Monday, 29 April 2019

Darker Days 2019


It ceases to amaze me how thriving the goth scene is present, compared to a few years ago. Over the last few years, smaller goth festivals are popping up. One of these is Darker Days in Leicester, now in its, the third year; has gained in popularity.  The first date started off as an all-day event and last year, it was held over two-days showcasing more musicians.

I first heard about Darker Days, after a gig in Edinburgh, after talking to the guys of Gothzilla and Trouble Fait told us they were performing in the festival. The Boyfriend and I decided to attend after seeing the fantastic lineup. He booked up early so the tickets cost  £25 each, a great bargain.


The festival, a three-day affair of a non-stop dark, gloom, of reverbing synth, tribal drum machine, brittle the guitar, and occasionally the realistic drummer. Despite the despairing sounding atmosphere, everybody was exhilarated to attend

Friday Night

The event was held at the Musician; a surprisingly, Tardis-like pub, on first glances, the exterior looked small once in the interior extends for some distance. We knew we had arrived after seeing the figure clad in black queueing. We arrived at 8 pm since the first bands started at 8:15 pm. The queue went down quickly because of Andrew's and Angela's, the event organisers, the meticulous organisation; They were friendly and welcomed us to the event, handed us an envelope.


One thing I highly commend the sound quality was superb, and the engineer an audial wizard a rarity able to mind read musicians and cater to them.  I've frequented across the country one of the best venue's for sound quality, this enhanced overall experience.


Rain Children.

The first band appeared on stage with the smoke machine already emitting vapour creating a mysterious ambience for Rain Children who kicked the night off with trad ethereal goth style. I never heard of the duo before. I felt very captivated, through the bands' mystical, yet energy. The vocalist emanated a Kate Bush vibe; from swaying to her Bush-style pitch; I like the fact she had a clearer and operatic style works harmoniously with the songs. It had very strong feminine energy. That contrasted with the more masculinity of the early post-punk style of the classic flanging, brittle guitar strumming; the reverberating drum machine. There sound remind of Juju. The band had a nice balance to the overall performance. The audience appeared to enjoy the band and offered a round of applause and cheers for the duo. Who smile thanked everyone and walked off.






During the weekend the bands were strictly kept to their 45-minute slot, which limited band and audience interaction, most of the musicians focusing more on the stage presence and performance

Luxury Stanger

The next band prepare their equipment, my partner was excited to see Luxury Stranger and commented on how immensely talented they were. After fifteen minutes, the band were ready. Playing their set the band after a few minutes the audience were awestruck with their mesmerising myriad of dark sounds influenced by every music genre possible from blues, fun the strongest was post-punk. I could imagine band featuring on Jules Holland. 




House of Usher.


The final band of the night was the longstanding second-wave goth band from the late '80s to early 90's House of Usher. Travelled from Germany. The band had a quick introduction and started playing. They had a typical flanging guitar, melodic base, the deep vocals and even a drummer. Honestly, their set beginning felt bland, lacking energy or stage presence. All of sudden, life and passion ebbed and radiated through the band playing with How Far Can We Go each song they continued through an enigmatic performance captivating the audience. Sadly, they returned to the lifeless, performance for the last part of the set. It felt like I was listening to back round music. It was a shame as they have great talent when playing with passion. 




The night ended on a high and it was a great way selection of band to quick off the festivities.

Saturday

Gothzilla


The band kicked off at 2:15 pm. The first band was the Scottish Gothzilla. I've seen them live a number of times and expected a vigorous and danceable repertoire. They entered the stage with an energetic performance with Tim belting out his metal style vocals, keeping the front sections of the audience dancing. Gothzilla is heavily influenced by the second wave of goth bands. Their albums and songs have a connective narrative, but with each song having a unique identity. I've heard various them in different venues, and their sound was the best I have heard. The sound was so crisp, I loved the addition of a second guitar adds new weight to the songs. It allowed Tim to focus more on his performance and vocals, as usual, he plays the guitar, which was refreshing as fully emerged it. Due to time constraints, The band didn't have as much there full crowd banter. It seemed like an epic opening. 




We had a breather outside as the heat inside got too much, and by the freak heatwave, we experienced. With the awesome sound quality, you could hear the bands playing from outside. Often we spent time outside. 

