Posted on April 14, 2009 Posted by John Scalzi 52 Comments
Athena’s been in a bit of a gothy mood recently, as the above picture well illustrates. This is something I do not discourage; between this and, say, Hannah Montana, I know which I prefer her be into. That said, I’ve told her that in this house, we don’t do goth by half-measures; if you’re going to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. Thus commenced an evening of Old School Goth Listening, featuring Bauhaus, Siouxsie and some choice selections from the early Cure oeuvre. Yes, yes, I know: When am I going to introduce her to Clan of Xymox and Fields of the Nephilim? To which I say: Hey. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.
Mind you, this isn’t the first time Athena’s indulged in goth leanings; it comes and goes around these parts. And I suspect that this too shall pass, since at the end of an hour of swirly goth moodiness, she asked if I wouldn’t mind playing her “All Star” from Smashmouth. As, I suspect, something of a palate cleanser. Which of course I did. She’s ten; she’s allowed extreme tonal shifts. And anyway, goth will be waiting for her, lurking, when she wants it. Because isn’t that what goth does? Lurk? Moodily? With lip piercings? Yes, indeed.
As a weekend chameleon gothling who apparently still emanates enough darkness that my coworkers can peg me as a goffy-mcgoffersons even when I have the temerity to wear COLOURS, I can only applaud the sharing of the Dad-music.
I’m pretty confident Athena will grow up and be whatever she wants to be. (And you can be intermittently Goth, if’n you want.)
Go, Athena, go!!!
Sister of Mercy
Love and Rockets (as well as Tones on Tails)
The Chameleons UK
The Birthday Party (oh, Nick Cave… *dreamy sigh*)
The Mission UK
Gang of Four
Oh the list can go on. I was a goth girl in LA when the underground rave scene was just cranking in, and holy hot salami, Batman, those were the days!!
I never had a Goth/Emo stage.
Is that just a girl thing? You know, to have a Goth phase? Sometimes boys?
David Hill @3: I don’t think it’s so much a girl/boy thing (the goths in my high school were pretty evenly split gender-wise) as just that it’s not a very popular subculture, so most people in general do not have a goth phase.
I was under the impression that Goths sacked places.
But I’m old-timey.
@ David Hill #3 – I made a PSA for people like you.
@ Scalzi – You’re getting her started the right way. I’m glad you’re not in any rush to show her the Damned, Sex Gang Children or Christian Death. :-)
Am I detecting a subtle influence on your part? It seems an odd coincidence that Athena is discovering Goth at the same time that you’re dabbling in fantasy writing.
Nothing wrong with a little goth phase here and there. It’s not what it used to be with the proliferation of Hot Topics and hearing The Cure on grocery store PA systems, but it’s still good to dip your toe into the Stygian darkness on occasion.
Hell, I met my wife at a Gothic/Techno club in South Beach called “The Church”. It was only open on Sunday nights ;)
Don’t forget 80s-90s industrial – _Land of Rape and Honey_ gets to be honorary goth, and a little Front 242 never hurt anyone in small doses, especially if she wants to branch out beyond the pointy-toe-in, pointy-toe-out gothy dance bit.
My life, is black.
My soul, is black.
I like my coffee, black.
Would you please scratch my, black.
More seriously, I found gothy tastes led nicely into a firm appreciation of classical for me, and it did the same for a couple of my friends.
Perhaps she is expressing her feelings about the recent loss of her friend?
I’ll see your Wondermark and raise you an Achewood.
I thought all those (pre-)teen rebellions (rebellia?) were intended by children to set themselves apart from their parents so they could later scream, “You don’t understand me! You don’t know anything about me!”? How’s she supposed to hate her parents if you persist in being so reasonable and accomodating, John?
Scalzi, you’re doing this all wrong. Children need to have their parents music SUCK. If it doesn’t suck, the kids have nothing to rebel against, and hence no way to define their identity. They won’t even know how to write angsty poems about death! And then the worst part is that they grow up to be economists or lawyers or greeting card writers or other similarly boring people. Do you REALLY want that?
*curses his father for introducing him to Dire Straits when he was 13, when he should have been listening to Nirvana and Pearl Jam*
Maybe I shouldn’t be impressed by this, but I’ve never been all that social about music… but the fact that you knew and mentioned Clan of Xymox caused a moment of indescribable joy.
Did you play her “Faith”?
I’ve always been a social Goth, and I like a lot of the music. but I tend towards the stuff with a bit of rock in it, like Ministry or The Cult, but not the Death Metal or Black Metal – not for me.
My daughter, you met her, John, loves to get her Dora the Explorer on, but she also seems to enjoy some Metallica: Death Magnetic, the new Queensrych album, and whatever hair metal I play in the car. She hums along, and kicks her feet, and occasionally I see her in my rear-view mirror throwing some devil horns – but maybe that’s just my imagination.
And when she was a couple of weeks old, the only thing that quieted her down was AC/DC.
Siouxsie used to drink in my favourite pub occasionally back in the 70s. The Hong Kong Garden Takeaway was about 10 minutes’ walk away on Chislehurst High Street. It’s no longer there. I checked.
Clan of Xymox! I haven’t thought about them in years! Still have the first album though.
That picture’s so goth it’s got a chocolate chip cookie in the corner. That’s goth!
I can see Goth being better than Hannah Montana. *winces*
Should she ever move from Goth to Steampunk, I highly recommend Abney Park.
MasterThief @15: Don’t worry, when it’s time she’ll find something :)
Scalzi, what a great, supportive dad you are! (Not that you haven’t indicated this in many, many posts…) As someone who was asked repeatedly as a kid “Why don’t you want to do X more? Why do you only want to read and hike?” I respect your acceptance and encouragement of Athena’s exploration of who she is and might be.
