Sunday, February 19, 2017

After a Long Absence...

Well, it’s been a while. Sorry about that.

Honestly, I don’t mean to keep prefacing my posts with an explanation as to why it’s taken me so long to produce more content. Time really does get away from me, and life has been really chaotic ever since I began this blog.

One of the major goals I hope to achieve for this blog is a better writing schedule. I don’t know if I could achieve something like a weekly post, but I would like my output to be way more consistent than it is now. I still believe in blogging without obligation wholeheartedly; I think my posts would suffer if I tried publishing on a weekly basis. However, time management is a skill that I desperately need improvement on. There is a variety of content I would like to cover--DIY projects, makeup, reviews, vulture culture--that I’ve had to push back due to time constraints. I had to postpone writing about certain bands for my Aural Tendencies series because of how long it was taking for me to track down their discography and write about them, and I wanted to have at least one post by the end of the month. I want to put my all into each of my posts and hate that I’ve been only able to write about so little.

I really enjoy writing this blog, and I hate that the past couple of years have produced so little content. (I was only able to publish 3 posts in 2014, for example. This will not do.) This year I’m hoping to be more productive and post more content in a timely manner so I can share these different topics of interest with my readers.

Thank you so much for your patience.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Writhing Figures: The Short Films of Robert Morgan

I’ve been a fan of animation since I was younger. While I've enjoyed a variety of cartoons, I've found myself interested in darker works, such as shows like Courage the Cowardly Dog, which unsettled me but left me wanting more. There was something about these animations that drew me in, and over the years my search lead me to creators like Robert Morgan.

 Robert Morgan was raised in Yateley, Hampshire. He developed an interest in film after watching Fiend without a Face (1958), which was shown to him by his uncle on an 8mm projector. While attending The Surrey Institute of Art and Design he began experimenting with manipulating sculptures, which lead to him studying animation (“Robert”). I'm enthralled by Morgan's brilliant use of stop motion, one of my favorite types of animation and a style that I wish would be explore more in film. Morgan finds that stop motion animation is a perfect medium to augment the eeriness in his films, as “[t]he way everything moves has an unnatural, uncanny feeling, a weird jerkiness. Everything is alive and dead at the same time” (Vollenbroek). 

Although some of his films are incredibly bizarre by his standards, particularly Overtaken, these short films exhibit a creativity and ingenuity that is lost in many of the mainstream releases today. Overall I greatly enjoy Morgan's works, but there are two in particular that I keep coming back to: The Cat with Hands and The Man in the Lower-Left Corner of the Photograph.

An absolutely brilliant film.

The Cat with Hands is a short film I discovered in my teenage years as I began to explore the Goth subculture. While I was looking for media that would make me appear more “Goth” to my peers, what I got as a brilliantly subtle, yet eerie story based on a recurring nightmare Morgan’s sister had during her youth (Duncan). The brilliant use of animation combined with a succinct plot made for a chilling short film. This is a fantastic work of art that has been one of my favorite films for years. 

The Man in the Lower-Left Hand Corner of the Photograph is a film I discovered after searching for more of Morgan's work. It tells the story of a lonely old man who sees a picture of himself as younger and happier and tries to recreate that happiness. One of the things I loved about the film was the decaying imagery contrasted by the song playing on the phonograph. This haunting atmosphere left me bracing myself for what would happen next.   
It is because of these surreal and haunting films that Robert Morgan is an interesting and extremely talented filmmaker; I would definitely recommend reading this interview for further insights into his thought process. Despite the fact that I consider the aforementioned two my favorites, all of these films are definitely worth a watch; they would certainly make a Halloween horror night interesting.  

Also, as is this blog’s tradition, I have prepared a Halloween playlist, which can also be found here. In case YouTube doesn’t load, here is the tracklist: 

The Bolshoi - Barrowlands 
Chelsea Wolfe - Demons 
Blessure Grave - 17 Years of Hell 
Cinema Strange - Aboriginal Anemia 
Plastique Noir - Fugitive Dawn 
Spiritual Bats - Romantic Decadence 
Southern Death Cult - The Crypt 
Nervous Choir - Alsations 
And Also the Trees - Virus Meadow 
Bauhaus - The Three Shadows Part II 
Siouxsie and the Banshees - Night Shift 
Joy Division - Dead Souls 
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Red Right Hand 

I hope you have a wonderfully decadent Halloween!♥ 

 Sources Cited: 

Duncan, Lizzie. "Film Review: The Cat with Hands (Short Film) (2001)". Horror News.Net. 10 March 2016. Web. 26 October 2016. (link)

“Robert Morgan”. Animus Films. N.d. Web. 15 October 2016. (link)  

Vollenbroek, Tunde. “The Art of Animating Horror: An Interview with Robert Morgan”. Cartoon Brew. 1 August 2016. Web. 15 October 2016. (link

Friday, September 16, 2016

An Ode to Autumn

As another autumn approaches, I find myself once again entranced by its magic. Autumn always created a surreal atmosphere as the days grew shorter. I love mornings where it’s pitch black and silent, as if the world is frozen in time, and the only guiding light is the moon peaking through gnarled tree branches. It’s chilling and even frightening at times, but nevertheless it leaves me in awe of nature.

