My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture, and things in the broader realm of the Gothic and darkly Romantic. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

Goth is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, the expression of that in Goth rock. It looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Siouxsie, Sisters of Mercy, Bauhaus, et al) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. The Gothic should not be limited by what is already within it; inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Columns, Sunsets and Skies (and no zombies)

I haven't died! I haven't been abducted by aliens! I haven't been turned into a zombie! Don't panic!

I have not been posting much recently because I have been really busy with my professional art and even busier at work - especially in my new role as choir mistress, as we now have Christmas celebrations coming up and I am running them through traditional carols. Running a choir is a LOT of hard work! 

I had so much Hallowe'en-related stuff to post that I never got around to that I have decided to schedule it all for next Hallowe'en instead. I made very easy folded paper leaves (they are so simple that they don't count as origami!), made several designs of paper-craft cards, made my own Halloween wrapping paper, designed the pumpkin (which features a portrait of my cat), dressed up in two different costumes (including turning up at work dressed as a pirate for not one but two Hallowe'en parties I helped at), done my own fancy make-up, and decorated the house for the occasion. I was also going to write about Samhain, which is what I actually celebrate... Expect all that next year instead. 

I also have excellent news - I am now an aunty! My little sister gave birth to a baby girl last week. She's really cute in all the photographs, but I haven't been able to travel to England to see her in person yet. I am very excited to be someone's mad aunt :-3

I also have the grumpy news that I have a stinking cold/possibly the flu and am hiding in bed where my anger at being ill can't be taken out on anybody too much, although I am driving poor Raven up the wall. I might as well do something useful, and post something that people will appreciate, and I intended to put these up last night, but they're going up here today instead. 

Architectural Photography
I went out a couple of weeks ago and took these pictures. I really liked the light late in the afternoon. The nights are drawing in early, and it starts getting dark at around 15:30hrs, and even before then the light is already dimming, and it gets light quite late, too. Soon the days will be very short indeed.

Anyway, as you can see I have been out enjoying the autumn evenings. I love taking photographs in the evenings, as the shadows really bring out the various planes of the buildings. Buildings are often made up of lots of flat planes, especially modern buildings that focus more on form than ornament for visual interest, so they can look flat and dull, more like a pattern than a three dimensional structure. I have no idea what this building is called or who designed it, but it is overlooking the main street towards the bridge and is fairly recent. I saw the sun gleaming off the balcony railings and just had to take a photograph of this moment before the sun shifted and the gleam went. The sky was blue with perfect fluffy clouds. 

This used to be the Inverness branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland but is now The Caledonian, a Smith & Jones pub (Raven went there for part of a night out partying for Hallowe'en, it's apparently quite nice.). The building in the foreground is the Town House, which I have featured before in ::this:: post. Unlike most Invernesian buildings of that period, it is Neoclassical rather than medieval inspired Gothic Revival or Scottish Baronial. There are other Neoclassical buildings in the city (notably chapels) but in general pointed arches prevail over fluted columns. Of course, Neoclassical has been a preferred style for banks seeking a style that embodies balance and order, unlike the fancy and fantasy and spiritual (church) connotations of Gothic Revival architecture. Famous banks built in that style include the Bank of England building in London by Sir John Soane. Oddly, I always thought that the pub had previously been a theatre, until I saw an old photograph from when it was still a bank. 

The pink around the window frames is from the coloured lighting they have to illuminate the building at night. Something similar has been done with buildings around the railway station and the library, both also Neoclassical architecture. While it is very pretty, I do wonder about all the electricity used, and ponder about if such lights should be turned off at about 22:00hrs, but I'm perhaps being the overly-green fuddy-duddy. Anyway, I like the columns - it's a facade in the Corinthian style, with acanthus leaves on the column capitals, fluted columns and an entablature and pediment with figures in the tympanum, but I didn't get a clear photo of that part of the building (I will have to try again). 

I would really like to find out more about the history of this building, who designed it, when it was built, etc. but am not sure where to look. I'd also like to find out exactly what the statues in the tympanum depict. My first port of enquiry will be the local library, and then the museum. 

