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Sunday, 2 December 2012

New blog!

Hi everyone! Thanks for all your comments on the last post - my new blog, Bohemian Bloomers, is up and running. I hope some of you will come and visit! <3

Thursday, 29 November 2012

URL Change - Early Warning!

Hi guys! I've registered the URL amyasphodel.blogspot.co.uk - am currently debating whether to move this site over there or to just stop posting here and put my new content on the new page. I do like continuity but some of the newer, less Gothy content might not gel well with the older stuff here. I could put Gothier posts here and other stuff there? But how likely am I to maintain two blogs at the same time (answer: not very!).

Argh! What do you lovelies think?

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Why, Hello There

Hi, remember me? I guess it's been a while. :-) I am currently undecided about whether to return to blogging on any kind of a regular schedule, but so many of you guys have messaged me on Facebook and Tumblr that I felt it was a little bit rude of me to not at least let y'all know I'm still alive and well.

To the many lovely people (especially Amy of the ever-fabulous and wonderful Juliet's Lace and the girls on Tumblr who have sent the kindest messages) who have been wondering, yes, everything is all right. Aside from near-poverty and a great deal of existential angst, of course!

So, to answer those few niggling questions:

1. Where have you been?
Nowhere special. I felt I needed to take some time out from blogging as it was starting to eat away at my personal life, and I was so wrapped up in trying to be Le Perfect Gothique that I wasn't sure where the real me started and the internet image began. Yes, as I'm typing this I can see how odd it makes me sound, but that's how it was.

I spent a couple of months with no make-up (shocker) and ditched the macabre garb (double shocker) and proceeded to throw myself into meditation, nature (le gasp) and spending as little time online as poss in the hope of uncovering the Real Me (TM) - whoever she might be! Oh, I also began the process of dreadlocking my hair, something I've been interested in since I was but a wee girl in rainbow flares. (Which answers another question that some of you have been asking - yes, I have fuzzy baby dreads. They are 50 days old as of today, all-natural, and yes I love them and no, they don't smell.)

My friends all told me that losing the spooky image made me seem 'more myself', but it felt like a big chunk of me was missing. I won't lie, it did feel good to take a breather from slathering on the slap every day as well as from the occasional drama of blogging. But lately I've begun to miss my online friends (seriously, I love you guys) as well as the black-tinged outlook on life I chose to celebrate via this blog.

2. What happened to the Whitby Goth Weekend meet-up?
Sorry, you guys. Face. Of. Shame.

Yes, I went to Whitby. I had a great time and spent far too much money (of course!) but as at the time I was feeling distanced from the Goth scene and this blog I didn't get around to arranging the promised meet. I know, I suck. Sorry, once again.

3. Are you going to start blogging again?
Yes, I think so! However, I think there will be a few changes around here - which hopefully won't frighten you away.
  • As I don't currently feel identified with what I tend to refer to as 'the Goth scene proper'; rather, I prefer to enjoy aspects of the far vaguer term 'dark culture', I will probably be finally getting around to changing the URL of this site to something more fitting and less ubergoff.
  • Less trying to be an expert on things. I am, and have always been, an enthusiast and not an expert. I'm happy to offer opinions and suggestions in answer to your questions, but my (oft-criticised, eheheh) music guides and 'styles of' fashion posts certainly don't always hit the mark. I figure it's best to be honest and blog about what I actually know, rather than devoting hours to research and still not always getting it right! I do my best... ;-)
  • I may or may not introduce some new subjects and possibly more personal stuff (sorry). Less outfit posts, however, as I'm starting to feel there is more to life than getting dressed (no, I can't believe I really said that either).
I won't be deleting any old posts (so newcomers to this site may feel a little bewildered for a while). I am also unlikely to update daily as it really does eat into one's free time, although, let's be fair, I DO have some catching up to do. Starting with working through my blog list and finding out what all you black-clad lovelies have been up to.

I am sorry to those of you whom I let down (not least the very nice journalist from the German magazine - I only just checked my email :-((( ) whilst trying to get my head back on straight.

And a huge hello to those of you who are new here and whose comments I have not yet replied to - welcome, big hugs and many glittery bats to you.