And “Head on the Door” is a lovely choice…
She (and you) might be interested in a new video game “The Path” – a goth take on little red riding hood.
Ian M. @ 24 – I don’t know if that’s your idea of a joke, but I’d advise you, John, and anyone else to stay away from The Path. Especially your kids. The game pushes the limits of what fear is.
Austin @ 7 – I’m glad you could categorize me into a group of people based on one sentence I typed over the internet.
A most interesting post, on so many levels.
@22, Deborah Brown – I think there’s actually a lot of overlap between goth and steampunk (probably that Victorian vibe), so she could be *both*! (Whee!)
There’s always the “perkygoth” option, too. Wear pink and sparkles and claim to be goth and give everybody a bad case of cognitive dissonance.
It’s a shame the Pearls Before Swine comic only has the prior two weeks available online. The perfect strip for this was written and drawn by Mr. Pastis just a few months back.
I’m gonna third that Abney Park recommendation. They’re one of my favorites. Their most recent is Steampunk, though their older stuff is goth, and it’s peppier than most other goth. Also, all child-friendly.
I mean, “Airship Pirates”–you CANNOT GO WRONG.
Also, yes, it’d be nice if people stopped confusing emo and goth.
it’d be nice if people stopped confusing emo and goth.
Thank you. It makes me nuts when I see the words “goth/emo” together like that. “Emo” kids a bunch of crybabies who take their teen angst far too seriously. Goths just like really good music :)
John, don’t forget This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance.
Wow. That is awesome. I totally less than three Athena (in a non-creepy, I see part of my young self there and wish I’d been that awesome at that age way). My goth leanings didn’t start showing up until much later, say 15, when the world was black (like my soul) and in between being a huge sci fi geek I lamented the fact that everyday wasn’t Halloween and read a lot of Poe. That’s about when I wrote a 20 page report on Wicca for high school. Yeah, I was one of those kids.
As a friend of mine once put it, emo kids cut themselves, goth kids cut YOU.
@Cobwebs: Yep. That’s why I figured it was a possibility. I like steampunk for its ability to combine so much of my loves.
@Ryan: Speaking as the only Artshow Pirate (that I know of), ARRRRt.
I *heart* Airship Pirates so much.
There’s a story Neil Gaiman tells about his daughter trying to hang out with Goths. She’d invite them around to their place, and he’d meet them. Then after leaving the room, he’d hear many excited squeals of “OMG! That’s Neil Gaiman! That was Neil Gaiman!” while his daughter suffered the excruciating teenage embarrassment of not being able to complain about parents…
Great, just great. Now I have Sisters of Mercy on my mind and the only solution is to play “Dominion/Mother Russia” at ear-bleed volume level.
What is it with 10 year olds? If this is Before Hormones, I’m very afraid of During Hormones.
A t-shirt might be in order:
I was always more into the music of Goth than the rest of it really. Definately preferable to the whole Hannah M thing.
As Athena is the daughter of a writer, I have no doubt that she’ll find her own words o’ pain to use when she goes through her inevitable “Bad Goth Poetry” phase. But, should she need a little help, she should check out my friend’s Goth-O-Matic Poetry Generator. Guaranteed to express her deep, dark sadness perfectly.
Seconded on Abney Park! Also, perhaps Sisters of Mercy, and for a bit more modern and almost literature-ish Goth, Cruxshadows.
Go, young Goth. Go forward and carry the torch forward from our generation to yours.
As the parent of a sometime goth princess (youngest of 3 and only female offspring who freaks her brothers out much more than her parents), I agree: goth is much better than Hannah Montana!!!!
Heh. I’m just enjoying all these “kids” wandering around with Iron Maiden shirts (Trooper, Aces High,…) or “Back in Black” or…
It’s fun to walk up to them and say “Oh yeah, that was a great concert. opened for them, and Dickinson/Angus was *ON* that night. Oh, by the way, were you born in 198x?” and walk off.
Especially as I’ve always looked sort of conservative.
When Sam expressed an interest in goth we jumped straight into Fields of the Nephilim. Well, first we had a long discussion about whether Tool is goth or not. I don’t expect he has the right personality for full on goth. He’s heading more towards skater kid. He’s not doing so great on the skateboard yet and his clothes are all still age appropriate for an 8 year old, but at least he has a head start on the music.
David @ 25 – You’re welcome.
@ Ryan & Chris @ 29 & 30 – You might also appreciate my PSA.
Ooh, Cruxshadows also equals heck yes.
And yeah, I read the PSA. Well played.
Our host’s approach to parenting reminded me of these two webcomics:
Clever ploy, indulgence… very clever.
I did the goth thing in High School and took myself waaay to serious. Years later I saw the South Park episode about the goth kids, I think stan joined them for a bit. It put it all in a nice perspective for me. Now I see the goth kids and think they are “cute”, I would never say that to them of course, way to un-goth like. I still dig the bleached white hair though, that needs to come around again.
Mmmm. 80s goth music. So many good bands listed here. Brings back memories of when I was young, thin and had hair.
My boys (a bit younger than Athena) are not yet expressing interest in things goth, but it won’t be long. They both love Rob Zombie and if that isn’t a gateway drug I don’t know what is.
To be fair, Misc. Steve, Rob Zombie could just as easily be the doorway to horror punk and death metal.
Austin: That’s absolutely true; Rob Zombie is a gateway drug for many different genres. My boys, however, roll their eyes and tell me to turn it off whenever I play any of a wide variety of metal flavors (death, black, goth, doom, melodic death or black, symphonic black, etc.) because they prefer to be able to sing along. And, really, you haven’t been truly entertained until you’ve seen a five-year-old wandering around the house with an iPod belting out the chorus to Dragula.
Steve – If I ever have a five-year old, I want them to follow in your child’s footsteps.