Trouble Fait

Next up, the French post-punk band Trouble Fait, who managed to cross the channel early in the morning, despite all the Brexit troubles. We kept up to date by the bands Facebook updates. Not even Brexit could stop the festival. The band began playing, the sound was incredible, I remember the band sounding a bit on the solemn side, but they sounded more post-punk uptempo style while singing in French; their sounds a combo of Manchester post-punk style. The band swung into form a fantastic set including energetic Paris, finished off with their rendition Love Will Tear Us Apart. Despite their long journey,  they put on an exhilarating performance. It ended too soon. They finished with the next band preparing for their turn on stage.




After the more trad style bands came the afternoon of prog goth with experimentation and offering a new take on the goth genre.

Auger

 Auger for me, was one a surprising and engaging band; I  was intoxicated, from first hearing the first and last synth notes of their performance. I love their balanced sound using dark industrious synths, and programming to create a (pseudo ) german rawness. Keiran's metal style rifts add an oppressive weight to the melodies. The lyrics have a paradoxical drudgery, which can in parts feel uplifting. While, Kyle's (clear, guttural, baritone vocals ) deliverance of the lyrics emphasises the song's despairing narratives. They were fully immersed and passionately they were in their performance and stage presence. 




Wisborg

A Hanoverian duo, arrived safely, however, their equiment went missing; the other bands kindly loaned them equipment.  They put on a mystifying performance, despite the sleep deprivation. Their unique take on the goth genre by incorporating metal riffs mixed with electronic synth, with some occasional technical keyboards. The band emulated vampiric vibes, especially the vocalist sorrowful deep vocals, with hauntingly dark lyrics; with the audience engrossed by the band's performance. They seemed the perfect choice to sum the first part of the festival.




We had a two-hour break, which was well needed, for some reason I started feeling unwell and extremely tired ( I hadn't drunk alcohol either) We headed to a Turkish restaurant, beyond generous with their servings and very cheap, that's Turkish cultural. Afterwards, we returned to the hotel I fell asleep. Sadly, missed the second half of the set.  However, My partner said I missed some great bands. 



Here I've decided to use my partner's reviews as he won't mind. He is far superior in succinct music reviews. 

Guillotine Dream

Guillotine Dream - Darkling Glooms - getting all doomy, image spoiled a little by the singer laughing when he couldn't remember which song came next. 


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Iamtheshadow

Iamtheshadow - closest thing to a (sub) genre repeat so far, some Euro-electro (and guitar) post punk from Portugal

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The Last Cry

Somehow reminiscent of the Cure early in the set, something to do with the way their songs built. Though with less bass, crunchier guitar and more impassioned vocals. By the end, I was thinking that they have a lot in common with the band that opened the day - Gothzilla. Great way to end the day.

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Sunday


By the Sunday, the heat and partying were taking its toll on everybody, and I felt much better, after sleep. I also prefer the later start time of 3 pm rather than two. 

Today kicked off with another familiar band, who've been regularly appeared at Noir Castle (local goth night) and Carpe Noctum in Leeds. 

Memento Mori

They hail from all over the North East, including the former industrial Teeside that produces some dark and brooding bands.   Memento Mori is a small original second-wave goth band who formed in the late '80s and toured all over Europe and disbanded six years later. They reformed back in 2009 touring on the national goth scene and releases an album and ep. I bought for £10.

 They have a trad goth sound range of various goth styles in terms of their songs ranging from the tribal-sounding post punk, brittle guitar right through the use of later rock goth sting work. The band's experimental synth keyboards and drum machines offer darker danceable edge to the songs. My favourite song has to their renditions of the '90s. The audience was in full sway from the performance injected a much need enter boost.





Her Despair

Her Despair, another interesting band with a progressive gothic edge. The band have heavy twin guitars and base bringing thrash element. With keyboards and the singer's vocals bring a My Dying Bride vibe. I like the combo. It offers a new reversion on the goth genre. These reminded me of a band I reviewed Leashes ( who I highly recommend checking out.)


                


The Glass House Musem

I've heard some much positive comments about this band, it always great see a female vocalist that help break the male energy. I stood for a while, really wanting to fall for their spell.  I couldn't get into them, the bands, just, not my personal taste. They are very talented technically in their guitar and bass work, and the vocalist has an intense emotive quality. Their sound is more of 80's goth-pop with upbeat melodies. I enjoy the darker twist of Jericho. 




There was a two-hour break that seemed for food and I finally had a first cider alcohol drink of the weekends.


Darkers Days became international with Costa Rican, Last Dusk.