The Caledonian is not the only Neoclassical building in Inverness, as I have previously mentioned. This building is on the corner of Academy St. and Baron Taylor St. (or the next one over) and is a mixture of Art Deco and Neoclassical sensibilities. There's probably a name for this sort of style, but I regret to admit that I don't know it. It's quite ornate, but all the forms have been simplified. This is actually the one of the first photographs (all of this building) I took on that afternoon, and the sky was still quite blue. 

Hopefully my next blog entry will be a little more Goth, rather than just some photographs of interesting old buildings. While I really would love to learn when various local buildings were built, in what order, and with what modifications, I'm not sure that everyone else reading my blog would be interested, and if I wanted to go down that path, I would be better off starting a blog uniquely about architectural history.


  1. These are beautiful photographs.

    I would enjoy learning more. In fact I'm quite pleased with myself for understanding the architectural terms you used (I've been trying to educate myself about Greek and Roman architecture recently). If you do write a blog about architectural history, please send me a link. I could do some guest posts for you about funerary symbolism on gravestones =]if you like.

    1. I'm probably going to just keep to this blog, I'm not sure I have the time to run one blog, let alone two. Your welcome to write a guest post on funerary symbolism on gravestones for this blog! - I might even be able to find some gravestones with what you're talking about on them to illustrate. If you're interested, contact me via the Domesticated FB page (I need to make a mail page for my blog).

      When I use architectural terms on my blog, I a) worry I'm using them correctly and b) worry that I'm going over some people's heads. I feel like I should rat out my old Classical Civs. notes and re-draw the diagrams I made for my A Levels in order to explain some of what I'm on about sometimes! Glad at least one person knows what I am on about!

  2. I think it's great to provide a range of articles on your blog. I find architecture very interesting, not just the styles, but the way it reflects the society in which it was created. For instance, how having say fancy columns and that sort of thing was once a way to show wealth, now people favor plain shiny glass buildings, and compete to see how high they can get them. Although, of course, we do owe a lot of that to technology. I was also fascinated when I learned (sooo many years ago) about how an architect created the first church dome, as opposed to the square turrets they used to have.

    1. My purpose for this blog is to educate and inform, mostly, and try to provide variety in the topics I cover, under the broad umbrellas of Goth, Gothic and Dark Romantic culture.

      I find architecture interesting in the way it reflects the society it was built in, too. The interesting thing is, like when the Victorians applied the (even then) ancient Gothic style to the (at the time) state of the art technological innovations (or perhaps used technological innovations to further the Gothic style?), we could build the most fabulous Second Gothic Revival architecture imaginable, but it's not really done, because for all our technical advancement, something as intricate and detailed as the Gothic style requires a lot of craftsmanship, even if it is just (well, not "just"!) creating the designs for machines to later make or lasers to cut. This puts the price up (even further; a skyscraper is hardly "cheap"), and therefore a style where just as much impressiveness is conveyed with less work is going to preferable. Also, historically inspired styles are seen as retrospective, and the steel-and-glass slick styles as futuristic, so they are picked by companies that want to give a forwards-looking impression.

      If I ever win an insane amount of money, I will find some very clever architects and see just how far a Second Gothic Revival could be pushed with modern technology.

  3. I enjoy the short days of late autumn also. It's just the cold, which eventually accompanies the long nights, that I'm not too crazy about. We do seem to have more daylight hours here however, as sunset is around 17:00 hours.

    I wish you s speedy recovery from your cold/flu.

    1. Our days get very short indeed in midwinter - and even shorter in the more northerly isles!

  4. Love the images, the first building used to be the offices for Highlands & Islands Enterprise not sure what it was before then but it was really ugly before a talented architect got a hold of it and made the best of a bad building!

    1. Some buildings may not have the prettiest exteriors, but if they are safe and functional, I wouldn't call them bad. I don't know what the old Highlands & Islands offices used to look like; it would be interesting to see some old photographs.


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