von_geisterhand: (Default)
From the wise hands (now there's an image) of [personal profile] miss_s_b an article on one of my current favourite subject:
It's time to admit that Goth culture has a race problem

While the article is clearly written from a north american perspective, that does not change the fact that some of it also holds true for the Berlin gothic scene or rather the sort of Goth club I tend to frequent. At the very least I would have to admit that I could not name the last time I have seen somebody with afro/-caribbean background in one of my locals. Or even somebody who looked overtly middle-eastern which is probably a more suitable point of comparison for Berlin. And I have occasionally wondered why that is so.
But then I think I already talked about this in my last entry on the subject.

And to be honest, it bothers the fuck out of me to think that "my" music is not considered "suitable" for people of a different (distant) genetic heritage. For a start, I obviously want to share the joy but also you have to face up to the fact that the image one aspires to in Traditional Goth is the cliché of an Eastern European, which is a) totally artificial and b) if it wasn't would only marginally less removed from reality for somebody from Bremerhaven than it would be for somebody whose parents gew up in Uganda. How many real Transsylvanians do you know? I know one and should probably consider myself lucky.

There is a problem at the heart of this and it is probably one of mutual prejudice rather than straight-up racism. A "foreign" looking man* in a Berlin TradGoth** club will not get looked at strangely because his parents came from elsewhere or because he might also listen to rap in his spare time, but because there is the suspicion that he will have internalized that equally artificial image of the playa/gangsta/douchebag and behavioural patterns totally at odds with how the "Goth"-scene once defined itself. But the same scepticism would be meted out to a white guy entering a club in sportswear.
That is a form of credential checking I occasionally catch myself at. I myself have given up trying to follow the fashion guidelines from popular gothic magazines and have instead tried to come up with a pick&mix look along some gothic lines (meaning essentially nothing more than there being a lot of black clothing) and it would therefore be hypocritical of me to expect others to follow rules I find idiotic. But IMHO there is a way of moving in a club and dealing respectfully with people that says very clearly whether you "belong there" or whether you might be happier somewhere else.


* I suspect that there is also a fair bit of sexism going on here. A "foreign"-looking man will probably receive a fair few sceptical looks while a woman of the same genetic background might well get welcomed as a piece of exotic eye candy.

**Those are the sort of club I frequent. I realise that there is also the far more popular variety playing gothic techno but I suspect that because of these perceived roots in techno, this would be seen as an "appropriate" sort of event for a black guy. But then, I can't really judge that as I don't go to these clubs that often.
von_geisterhand: (Default)
A Coilhouse-article with plenty of links which might be of interest to some people (looking at you, Hübbel-Schlurf-Vampir ;-):
I am so goth, I was born black
(looking at the relation of the Gothic scene to those wanting to be a part whose exterior does not match the traditional image of Goth, particularly in terms of skin-tone).

Personally, I have often asked myself why there aren't more people of a non-European exterior in the part of the German gothic scene I have been exposed to and while I have on occasion come up with theories, none of them ever fully convinced me. (Okay, maybe I have even thought "Wouldn't it be nice if there were some more?" but obviously that opens up a whole new unfortunate can of worms, so let's leave that point.)
Surely there shouldn't be any sort of problem, should there?
It's not necessarily all black clothes and all white skin anymore, if it ever was, and even if one wishes to follow that route: Make up can make a black person have unrealistically pale skin about as effectively as it can a white person, so please come in, have a drink, enjoy the music.
von_geisterhand: Monika küsst Jörg. Sie liebt ihn. (kiss)
We went to an alternative culture place yesterday to listen to a lecture about Neofolk and its supposed inherent right-wing tendencies. In fact, let's just quote the entire text advertising the event here:

Thursday 07 June
EAG-Tresen Diesmal mit Infoveranstaltung ab 20.00 Uhr. Die „Schwarze Szene“, wie sich das Milieu der Gothics und „Gruftis“ selbst bezeichnet, wird wegen rechter Tendenzen immer wieder von Antifaschist_innen kritisiert – meistens völlig zu Recht. Besonders unangenehm fällt in diesem Zusammenhang die Stilrichtung „Neofolk“ auf, der unter anderem die bekannten rechten Musikprojekte „Death in June“ und „Von Thronstahl“ zuzurechnen sind. Der mit ein paar Bildern und Hörbeispielen garnierte Vortrag wird darüber informieren, was Neofolk eigentlich ist, woher die rechten Einflüsse kommen und was das Ganze überhaupt soll.
Danach noch ein bisschen düstere Musik und gruslige Cocktails wie „Zombie“, „Suicide“ und „Bloody Mary“ (angefragt).


For a start, the mentioned cocktails were not served and those that were, were lacking in quality. But that's besides the point now and in any case, beer was cheap.
Even if I had no particular feelings about Neofolk, I think I might have been enticed to attend on the strength of the first sentence. Allow me to translate: "The 'Black Scene', as the subculture of the goths calls itself, has repeatedly been criticised by anti-fascists due to its right-wing tendencies - mostly absolutely justifiedly."
That is quite an accusation to make, isn't it?

