Let’s say you’ve decided to become a “Goth”. These are some things you can expect:
- No friends, aside from other Goths.
- No attention, aside from that of other Goths.
- No respect from anyone, aside from other Goths.
Goths have made a full-time commitment to a bad mood. It’s like a lifestyle built entirely around PMS. If a Goth is older than 25, you’re looking at severely damaged goods. Elvira is literally the only person who can pull the look off successfully.
This is the inherent vice of Goths. They saw, usually in a musician or a horror host, their own sadness and frustration made more elegant. They dress in a manifestation of their self-loathing; dark, cadaverous, ready to fade into the shadows. They groan about how loathed they are by everyone, without realizing they’ve rendered themselves unlikable. Their affected gloom is interesting only to them.
High school cliques traditionally include a Goth chapter, in the form of a clutch of two or three. A strong-willed girl is usually the ringleader, often paired with a platonic boyfriend. Goth allows a safe place for gay kids to come out, thanks to the eyeliner and nail polish involved. When other kids think you’re “spooky”, they don’t waste another thought regarding your sex life. Many girls dress Goth to scare off suitors. Or… to look slimmer.
Hiding your body is not the same as loving it. There are fat Goths because committing to a dour mood full-time often entails poor eating habits. This is a distortion of what Halloween is all about, which is candy, costumes, and most importantly fun.
One of the best Halloween costumes I’ve ever seen was worn by a girl who embraced her body type. She thought she was shaped like a POM bottle, so she dressed up as one. About a million guys fell for her and her POM-shaped booty as a result. That’s Halloween fun, and I swear, it comes naturally from girls. Women are more crucial to Halloween than pumpkins.
Anyway, not everything Goth is awful, or worthy of loud ridicule. If one is in a receptive (gloomy) mood, it’s possible to appreciate pillars of the mode gothique like “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” (Bauhaus). But the song that speaks most directly to the black leathery heart of the Goth sprang from a most unlikely source; the thrash-metal band Ministry.
Of course, they weren’t thrash-metal yet. They were in their early incarnation, which sounded like Joy Division. Al Jourgensen used to sing in an English accent, rather than scream. Hell, it’s no stranger than Sting or Van Morrison singing like Americans. Ministry was also originally more synth-oriented, during the golden era of such devices. The first time I heard the single “(Every Day Is) Halloween”, I immediately thought of the opening titles of Return of the Living Dead, one of the greatest zombie movies ever made.
“(Every Day Is) Halloween” perfectly captures the Goth mindset. You can easily picture them shuffling awkwardly, heads hung, shrugging and sneering to the music.
Well I live with snakes and lizards
And other things that go bump in the night
Coz to me everyday is Halloween
I have given up hiding and started to fight
I have started to fight
Well any time, any place, anywhere that I go
All the people seem to stop and stare
They say “why are you dressed like it’s Halloween?
You look so absurd, you look so obscene”
Those words must have been born in ballpoint on lined three-hole paper. Don’t let the teacher see that, you’ll have to stay after class!
The chorus is whined so astutely by Jourgensen, it’s impossible not to picture black velour and red candles:
Why can’t I live a life for me?
Why should I take the abuse that’s served?
Why can’t they see they’re just like me?
It’s the same, it’s the same in the whole wide world
Ugh- who’s smoking those awful clove cigarettes?!
Well I let their teeny minds think
That they’re dealing with someone who is over the brink
And I dress this way just to keep them at bay
Coz Halloween is everyday
As much as I love Psalm 69-era Ministry, I love their early synthpop stuff even more, when the mood strikes. If that mood is Halloween, Ministry offers the quintessential theme song. Jourgensen even wears a costume on his voice.