I Was A Teenage Goth

Ooh Goth at the BBC is on tomorrow night, I shall have to dig out my crimpers and wear black. The former were last seen in about 1989 but the penchant for black never left me.


I wanted to look like her. I managed to look far more comical.

Far from being miserable our gang of darkly plumed odd bods were as happy as the next bunch of teenagers. Admittedly teenagers do have an image of being a bit grumpy and miserable anyway, but when not in our black bedrooms, choking on the smoke from joss sticks and candles, we were out in pubs and parks, giggling and larking about as merrily as any bunch of young people.

We used to have a marvellous time hanging out at Mary Shelley’s grave for example. For not only were Goths (or my little band of them) into a theatrical look, we also had a love of gothic literature, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Shelley’s Frankenstein. And as luck would have it we lived in a town associated with Mary Shelley – we could hang out in the grounds of her house (which at that point housed the local art school, where coincidentally many of our number attended) or in the cemetery where she was buried. Sometimes we held respectful discussions of her talent. Mostly we just got stoned.

I liked goth because it was one of the few musical genres my Dad didn’t understand. My parents are cool. They were an incredibly hip and handsome sixties couple who went to see all the best bands, I get my love of music from them. But when you are a teen you want to rebel.

We had a system in our family for long car journeys. We took it in turns to have our choice of music cassette played. Of course as a teenager  my main aim was to play something that might offend them, the older generation (or my age now as it turns out- doesn’t feel so old or out of touch from this side of the fence – tho I am sure my teenager would disagree).

When you have a Dad whose choice was often Bowie or The Stranglers (which I thank him for my life long love of both) it is hard to find music he dislikes or can’t determine the inspiration of. The Cardiacs (a particularly manic punk esque almost theatrical band) were likened to King Crimson, The Sex Pistols were just good ol rock’n’roll with less rebellion in them than The Who (in his opinion).

Goth though, Goth he didn’t like. In retrospect he didn’t so much dislike it as find it hilarious, esp the Fields Of The Nephilim and their dirge like singing of the word Celebrate which had him giggling for hours. But at least he didn’t ‘get it.’

I don’t get it these days either, Nephilim are not a band that get a nostalgic spin after a few drinks. And actually I quickly moved from Goth to punk – an easy cross over with people like The Damned and Siousxie straddling both camps. I soon found I preferred the upbeat chorus of the Buzzcocks to the misery of The Mission. And it was hard work staying in character – I once spent most of a 2 week family holiday in Portugal hiding because to have a sun tan was sacrilege. Eventually emerging long enough to snog a portuguese waiter (an important rite of passage in the 80s),  I managed to mostly retain my pasty complexion.

I kept the best bits though, The Cure remain one of my favourite bands, I still have a preference for black clothing over all other hues, and my ubiquitous black eyeliner is never going away – I shall have a thick black line across my upper eyelid on the day I die! I still love a hot vampire and occasionally waft my hands around in the air while swirling about, Goth dancing when drunk is fun.

It’s fitting that the show is on at Halloween as that was the highlight of our social calendar, with one of our favoured haunts having elaborate nights for the occasion – with fancy dress that really didn’t veer too far from our normal chosen attire and awesome gore shows and live bands. This year I will be at home, pumpkin lit, watching my youth on the telly. Which is fitting for someone of my generation. I suspect I shall at some point bemoan the kids of today for not having a sub-culture in the same way. But of course they do have their own versions of it, I just don’t understand them – and nor should I!

Love Miss Cisco XXX



  1. October 30, 2014 / 11:22 am

    This post made me smile as I used to play music my dad loathed too. And him confessing to liking something that was played on my record player meant this track never saw the light of day again! Have been a lot wiser with my own daughters and pretended to love every one of their music choices… this has seriouly wound the pair of them up over the years!

    Great post as always x
    Izzie Anderton recently posted…Three Little WordsMy Profile

    • October 30, 2014 / 11:24 am

      Oh I wish I had thought of that, tho I doubt I could have managed to ‘like’ One Direction with a straight face – luckily the daughter has better taste these days!

