represents the ‘festival’ look, that according to them includes a bunch of fringe, bell bottoms and clothing that looks like Rainbow Brite threw up on them. There are three more profiles but I seriously don’t feel like punishing my eyes any longer.
With all of this being said why the hell are ‘influencers’ still promoting them? My guess is because free cheaply made overpriced clothing is more important than anything else. The dumb bitches are outing themselves as being casual supporters of racism, among other things, which makes it really easy to avoid and ignore them. Yes, I called them dumb bitches, because you have got to be a really shallow and dense individual if your ‘look’ is more important than not supporting a company run by yet another dumb bitch.
What makes these people any different than the ‘normies’ that they often complain about? Nothing, because they are in fact ‘normies’. In the famous words of Jello Biafra: ‘You ain’t hardcore cos you spike your hair when a jock still lives in your head’. In other words, wearing black clothing doesn’t automatically make you ‘goth’, no matter how hard you try. This is especially true when you show off the free merch that you are receiving from a shit brand like Dollskill.
Don’t want to be considered a dumb bitch? Then don’t support brands such as Dollskill. Instead of showing off outfits that you receive free from questionable companies maybe actually spend your own money on the clothes that you wear. Too broke to buy the clothes yourself? Welcome to reality, a place in which most people cannot throw down a couple of thousand pounds for a whole new wardrobe. Instead, they steadily buy pieces through the years and wear them for so long that they will only toss them when they can no longer be fixed. Normally the only people who care about the newest trends in clothing are the trendies who will buy a whole new season of clothing by a designer several times a year. So if you run across a goth ‘influencer’ online that always jumps on ‘alternative’ trends, such as wearing clothes with crescent moons all over them, then you are witnessing behaviour that is no different from that acted out by the rest of society. The only difference is that the ‘influencer’ is wearing mostly black.
Why the hell are there ‘influencers’ in the goth subculture to begin with? Why do people need to be told exactly what to wear? These fashion victims think that looking dark and edgy automatically makes them goth. These are the same people who will take a selfie of themselves wearing black lipstick and post said photo all over the internet claiming they feel powerful and goth wearing such lipstick. Goth ‘influencers’ perpetuate all of this crap. Most actual people in the subculture do not put on a full face of make-up every single day and don’t dress to the nines just to go grocery shopping, unless they especially feel like it. Hell, there have been times I’ve done it because I was bored out of mind and wanted to look extra pretty that day. I take no issue with that at all. It becomes a problem when others in the subculture expect you to do it every single day or you’re not considered a ‘real’ goth.
These goth ‘influencers’ are considered to be ‘real’ goths by their followers which is at the heart of this problem. When they promote companies such as Dollskill they are basically saying to their fans that wearing Dollskill clothing is a very goth thing to do. They don’t mention all of the issues the company has had because they don’t want to lose that free swag they keep getting. The majority of these influencers, as you can expect, are young thin white women. Since they don’t really experience racism why should they have to worry their pretty little heads about it? If you buy the same clothes and wear your make-up exactly like them then you too could perhaps become an influencer! I call it the Kardashianization of the goth subculture. People becoming famous even though they aren’t talented in any way, shape or form.
So, what have we learned today? That aspiring to become a stupid bitch isn’t something that people should be wanting to do. Dollskill is trash and doesn’t deserve your hard earned money, especially during a world wide economic meltdown.