Thursday, 27 January 2011

10 Questions

Another quizz for y'all. Enjoy!

Rules:

1. Answer the following 10 questions
2. Pass it on to three bloggers


1. If you blog anonymously, are you happy doing this? If you aren't anonymous, do you wish you started out anonymously so that you could be anonymous now?

I prefer honesty on the internet. My intentions for starting this blog were to try and get my name out as a writer, so I thought it would be better to use my actual name and hairy face to lure in prospective publishers. Because people…like beards?


2. Describe an incident that shows your inner stubborn side.

Well I’ve waffled on endlessly about the fight I got into at college with a twat in the lower year who bellowed abuse in my ear, so instead I’m going to use my time spent portraying a 12th Century man-at-arms in my mediaeval combat re-enactment society as an example. Performing such tasks involves taking my place in a shield wall and waving an arming spear around like a tard, and I honestly pride myself on how long I can hold out until our line breaks or theirs does. Because something has to give…Alwaaaaays.


3. What do you really see when you look at yourself in the mirror?

Not a lot, given how every mirror I look at seems to implode whenever I so much as glance at it.


4. What is your favorite summer cold drink?

That would be Magner’s Irish Cider. Damn fine drink in all weathers.


5. When you take time for yourself, what do you do?

Mainly writing military steampunk/science fiction, blogging or watching films, all to the sound of some decent metal.


6. Is there something you still want to accomplish in your life?

Getting published is one major thing. Moving to Australia is another, finding a mate (you know the sort *wink wink*), working for the games industry, and somehow organising an event whereby the majority of the British population is gathered in a field to bellow the Spartan war-cry from 300. I can dream dammit!


7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever, the shy person, or always ditching?

I was the class spazz for a good number of years, bursting in to claim my results of a ‘Which Young Ones Character Are You?’ test to name but one of the many things I did whilst performing this role.

8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment in your life, what would you see?

I would see the part only a few days ago when I imagined what life you be like if I hadn’t come to university. I had a decent job, I had money, I could have been doing a metalwork apprenticeship, a better social life than ever before, and being able to do writing for pleasure rather than having it become a task. Call it homesickness or pre-interview nerves, but hey, you asked.

9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog, or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?

Whilst it is true that I find it easier to write down what I’m feeling in a word document or a piece of paper, that doesn’t mean that I do. I will talk about myself a fair bit, but mostly if it is relevant to something else. In any case, I’m just as comfortable writing about the trials and tribulations of others as I am my own.

10. If you had the choice to sit down and read a book or talk on the phone, which would you do and why?

Reading. Usually something by Dan Abnett or a similarly steel-meltingly-awesome writer. Besides, I despise the sound of my own voice and using it for a phone conversation is even worse than using it in real life.

I tag:
Vee-Jay
Louis
Jamie

Come to the Dark Side: Part 3

It was almost a week today when I got my first helping of spontaneous abuse based on my appearance, and two thoughts occurred as a result: Firstly a sense of pride that I had gone for so long without getting insulted, other than what my friends said when I returned from Lancaster in a trenchcoat and an Iron Maiden t-shirt, and secondly the realisation that soon would be a good time to write up the third instalment of my ‘Come to the Dark Side’ series. Alas I have neglected to update for a while, due to the fact that I have moved from my previous accommodation into a student house 3 minutes away from the Uni and friends. So hot piss for that, and my thanks to y’all for being so patient with my lazy arse.

So anyway the above scenario went as thus: I’m waiting by a bus-stop (for a bus, obviously), wearing my trademark leather trenchcoat over a black hoodie patterned with skulls, my fingerless studded gloves and skinny jeans. Now, yes, whilst in this guise I seem to fit the stereotypical image for what a goth looks like by those fucknuggets in mainstream media. Anywho, whilst waiting for my bus, a trio of blue-blazered-bastards from the local secondary school, my guess is Year 9, walk past, taking up as much of the pavement as possible and strutting about with the same kind of arrogance that can only be expected from such twats with shit for brains. And it is whilst I am waiting for my bus that one of them decides to say ‘GOTH!’ under the pretence of a coughing fit. Such wit and humour the like of which I’ve not seen since Oscar Fucking Wilde…Ah sarcasm.

Now naturally I couldn’t do much, because my love of smacking idiots with a golf-club in the dick is slightly overshadowed by my love of not going to prison. Once it is legal for me to carry a BREN gun and use live ammunition on the little fuckers then I will be at peace, but until then I must settle for raising my middle finger whilst adjusting my glasses.


