Monday, 16 September 2019

Community Walk; A Bit Of Bat Spotting

So a few nights ago, I attend a community event for a bat walk.

In my area, there is a two-year project called Wild West End Newcastle. It aims to monitor and identify some specific types of animals in the West End of Newcastle; including bats. The initiative tries to get the local community involved by having weekly walks to spot the various animals.

We met at 7:30 pm in Leezers Parks car park and waited for a few minutes for more people to attend. We headed to a small area of the lake that had been cultivated to provide a habitat for insects, that may offer the ideal place to observe bats flying.

The group were given a brief introduction about bats, such as there are over 17 types of bats; in the North East alone there are was at least 10 to 12 species. When bats tend to feed after dusk, and we may see Daubenton’s bat and Pipistrelle. They mentioned that they saw a few Pipistrelles on a previous walk. They were using a bat detector that could hear the frequency of bats and how each species had the own rate. They explained the procedure for observing and recording bats.

Just as the twilight ended and the sunset finally set the groups saw a great outline of a mall bat flying amongst the skyline, which would provide one the perfect photo. Sadly, the little small fat was so fast it disappeared in the blink of an eye. 

After ten minutes, a few more bats came swooping out of the near trees, as it darkened more came swooping out, I assume ready for their breakfast. As the night progress, more could see. Until the put a gyrating of swooping with their acrobatics looks as they were dancing in the sky, it such a beautiful treat to behold; bats had a mystical quality to them with the speed of their flight they disappeared in now where. I wished I could have captivated it. It failed. 

I tried to take photos, the photos are rubbish, they worse than butterflies to photograph.  I'm going to go on another night with my proper camera. I've edited some of the phots to enhance the bat's shapes. 

I also got a couple of lovely shots of the night sky and scenery. 

Afterwards, we all had gone to the local pub for a drink, but it provided a chance to get to know some of the neighbours. It was a fun night seeing all the bats flying on the lake. 

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Bradford Litearty Festival Origins of the Outsiders: The New Goths

A few months ago, I ventured to Bradford for the cities annual literature festival. It sees the city transformed into a cultural mecca celebrating both the written and spoken word. It includes a series of events through topical discussion panels, performers, poets, readings from established authors and provides platform upcoming talent. Other forms of media such as cinema theatre and art.

The panel was led by Karl Sprachlen; the discussion explores his recent book co-authored by his wife, Beverly. The book explores the historical lingerie of goth beyond the 1970s post-punk musical aspects exploring the origins, of Germanic Goth tribes through history to the morden evolution, we understand it today. The panel also included Rosie Garland and Laura Ager, a researcher for Manchester Gothic Studies.

Bradford Cathedral hosted the discussion the venue seemed the perfect place to host the panel. It was an ungothly, but gorgeous Saturday. With an usher greeting visitors in and informing the visitors of the discussions itinerary. There were plenty of people already seated, just as eagerly awaiting the discussion.

The Dean of Bradford spoke welcoming everyone to the discussion and even making a joke about the pannel being held in a gothic space. He admitted knowing very little about goth/ gothic cultural, which I appreciated. He admitted he had read the book and found an immersive experience.

The panel began to give a small introduction about who they were and how they were both professionally and personally involved within the goth scene. They also described their own personal perspective, experience and interruption of being a goth or within their views.  Karl began a discussion on how goths and the connotations of goth cultural always being an outsider starting from the earliest of Germanic Goths and Romans right through to the present days.

  I respectfully disagree with Karl's trying to create a linear period. I personally. believe history far more complex and convoluted to create a linear narrative.  Even our current understanding of history it not the full perspective of history as it occurred.  I later met Laura who I discussed could see my point suggested you could look it in terms of linguistics, which an intriguing idea.

This lead to the discussion exploring the North and goth cultural, especially during the late 70's and '80s. A lot was based on Karl's experience of growing up during that time. He explained the music was pivotal to goth cultural, and the music was made by people and students who were poor and that Leeds at that time was a brutal city. He also discussed the history of Leeds infamous  The discussion leads to the internal and external contentions that of goth being genuinely goth. I found this part very interesting, as I tend to enjoy more social history, espcially about the goth scene rather than the academic analysis.