Last Dusk 

They have a very heavily post punk sound but have a proper drummer. add. The melodies sound dysfunctional and raw harkening back to the early post punk. The drums added emphasises a heavy tribal beat and experimental synths furthered the vehement sound.  The lead singer has a David Vanian vibes in both energy and vocal style.






To finish the weekend off was Belgium;

Whispering Sons

They have a very strong post-punk sound with a real drummer, however, the band have more technical coordinated sounds in comparison to the previous bands. They felt more avant-garde and extending post punk sound influence into the acid-fueled audial journey. The band are heavily synth-driven and strengthened by experimental keyboards with deep brittle guitar and base. The singer bass vocals using interruptive dance moves to emphasise the lyrics. They were an insense talented felt like a fantastic finale to end the weekend.


Monday, 18 March 2019

Geordy Goth Creations: Upcycled Cardigan

Last month, I opted for an upcycling sewing project, as I was watching a Youtube video about the fashion industry,  and its environmental impacts on a global scale.  I learnt for fabric production requires 200 tonnes of water to produce 1 of tonne fabric and 8,000 toxic chemicals are used in the dying process. Even after the intensive production, over 235 million garment articles end up in in a landfill, generating 26.2 million of CO2 within the UK. The most atrocious part is the clothing is recyclable. 

Another factor is the human cost of the clothing industry, which was highlighted after the tragic Rana Plaza factory incident; where 1,130 tragically lost their lives. It showed how unscrupulous manufacturers were using depraved practices subjugating workers to horrid conditions such, as long hours, poor and dangerous working conditions and the use of child labour all for very little pay ( Batelier 2018). 





I aim to do more upcycling projects, rather than just sewing from scratch or purchasing new fabrics.  

I found this cardigan in a charity shop during a  thrifting expedition. I  loved the cardigans details like, the small pockets, just adorable, it had 3/4 sleeves, the scooped neckline, amazing condition,   and all for the princely price of a pound. I had to have the cardigan and a perfect basic transform into a gothic granny/ Victorian Liberian style garment, I'm into this style at the moment.   




I decided to tart the cardigan using some triple ruffle lace, I purchased years ago, from eBay, it was ten yards for £4. I used me straight  1/4 quilting sewing foot for from my Amazon 30 sewing feet all for £10 collection. I just took my time and manipulated the lace to fit the stretch cardigan.







 



The lace looked great, but  I wanted to add some velvet trim to add extra interest. I used an edge stitch sewing foot ( I think it also called a stitch in the ditch sewing foot) for the trim, another from the 30 piece collection of sewing feet.


                                               
The final reveal.
 Even if you can't use a sewing machine you always hand sew. 




Sources


Batelier, M. (2018). The Textile Issue – London Textile Forum 2018: What, Why, How and When?. Available: http://www.lsx.org.uk/blog/textile-issue-london-textile-forum-2018/. Last accessed 06/03.2019.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

DIY: Bathrom Accessories



I bought these items a few weeks ago to place into my bathroom, sorry, forgot to take photos of the whole process.

I bought this from Hobby craft to use as a hand towel holder. It cost £2.50




I also bought this from the works to keep my making-up/ cleansing cloths, since I'm trying to reduce my use of single use items. 





I had this paper I picked up from either Paperchase or Hobby Craft for 50p a roll. I loved this pattern. 


I traced around the shapes of the objects and used PVA glue on paper to stick them down on the surface. Once dry, I added a solution of watered down vanish to the top for extra protection. I originally, painted the box with acrylic paint, but the final finish looked crap. 




I opted for Wilko's satin spray paint, I didn't prime just spray painted directly onto the items.  I also purchased some resin roses for £1.50 from the Works, One the best places for bargain craft crap, if you're in the UK.  While waiting for everything to dry,  I listened to Cemetery Confessions podcast (the early release for Patron supporters). 




The roses have a sticky back sticker,  and I placed it into position. I love the final results it an easy cheap DIY project and great for us lazy crafters. In total it cost less than £7 for everything.


The final reveal





Saturday, 16 February 2019

Outfit

The last few months have been busy I often forget to take photographs of my outfits. I always seem to emphasise I'm ardent believer and practitioner you can build and make a gothic wardrobe on a budget. I just feel I may be getting ranty and repetitive, now.  Anyway, like usually I  haven't photographed all my more interesting outfits, I forget and need to get a decent full-length mirror.

