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Worldwide Gothic by Natasha Scharf

Worldwide Gothic by Natasha Scharf

Last Thursday I headed into town to the private viewing of Worldwide Gothic, the latest book on the genre and this time by ex Meltdown editor Natasha Scharf, and as you may notice yours truly graces the cover. And today I finally turned the last page.

While there have been many books on the gothic movement, this one has the feel of being truly being “of” the scene without having the feel of the scholastic analysis prevalent in books such as that by Paul Hodkinson, more all-encompassing titles such as those by Gavin Baddeley or the encyclopaedic works of Mick Mercer. In fact there is not even a list of references or specific acknowledgements of source relating to each claim and the only real indication of fact we have is from quotes littered throughout and a list of those interviewed in the back which in part back up the information she gives us. This may be a shortcoming, but it’s also part of its charm. This book almost feels as if you have suddenly found yourself in a room spanning space and time: gathered within is a veritable roster of the who’s who in gothdom, and you are sat in the corner overhearing a myriad of conversations. The titbits of juicy gossip and amusing hearsay, opinions and interesting inter-relationships are simply delicious.

Myself & Geoff Kayson at the launch

Natasha has done her time and knows her stuff, she is a constant face on the scene, which I think always lends credibility when it’s something you choose to write about. And while I have not always agreed with her opinions, in this book she has managed to present the information in a balanced and fairly neutral way and it’s only towards the end of the book, that a single phrase stands out as to perhaps divulge her true leanings. It’s the people quoted that provide the spice and I find myself strangely agreeing with Trevor Bramford and warming to Mortiis (words I never thought I’d hear myself say *laughs*) while Uncle Nemesis (who admittedly has done much for the goth scene in the past) is a sour thread weaving throughout the book with his disparaging opinions.

Although the content is predominantly about the music, she does edge it with the fashions that the music is so unquestionably interlaced with and brings in elements of popular culture in here and there. A few of the reoccurring themes brought up in the book

Uncle Nemesis reading the book

are the age old: what should or shouldn’t be considered goth, fashion ‘versus’ music and goth ‘versus’ the mainstream. None of those issues are really resolved within the pages, nor can they be. But as Goths are wont to do – there’s lots of opinions thrown about. In fact those very topics will most likely grow into blog posts of their very own sometime in the future, because try as I might, I can’t help but add my voice these ‘great debates’.

The fact that this book looks at the scenes across the globe and how they grew and interacted with one another is another interesting facet, and indeed the one the book is based around. It’s also fairly chronological, although I did get a little dizzy at times as we dashed to and from eras.

I think this book is more for people already in the scene than for those that want to know about it, but it’s a great little memento and I’m quite sure everyone will discover at least one thing (if not many more) that they didn’t already know. For example, the book tells us of the time Robbie Willams was once spotted in the audience of a Mesh gig! Want to know more? Well you’ll just have to buy a copy!

The author signing a copy

Link: Interview with the Author

ISBN-10: 1906191190
Publisher: IMP Publishing Ltd
Buy: From The Gothic Shop
All photos including cover by Taya Uddin