When you're woken in the early hours by a black cat chewing your hair as the chill wind whips against the Victorian casements of your stately pile*, there's nothing for it but to resign yourself to an entire weekend of full-on Gothickness.
It started last night, when I somehow found myself at a neo-goth club night called Feeling Gloomy. In between cheery Leonard Cohen disco numbers, the lovely S and I were entertained by a band called Black Dog, who should win some sort of anti-lyrical prize for a chorus which intoned "Jesus knows my secret...and I know his" for what seemed like all eternity.
Contrary to what you might expect, we hadn't just wandered in by mistake (ha!), but had gone with a purpose - which was to see the Divine Ms P's band Anarchic Hand in action.
"The" Hand are quite famous these days - well, they've been in the Guardian - and were therefore conducting themselves in true rockstar fashion, cracking rude jokes, looking like Helena Bonham-Carter in Fight Club, and sporadically launching themselves into the audience to snog unsuspecting goth chicklets. During one such altercation I had a newly lit cigarette (ahem) knocked from my fingers, so I should really thank the Hand for prolonging my life by five minutes. Good work.
The only way to go from here was down, down into the dread pit of gloom and despair that is the Tate Britain's Gothic Nightmares exhibition. I walked all the way there, too, which took a mighty THREE HOURS.
As it turned out, the walk was the best bit. The show is meant to explore the theme of the "sublime" - the expression of physical and sexual violence, horror and the supernatural - in 18th century art, but actually it's all quite comical. But then gothdom *is* quite comical, as anyone who's ever heard the Sisters of Mercy's cover of "Jolene" will testify.
I found myself marvelling more at the moody lighting, red velvet curtains, faux-flock wallpaper and tastefully veiled porno section than I did at Henry Fuseli's paintings of phallic horse's heads, struggling Prometheuses and crouching incubi. No, give me Aubrey Beardsley or the French Symbolists over Fuseli any day. Sorry about that, Henry.
It didn't stop me coming home and downloading the Sisters' cover of Jolene, though. Gothtastic!
UPDATE: I should confess that since writing this post I have been indulging in a full-on personal Sisters of Mercy revival. I thus speak from a position of considerable authority in advising you that they never bettered their 1982 single "Body Electric", the b-side of which, "Adrenochrome", is, and always has been, awesome. Seriously. Terrible production though.
* For which read "compact second-floor flat".
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