But anyway, this is something all goths will at some point have to deal with. Verbal abuse can come in any number of ways, and from anyone. If it occurs outside of family life, the advice from teachers will always be the same: ‘Ignore them and they’ll get bored’. Now, I was mercilessly picked on frequently during my junior academic career, and I can tell you now that ignoring the bullies DOES NOT work. Instead, it encourages them to keep on trying to get to you, and you will find yourself subject to endless amounts of bullying until something snaps, and that will get you into trouble as well. However, this isn’t to say that violence doesn’t work. Trust me, it does work when the bully, who will nine-times-out-of-ten be a complete pussy, comes to the sudden realisation that the person they have been picking on can fight back (a quick smack to the chops was what did it for me, and it was more satisfying than bacon!).

The only alternative is to persist asking the teachers. Eventually, they will realise that the only way to get this persistent child to stop interrupting their schedule of not doing their job properly is to respond to its needs in the hope that it goes away. This all depends on how good a teacher you have is, you will find that for every ‘don’t-give-a-toss’ teacher, there will always be an equal number of teachers who do care.

Back to the violence. You will have to face this at least once. And it is better to be prepared. My advice, enrol in karate or self-defence classes. Practise at home, on furniture/family/pets if it helps. DO NOT CARRY A WEAPON! Under no circumstances should you leave the house with any kind of weapon that could attract the kind of unwanted attention that people seem to associate this culture with without help. And do no start fights or go looking for trouble. The kind of idiots that get their kicks from bullying others have already decided whether you’re a target or not, they do not need any further provocation. And remember, there’s no shame in running. If it comes down to a fight or flight scenario, flight is ALWAYS more advisable. If you’re scared people will call you a coward over it, remember that the idiots throwing punches are the real cowards.


Now for the family. Family members will generally be more accepting of you for deciding to dress this way. They already think you’re weird enough, this isn’t going to come as much as a shock to them. But then again there will be those who don’t see it that way. There are plenty of parents out there who will be against their children turning goth or emo, but this is because all they know about goths comes from reading newspapers or watching the news about this new trend of violent and suicidal pagans who sacrifice each other in foul rituals and other bleh. So what can you do? Well, the most sensible thing to do is to talk to your parents about it. Simply explain the misconceptions of the goth subculture and with any luck they will come round, given time. It will make everything so much easier if you take this route rather than simply appear in the hallway looking like an extra from a Marylyn Manson video. And that’s another thing, do not go so hardcore the first time round. Start simply with darker clothing, then move on to the band t-shirts, the jewellery, the make-up etc. It will make this easier for them to accept. You’ll have much better luck if your parents were punks or goths themselves in the past (obviously), but alas, not all parents will be willing to listen. My only advice following this would be to do it anyway. Be proud of yourself for being an individual, and if your parents can’t allow for self-expression as a child, then they are horrible parents. Simples.

However, with the amount of rejection you’re bound to face, there’s plenty of acceptance. Not everyone’s views of goths are the same, and you will find some decent, understanding people who will not be put off by your taste of clothing. You’ll make longer lasting friendships with kindred spirits, and there’s plenty to be said for expressing yourself if you intend to go into the creative industry. Many goths go on to become writers, artists, photographers, musicians and so on. So don’t become downtrodden over the idiocy of nameless individuals. Just remember that being goth is about being yourself. If you try putting on an act, people will think you’re a poser, which is the last thing anyone wants. Just remember to stay cool, be respectful of other people’s opinions and just be your charming self.
This is not the last in this series of articles. I will come back to cover current and ongoing issues in the gothic community as and when they occur. And looking at some friend’s recent blog posts, a fourth instalment looks pretty likely…

Regards, the Beard.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

15 Facts

Right, 15 random facts about me, myself and I. Let’s do this!

1. I’ve been thinking what to name my beard. Possibly Leonidas, I’m not sure.
2. I’m currently in the process of moving out of my house in a small Lancashire village to a student house in the Lancaster suburbs, and cannot bloody wait =D.
3. I chugged a can of RELENTLESS before going to see said house.
4. I’m still experiencing after effects of said consumption.
5. I’m currently wearing a hoodie patterned with skulls (clich├ęd I know) under my dressing gown because it’s so fricking cold here.
6. I have a 2500 word essay to be completed by Friday about the book The Great Gatsby.
7. It is a personal ambition to be published in some form by The Black Library.
8. When I was 6 I got my head stuck in a revolving door when shopping with my Mum.
9. I will probably go to bed after this.
10. Right now I am listening to Cut Out the Disease by SAXON.
11. I listen to a fair bit of Australian country music, mainly Lee Kernaghan and Adam Brand.
12. I have been approached by at least four Mormons since being in Lancaster.
13. My favourite series of books as a child was ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ by Lemony Snicket, a series which kicked arse until the ending.
14. After this fact will come number 15
15. I will be going to bed…now!

Oh, and I tag: Vee-Jay, Louis, Jamie, Henry and Andy. Goodnight!

