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..

Thursday, 12 January 2017

New Year, New Me?

I'm doing that modern tradition of 'New Year's Resolutions' and so far I'm managing to stick to them, but I hope I'm not one of the many people who let them drop by the wayside throughout the year. I am hoping that if I post them publicly, this will encourage me to live up to the expectations I have declared of myself - especially if people encourage me.

Recent photograph of me by Raven
My resolutions are in three main categories: healthier living, happier living, and college.

Healthier Living Resolutions:
  1. Eat less cheese, chocolate and other less healthy foods that I tend to over-indulge in. I'm actually not eating either for January - I've eaten the last of what was left over from the festive season, and I'm not buying or eating any more until at least February, and trying to replace these parts of my diet with healthier options - primarily fresh and dried fruit. 
  2. Get fitter and less fat. I've put on fat due to a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet of convenience food, something I have mentioned before. I managed to loose a little fat and ended up about 2 inches thinner all around last year, but then I gained it again. I need to make sure being a student doesn't also mean living unhealthily and not exercising enough, eating unhealthy snack foods, etc. I don't have a problem with this as primarily an aesthetic issue, but as one of me recognising that it's a symptom of my lifestyle in general having become less healthy. 
  3. Go for regular walks. I live in a beautiful, beautiful part of the world and I don't spend as much time exploring it as I ought to. Part of that is because I'm really busy with the house and college, and part of that is because I spend too much time on Faceboook, Tumblr, etc. I need to do less of the latter, and I need to do more exercise, in general, and walking is both relaxing and gets me fresh air, exercise and relative quiet, especially if I stay rural and keep away from populated areas. 
  4. Go back to martial arts classes. I have loose joints and a co-ordination disorder, and as long as I'm careful in what exercises I do (that I'm doing them properly, and that I work on having the muscle-strength to control the over-flexibility of my joints) and strap up my knees and ankles properly, martial arts help both of those issues. A complex discipline like martial arts really helps with co-ordination, proprioception and kinesthesia. It helps me become far more aware of where all of me is, basically, and what each part of me is doing, and while I'm still clumsy, and I learn things like martial arts far, far slower than my class-mates (I will never be some badass MMA fighter type!), all the time I'm practising regularly I see the improvement in my everyday life. I also found being allowed to hit things a good stress-reliever. I quit to spend more time on my studies, but now I regret it. I need the exercise, but I also need to do these things that really tax my abilities in order to improve them, otherwise I'm a klutz that trips over air, bumps her hand on the hot parts of the cooker and breaks crockery... I suppose I could substitute any other discipline that requires similar co-ordination, like dance or yoga, but martial arts fits my personality better, plus while I'm no expert, I would like to improve my self-defence abilities, especially when I know how rough things can be for those of us who choose to look different. 

This is my "the photoshoot will be ruined by rain" face.
Photograph by Raven. 

Happier Living Resolutions:
  1. Spend less time on the internet. This blog is a fun hobby, and e-mails are a useful form of communication. The internet is also a great research resource (Google Scholar is so useful!), but it has its downside; getting into arguments online with strangers, spending too much time idly on social media, being distracted by pages of funny cat/bat/snake memes, and generally wasting time unproductively. I need to less of the latter, and perhaps spend more time on this blog! Last year I only managed 29 blog posts, and that is not enough content!
  2. Learn to say "no" to social engagements. I've been trying to override my introverted nature and be too social for my own good, leaving me exhausted. Just being around people too long wears me out, and I get plenty of that at college. I have to be balanced about this, too, as I have reclusive tendencies, but I also have to respect my own boundaries and not just blindly agree to every time I am invited to see friends or have a coffee. I'm also very much not a fan of loud, busy places - so a lot of bars and clubs are more torturous than fun in my opinion, and I need to be more assertive in saying that I don't want to go to those sorts of places. I am a "yes" to cemetery picnics and a "no" to Friday night drinks. 
  3. Draw and paint more. I love art, and I love working on artistic projects, but these days I haven't done much in the way of art and crafting - a lot of the time it's because college has to take precedence, but keeping my artistic skills up to scratch is important to my architecture studies, plus it's very rewarding. I also have quite a few unfinished art projects that I just want to get done. 
This was a test photo of me looking at a tree by Raven
Studious Resolutions:
  1. Spend more time on Revit. Revit, for those who aren't in architecture, is a piece of software that is 'building information modelling' - which in ordinary terms means that it models various properties of a building as well as its 3D shape, and allows for information like which company makes something, what phase of construction it's in, or whatnot, to be included. Very powerful software, and an important part of my college course is learning to use it, but I really struggle with it; it's so different from anything I've done before - heck, before uni, I hadn't done any 3D modelling at all. Learning 2D CAD and technical drawing was more a case of applying what I know of doing it traditionally to a new medium, but 3D building information modelling is something completely new. The only way to improve is to practice, and I hate practising because it's an unrewarding battle with something that mostly frustrates me, but I have to, so I will. 
  2. Tidy my study. My study has ended up something of a storage room instead of a quiet place to work; it's full of crates, books, etc. It's hard to move in there, let alone get any studying done, so it needs a clear out! Because of the amount of junk that has been shifted in there as we decorate (and really, refurbish) other areas of our house, it's become rather cluttered, so this is a significant task. 
  3. Manage my time better. I struggle with time management - partly because I have a couple neurological issues that mean I have problems like no sense of how much time has passed, and with remaining on task (I have short-term memory issues), but I've got a tablet computer now, and apps and software to help - I use countdown timers a lot, for example, and it's easier to have one on my computer than keep taking the one from the kitchen - plus I'm trying to schedule my time better with time-tables, etc. I got behind last term, and I don't want to repeat that.  