The lecture that followed did not live up to this level of vitriol, was rather half-arsed, not terribly well researched and preferred to suggest and insinutate rather than analyze any band or song in detail. In fairness, I have heard worse discourse on the subject but remain convinced that I could have made a better case accusing the bands of using images and ideas questionably while defending them than the speaker did just accusing them.
Where said speaker really let himself down, though, was when we corrected him on certain details and disagreed (politely*) with some of his suggestions. As he later told us, he had not expected to have somebody who already knew about the subject present and would have much preferred if we had not been there. Of course he would, it's much easier to "teach" people if they just unquestioningly accept all you tell them.
Will I have to write the final word on neofolk myself?

To cap it all off: You will have noticed that the lecture was held in the context of the "EAG"-group. That's short for "Emanzipative und Antifaschistische Gruppe", in other words: anti-fascist and anti-sexist. And ye verily, out beloved speaker did say at several points that he really wasn't all that interested in what artist said what when and why (after doing just that making his case) but that he was rather interested in equal rights and lack of prejudice.
At the same time, his girlfriend was spreading flyers advertising her events all over the place, which sported the picture of a woman cutting the throat of another, deep-clevaged female on the front. Lesbians as psychos, psycho females, the male gaze on the suffering female, the murder of the confident female, you take your pick.

*Okay, slightly less politely when he suggested that Current 93 are actually a Nazi band. Why? Because they have a song and an EP ("a whole album", in his words) called "Hitler as Kalki". What is that song about? He could not tell us.
You do not insult David Tibet lightly in my presence.
von_geisterhand: (Default)
There were actually people at the Agra handing out flyers saying: "Bats need no gasmasks" and "Schlauchköppe? Nein, danke!" ("Hose-heads? No thanks!") with a symbol of essentially "No cybers!" inbetween.
Now, I have no problem with cybers. It really isn't my cup of tea and I do greatly enjoy the fact that one can find many a industrial-disco in Berlin where one does not run the risk of having to listen to Combichrist et al. all night long, but as long as I know which clubs I have to avoid and which to frequent, it is all the same to me. I sometimes feel that, if you need a symbol for what has gone wrong in the "Gothic Scene" in terms of mainstream sexist bullshit suddenly being very prominent in it as well, the whole Cyber thing might be a prime candidate, but then maybe my experiences with equal-opportunity-moshing metalheads are not representative. (In related news, check this out.
Combichrist and Nachtmahr both also played WGT. Adversary was not invited. In terms of the responses, Andy Combichrist comes over quite reasonable in this. YMMV on his point of view but he seems to really take in and consider what is being said about him. Thomas Nachtmahr, on the other hand, comes across like a spoiled brat.)
In any case, on the one hand, I could not help but feel slightly impressed by the fact that some private individual actually felt strongly enough about "their" scene to go to all this effort, on the other hand, I obviously think that this is all pretty pointless and ill-considered.

One thing that impressed me in Leipzig and I guess that this must be a common experience is just how much visible the festival is all over the city and with how open a pair of arms all the "weirdos" are greeted with (Yes, yes, I know: lots of money). The feeling of pretty much every way a visitor wishing to express themselves being accepted and tolerated is quite impressive, even compared to Berlin.

For me, this was particularly notable during the neofolk and industrial concerts. In Berlin you get a fair few Haus Arafna and Crunchy Techno shirts but people tend to be hesitant when it comes to wearing much else. During the WGT there really is the whole range of band t-shirts and patches on display with nary an eyelid batted (outside Connewitz, but I suspect they don't want any goths or other outsiders in their area full stop). Quite besides the fact that the record stalls in the Agra sell a fantastic range of albums and merchandise. So much of my money was left there. :-D
von_geisterhand: (Default)
Dieser Vortrag sieht nicht uninteressant aus:

Frauenbibliothek MONAliesA e.V.

Haus der Demokratie (4. OG)
Bernhard-Göring-Straße 152
Straßenbahnlinien 9, 10, 11 / Buslinien 70, 89, 100, 107
Haltestelle „Connewitzer Kreuz”

Sonnabend, 26. Mai 2012, 16.00 Uhr

Vortrag:Brothers of Metal? - Gender, Ästhetik und Performance im Heavy Metal
Referentin: Imke von Helden (M.A.), Institut für Skandinavistik, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg


ION: Der Plan für dieses Jahr ist jetzt online und SO und ich haben schon grob ausgearbeitet, wann wir wo sein werden. Einige Konzerte besuchen wir sogar zusammen. ;-)
Aufregend, alles so aufregend. :-)

Gargoyles

Feb. 25th, 2012 11:31 am
von_geisterhand: (Default)
This song has somehow wormed its way into my life. I have a faint idea how it might have done it but not with any degree of certainity. In any case, I am very happy that it delights my week that has otherwise been musically scarred by a persistent Ohrwurm of "Genie in a bottle". X(

I share and I hope you enjoy. :-)
Play it loud!

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