This weekend I was at the Louder Than Words music conference in Manchester to meet Peter Bebergal, author of Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll, and Mark Pilkington of Strange Attractor. By coincidence the event was hosting a discussion about goth music and culture based around The Art of Gothic, a new art book by Natasha Scharf. As mentioned last month, this book features some of my work but I hadn’t seen a copy until now.
I’ve been fortunate recently to have my work appear in some impressive volumes but this outsize hardback takes some beating. It’s a very lavish production, 224 colour pages on heavy paper with gorgeous design by Paul Palmer-Edwards. Goth has been subject from the outset to mocking stereotypes, to a degree that many people would imagine they know exactly what a study such as this would contain. A recurrent theme of the Louder Than Words discussion was the growth of the goth subculture beyond its clichéd boundaries which is one reason my work is featured in the book. When Natasha was first in touch I thought it might be for the Cradle of Filth album covers but I’m in the chapter that examines the increasingly tangled goth/steampunk crossover. This is one development that’s come to seem almost inevitable given the roots of so much of the goth aesthetic in Victorian nightmares. Many steampunk novels tend towards the dark in their blend of science fiction and horror so the traffic goes in both directions.
Elsewhere in the book there are chapters on Futuristic Goth, Japanese Goth, and Cybergoth, all of which maintain the requisite darkness while evolving away from the top hats, lace and veils (the latter are all present and correct elsewhere, of course). It’s a beautiful book, out now in the UK from Omnibus Press, and in the US from Backbeat Books. A few more page samples follow. There’s more at Amazon UK.
left: The Amazing Screw-On Head by Mike Mignola (2002); centre: the full-colour version of the ever-popular Steampunk Equation (2009), words by Jeff VanderMeer, graphics by John Coulthart; right: Dr Geof’s Medicine Lady, aka Steampunk Pinup #2.
The mighty Giger again. I’ve got a framed print of that picture on the wall, a fact that will surprise nobody.