Amy Asphodel
xxx

Thursday, 11 October 2012

In the Guardian

Hey all; sorry I haven't been around for a while (and thanks for the very sweet messages on Twitter and Tumblr, you are all so sweet and amazing!). Updates might continue to be a leeetle bit sketchy for a while as I am going through some personal upheavals and have been finding that, if I don't keep an eye on myself, blogging can take up quite a lot of rather essential personal time. :-S However I am still alive, will update as and when, and am still fairly active on the abovementioned sites.

Anyhoo, the reason for this post is that I got quoted in a Gothy article by Lauren Cochrane of the Guardian (and managed to miss getting a copy of the paper myself, d'oh...). It's only a teeny quote but the article itself was pretty good, I thought, citing Siouxsie Sioux, Beetlejuice and Rooney Mara instead of Marilyn Manson and Lily Allen (Sarah Sands of the Daily Mail: ...WHAT?).

You can find the article here if you'd like to read it!

We love you! <3

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Turn it up, don't tone it down

"I hate to bother you about this, and actually I almost feel silly but in all my reading about goth in articles and blogs online I've forgotten how to be over the top when it comes to goth..... I mean it seems there are always blog posts about how a goth should tone down their look, but never how to make their look more extravagant... and of course in our everyday world toning down one's wardrobe makes a bit of sense, but I'm tired of toning it down...." - Miss Grave

I almost envy you for having forgotten how to turn your Gothy dial up to thirteen - I have times when I feel I never really started (says she, writing in tracksuit bottoms, band tee, no eyebrows and scraggy ponytail - I was just at a fitness class)! It's true that for some people it can be easy to slip into a rut, and getting out of it again requires inspiration, motivation, creativity and time.

Nobody does all-spooky all-the-time like Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

Inspiration and motivation
Quite often when I slip into a jeans rut, I am startled out of it by either seeing a rather stunning spooky type dressed to the nines or by - don't laugh - reading a book, usually some awfully cheesy YA novel, about a very Gothed-up character. I don't know what does it for you. Maybe it's looking at pictures on Tumblr or watching WGT vids on YouTube, but whatever it was about Goth fashion that made you go 'wow!' in the first place, recreate it.

You can also collect ideas and inspiration from looking in such places. (And don't feel you need to be limited to Goth either - you can get inspiration for your style anywhere and everywhere. As an example, my tracked tags on Tumblr include deathrock, mori kei, decora, gyaru, lolita, punk lolita, psychobilly and bohemian.) Work out what delights you and then apply it to yourself! Even if you have to play around with your make-up in the evenings or spend mornings laying out different combinations and ensembles on your bed.

Creativity
Think outside the box! Yes, I'm opening the 'creativity' sub-section with a cliche, but being trite doesn't make it less true. Buy a new eyeshadow colour you've never used before. Find an item you've never worn and make it work.

When we think of OTT looks, we think of big hair, big eyeliner, hats, corsets, extravagant parasols, canes, waistcoats, falls and more. Feel free to draw on these staples - pile on the accessories - but don't forget to add your own twist and keep it uniquely you. Accessorise where you wouldn't normally - add a band around your upper arm, a belly chain, a tiara... add decals to your nails or wear a darker shade of lipstick.

Face it, you know what Goth As Fuck looks like. It may take some time spent experimenting and you may make a few mistakes, but if you're reading this you probably spend enough time online to know what ubergoth means for you - all you have to do is get in front of that mirror and get your freak flag proudly flying.

Time
Jeans and a tee take much less time than a festival worthy G.A.F. ensemble. Light, everyday make-up is different than a painted-doll face a la Lady Amaranth. You might need to choose an outfit the day before and get up half an hour earlier - only you know whether or not it's worth it!

Not being 100% ooky-spooky at all times doesn't make you any less Gawth. If it pleases you to put in the time, then go for it! But don't feel you have to do it every day if you don't want.

Of course, if you're getting your Goth on for an event or other occasion, whether you prefer to plan weeks in advance or like to select an outfit spontaneously right before leaving for the club, it does help to keep your hand in with fancy make-up and corset-wearing (not to mention balancing in silly shoes) to avoid last-minute panics and disasters.

I hand over the floor to you guys to share your own advice! Hope this is of some help. :-)

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Make-up hypocrisy?