Those are my 10 resolutions for this year. I really hope I can keep to them.
The photos interspersing these are the best photos from the first attempted photoshoot of 2017 and are all by Raven. Unfortunately, bad weather came in and ruined it all, which means I'll have to try again soon. The jacket is by DarkStar and the jabot and shirt by PunkRave. My hair is dyed with Directions Apple Green, Stargazer UV Green and Directions Alpine Green, with the UV Green as highlights at the front, and the Alpine Green as lowlights in the lower layers. It's washed out a little since I did it, hence why it is a little more pastel than my usual vivid green. 

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Japanese Punk-Goth In Culloden

Another instalment of my 'Highland Goth' photography series. These were actually taken last summer, but I've been so busy with college that I haven't had the time to process the images. These are photographs of K. which, if you have been reading my blog awhile, will know is one of my good friends and also someone particularly interested in Japanese fashion. For the majority of her appearances on my blog, you will note that she is into Gothic Lolita fashion, but she is also into other aspects of Goth-related fashions, including Goth itself, and Japanese Goth. In these photos she's wearing an outfit that's very much based in the aesthetics of Japanese and Asian Goth brands; it's got the deliberately tattered look of punk, the bright colours and stripes from late '90s Burtonesque looks (I think there's Burton graphic on the skirt), and an hint of 'kawaii' about it. 

Photograph HouseCat

I did K.'s make-up, and lent her a few of my things as she was visiting us. I don't actually have an eye-shadow that red, so I used a little lipstick for a really vibrant red. The hat she's wearing is actually Raven's - I think he got it for a General Bison (Street Fighter) cosplay, but it wasn't quite right - not enough red. However, military style hats seem to be common Visual-Kei style headgear, and it went with the outfit, so it was donned. However, Raven is a lot bigger than K. so the hat is a tad large. K. is a keen cosplayer, so it also seems fitting that she wear a hat that was initially intended as part of a cosplay. 

Photograph by HouseCat

This particular photoshoot very nearly ended up quite badly because I managed to get a cut on my eyeball. Originally we planned to take this photoshoot in the underpass in Culloden that has a very psychedelic looking 'Alice in Wonderland' mural the local youth group did in graffiti style - it was done by teenagers, so they took a rather interesting and colourful approach to it. We went there, but I forgot that the school year is different to the university year, and that a lot of teenagers from the local secondary school were about to be funnelled through one narrow underpass... I was using my partner's camera, as mine was out of battery power, and his has a little sun-hood over the rear screen, and this is spring-loaded, with a little thumb-flick thing to release it. As I was photographing K., I was interrupted by a gaggle of teenagers, and tried to step out of the way of the flow of people, and moved the camera away from my eye, and just as I did so, accidentally released the sun-hood and a sharp plastic edge caught my eyeball. 

Photograph by HouseCat

Initially, I thought it was just a poke, and no real damage was done, so we moved on to the Doocot, where things were quieter, and I tried to complete the shoot - difficult as I had to use my other eye as my good eye was streaming with tears, and my other eye is always terribly out of focus without my glasses, and is it was bright, I had my sunglasses instead (I can see pretty well out of the eye I hurt without glasses). I'm surprised any of the photographs were even in focus! I finished the shoot, and started walking home, and was beginning to realise that it was more than an ordinary poke in the eye, and that my eye was really burning and streaming. It hurt pretty badly indeed, but I could see out of it. After consulting NHS 24 to make sure it wasn't a waste of hospital time, I went to the minor injuries unit at the local hospital, they put some yellow-orange dye in my eye and took a look - turns out I'd managed to scratch my eyeball - just on the edge of my iris. If it had been a few millimetres further up, I'd have scratched it on the lens of my eye. I have a friend who got a scratch on his cornea, and as the scar tissue is cloudy, he's now partially sighted in that eye, so I feel quite lucky, as it could have been much worse. 

Ducky and K. Photograph by HouseCat

The plan was to also do a photoshoot with K.'s partner, Ducky (also a good friend of mine).  I actually spent a while doing Ducky's make-up, but because of my eye injury, the photoshoot didn't work out. I did, however, get this photograph of Ducky and K. together. They're a lovely couple and I'm so happy for the both of them. In future I'd like to do a set of photographs of them as a pair - a proper 'couple' shoot.