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, 14 September 2016

Steampunks Storm The Castle!

I am sad this is a tad blurry.
Ok, technically I was being Steam-Goth that day, and we didn't really storm the castle, we just stood i front of it. Inverness Castle is currently the city courts (I did jury there in the first year after I moved up to Scotland; it felt a bit surreal sitting in a Gothic Revival courtroom in a Scottish Baronial castle to attend a trial presided over by the Sherif... ), and therefore storming it would be a really bad idea. Instead we stood in front of the large front door and used it as a back-drop for this photo-shoot because I thought the red sandstone walls would be the perfect colours to accentuate the outfit. The current castle was built to replace the original medieval castle in the Victorian era. It's built in the Scottish baronial style, and was built as a courthouse, police station and prison. 

Sean without goggles on his face. Photograph by myself. 

This is another set of photographs for my project documenting the Goth and nebulous dark alternative scene in Inverness. This is my friend Sean, and he's a Metalhead/Romantic Goth/Steampunk hybrid. The outfit (and re-painted Nerf gun) he wore that day typify that - stompy boots worn with a Romantic Goth jacket from Punk Rave, a decorative top hat from Raven SDL which could easily be either Romantic Goth or Steampunk (perhaps verging more on the side of Steampunk due to the brassiness of the buckle), steam-punk paint-job on his goggles and the repainted Nerf gun... a mixture of styles. 

Sean, looking for air-ships or something. Photograph by myself.

One thing that I find differentiates the Goth scene in the Highlands from the scene in other areas is how much overlap there is in participation by individuals here - very few people in the Goth scene here like only one alternative genre of music, and participate in only one subculture, to the point where most events are mixed, and it's all one merged scene rather than a Goth scene substantially differentiated from other subcultural groups. There are plenty of Metalheads here that aren't into Goth, but not many Goths here that aren't also into Metal, or also into Hippie stuff, or Steampunk stuff. When I've been in other cities, the Goths seemed to be very much their own group, and there were specific Goth club nights, and there was less overlap. 

You have to be wary of those air-ships - sometimes they have pirates!
Photography by myself, Sean modelling. Look at that awesome jacket!

I guess the overlap here is partly because we have fewer scene-specific events and resources - our club nights are mixed, it's the local hippie shop - FarFetched - that also sells Goth clothes (after the closure of Hot Rocks and Pyramid over 5 years ago), virtually no major bands take their tours to Inverness let alone anywhere else this far North, and the scene is mostly in their late teens and twenties, with fewer elder Goths still active in the scene here, so fewer direct ties to the scene's musical core and roots. There are elder Goth here, though, however, and hopefully I will be photographing a few for later in my project. 

Sean has impressive boots. Photograph by myself. 
Those who follow me on Facebook will know that I injured my left eye this summer - I accidentally flicked the sun-shade for the view-screen on the back of Raven's camera after being startled while on a photo-shoot (borrowing his camera), and it gave me a wee nick on my cornea that was really rather painful, but is mostly over my iris so does not permanently impede my vision. It did put a bit of a delay on my processing photos - but I did finish the shoot that day, and take a second! The next day however, my eyelids had swollen shut on my left eye and I hadn't much sleep because it hurt as if I'd rubbed chillies in my eye, and I had to go to the hospital... Anyway, there are definitely more photos in this series to be poster up. I will continue to photograph my local scene in all its variety and diversity.

I hope you enjoy this photographs. Please credit me and the model (Sean M.) if you decide to share these anywhere (eg. Tumblr) and link back to me. I've seen my photographs shared about on Tumblr before, and I don't mind it - to me, it shows people appreciate it - but I do want to be properly credited. This may only be a hobby for me, but it's still my work and I spend hours organising shoots, travelling, taking shoots and then processing the images, so I'd like to be credit for that!

The Steam-Goth outfit I wore that day is the same one I wore for a shoot for Carpe Nocturne magazine, so you will get to see that shortly too! 


  1. I really admire the concept you've initiating for yourself. and how you chose to use photography to create a visual record of the different subcultures within your local area. Every background utilised has a local connection. My favourite part is how the models chosen items of clothing are a combination of looks and reflects his various interests and association of different parts of the alternative scene; yet, the outfit looks aesthetically pleasing. Overall the photo represents what you've tried to capture the diversity and the blurring of subcultures in your city. I look forward to the next installment.

    1. Each location is chosen as somewhere in the town/village/city the subject lives in that they're connected to in some way. The castle is the iconic building of Inverness, as well as a pretty back-drop in the right colours. Expect to see much of Nairn, Dingwall and Inverness in the future, being the towns/cities in the area, but I also hope to go further out from Inverness (its the transport hub). Rothiemurchus was a good way South, for example, but I know there are Goths further North, more on the Black Isle, and even some on the Islands!

      Sean is a very well dressed gentleman. His outfit brings together disparate elements yet makes a cohesive whole.

      The next instalments are a punky Goth in red and black, Ducky doing Trad Goth, and Raven doing Goth with a kilt. I live in the Scottish Highlands; at least one person was going to wear a kilt!

  2. I hope your eye is doing better! I never knew photography could be dangerous!

    I love this series of pictures! It is a fantastic record!

    A lot of people in the Sydney Steampunk community were or are Goth but the scene has unfortunately died off a lot.

    1. I have co-ordination issues and am very, VERY clumsy. I could probably cause myself an accident while sitting still :P

  3. I hope your eye is getting better and I'll take it as a good sign that you were able to post the above photos.

    Yes, it does seem that there's quite a bit of mixing between the subcultures in your area. This seems to be the case here here as well, but it doesn't seem to be anything people give much thought to.

    Goth events have become a rarity and we're spread out across the region. There's only one other goth that I see on a semi-regular basis; and like me, she still dresses the part daily. Metal happens much more frequently and that scene is certainly bigger than the local goth scene. Still, most residents here think of ourselves as a community, which includes all of the subcultures as well as the mainstream.

    1. I guess it's a common thing in rural places - lack of population density means that there's not a whole lot of any one kind of alternative group, so ALL the alternative groups join together. Metal seems to be one of the bigger Alternative groups in general - definitely more Metalheads than Goths in the Highlands. The Highlands is a place that's a lot more community orientated than other places I've lived; back in rural South East England, things were a lot more individual - but it was also a lot more rich people in big houses on a plot of land with a big hedge around them instead of little rows of wee houses and a couple of pubs and a shop like many of the villages here.

  4. Wow it's Really amazing. very thanks for sharing with us.


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