Versatile Blogger Award

Well this I was not expecting. And neither were you I'm guessing :D



Very kindly awarded to me by Amy of The Ultimate Goth Guide fame.

Rules:
Thank & Link back to the person who gave you the award
Answer 10 questions
Pass it along to 7 blogs you've recently discovered and enjoy
Leave your recipients a note, telling them about the award.
Questions:


Why did you create this blog?

Well I’ve always been fond of writing, but had nowhere to put it other than on a few forums. Sometime last year I discovered the awesomeness of Zero Punctuation, and decided to do more than just write fiction, and begin reviewing books, films and games. And so came the idea of starting up a blog to share my works, both fiction and reviews, to the weird and wonderful world that is the internet. And now that I’m in Uni and doing a degree in English and Creative Writing, I’m doing a whole lot more writing, and looking to post a whole lot more in the future.


What kind of blogs do you follow?

Too be honest, I don’t follow all that many blogs, which is going to make the last stage of this post really difficult, but the ones I do follow are ones my friends IRL make. Having discovered the Ultimate Goth Guide had moved to Blogger, I naturally concluded it would be wise to follow. And see how right I was?


Favourite make-up brand?

Hmmm, pretty hard to answer this one…


Favourite clothing brand?

Well I have the ‘guy mentality’ when it comes to clothing. I see something I like, I’ll try it on as an option, and then buy it, regardless of whether it ‘goes’ with anything. Although one clothing company I am mighty intrigued in is Alchemy Gothic. They have some awesome looking t-shirts and their steampunk inspired jewellery is just fantastic.


Indispensible make-up product?

I suppose my razor would count here, not that I use it as much as I should (the mass of hair latched onto my face is evidence of this).


Favourite colour?
Ah, typical internet quiz question. I have no one favourite colour, and those I do like are varying shades of blue, black, red and green.


Favourite perfume?

Does de-odorant/anti-perspirant count? Because if so then I’ll stick with Lynx, whichever type is fine.


Favourite film?

Another very good question. My interest in films mainly consists of anything with a military theme, but I also dig fantasy, science fiction and comedy. I like military films most of all because not only is it a personal interest of mine but for the sheer variety you get. I like my films to be deep, and in the case of war films I like there to be focus on the emotions of soldiers, their longing for their families back home, the feeling of camerarderie which, in my opinion, should be one of the focus points for any war film. Having said this however, what annoys me about war films is that they all seem to be focused on American conflicts, or re-written to include Americans where they don’t belong (i.e. Saving Private Ryan, U-571 to name but a few). It would be nice to see a film with all the high action and sheer budget of an American film, but focusing on a British conflict.

Well, one film I enjoyed very much lately is Kokoda: 39th Battalion, an Australian war film focusing on a platoon of volunteer soldiers fighting the Japanese in the depth of a pacific jungle. It certainly makes a change from all the Yankish ‘let’s shoot everything in our path and then talk about surrender’, and it’s also nice to see the Australians get some decent recognition for their deeds in the war. There’s a few problems with the script in terms of character development, but it is still entertaining to watch, and helps defeat some of the stereotypes associated with Australians, such as ending every sentence with the word ‘mate’.


What country would you like to visit and why?

Well as you can probably guess by my above almost-review of Kokoda: 39th Battalion, I would most like to visit Australia, mainly to get away from this piss-hole country to a country with a significantly better quality of life, as well being that I have awesome friends who I have sworn to get absolutely wankered with upon my arrival (Y’hear me Vee-Jay? First round’s on me!).

Other places of interest would be America, mainly because I’d like to go to a genuine steakhouse and challenge the occupants to a contest of meat-based capacity, Canada, much for the same reason as Australia, Ireland, for the awesome scenery, the rich history, and to drink my weight in Guinness (and any other beers they have over there) and Japan, both for my interest in martial arts and animes respectively.


Would you rather forget to put mascara on one eye or forget blush on one side of your face?

Hmmm…I’d rather the mascara in all honesty, because then I could pretend I was punched in the eye, and either look really cool and manly or use it as a means to gain sympathy contact from every girl I know.

And I hereby award:...The first 7 blogs based around writing, steampunk or goths, because I follow a grand spanking number of four blogs, two of which have essentially died >.<

Hmm, might come back to this at a later date...

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Come to the Dark Side: Part 2

After an amazing Christmas and blinding New Years (literally!), I’m finally back to blogging, and I thought I’d start the New Year with the second part of my ‘Come to the Dark Side’ series, featuring aspects of the gothic lifestyle that many ‘newbies’ will be concerned/confuzzled with.

