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on 20 February 2010
Now, I've had my problems in the past with Gavin Baddeley's books, and he's had problems with me having problems with them. But "Goth: Vamps and Dandies" is a real pleasure. It's intended to address a criticism levelled at Mr Baddeley's previous account of Goth, "Goth Chic", which, as he admits, didn't contain a great deal to do with the modern Goth look and lifestyle at all despite its title. The current work falls into two halves, the first outlining what Mr B. terms rather nicely at several points 'Goth's DNA', the amalgam of influences from literature, art, music, movies and TV that emerged as Goth at some vague and indefinable point between 1979 and 1981. The second half looks at the various mini-movements and figures who've nudged the development of the Goth subculture in one direction or another. It succeeds pretty well: I was delighted to see the Marquesa Casati get a mention, and there are bits and pieces I wasn't aware of too. The style is fluent and relaxed, and even affectionate, not just towards modern Goths but also in the book's account of their forebears such as Theda Bara and Bela Lugosi. The illustrations are very full and very good, if occasionally confusingly placed (why does Voltaire crop up on p.76?) and *slightly* over-representative of one Goth club and one Goth clothing retailer. While I thought 'dark cabaret' could have done with a mention - perhaps that's just the circles I move in - virtually everything else gets one, at least within the British Goth world: contentious subcurrents including Steampunk and Cybergoth are deftly treated and describing the profound effect of the murder of Sophie Lancaster leads to some insightful thoughts about the political significance of simply being insistently individual.
Because Goth is a shapeshifting thing which doesn't actually have a stable 'ancestry' but continually discovers new antecedents as it moves forward, setting out to tell its story is a near-foolhardy enterprise - but I think the author rather pulls it off. At the very least, he manages to outline a convincing and fun narrative which deserves to be read and enjoyed.
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on 3 February 2010
Goth is a well researched, beautifully illustrated and intelligently written description of the Gothic subculture throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Some of the connections Baddeley makes surprised me; but they are so well argued that it is hard to disregard them, making it an illuminating and fascinating read even for a goth-elder.

I was particularly impressed by Baddeley's analysis of the reasons behind the hatred and intolerance of goths and and anti-goth violence, including the Sophie Lancaster killing. I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone with more than a passing interest in the Gothic subculture.
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on 9 April 2010
I very much enjoyed 'Goth Chic' and was intrigued to know what more Mr Baddeley had to say on the subject. From the viewpoint of an older Goth I feel this book has brought me up to date with all things Goth from 1990 onwards as well as giving me a bit of a nostalgia tour round the bits I remember from the '80's. Never went to the Batcave but was interested to read about that little bit of Goth history. Everything described before that was very familiar although putting Goth's influences firmly in the twentieth century when I feel there are echoes from before when the romantic poets were putting on paper their reactions to the beginnings of the industrial revolution. For me my gothic sensibility was woken when studying 'The Eve of St Agnes' and 'Kubla Khan' in school. Having just (finally) managed to get a DVD of Julien Temple's film 'Pandaemonium' I feel that's now been confirmed. The pre-twentieth century influences are dealt with in detail in Richard Davenport-Hines' 'Gothic - Four Hundred Years of Excess, Horror, Evil and Ruin'. However, all this concurs with Mr Baddeley's point about Goth being unusual among counter cultures in that it draws its influences from more than just the music scene. I found his book accessable and informative, attractively illustrated with an abundance of photos even if, as the other reviewer mentioned, there seems to be special emphasis on a certain online ordering firm (my daughter loves them - yes, this gothic sensibility is very much in the blood).
I was also touched by Mr Baddeley's inclusion of the tragic events surrounding the death of Sophie Lancaster, treated with sympathy and respect. She will not be forgotten.
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on 7 February 2010
Author Gavin Baddeley explains in the introduction , that his previous book "Goth Chic" , was criticised for not devoting enough space to illustrating the "look" of Goth . In response to this , "Vamps And Dandies" is intended to provide a more visual history of Goth style .
The book contains lots of photos , mostly in colour . Although some are movie stills or excerpts from Goth clothing catalogues , the majority are of "real" Goths , photographed in the street or at gatherings .
The text is a more concise history of Goth than in "Goth Chic" , but with some subjects given more coverage than in the earlier book . I particularly enjoyed the section on the vamps of the silent screen , such as Theda Bara and Pola Negri . There is perhaps slightly too much about bands , given that music was fully covered in Goth Chic .
My favourite book on Goth is still "The Goth Bible" by Nancy Kilpatrick , but "Goth ;Vamps And Dandies" comes a close second .
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on 11 December 2015
All okay
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on 20 November 2015
love ti
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