With autumn comes cooler weather, which is so welcome after exhaustingly humid summers and spending sleepless nights praying for rain. It’s always satisfying to go for a walk on a cool, crisp day, hearing the sounds of the crunching leaves as you go by while you take in the painterly reds, oranges, and yellows that set the trees alight.

The unique aromas that encapsulate autumn are also what set this season apart for me. The pleasing scents of pumpkin, ginger, and cinnamon fill the air, adding another layer to the season’s majesty. I look forward to enjoying the tastes of cider and ale while enjoying a few horror films.

While I fancy browsing the clearance stores for my decor, and I love Halloween,I also find that Autumn is a personal season for reflection. There’s a subtle eeriness in that the dying leaves and decay are quietly juxtaposed amongst the flurry of colors and beautiful weather.

Beyond the beautiful colors, decadent smells and sights, the fall is a great stage for me to explore my  fascination with the moon. The full moons in September and October are special in that they rise thirty minutes after sunset for several nights in a row. Watching this phenomenon is nothing short of spectacular. I find myself transfixed by the orange glow making its regal ascent through a muted blue sky. All of this adds to the mystery and beauty that encompasses this season.

As I bring my ramblings to a close, tonight is the Harvest Moon, and I hope that many of you are able to enjoy this spectacular sight. Are there any aspects of autumn that you find special? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Featurette II

Life has a strange fascination with throwing unpredictable events without warning. Because of this, I’ve been away from writing posts to take some time to recover from illness and other time-consuming situations. During this time I’ve been exploring the Internet for interesting blogs of note, and I would like to share a few of these with you, lovely readers:
  • Dark Side University: As quoted from the site, “Dark Side University is a goth community offering free classes on gothic, horror, vampiric, and Halloween courses.” Some of the previous courses included “Bats, Gentle Creatures of the Night”, “Gothic Cathedrals”, “The History of Halloween”, and “The Amityville Horror”. The coursework can be rather heavy, so I would suggest only taking classes if your schedule permits. That being said, the community is very warm and friendly, and I have discovered many interesting media through taking these courses. This site is highly recommended for the intellectually curious.
  • Plagues & Epidemics: Lately I’ve been interested in early medical practices and epidemics. This site has served as the starting point for my research. The site features articles, artwork, old photos, and many other fascinating relics of the past. Such examples include these disturbing Plague Drawings by Clint Brown, information about Hans Holbein’s Alphabet of Death, and links to other interesting blogs, such as The Oddment Emporium. Sadly, the site hasn’t been updated since April 30, 2014, but I would recommend this site, in addition to Dark Side University, to those interested in uncovering the morbid history of early medical science.
  • Drac Makens: I discovered Drac Makens’ channel while searching for other Goth YouTubers a few months ago, and I’ve been a subscriber ever since. Drac’s makeup ideas are absolutely gorgeous and creative; I’ve been inspired to stretch my cosmetic creativity thanks to her videos (I hope to recreate these four incredible looks in the future, for example). I also enjoy watching her speed painting videos, such as her painting "Higher Love" and her sandworm wall mount.
  • SpookyLoop: I don’t have a Tumblr, but I’ve found many interesting Goth and macabre blogs after poking around on the site, including the aforementioned Plagues and Epidemics. SpookyLoop is another example. Each page of this blog is graced with beautiful images, lovely gifs, and fantastic musical recommendations. Anna, the owner of the blog, is a very sweet individual and an extremely talented artist and milliner. I would also recommend her millinery blog; her designs are absolutely gorgeous.

I hope you enjoy visiting these sites as I have, and I hope to return to blogging as soon as possible.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

World Goth Day Introspection

Edit: When I originally posted this on May 22nd, I forgot to add a couple of sentences to my post. Sorry about that! 

 One of the things I really love about World Goth Day is that it has given me time to reflect on the role Goth has had in my life. I remember writing this a long time ago on the backwaters of the Internet, and reading The HouseCat’s post on what Goth means to her made me think that perhaps it’s time I gather my thoughts and revisit this topic once more.

 I can definitely say that being Goth has offered me a different perspective on life and allowed me to explore darker emotions and aspects of the human condition, as cliché as it is. I used to go on cemetery walks as a way to “take a break” from society. I would take in the beauty of the tombstones and enjoy the solemn atmosphere as the strains of Big Electric Cat emitted from my earbuds. Each time I left, I was humbled by the realization that everything in life is temporary. I appreciate being able to share my perspectives with other like-minded individuals without being seen as a “freak”. It was also nice to hear musicians who wrote about pains and struggles and to not feel that I was alone in my emotions. Songs like “Other Voices”, “Transience”, and “Summoning of the Muse” are so beautiful because of the emotions they evoke. Since then I’ve been able to express myself through writing and art, and I feel encouraged knowing that there are others with the same outlook as me.

I also found Goth different because it really seemed to encourage learning and exploration. There’s a lot of rich history of the subculture, and many years later, I still feel like an excited young child when I stumble upon something I don’t know. While I feel like my knowledge of the culture has vastly increased since my teenage years, there are still so many bands to listen to, so many books to read, and so many interesting influences on Goth to uncover.