  2. October 30, 2014 / 12:49 pm

    I’ll be honest, I was a little but scared of goths when so was a teenager. I was far too uncool to even understand! What does your daughter make of those pics now? I bet she’s proud of having such a cool mum!

    • October 30, 2014 / 1:13 pm

      I hid from cameras so there are very few pics and even they are lost in a box at my ex husbands house, so she hasn’t really seen any of me as a teen!
      Sonya Cisco recently posted…I Was A Teenage GothMy Profile

  3. October 30, 2014 / 2:20 pm

    I was into heavy metal as a teenager but, to be honest, I think it was because my brother was a fan and I followed his lead. Without his influence I would be listening to musicals with my mum.

    We would both play AC/DC to my poor dad who we knew preferred Mozart and, bless him, he always tried to ‘understand’ it.
    Trish – Mum’s Gone to recently posted…Humberside Airport to Schiphol, Amsterdam with KLMMy Profile

  4. October 30, 2014 / 8:42 pm

    Amazing post! I think at some point we’re all out to shock our parents! And I’m with you – mine felt SO much older but they were just a bit older than I am now! Yeah – about 22 then! I hope you’ll be dressing up to watch tomorrow night! xx
    Katy Hill recently posted…True to YourselfMy Profile

  5. Annie
    October 30, 2014 / 11:19 pm

    I remember being really scared of ‘proper’ goths as a teenager. By proper I mean those totally clad in black with dyed black hair (dye stains on ears obligatory) and facial piercings – sort or like really mopey depressed punks.
    I was such an Aha loving pussy.
    Annie recently posted…77. How Does Your Garden Grow?My Profile

  6. October 31, 2014 / 7:31 am

    I was an Indie kind of girl, how cool were the 90s? I loved Sleeper, Elastica, Ash…ahh happy days..
    Emma recently posted…A busy half termMy Profile

  7. October 31, 2014 / 9:20 pm

    Love this post! It takes me right back. I was friends with some goths and I briefly thought them quite cool, then I found them hilariously funny because goths floating backwards and forwards gently waving their arms and trying hard not to smile to Sisters of Mercy is proper funny 🙂
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…Guinness World of Records – 60 years young!My Profile

  8. November 3, 2014 / 12:28 am

    I left my New Zealand home and flew to London when I was 18, way back in 1986. Turned myself into a pretty punk. Not rebellious or brave enough to go the wholepierced hog. I remember more punks than goths? Such great music then, going to see the Cure live (at the Hammersmith Odeon I think) was stupendous. Ahhh…
    Jane recently posted…For The Love of a Cold ClimateMy Profile

  9. November 5, 2014 / 9:02 am

    Hey brain twin! Love the post, totally missed the programme will have to catch up on iplayer!
    The afternoons hanging upside down of the bed with soap soaked hair and crimpers to get the Robert Smith look, a fortune paid out in eye liner. oh those were the days!
    Mary Keynko recently posted…Saving money, saving energyMy Profile

    • November 5, 2014 / 9:45 am

      Actually, the programme was a little disapointing….I made up for it on youtube afterwards!

  10. January 21, 2015 / 10:49 pm

    Why? WHY, haven’t I read your blog beyond Silent Sunday before?! I was (still am) always a rock girl, bordering on metal, but really cheesy 70s and 80s hair metal (whatever that means). But really I’m a rock girl. I never managed to rebel against my parents in that respect, because they were also rockers. My mum still goes weak at the knees when she reminisces about Phil Lynott in his tight leather trousers when she and dad saw Thin Lizzy play. I admire goth culture deeply. I also love vampires (have done since I was a teen) and adore gothic fashions. I used to hang around with a mixed bag of metallers, goths and ravers at school (I know, odd mix, right?). We always fitted in which each other – it was great. Loved this post. Took me right back. Look forward to reading more from you, Sonya x
    Fiona @ Free Range Chick recently posted…Incite Change and Kill Hate CrimeMy Profile

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