Monday, 25 September 2017

Growing up Goth during the nineties in Montreal

 *If this post sounds familiar, it was recently published in my old, discontinued blog. I regurgitated here*
I was born and raised in the suburbs of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, which is a bilingual city with French and English speaking people. It is also a very cosmopolitan city that has people from many walks of life and it is not uncommon to hear someone speak a different language other than English or French. Growing up, I hated (still do!) the suburbs and dreamed I could live downtown because that's where all the cool people are! In many ways, I still hold this sentiment!

I hated living in the suburbs or the West Island as most people call it but to this day, I still refer to that area as the Waste Island. Most people laugh at me for growing up in that area because it is very uncommon for a Goth to live there. Think Edward Scissorhands when he was living with a family in the burbs and you will get an idea what it was like! I am sure there were many West Island Goths but I never stuck around in that area to really have an opportunity to meet most of them. Whenever I was stuck in the Waste Island, I made the most of my situation by going to the river at the end of my street. It was one of my favourite drinking (and make-out) spots!

This is a picture found off the "interweb" of the street from Edward Scissorhands. I swear, this looks like my mom's street minus the brightly coloured houses.

I also lived right near a train station that would take me to the downtown core in 25 minutes, which was much better than the 90 minutes it would normally take should I decide to take the buses and metro to get there. Thanks to the train, most of my time was spent downtown.

I hated living in the Waste Island because from personal experiences, most of the people were snobby and uptight. I was often ridiculed or even scolded for the way I dressed. As a teenager, I was so proud of a cape I knitted for myself out of wool and would often parade around wearing it. I didn't care how hot it was and often wore it in the middle of a summer heat wave! It was not uncommon to be stared at. Now, I can see why people looked at me funny (seriously a wool cape on a hot summer's day) but even today, I get gawked at. Even toned down.

While I was not legally the drinking age (which luckily for me, it is 18 over here) but sometimes, I got into the clubs. Partying downtown was a huge pain in the ass because the last train leaves the station at 12:25am. Being by myself, I felt unsafe taking the night bus alone and should I miss the last train, I was often stranded at a shady part of the city. I remember being stuck there several times and my parents got annoyed with me for calling them in the middle of the night for a ride. Remember, this is before cellphones became accessible and I would have to call my folks collect. I would often request the ride before the recording ended so my Mom wouldn't have to bitch about added fees to her phone bill every month. I am serious. My mom would answer and she would hear the following "you got a collect call from - Mom its me, I am stuck at Spot Bowling. Come get me" and she would have enough time to say ok and hang up. I remember this one time, this creeper kept making unwanted advances at me. I was still quite young and this was a grown man. I was so scared that I flagged down a police car and the guy bolted. The cops gave me a ride home! I can still remember the look on my parents faces when she saw me at the door with two police officers!

I eventually made friends with some elder goths who well, were much, much older than me. I was lucky that many of them not only were there to help me avoid a lot of embarrassing baby bat wardrobe mistakes but also invited me to crash at their place once the clubs closed for the night! Most of these clubs don't exist anymore, unfortunately. I remember one place I went to once or twice called (how original) The Vampire Lounge. Apparently, it was owned by the mob! I don't know how true this is.

On Tuesday nights, I would listen to a Goth radio program called "Les Mouches Noires"

For those familiar with the author of The Goth Bible, Nancy Kilpatrick, I got to meet her. She is an awesome lady and we keep in touch via social media.

I remember those 99 cent pizza places. Those were the best places to go and have a quick bite to eat after a night of drinking!

I went to a High School that had a uniform. Yuck! I did leave that school my graduating year to attend an alternative school but apparently, I was informed by several people that the school officials changed the rules to specifically include "no ripped or fish net stockings" because of me and some other students.

I went to see Clan Of Xymox perform at Fouf's. It was the first Goth band I got to see play live. Rhea's Obsession was the opening band.

Movies like The Crow and The Craft came out and I remember watching them religiously. I remember wanting to look like Fairuza Balk (Nancy) Shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The X-Files and Charmed played on TV.

