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Goth Chic: A Connoisseur's Guide to Dark Culture Paperback – August 31, 2002

22 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Plexus Publishing (August 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0859653080
  • ISBN-13: 978-0859653084
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,324,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 103 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
The title is a bit of a misnomer. This is not, per se, a book about Goth. It certainly doesn't touch very much on "Goth Chic". The alternate title is more revealing: "A Connoisseur's Guide to Dark Culture", and it's THIS that you should keep in mind.
The author makes it known from the beginning that Goth is a very difficult thing to nail down. Is it Specimen/Batcave Bauhaus/art-rock Sisters Of Mercy/dark rock subculture? An extension of punk? Where do Industrial crossovers and bands like Dead Can Dance fit in? So he decides to roll the dice and talk about as much that has been touched by a "Gothic" aesthetic as possible, and that includes black metal (Cradle of Filth), industrial (Nine Inch Nails), and some silly Spanish band called Gothic Sex whose lead singer you have to see to believe. There's also quite a bit of backstory, so you get details about Byron, Baudelaire, expressionist horror film, EC comics, etc.
Therefore, the book doesn't just talk about Goth (however you interpret it - you being a Bauhaus purist, or Sunshine Blind fan) - it also talks about Black Metal, Death Rock, Horror Films, EC Comics, BDSM, vampire wannabees, etc. and in true liberal arts fashion traces the undercurrents, commonalities, and divergences that separate the different threads that have descended from the Byrons, Baudelaires, Decadents and Romantics that got the dark ball rolling in the first place(so for those of you thinking "Goth" started with Marilyn Manson, you're wrong on two counts... the first being what I just mentioned, the second being that Marilyn Manson is NOT Goth but a HEAVY METAL ARTIST and ALICE COOPER RIPOFF and thankfully, this book gets that right.)
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
First off, this is not a primer on how to be goth- it's a description of what goth is and how it got to be that way.
I would recommend this book strongly to goths who want to know more about the origins and history of their subculture, and to discover some cinematic, musical, and literary treasures that they may not have encountered before. It could also be useful to an outsider who is curious about the subculture. It doesn't try to prettify things, or pull any punches, but it is also refreshingly free of sensationalism or demonization. The result is a reasonably unbiased picture.
This book contains a lot of fascinating information about the origins of the goth aesthetic, it's relationship to punk, literary sources, ties to the fetish scene, etc. It also contains profiles of some important bands and literary figures.
However, not too much time is spent on any one profile/overview- if you want in depth, detailed information, look elsewhere. It's better for figuring out what you want to research or go find for yourself. It also doesn't get much into the psychology or sociology of goth culture. This is a fairly light non-academic read. It also contains a number of black and white photos, some of which are very nice eye candy.
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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Steven Cain on October 23, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Finally somebody who actually knows what he's talking about. GB obviously walks the walk, and his passion for the subject has enabled him to write a virtually flawless meisterwerk, which should become the standard Goth reference book.
This is a first class piece of research, and while I am primarily interested in the musical side of Goth, it was also fascinating to read Gavin's insights into Gothic influences in art, theatre and film.
This is so comprehensive that few people should be able to say, "Oi, you forgot to mention..." The Hunger? It's in here. Bauhaus? Yep, a no-brainer. Gavin encompasses even fringe bands and artists, such as camp Cabaret-style vamps such as Marc Almond, punkish Adam Ant (pre and post transition to the Dandy Highwayman) and The Cure, who in my opinion mainly qualify because of Robert's time with Siouxsie. At the other end of Fringe, GB also includes Black Metal/Goth band Cradle Of Filth, whose Her Ghost In The Fog video is a must-see.
This modern Goth/Pop Culture classic mentions literally all of my favourite bands, ranging from Bauhaus and Type O Negative, to more melodic Goth acts such as The Mission (UK), Switchblade Symphony (you HAVE to hear Serpentine Gallery), the impossibly beautiful Katharine Blake's Miranda Sex Garden and The Shroud.
This masterpiece is also packed with excellent photographs, many of which I have never seen before. I simply cannot fault it.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Michael Casteel on March 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be highly educational on the origins of the term gothic and the sources of inspiration for today's goth culture. The author explores the early influences of horror and fetish as topics in gothic literature, film and music. To grasp the term gothic you have to accept that it encompasses a wide variety of influences and interests. Baddeley approachs his subject with an open mind and rarely leads the reader astray.
I found it amusing and enlightening that so many writers and musicians interviewed in this book who are labeled gothic reject the label; bad news for them, the instinct of the genuine goth is rejection of labels, especially as a goth. My experience is that anyone who calls themself a goth, is not. The essence of goth is to be an outcast, a loner, an individualist and the last thing such a person is going to do is identify themselves with a group.
I found the most interesting parts of this book had to do with early horror films, most of this was material I was unfamiliar with. The weakest part of the book is due to the fact that popular taste in goth music changes so often that there is little mention of the musicians who currently dominate clubs.
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