The conversation led to Rosie who discussed being goth claiming their names as a joke about being goth but not being goth. She also described the students of lack of money and shabby surrounding of Leeds, accommodation and Fclub influenced the music they produced. Through the use of new technology such as drum machines and synths, adding a futuristic edge to the music. I found Rosie was a great intimidator between Laura and Karl. She always seemed to bring a more balanced perspective, where my personal views were more in line with Rosie. Rosie was both lived this experiance and give a very raw honest picture of life, rather romantic notion. 

One of my favourite parts was when Karl discussed mysticism within the goth scene. He related to the Sisters of Mercy; ( Alice with which was what created the persona eldritch by accident he created). Alice is talking about mysticism, and Eldritch is laughing Alice's precious nations.

Karl continued describing the early tensions within the scene; particularly amongst the band as oame gained in popularity, while were signed to smaller labels and whether these bands were goth or not.

Karl explained by the '90s much more mainstream than in the underground days of the '80s. The music had morphed into a much darker form of black metal and doom metal with Cradle of Filth. Even Yorkshires My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost and exploring how the influence of industrial music. 

Laura introduced and explained about the Manchester Gothic Studies Programme; that looks at how gothic can be received in literature. She suggested the idea of a medieval perspective to view the world by exploring the darker sider of life through exploring urban poverty, disconnect and the north. Lara highlighted ramifications of the death of Sophie Lancaster. The legacy the Sophie Lancaster foundation politically importance in promoting diversity to prevent another unnecessary death it has there.

I found Laura seemed to have a more similar perspective to Rosie she grew up during the late '80s and early '90s. Laura brought the academic aspect of goth through the literature and the meaning it contributed to the scene. 

The Dean led the discussion onto asking about the significance and importance of the Whitby Goth Festival. Karl explained the history of the festival. Whitby was chosen in for the Bram Stoker's Dracula fictional connections. It was started out by goth cultural had gone, and a lot the goths were from the original 80's people wanted to continue listening to the bands. The weekend quickly gained international fame and was embraced by the Town's council. 

Then Karl highlighted the recent political contentions stemming in the weekend from the current formation rifts between the Whitby weekend and  Tomorrow's Ghost. They also discussed the negative aspects with the costumers who attended, the numerous photographers, had resulted in the many of older goths sticking to the fringe events. 

The Dean orientaed the debate by discussing how intrigued he had been by discussing the final aspect of the present state and the potential future of goth. It was interesting how each person had their own views and perspective.

Karl seemed to have a very pessimistic view of how the scene had evolved and seemed to lament for the first days of the goth scene in the '80s in the way he expressed his ideas. He went along his own tangent, which I couldn't quite follow.

Rosie more realistic, and offered a balanced perspective describing the superfamily aspects on social media, she also describes the go reinventing itself by utilising her recent experience from WGT. Laura again had simular views to Rosie.

The Dene initiated a Q and A for the audience with some fascinating questions. Afterwards, the Dene shared his thoughts, describing how he'd had learnt alt and gained a new insight.  The Dene thanked everyone for attending, especially to Karl, Rosie and Laura for contributing, the audience give a round of applause showing their appreciation.  

I travelled to Bradford. I felt the discussion offered me a new perspective and insight into goth cultural.  At times, the debate became too academic in places, which didn't appeal to me. I did like how the created an accessible to none's goths while covering some of the basics while keeping it orientated to the goths. 

Afterwards, I was able to have a chat with Karl, who actually remember me from meeting the last meeting, which was lovely. I had a quick chat with Rosie. I finally reached the lasses from the Festival of Gothic, that mutually follows on social media.
I'm looking forward to there next event in October. 

I purchased Karl's book and got signed. I look forward to reading it. 

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Review of WGT Part 2

The Saturday, we went to find breakfast and found a great little cafe, just a few minutes from our hotel. It doubled as a bike cafe. We kept ordering the same thing of Latte and ham toast with German cream cheese, gorgeous.

We visited the Museen im Grassi the building had an exciting fusion of art deco and cubism exterior. The museum had a fascinating exhibition where costume students were showing casing their toiles based on the historical patterns of Janet Arnolds. I was intrigued by the high-quality garments finishing it what I would inspire.

The examples of Tudor ruffles and stays.

I love the mid-18th-century costume made in the modern fabric; it has a gorgeous gothic quality. 