This outfit I wore when I went with a meal with my partner and friend before she went back to Edinburgh, we went back to Nudo for oriental food.  The outfit I wore a Victorian style top I got from a charity shop for £2, skirt and necklace I made by me. My boots for £14 by Marks and Spencers from eBay. 




I wore this when we went to Stripped a small Goth Night in Gateshead the top and skirt are made by me. I wore this waist belt from Primark, I think cost £3, not bad. 



I wore this outfit when my Boyfriend and I went to see a band and went for a meal. I wore top from Primark, the skirt was made by me, the waist cincher belt was from New Look £2 on sale, I wore bird skull earring I made I purchased from eBay and a bird skull necklace I purchased for £1 from eBay.  




I wore this outfit when I went out to Preston Park as it was freezing. I opted for thick leggings  I purchased from Boyes for £8, a tunic furry jumper for £10 and an emerald green scarf I purchased from a market years ago for £1. I'm wearing an Alchemy Gothic White Hart, black rose pendant for £25 from HRH Vikings. 





I wore this outfit for Castle Noir, the local goth night. I got the top for £3 from Leeds Market,  the necklace I made myself, the waist cincher belt £4 Primark, I made the skirt.  






I wore this outfit when I was off and went to sewing class. I purchased the blouse off eBay for £12 I was really surprised it has Gothic lolita vibe about it. The skirt is Mondi my first best ever charity shop find. The belt made by Marks and Spencer, but I purchased from a car boot sale. The Necklace seems to works perfectly for this kind of outfit. The boots were from New Look, I purchased off eBay for £14. 




Saturday, 9 February 2019

Preston Park And Behind The Seams

 I headed to Preston Park Musem,  for their current exhibition Behinds the seams. Hand-Selected costumes loaned from the famous Angel archives, who provide costumes for Hollywood and television production. Featuring many from iconic films and television programmes. 

It was my first time visiting the museum that set
 in extensive grounds. The remaining Manor house has been converted into a social history museum with an authentic Victorian street transporting you back in time. On gorgeous clear, you can see a far as the Yorkshire Dales and explore the grounds next to the river. 




To see the exhibition, I first had to pay £2.50 entry fee for the museum, a grand bargain as the ticket permits entry all year and exhabition cost £5, quite cheap. I'll plan another trip when the weather improves. 



Angel is a family ran a business with a rich tradition of costuming. Initially, established in 1840 and providing costumes for stage performances of the day, later moving into films than television.  Over the years, they have amassed an extensive range of original period clothing and authentic replicas winning the costume house 36 Oscars to date.  Their extensive garment catalogue includes thousand of a sort after pieces.   Angel rarely allow the general public to view their collection, so its a rarity and felt a bit privilege to see. 



The exhibition appealed to my love of costuming and dressing making it a delight to observe the over impact of the finished garment. For me,  I was fascinated by the creativity, the inspiration for the design of the costumes, the choice of fabric, the construction techniques and the intricate beading work, often things that may be overlooked.  



The exhibition is set in grand homes former (I think) dining hall and music room. The rooms have been attentively restored the Victorian grandeur; With it decorative coving, art nouveau colbot, sumptuous midnight blue walls, with medium brown panelling and imposing crystal chandeliers.  I feel the surround fitted perfectly for this exhibition along setting an audial atmosphere with familiar music from films score echoing through.








Each costume display has its own space and stands to inform visitors about the costumes provenance detailing the film/ television programme appearance and who wore it. I was fascinated by the information.

I can't remember which costume this featured in, however, I love the shape of the skirt and blouse, especially the taping detail in the central panel and contrasting ruffles edges.  It's inspired me to create a princess seam blouse.






This has to be one of the most iconic dresses of the collection, in Hollywood's golden era, it was adorned by Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra. 





These costume featured in Titanic, for a most captivating outfit is Rose's outfit made midnight blue satin, next to it the outfit Leonardo Decapio donned while playing Jack. 




For me, these outfits bought a sense of nostalgia, as they featured on a British comedy,   Only Fools and Horses. I always sit with my family at Christmas time watching the iconic clip with the protagonists Del Boy and his brother Rodney dressed as Batman and Robin running down some back lanes to get to a fancy dress party, since their van's broken down. Simultaneously,  a local councillor is getting robbed the duo come from the shadows accompanied by the sixties Batman theme song playing. The robber thinks their the real cape crusaders causing him to run and saving the councillor. It's so hilious and never wanes on me. It felt very special seeing these costumes.