So last time I went into the core and most basic elements of goth philosophy, now we come to the material side. Now, the dress codes, music and literature aspect of this subculture has been covered dozens of thousands of billions of times, so instead of listing these, I will instead take this as an opportunity to dive beard-first into the many different kinds of goths there are and highlight their unique sense of dress. As I said last time, being a goth is more a state of mind than something that can be dictated by what you wear or do. There are many subcultures within the gothic subculture, each with its own unique dress sense and philosophies that link back to the main mode of thinking.
Before I start though is that the following guide is by no means 100% accurate, and only covers the basics. But I will say this, no person who goes goth is one of these to begin with. Black or camouflage trousers, band t-shirts, jewellery with skulls and pentangles and black coats are going to be your jumping-off point, but many goths tend to stay with these basic elements and develop them in the styles mentioned below. Goths are creative by nature, so don’t be afraid to mix your style up a bit once you gain confidence.

Remember the old Henry Ford saying, ‘I can be any colour you like, so long as it’s black’? Many newbie goths, as well as parents wanting designer babies, seems to believe this. The stereotypical opinion of a goth is that everything he or she owns has to be some shade of black. NOT NESSECARILY SO! It is possible to wear bright pink and still be called goth, which people do. The most colourful of the latter are known as ‘Perky Goths’. They tend to dress in brighter colours than your average rivethead, but still retain the gothic look through theme. They represent the cute and cheesy side of goth, yes, there IS such as a thing as that, and enforce this with an upbeat attitude that is sure to put may chavs in a coma through sheer mindfuck.
Returning again to the theme of colours, ‘Cyber Goth’ is a breed developed from ‘Cyber Punk’, which combines elements of dystopia with futuristic settings. They are similar in terms of appearance to Perky Goths, only with greater variety of colour, and minus the attitude. They tend to share the same accessories as their punk counterparts. They also prefer to listen to industrial/techno music than the rock and metal bands the majority of the scene swears by. Their appearance, and indeed philosophies, contrast from much that is considered goth, but the core elements remain the same, and they count since a lot of their ideologies sprang from the main gothic movement of the 80s.

Whereas Cyber Goths look to the future, there’s a whole culture of goths that draw inspiration from the past. Gothabilly is a form that derives from the elements of youthful rebellion of the 1950s. Biker jackets and shades, combined with ‘retro’ elements forms this fascinating outfit, as well as tattoos featuring quite heavily. ‘Victorian Goth’ speaks mainly for itself. The Victorian era was a huge influence for the ‘goth’ movement that emerged during the 80s, with development in art, literature and fashion being a mine of inspiration for many fledgling goths, and those who call themselves Victorian Goths will rarely be seen without parasols, top hats, corsets, ball gowns or walking canes of a dark variety.
There are plenty of goths however for whom the rocking 50’s or the soot-ridden 1800s just isn’t far enough. Many goths derive their sense of fashion from later periods in time, such as the medieval era (which makes sense seeing as how the original Goths were a Germanic tribe from the pre-mediaeval ages). These guys will incorporate elements of fantasy into their outfits, as well as heraldic patterns from coats of arms, as well as be fond of poetry of the time, such as the Arthurian legends and similar.

Steampunk goths combine the regal and intricacy of the Victorian era (Or Victorian style technology) with the dystopia and overall conceptual philosophies of the Cybergoth. Many steampunk goths can be seen adorned with self-made goggles, military jackets and other relics of the Victorian era, as well as patterns of cogs wherever possible. The steampunk subculture is fast growing into something quite amazing through clothing, literature and crafts. Many steampunks I know were goths at one point, and like to combine elements of steampunk with their costumes (plus steampunk as a subculture is generally awesome and I hereby swear to include as many mentions of it as I can in each post).

And then of course there the Uber Goths. Those who dress in capes, tall boots, spiked hair, pure white face make-up, shaven heads, elaborate piercings. These are the most dedicated goths you can possibly find, and chances are would remove their fangs for a parent-teacher conference. Not that these guys will wear this stuff all the time. Any sensible goth knows that self-expression is perfectly fine, but there’s a time and a place for bondage trousers and trenchcoats. But when it comes down to it, they are the kings and queens of the subculture through their sheer devotion and creativity.

Anywho this is it for another entry. I’ve gone into the main types that exist within this subculture, but there’s many many more kinds out there, each with their own unique style of awesome. For more information, I’d seriously recommend taking a look at the below website link to help you decide which direction you want to go in:

http://www.blackwaterfall.com/index.php

Next time I will go over the more sensitive issues of becoming a goth, i.e. coming out and acceptance. Any feedback as usual is welcomed, and I look forward to heard what you lovely lot think. But the most important thing for anyone out there is ultimately to dress in what makes you comfortable. Don’t worry about stereotypes, or ‘Is this goth enough?’. That kind of thinking will get you nowhere, take this from someone with personal experience. Experience you will also gain through time and observation ;D

A huge thank you to Vicky for helping me with some of the more difficult parts. Rock on your glittery legend you!

Regards, the Beard