Monsters like the ever-popular vampire and zombie, figures who have served for centuries as maleficent beings in both folklore and popular fiction, have transformed in the twentieth-first century into heroes and harbingers of social change.
In his informal musings on British popular culture, Michael Bracewell observes that “from the eighteenth-century onwards, mysticism in England can be seen to flourish at times of sudden scientific advancement” (during the Thatcher era however, it was more a case of sweeping economic changes being touted as “progress”).
Popular music as a subculture in late modernity is one obvious space where social identity is negotiated and performed, and there is a wealth of literature on the topic (Bennett, 2000; Cohen, 1991; Frith, 1983; Whiteley, 2000). However, research on music tourism is less developed (although see Connell and Gibson, 2002).
The lyrics of the opening track on Bauhaus’s debut album, ‘In the Flat Field’, are a fitting opening, because they signal the characteristic ambivalence of the gothic “underground.” As someone who has frequented the gothic scene for almost fifteen years, and as someone who has worked to provide a more sympathetic portrayal of the subculture elsewhere, I can easily say that the “shielding pride” of gothic performativity makes it difficult for those on the outside to understand the complexity of being goth, including a recognition of a real dark side (Gunn 1999a and 1999b).
As illustrated in our article Gothic: New Directions in Media and Popular Culture, goths have now made appearances in television shows, movies and music. Yet, goths have also made their way to several areas in pop culture and even sports, which may surprise you.