This was the most recognisable costume  John  Snow's  Brother's watch outfit from Game of Thrones. There was a hilious storey about the fur mantle being a destroyed Ikea fur rug.



There was a section devoted to the Queens featured in Media 


I was fascinated by the intricate beading work of this dress. Worn by Judy Dench featured on Shakespeare In Love.  




I love the decorative beading work  the dress is a replica of the one ElizabethII wore her corniantion and featured on the Netflix series 

This costume is based on the coronation portrait of Elizabeth I. 






These two costumes were stunning and felt heavily influenced by Marie Antoinette. I can't remember which film they appeared on I think one may have been a costume for the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker. I love the choice in fabric how the ruffled fabric enhances the ethereal feel of the fabric,  especially on the stomacher panel and the edges of the outer skirt. 



This was one of my favourite costumes of the exhibition the design is based on a robe à la française also known as a sack- back gown; where their design has a loose back that creates a train which is structured with pleating. The choice of fabric, I think dutchess satin or taffeta silk, emphasised the dress.  The dress was featured on the live version of the Beauty and the Beast; I love anything associated with the film. 





I adored this kimono from Memoirs of a Geisha. The choice of the flowery silk chiffon and pattern that looks sublime under the dark lighting.    




Afterwards the exhibition, I felt like I time travelled back to the 19th century, the museums authentic small street to explore. It just looks like a fantastic place to take some fantastic costume photography. I was feeling a bit underdresses since I wore my think legging and tunic jumper.  





I love the original Victorian frontages with the decorative and ornate detail. The small shops looked adorable. 



All my favourites shop was the fabric and clothing shop, they had a gorgeous range of mourning attire on display with a few copied victorian garments. 




Some mourning attire fabric for sale.



There is a small social museum that extends over the top floor of the museum 

In most museums,  I'm usually attracted to either clothing whether it's an article of original or contemporary clothing. Or anything that's related to crafting.  

In the main hall, it's from the early 19th-century silk gown.  


There was some beautiful exmaples of homemade lace. 




I loved the example of homemade lace that was based on lace weaving, which was a cottage industry, particularly in the Stockton area. With lace making it could be an arduous and tedious task often completed by young girls and women where they could spend twelve hours a day making lace. Sometimes families would keep girls at home instead of going to school, as often the families were dependant on the mega income. 





This was a gorgeous sampler often it's made young girls and women from the upper classes, often they were encouraged to learn embroidery. As their skill progress girls would make samplers with the motif, prayers, alphabet, borders, etc. Sometimes children could be young as eight completed the sampler. 




There was some examples mourning of paraphernalia, during the Victorian era Queen Victoria made mourning etiquette customary after the death of Prince Albert. Often families would adopt strict and complex protocols that would dedicate how people should act and wear during this period, and depending on which family member die would dictate how long mourning should last. Often, the family would don black crepe with manuals being produced to instruct on the proper and correct conduct. 




This was a gorgeous capelet that belonged to a Victorian lady. With mourning it could last up to three years if their husband had died, which required different periods of mourning dictating what women could wear and activities they could participate in. 

After Prince Albert died, Queen Victoria popularised Whitby Jet as a way of commentating the loss of loved ones. W Hammond became the official Royal supplier. 




Mourning became a lucrative business, as it was bad luck to retain any mourning items in the house after the mourning period had finished. Some mourning also required using specifically designed objects such as a mourning tea service and stationary.  I have heard of this mourning tea-set, it was the first time I have seen. Through having a mourning tea meant Victorians could practice Momento Mori and remembering their loved ones. 




An interesting Victorian curiosity with a double-headed lamb. 


I had a gander and a sit in the gorgeous greenhouse and grounds. 






I took a few photographs of the local wide life, it's a cute periwinkle. 






Views of the Yorkshire Dales that lead to Whitby.  

I had a fun time looking around the grounds and the museum it was a gorgeous hidden gem of the place I was happy to discover a nice change to spend the day. Afterwards, I headed to Yarm, I had to look around the charity shops and the local Boyes.  I had a look around the small Catholic church and took a couple of photographs. 








I found a small squirrel lurking in the trees. 





How I got there
I got the X10 bus to Stockton, I paid the £10.50 for a Go North East ticket and go the Arriva, Seven to Preston Park which runs every ten minutes during the weekday.  Even if you don't drive its reasonable to venture. 



Darker Days 2019

It ceases to amaze me how thriving the goth scene is present, compared to a few years ago. Over the last few years, smaller goth festivals...