Vampires: Goths, Goth Poseurs, or Get A Life?

It’s been the Big Controversy ever since Bauhaus first started playing and a weird subset of punks started wearing black clothes and white face paint to nightclubs. What to do with these people who call themselves “vampires?”

Do we let them into our midst, or do we spank them and send them to bed without any supper (or would they enjoy that too much?)

On the one hand, so much gothic music flirts with vampirism, as does the fashion. Siouxsie sometimes mentions “the hunger” in her songs. Fields of the Nephilim – even the name hints at fallen angels, and aren’t vampires called “dark angels” by the overdramatic? Let’s not even go into a particular song about Bela Lugosi which has a chorus of “undead, undead, undead…” And the fashion. Come on, admit it, lady goths try to dress like Elvira or Vampirella or Morticia Addams, and boi goths – well, that’s a little dodgy, because male vampires seem to want to imitate goths rather than the other way around.

On the other hand, those Masquerade players who take over the clubs make you want to throw something. And you really hate having to tell people, “No, I’m not a vampire; no, I don’t drink blood; no, I’m not a Mansonite” whenever you try to explain to so-called normal people what being a goth really involves.

I’ll admit: I’m biased. I came out as a vampire only a scant month or two before discovering gothdom through small press ‘zines. I’d listened to Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Sisters of Mercy and so on long before then, but I was a nerdy little teenager and I didn’t go out dancing anywhere. I still don’t. I’m more of a literary/attitudinal goth who reads Poe and Dunsany and ( shudder) Polidori, and goes for dark existential philosophy. A lot of that is due to my terrible narcissism, and a fondness for reading about vampires (not real ones).

However, despite the growing rift between those that “vant to suck your blud” and those that want to tell the vampires to go suck hairy eggs, I still think it is possible for a truce – dare I even say it, a reapprochement – between the vampire-goths and the normal-goths. If normal is an appropriate term to use when describing goths.

Part of it involves open mindedness – please, club-goers, don’t pay attention to the handful of dweebs who pretend to be three hundred year old “elders”, bigshots who are descended from the line of the Comte de St-Germain. Most of us aren’t like that. Really. Most of us are quite aware that we are ordinary people who just happen to have this weird unexplainable need for blood, or even something called “energy” which we hate to talk about because it sounds so fruity and New Agey. We won’t bite, unless you ask very nicely. We don’t want to take over the scene – we just want to enjoy it with the rest of you. We’d be goths even if we weren’t vampires. Calling ourselves “vampires” sounds romantic and chilling, and it beats calling ourselves weird blood fetishists and occultists who haven’t got a clue what elce to call themselves because no word really sounds good if you think about it.

Politeness is also critical. Yes, vampies, I’m addressing you. Don’t look at me like that. Some of us have been guilty in the past of sneering at goths because they’re – ah, let me see if I have this right – pretentious no-life snobs who are all gloom and doom and shallow posing. Let me inform you: if it hadn’t been for the first stirrings of the Gothic movement, with the Romantic poets and then later with the fin-de-siecle Decadent-Aesthetes and Symbolists, vampirism would never have become popular enough in the public imagination for us to have any kind of role models. We wouldn’t be calling ourselves vampires today. I don’t know what we’d be calling ourselves, but the term “vampire” would certainly not apply. Like it or not, we owe a debt to the gothic community, even more than they owe a debt to us. The goths made it possible for us to identify with an archetype. That archetype was created by literary goths. It would not exist otherwise. Before the goths, vampires were nasty yucky zombies that gave your village the plague, raped the women in your family, and sucked your cattle dry. Yuck.

There is a link between vampirism and gothdom. We can run from it, but we can’t hide. Why run? I have better things to do with my time, like write articles and stories and weird poetry for goth zines in a vain effort to feed my ego.

So let’s play nice, kiddies. There’s plenty of room in the dark confines of our little club to share breathing space.

Categorized as vampire

By grandpoobah

Indeed there will be time
For a hundred visions and revisions...

T.S. Eliot

My poetry is archived at - please give it a look.