There was a magic shop called Le Melange Magique/Magickal Blend which sold so many wonderful occult items and had a bunch of cats wandering around the store. The owner never minded us loitering there!

I remember shopping at Cruella (closed down several years ago) and Diabolik (still open, I still go there!) There was an amazing thrift store called Eva B which I have not been to in a long time. I think they are still open. I remember discovering Rio X20 for Doc Martens.

I might have hated highschool but I have so many fond memories of my youth. I was pretty wild back then but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!

Friday, 22 September 2017

It really is a delicate dependency

Back when I was a teenager, I had this huge crush on a certain blonde haired, blue eyed gothic cutie. I think the attraction stemmed from the fact that he was one of the only goths I knew at that time that kept his natural hair color. He slightly resembled the vampire Lestat, or so I thought anyways. Nothing really came of my crush but he did make a pretty awesome friend. I remember sleeping over at a friend's place after a full night of hardcore partying and he played the "Music for Vampires, A Delicate Dependency" compilation CD for us to unwind from the night. I was completely smitten with the album as much as I was with him! Remember folks, back then, when I was a teenager in the nineties, we had to work to discover new Goth bands and compilation CDs were a great way to get introduced to new music!

While my crush faded away, my affections for the compilation album never wavered. In fact, it was my go-to compilation CD after a night of clubbing. Remember I am from the era of mix tapes and CDs, we had no MP3 (or Youtube or Spotify) play lists back then!

The compilation itself doesn't have many songs, perhaps it isn't the best of gothic compilations I ever listened to over the years but it is something that I personally find relaxing and allows me to revisit my youth. I remember all the good times I had going out with my fellow creatures of the night; How we would parade around in fishnet stockings in the middle of the winter or how we would wear velvet in the middle of a summer heat wave.

Listening to that album brings me back to a time where life was simple. I used to listen to this when I was a student and studying for upcoming tests. I had jobs where I could wear what I wanted and not had to worry about toning it down. I sometimes look back at that little blonde haired cutie who used to tie his hair in a ponytail with a black ribbon and wonder what happened to him after all these years.

I remember the opera piece freaking out my father. Is my daughter listening to opera, what?

The Schubert piece always got blared in my room, much to my father's delight as he loved Classical music. Little did he know; this piece was played in the movie "The Hunger" which starred David Bowie. That movie also has that famous opening scene with Peter Murphy performing "Bela Lugosi's Dead" I did honestly like Classical musical but like most teenagers, it wasn't my first choice of music to listen to.

I accidentally left my Discman (again, before Smartphones, I Pods, or even MP3 players) on the train with this CD inside. I never bothered re-purchasing it either, I wonder why. I guess it never really occurred to me but it is still a compilation that is held so close to my heart today because it introduced me to The Cocteau Twins!

So, if anyone out there was a baby bat in the nineties with me, I wonder if this compilation will bring back memories for you too just like it does for me.

P.S. I have most of these songs already (now in MP3 format) but I did re-purchase this CD again, by the way. Just for nostalgia!

And I found the entire compilation here on Youtube!You're welcome!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Monthly MusicSpotlight: Foghorn Lonesome

Image taken from Foghorn Lonesome's FB page
Considering Foghorn Lonesome is a fairly new band that has only been around for the past 6 years, unfortunately, I do not have much info to give you on them. According to their Facebook page, Foghorn Lonesome was founded by Eric Sparkwood in 2011 and is from Sweden (I swear, the Swedes and Germans make some bad-ass Darkwave!) I strongly suggest you give this band a listen. I was very impressed by the sound and later, the lyrics. I generally listen to the music first then focus on the lyrics the second time around.

I like to write about bands that have a connection or some sort of silly story with me. Since I very recently, got into this band, the reason why  I chose to feature them for my Monthly Music Spotlight was because their song "Watership Down" is source of comfort to me because I have not been feeling very well these past few days.This band is helping me through a very rough period and I am very grateful for their music. In addition, since this is a new band, by featuring them here on this blog, my goal is to help them build an audience.I think this is a great way for me to support the Goth community, especially musicians who help keep the subculture alive. I really hope you enjoy!


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