Thursday, 26 May 2011

When Kate in the Countryside went to meet the Goths

Yeah. Bit like this.
With less sex
A friend of mine invited me to his gig the other day at an alternative music festival in Camden. So far, so unlikely. He performs experimental cello music to people with names like Sky and Heather, often in dingy basements. Occasionally he attends dinners and says belligerent things to very important, somewhat elderly people in the classical music industry. They love it. With his media-ish glasses and youth, he's exactly the old folks' idea of what an engaged young musician should be.

But this was something else entirely. Instructed to arrive after lunch, a pal of Pegson's (I've not been very inventive here) and I made it for 5ish, and found our way to the venue's central chamber where Pegson would be performing. There, dim lights, silent glassy-eyed individuals and distant drumbeat from upstairs meant the place felt oddly like a library under attack.
Girls in holey bodystockings stood behind men in adolescently daubed t-shirts sprawled out across the floor while grown women bobbed enthusiastically, eyes closed, tapping their bottles of sparkling water. Yet more glared pointedly about as they danced, to check that the rest of us were really enjoying it enough.

In case you missed it

Pal and I exchanged uneasy looks (might we be ousted for not being truly alternative?), made some cursory attempts at interpretative dance and then resigned ourselves to the fact that we stuck out as much as two stoats in a supermarket. I was wearing purple leggings for God's sake. When Pegson said quirky festival attire, I thought he meant Glasto. Not Marilyn Manson tribute.

Round the next corner was Man in Leather Waistcoat. I began to fear that sullen hostility might turn to open warfare when Pal pointed excitedly at the chap to attract my attention. But happily Pal was soon distracted by a small man in full bondage gear, hanging out with a girl with more piercings than face.

It was the terrifyingly attired that seemed to find Pegson's set the most moving. They mobbed him afterwards to wring his hand and hail him a mystical man of music. As for Pal and I, we were richly rewarded for our attempts to blend in by Pegson. He treated us to a share in his artists pass twenty quid meal voucher, before nicking us some free beer from the green room after we were shrilly ejected from the space ('This is for ARTISTS!').

Once safely home in Pimlico I regaled BOF with an account of more brushes with the law, goths, ardent music fans and piercings than I'd ever encountered in my life. I'd forgotten what a cool kid young BOF used to be: he looked only mildly bemused as he humoured my wide-eyed tales. They don't have alternative music in Oundle. Or goths. A Londoner I still am not.


  1. I cannot help but feel that, had BOF been there, he would have been far more impressed with the piercings, the leather, and most importantly, the odours, than you allowed him to be.
    Also, Man in Waistcoat has sent Messages. Note the be-pluraled nature of Messages. Yes. "In".

  2. oh dear, i have lost my first commentator status. how wounding.

    i should think some black eyeliner and lace wrist warmers a la natalie clein would help you fit in next time. yours, Mysterious L.

  3. I think you have been too kind with glasses link - this is more appropriate me thinks - and yes I am secretly jealous...

  4. 'Pal' once suggested my look was more about this: - ouch.

  5. fergus and peter - more appropriate glasses imagery deeply appreciated. though i pity that baby. now to find an image of a man in leather waistcoat wearing (leather?) glasses.... lucky i've got some time on my hands at the mo.

    mysterious L: but WHO are YOU? x