That being said, I still think there are some things in the culture that need discussion. I do hope, for example, to touch on the subject of Goth and race some point in the future. I also want to continue writing about the Goth label and elitism. I think it’s important to be aware of the flaws in the cultures we take part in; this allows for a realistic perspective and for us to work to make them better.

Overall, this is a lovely and rich culture that I am very glad to be a part of. I don’t know if I will remain a Goth forever, as there are many things I claimed to be permanently rooted in but changed due to circumstances. If that were to happen, I would look back on my years in the culture with fondness. As for now, I am happy to make this culture my home.

With my wistful thoughts out of the way, I wanted to create a playlist of dark, danceable songs that have really spoken to me throughout my years in the subculture.

The playlist can also be accessed here in case it doesn't load.

Track Listing:

Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi's Dead

Joy Division - Shadowplay

Siouxsie and the Banshees - Spellbound

UK Decay - Unexpected Guest

Sexbeat - Sexbeat

Killing Joke - Darkness Before Dawn

The Danse Society - Heaven is Waiting

The Cure - The Hanging Garden

Death Cult - God's Zoo

Clan of Xymox - Back Door

Xmal Deutschland - Qual

Das Kabinette - The Cabinet

The Sisters of Mercy - Marian

The Frozen Autumn - Is Everything Real?

Corpus Delicti - Staring

Lotus Feed - Supervision

Children on Stun - Cat's or Devil's Eyes

Siiiii- Over

She Past Away - Rituel

Geometric Vision - Stranger

 I hope you enjoy!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Short, but Sweet: Social Media Haunts

Slowly but surely, this blog is becoming a part of the modern Internet world. Interested readers can follow by blog via Bloglovin’ for interesting updates, and I recently created a Twitter to share interesting articles and random musings, as well as discuss with others. I hope that I can cross paths with you all throughout my many Internet journeys♥

Saturday, February 27, 2016

"I'm Goth, But..."

For the longest time, I’ve wanted to introduce a multi-part series discussing the controversy regarding the label of Goth. This is something that both fascinates and puzzles me, as one of the biggest criticisms I’ve seen of the Goth subculture is that the label is limiting—that being Goth prevents you from liking or engaging in other activities or subcultures that don’t fit the approved label.

To be honest, I’m not sure where this assumption comes from, as labels are used as a shorthand. The Lady of the Manners has said in her book Gothic Charm School that “[l]abels are useful because they express a whole bundle of information in a compact little package. Labels can be explained and expanded upon, if need be, to communicate all nuances and quirks of personality, but sometimes brevity is a splendid thing” (Venters 107).

While I understand those who declare that the Goth label is limiting, I must point out that labels, in general, are inherently limiting. A label is comprised of particular traits. If an object does not possess those traits, then the object does not fit under that label. When a person describes themselves as an Atheist, for example, they are both labeling themselves and implying that certain traits of other groups do not apply to them. If an Atheist believes in a god, they are no longer an Atheist. If the label lacks restrictions, it ceases to have meaning.

In addition, I must add that if you feel you are forced into listening to a certain type of music, dressing a certain way, or declaring certain interests for reasons other than genuine enjoyment, I would highly suggest an honest assessment of whether or not the Goth subculture is right for you. This isn’t a statement meant to keep new Goths out; I’m stating that Goth should be fun, not an unbearable burden you’re forced to carry. You do not have to adopt the Goth label. You don’t have to be Goth. Goth is not a declaration of status or popularity; it is merely a subculture driven by a music scene from the late 1970s-early 80s with a dark, dramatic, and macabre aesthetic originating from the 19th century literature and horror imagery.

Personally, I do not feel limited by the “Goth” label. While Goth is a very important part of my life, it is still just a part; it does not fully define me, as there are too many facets to my personality and interests for the label to cover. Being Goth doesn’t prevent me from liking Max Fleischer-styled cartoons, tabletop RPGs, and adorable brands like Sentimental Circus or Rilakkuma.

However, I do understand the pressure and confusion when being presented with certain assholes who declare that doing something the least bit “Goth” earns the dreaded declaration of “poseur”, a subject I would like to discuss at a later date. Some Goths use the “real Goth” and “poseur” terms to exclude others from participating in the scene. These people are not important and should not prevent you from engaging in activities you enjoy. Please, do not try to please these people; they are not worth your time. Of course, if you do not fit under the “Goth” label, that isn’t a bad thing, nor does it mean that you are a shallow or uninteresting person; it simply means that you don’t fit under the “Goth” label.

I found this YouTube video by The Gothic Alice, and I think it is an interesting perspective on this issue. (The video can be watched here if it does not load.)

How do you feel about this issue? Do you agree with The Gothic Alice? Do you think that there is an unspoken rule on what Goths can and can’t like? Are there any “non-Goth” things you enjoy?

Sources Cited:

TheGothicAlice. “Goth Yes or No?”. Online video clip. YouTube, 7 August 2015. 12 January
   2016. (link)

Venters, Jillian. Gothic Charm School: An Essential Guide for Goths and Those who Love 
   Them. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.

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