We headed to the  West Bad venue to see Dark Cell. They were on their European tour and played in Trillians, our local rock pub at home in Newcastle, we missed them while on holiday.  I kind like these they were an Aussie kinda black metal elements with thrash, and a heavy thunderous percussion and guitar.

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Near-Earth Orbit, I found the duo intense with their band experience used a theratrical and atmospheric quality to their dystopian sound; in the background, the band use cinematic visuals to exploring the themes of the lyrics, The group created thought provoking ideas of human destruction but, a pessimistic hope. They had an intense industrial sci-fi style keyboards, synth and modern deep the booming driving bass to emphasise potent themes.

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I attended the ethereal transcendental The Moon and Night Spirits. I feel their Hungarian Quartet has taken through a journey into the night world. Pure pleasure and spiritually uplifting experience. The band used a range of traditional range of Hungarian, world instruments with a variety of medieval medleys that were incredible used some middle eastern sounds. What I love was the band got truly into the music and enthralled with every moment of the performance.    

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The boyfriend went to Taubchenthal to William Faiths projects, I'm using his review I was told I missed a fantastic set. I saw Rosie Garland a few weeks ago in Bradford we had a quick chat about it. The Bell Weather Great set, a nice mix of the (by now) older original material, a bit of new, then finishing with real classics from The Mephisto Waltz, March Violets, Faith and the Muse.

I regret not seeing the band, I did download the Bellweather Syndicate on band camp, 

Next was Inkubus and Sukkubus, were weren't planning to see them as we've seen them twice in less six months I didn't bother to thoroughly review them. They put on a lively and gyrating performance with their mystical. It was fab seeing them on such a vast audience. I still think they were best at the Goth City Festival. 

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The final band of the night was Shadow Project 1334. It compromised the original Christian Death line in the William Faith and Eva O, along with her daughter Scarlet. In hindsight. 'm not into the deathrock as such found this such a privilege to attend It had been so hot in the venue I caught heard the band performing form outside of the Taubchenthal. From what I saw of the group put on an intoxicated performance making the audience of hunger for more with each performance. I found the band to have a compelling tumultuous sound with a mixture of post punk elements, accompanied with deep bass and booming drums.

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I found an odd day, both The Boyfriend and I were feeling exhausted from the humidity and all the travelling from Berlin to Leipzig and the travelling from venue to venue to see bands. We kept returning to the bike cafe as they made a great breakfast.

After we had breakfast, we head headed to the Pagan Village on a packed tram, as Agra the main venue.  We headed arrived at 1:30pm, we grabbed drinks and had a quick gander before the band came. I think Pagan Village maybe the wrong the translation it reminded of the Yorvic festivals with a Nordic vibe. I was happy to find mead, I had a hard time finding alcohol I like me Germany. They don't do cider or even decent cider; I was limited to what I could drink. Besides, the heat, it was too hot for alcohol and there nothing I fancied, but I found mead the elixir of the Gods.

We mainly went to the Pagan Village to see Arhai UK based band with members from a British, Serbian and Turkish background. The group was a worldly, atmospheric, ethereal band with a female vocalist, one of the favourite niche genres. With a myriad of influences including Celtic, European, use of medieval-style instruments, tribal drums and a hint of tech enhancements adding a touch of mysticisms. I found the group sensational with the middle eastern influences, and I found a spiritually transcendental.

I had a look around the village, I had so many photos, but I accidentally deleted them, when I did master reset on mobile. I went Agra for some Goth shopping I spent quite a bit, but not as much as I had initially intended.  I was after seeing a Black Friday's WGT video about drunk shopping. I wanted a dramatic head, mainly, by Videnoir and a Gothic Kitty T-shirt. 

I came across Nox Arum, where she had some stunningly gorgeous headdresses, I fell in love with dramatic horns and feathers. I opted for the more simpler headdresses, and I brought a witches tote. 

I also checked out Videnoir couture; I didn't purchase headdress. I was after a dramatic floral style one, but I bought a stunning metal cathedral inspired waist cincher belt. 

I purchased got an old Kitty t-shirt, I've worn a few times out even to the local Goth Night, it's got some great compliments.

I even met up with Michelle; we share a mutual friend.

