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..

Friday, 5 July 2013

A Foray Into Lolita With Friends

I'm no Lolita, but I must admit I have a fondness for the subculture. 

Two of my friends, however are. Today I went to meet my friend K. in Inverness city, and her friend M. I hadn't actually met M. before today, but she's a Sweet Lolita and a sweet person.

I very nearly didn't make it out today because of a wardrobe crisis. I bought a beautiful skirt off the internet, marked size M (12), but although it is marked 12, it was actually a lot smaller than that, probably closer to an 8. It was what I ordered, so I have no complaint with the company, and I know that sizes vary, and I guess that the sizes of the brand Banned run small. Another customer had left a review to this end, so I should have taken heed. I felt that I had no issue with the seller, so instead of sending it back, I decided to insert some panels near the back to widen it out a bit, which worked out nicely in the end, but was nearly a disaster as my lovely little Mini Stitch travel sewing machine (the one I have up here in Scotland as my fancy one with half a galaxy's worth of stitch types and a vast array of feet and suchlike is in storage in England) broke after I'd sewn the first seam. Oops. After much frantic hand-stitching (not as neat as I would have liked, but I will re-sew it later) and help from my beloved Raven, I was ready to wear it out - an hour late. Oops.

I bought K. and M. delicious local ice-creams by way of an apology, and we went exploring. We went to Heroes for Sale, the local comic book and geekery shop, and then headed off towards the cathedral... by way of everywhere inbetween! The lovely shop assistant at Caledonian Gifts mended K's choker for her - she really is a lovely lady and a good friend of mine (with a spooky streak of her own). I bumped into so many people I knew in town, so kept pausing for chats.

K. My Gothic Lolita friend, photo on phone-cam, at Eden Court.

We also kept pausing for photographs. I don't mind it, and neither did the other two, if people asked nicely and politely to photograph us - we are certainly an unusual sight in Inverness, even if I do often wander around the city in full Romantic Goth gear - but people who just assume that we are happy to be photographed and interrupt and accost us and try and get us to pose without asking politely and without even so much as a please seem very rude indeed. The tourist who just asked us to look in his direction while we were having a rather involved conversation in the Cathedral (I was discussing various bits of Christian iconography on the pulpit) really annoyed me. If he had approached us with "Excuse me, but would you mind being photographed" or even an approximation of that if his English wasn't so good, would have sufficed.

M. the Sweet Lolita I met for the first time today!
Another phone-cam picture at Eden Court

Before we got as far as the Cathedral, we met up with S., a friend of K.'s who was a bit wired after ingesting particularly strong coffee, and headed down past the statues of Faith, Hope and Charity (placed in the wrong order on their podium; they have Charity, Faith and Hope in that order, over the wrong words...) and across the beautiful old Victorian footbridge to by Eden Court, where we stopped for a toilet break and a nice sit down indoors. I had fun playing on the oversized xylophone in the grounds, and a family from abroad asked us nicely if their children could pose for photographs with us - nice to see being Goth and Gothic Lolita being perceived as a family-friendly! 

The Cathedral in Inverness is St. Andrew's Cathedral, and is next to Eden Court as that used to be the Bishop's Palace. The Cathedral building is a nice example of Victorian-era Gothic Revival, but it was meant to have two tall spires, and instead has two towers as the tall pointed roofs were never built. I'm not sure why, whether it is the ground it was built on being unsuitable for such a weight or whether they ran out of funds, or whether it was an aesthetic choice or some other reason. There are quite a few church spires and suchlike along the riverside, and another two would have been quite wonderful. The Cathedral has charming stained glass windows and a beautifully carved rood screen and choir. The altar is most amazing. M. had to go after we visited the Cathedral.

An aside:
I was once a Catholic, and quite faithful in my own eccentric way (I always found it quite hard to be a good Catholic - it turned out I was meant for a different path) and I sang in church choirs for a long time. As such, despite not currently having any personal belief in the faith presented, I always feel I should at least be respectful in chapels, churches, cathedrals and other ecclesiastical buildings, regardless of denomination - one of the reasons I tend not to use flash photography indoors when I visit - and I do think that others, whatever the religious persuasion, should acknowledge that these are houses of worship with active congregations as well as places for a bit of architectural tourism, and refrain from talking too loudly (let alone shouting!), swearing, using flash photography and generally doing anything profane and disturbing within the building. I think graveyards should be treated with respect too. I was quite sad to hear people swearing, taking God's name in vain (it might not mean anything to you to say "goddamn!" but be mindful of others around you; it's breaking the Second Commandment and the "hallowed be thy name" in the Lord's Prayer), walking up near the altar, etc. I'm not a Catholic, nor a Christian, and my personal beliefs don't include any of that kind of theology (I'm a pantheist, not a monotheist, for a start), but that doesn't mean I can't respect something. You might think someone is wrong, even believing in fairytales, but you can at least be respectful out of politeness. 

 We then went to sit down by the river, where we saw a little fish amongst the weeds, and had a nice chat down by the river and tried very hard not to fall off the concrete steps and into the water despite not particularly practical footwear! I noticed a chap over in the Castle grounds (yes, quite far away...) photographing us with a long lens, so we waved - his body language seemed to indicate he was disappointed in being spotted! We then headed into town and went to the Mall - Claire's Accessories had a surprisingly nice things (I don't usually head in there, but some annoying people who had some sort of petty argument with S. were following him around the mall and annoying him, so I suggested we hide out in the girliest store imaginable; they somehow took entering it as an affront to their masculinity, spent all of 10 seconds there and left - my plan worked!) and I bought myself dinner (macaroni cheese).

K. realised she had missed an appointment with a friend, and went off for her bus, and I stayed in town, talking to another S., the barmaid at Karma Lounge, before being picked up by Raven, who had been shopping for suitable clothes for Capoeira - he's decided he wants to come to classes with me, which is fun. Now we do archery AND martial arts together!

Me, looking Lolita-ish!
The puff to the side is how the skirt is supposed to be,
 the flatness on the right is what the weight of my bag did!
Phone-cam photo by K. on my phone, at Eden Court.

As you can see my outfit is decidedly Lolita inspired, but not actually Lolita. The 'granny boots' are definitely more Romantic Goth, the skirt far too high above the knee to qualify as Lolita (although I am sure it would be suitable on someone much shorter than me; I am between 5'9 and 5'10!) and the shiny fabrics more associated with Romantic Goth and Aristocrat fashion than Lolita, and the makeup definitely more Romantic Goth. I am not a Lolita, but I wanted to put together an outfit that was both "me" in terms of what I like to wear, and of a suitable sort of silhouette to go well with the outfits of the two friends I was with.

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