Something I often associate with darker fashion is heavy make-up, a la Adora BatBrat or - more traditionally speaking - Siouxsie Sioux. For a long time this is something I've felt, and still do feel, is very beautiful and expressive, not to mention great fun.

However, it occured to me lately that for all its rejection of mainstream aesthetic values (you must be thin, you must be curvy, you must not wear too much make-up, you must not be a man and look feminine), for some people 'dark' ideals of fashion and beauty can tend to operate under the stereotypes of hyper-grooming more commonly associated with Barbie dolls than punk rockers.

Don't get me wrong - for all that what some Goth girls seem to prefer being fully made up at all times when in public, there are some obvious boundaries between the world of purple lipstick, Siouxsie eyebrows and perfectly ironed V-fringes and the super-bronzed, super-blonde but equally super-groomed figures presented to us on, say, The Only Way Is Essex.

(I hate to generalise, but for starters, one aesthetic seems to be about pleasing and expressing oneself, the other seems to be about matching up to society's 'standards' of feminine beauty and pleasing the opposite sex. Of course, I could be wrong. And I'm sure that in some cases the opposite could just as easily be true.)

But nonetheless the feminine aesthetic of Goth has changed rather a lot since the deliberately 'ugly' styles of make-up seen in the early days of the punk scene - whilst certainly exaggerated and often featuring creative use of colours (and eyeliner doodles), many dark make-up looks now aim to be beautiful (in an otherworldly kind of way) rather than discomforting or provocative.

This is neither a complaint nor approval, merely an observation. I was thinking about it after bumping into an old friend who wears no make-up, although I once saw her with glitter sprinkled under her eyes for a night out (and who also has blonde dreadlocks, wears 'boho' style clothes layered over each other... we probably looked like an interesting pair standing next to each other!). As someone who strives to be body-positive and to not get caught up in media-hyped ideals of how we should look and present ourselves, I was intrigued by the comparison of her personal rejection of media and mainstream aesthetics vs., say, that of deathrock model Emily Pollution. Visually complete opposites, but sharing the similarity of a preferred personal aesthetic instead of how we are told we should look.

However, I suppose what I am trying (badly) to say is that whilst it is creative and expressive, in many ways it could be said the dark aesthetic is not necessarily that different from the much-maligned 'Barbie' look sported by the likes of Cheryl Cole, as it is also creating a certain image using a precise style and grooming using large amounts of product.


I don't necessarily feel that going make-up-free is more 'anti-mainstream' than choosing blue or green lipstick over red or pink. I also don't have any particular dislike of the mainstream beauty aesthetic, I just don't like how it marginalises certain groups (e.g. anyone not 'perfect' by beauty and fashion industry standards) and I prefer not to have it rammed down my throat. But I do wonder if perhaps it's hypocritical for those who wouldn't ever be seen outside without their many layers of black eyeliner to claim superiority over non-Goths who wouldn't ever be seen outside without many layers of black eyeliner based on aesthetic preferences alone.

A few disclaimer-y notes: not all followers of dark fashion wear make-up, and of those who do certainly not all consider themselves 'superior' in any way to anyone else. I personally think that no make-up, Goth make-up and 'mainstream' make-up can all be beautiful.

I just wondered what others' thoughts were on this?

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Sightseeing in Oxford

I had a little day trip yesterday to the beautiful city of Oxford. Dad wanted to show his current lodger, Gosia from Poland, some of the sights of England, and since it was my birthday that week we made a day of it.
These first few pics were taken at Christchurch College. We saw dozens of the colleges around Oxford, but this one not only has its own cathedral but it's where Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, was a maths lecturer. There is a small shop across the street called 'Alice's Shop', as it's both drawn and mentioned in Carroll's Alice Through the Looking Glass.




Gosia and me at Christchurch.
 These next few are from the Oxford University Botanical Gardens. The lady on the ticket desk said my outfit was beautiful! :-)




 These are from another of the colleges; I don't remember which but it had its very own deer park!

 The Bodleian Library.
 In the Covered Markets.


 After climbing the very narrow and spiral-y 99 steps up Carfax Tower.


 The Ashmolean Museum.



 The Oxford University Museum.



Being a vry srs museum-goer.


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