After shopping at Agga, I was shattered. I met up with the Boyfriend who was drinking with a few people a couple of people. We knew, and we met a lot of new people. While, in Germany, we end up at an  Irish Bar, Dhillons. I was having a lot of cocktails. It was a fab night and what we needed. I planned to see a London After Midnight; then I changed my mind and opted to see Batushka and Cradle of Filth with my boyfriend. I cancelled all my plans and got drunk on cocktails.

I had a Sex on the Beach, and it was fantastic. 

We moved to Mortzibastei; I got further inebriated on more cocktails. I decide to wear my gothic tiara to fit in more. 

Us hanging out with more alcohol and great discussion and it started to rain down on us.  

I eventually got the boyfriend to pose for selfies. We got back left and finally got back at four in the morning the latest we partied. 


After a fantastic night, we had a late start and finished, after breakfast, we headed back to finish the exhibitions of Musem in Grassi. 

On Monday, I spent a lot of time at the Haus of Leipzig watching more post punk bands, with a lot the bands heavily influenced by Joy Division. This one the problems with a lot of post punk sounding music at the moment, everyone seems like Bloody Joy Version, it's irksome. 

The first band was Geometric Version; I wasn't sure what to make of them at first. I found the group began to grow on me. They're growing on me. I thought they were German, but they were Italian. There sound drenched of the North West England, post punk sound with an atmospheric style with a modern twist. My partner felt there were influences of the Cure

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I missed out on watching a Slice LIfe. It got too hot and uncomfortable and was in desperate need for a shower. My partner reviewed, the Belgian, Slice of Life, he found them similar to Germoatic Verison with a robust Northwest sound, felt they used more distortion than phasing, an excellent set.

I ended up back at Haus Leipzig and caught Human Tetris; A Russian upbeat, melodies in a Joy Division style. Their sound had me confused, as they sound like they came from North West England in the early '80s. An upbeat tempo with fast melodic drums, floungy guitar, rounded base and the singer with an Ian Curtis style vocals singing in his native language, added a distinctive sound.

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I can't remember the name of the band: a beautiful soprano singer, and aureus with piano, a cello, and a violin. I found very relaxing an chilling out.

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Unto the Ashes, an American band the last band of WGT. I found them a strange and peculiar group. The band have a range of the medieval-style instrument,medieval-style chants, melancholic love Ballard's with dark thoughts, and a few covers.
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They finished with an excellent rendition of the sisters of Mercy's Heartland.

I finally visited Sxithteen Bar, Leipzig.

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We left on Tuesday afternoon the mass exodus of the goths waiting for the train back to Berlin. It was packed going back to Berlin. We ready to go home also I was missing the girls (kitties).

Monday, 24 June 2019

My First WGT Part One

A few weeks ago, I finally fulfilled my life long dream of making the pilgrimage to the Mecca of the Gothdom, Wave Gothic Treffen. I always had a grand envision I would be absorbed and swoon in my best velvet in awe and wonder, never wanting to leave. Yet,  I found myself with a more reserved attitude, I definitely enjoyed myself, I just didn't get swept up in the
the allure of everything; I felt a combination of breathtaking and meh moments.

First of all, we didn't arrive in Leipzig until Friday afternoon, as we saw Fleetwood Mac in Berlin at Waldb├╝hne amphitheatre we got caught in the torrential rain and soaked through. It made me feel disappointed, as we cut the concert short. 

The Boyfriend and I agreed on a few rules; to avoid the UK bands, bands that we could easily see in the UK, or we've seen previously. We wanted to discover new bands or see ones that we couldn't easily see live. That rule got broken on the first day; We tried to stick to it, unsuccessfully. Also, to try and stay in one venue or see bands close in enough.

Even though WGT is a huge festival, it feels more like a series of mini-festivals with the number of venues hosting bands. This year the festival hosted over 200 groups,  and I found they were competent, but only a few bands really stood. The plethora of musicians covered catered for all music tastes. The thing I hated was how there might be one or two bands I wanted to see simultaneously, but the venues were the complete opposite direction.

The collection booth, to collect our wrist bands and information, opposite the train station. We waited for ten minutes; I had read posts on the Facebook page, stating some people queued for five hours in the heavy rain. The ticket fee included venue entry for the bands, free transport, free entry to events, gigs and even free admission to the local attractions and museums. For £130 per ticket, it was a bloody good bargain.

