Worldwide Gothic: A Chronicle of a Tribe Paperback – 23 Jun 2011
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About the Author
Natasha Scharf is a music journalist who specialised in alternative and gothic music. She was the editor of underground gothic publication Meltdown and has subsequently written for Metal Hammer, Prog, Classic Rock and Terrorizer magazines. She co-produced a documentary on the goth scene for BBC Radio 1 called Beyond The Pale and has been interviewed about the scene many times in the media, including on Radio 4's Woman's Hour. She frequently DJs at gothic events across the globe.
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That leads into my one main criticism, which is that with its kaleidoscopic cataloguing of bands and musical genres, "Worldwide Gothic" depicts Goth musicians as subultural 'producers' with everyone else appearing only as consumers; I don't think this is what actually happens. As the Appendix points out, once the G-word made its appearance at some point in the early '80s it immediately bolted the nascent musical genre onto something bigger and older, meaning that the music would be continually contaminated by the 'Gothic' culture beyond as people discovered that for themselves; bands and their fans don't just come out of nowhere, after all. The most historically interesting bit of the book is the account of the pagan scene's role in the revival of British Goth (pp.51-2), which neatly shows the complex interaction of bands, promoters, and essentially non-Goth events (there isn't any necessary connection between Goth and paganism). The growing elision between Goth, Steampunk and Vintage scenes is similar: it certainly isn't bands leading that. "Worldwide Gothic" is very sumptuous visually with lots of good photographs; it would have benefited from closer editing, and if any book ever cried out for an index, it's this, but sadly indexing is a distant luxury these days.
Reservations aside, this is a very worthwhile and creditable addition to writing about Gothic, and gathering all this abstruse material together is a huge achievement. Hopefully it will mark a starting-point rather than a full stop.
It can't have been easy to wrangle the 30 years of bands, countries & sub styles but Natasha has covered pretty much everything.
Must dig out my old Meltdown magazines now for a bit of nostalgia...
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