 The boyfriend was organised with syncing everything to  Google maps and spreadsheets. We only discovered the app a couple of days earlier. The app was invaluable to use as it allowed for us to listen to bands via  Spotify. For some reason the player wouldn't play on my phone, I mainly listened to the bands on Bandcamp or Youtube.  The app also helped to navigate around the city to different venues,  and details which trams to use. However, Google maps are crap at providing free travel information, it was best to use Websites time table. My favourite thing was how the boyfriend and I could sync our plans together

The boyfriend wanted to see Cubanate I wasn't bothered to see them after listening to their song. I decided to divide my time between Darker Her, I also wanted to see Coph Nia. I thought I would go and catch then see October Burns Black, leave to see  Coph Nia. It never happened as the Boyfriend wanted to stay at one venue. I could see Darker Her sometime in the future since they're from West Yorkshire. 

 I headed to Tauberchenthal, be honest, this seemed like the better option. I saw Joel a friendly face and said hello, and he introduced me to some of his friends from the Leeds scene. The Other half and I often travel to Leeds, regularly.

was chatting to Joel and his friends. The light dimmed and brightened with the band complete their final sound checks and finely tuning their instruments before starting.  

The first band was October Burns Black; The light brightened, quickly dimmed with the group emerging from the smoke, opening with With You. A  great introduction, I had never heard of them,  it was more steady uptempo danceable track, with the dual of guitars creating a droning riff, the band utilised a mixture of synth, real drums and Ger's vocals had an of a lighter bass style. Next, the group took a darker direction with Light On Light, that had a more of a post punk quality with more brittle lounge guitars and tribal drumming. The band moved between more uptempo songs and the slower melodic songs. As the group continued to play the crowds increased with more people coming into the ground floor and balcony area. All the audience were clapping and were roaring with cheers.

 Unfortunately, with the heat wave, and the number of people crowding inside the heat got too much. I finished the rest of the set outside with fresh air. 

I went out for fresh air, and it felt like everyone had created their own tribes of goths, so we opted to call ourselves the Northern Goths, who joke about goths and being goth. One person commenting we take goth about 10% seriously. I learnt about the Guffites from the '80s, or I like calling the Uber Goths.  We were all complaining about the heat and melting. The was more gibe r- jabbering like the Northern folks do.  

I got to meet Black Friday, which was pretty cool. I have to say she is a very open, friendly and generally lovely person. She introduced me to some of her friends. I felt kinda rude butting in all we're just charming people. I was surprised at Black Friday' height she is tall, I'm a short arse.

I also said "Hello" to Rosie Garland and got her to pose with Joel. It brought back good memories of the Leeds City Festival history discussion of Leeds. Definitely two important Gothic Northern Icons, according to me. I think they were contemplating the importance of the North of England in regards to goth culture. 

I  headed in at the behest of the other half to check out the next band. 

 The Golden Apes are a German-based postpunk goth style band who definitely have their distinctive style. I loved their thunderous tribal drums creating heavy percussion, it was further enhanced by the rock style strings section with the heavy rifts from the guitar and bass. I loved Germanised guttural baritone vocals style. The band was a highly talented band, and The group are long established with over twenty years of playing. I love this band from the moment they started playing they were absolutely fantastic and got the crowds roaring, the venue got even more crowded, I'm not sure how. 

We headed back into town for food, I found the Black & Blacker Imperri Dark as night burger it was delectable. 

We went to discover Moritzbastei to check out La Scaltra and Scarlet Dawn. Sadly, the venue was incredibly packed, very sweety, and uncomfortable. I kind of caught some of Scarlet Dawn they sounded European melodic rock with gothic undertones. The crowd were roaring with adoration for the band. I was disappointed, I didn't see La Scaltra perform their haunting sound and energy seemed perfect for Mortizbastei cellars.

For some reason, we decided to go back Tauberchenth, and we caught the end of UK Decay, which had energetic Punk Vibe, just not my kinda band they definitely had crowds in an uproar. We stayed some of the after party and headed back to the accommodation. 

Community Walk; A Bit Of Bat Spotting

So a few nights ago, I attend a community event for a bat walk. In my area, there is a two-year project called Wild West End Newcastle. ...