This is a short ode to the cancelled, the refunded, and the rescheduled – I look forward to seeing your talented selves in brighter times when there isn’t a plague on all humanity.
There are no real words for how talented and creative these guys are. I describe them (and I believe many others describe them) as a Belarusian Joy Division, though their music is more melodious and certainly danceable. Their records are haunting and hypnotic, with that soviet brutalism vibe to paint a bleak landscape on their album covers – but wait until you watch them live; the dancing alone is an art form. I always value bands who are writing poetry first and a song second, weaving dreams and ideas into the fabric of their music. The guys themselves remind me of Marc Ryden paintings. I desperately wanted to watch them live when they played in either Chelmsford, London or Bristol earlier this year, but they were mid-week concerts and it just wasn’t to be. That was probably my last chance for a very long time and I am absolutely gutted. Have a look at their live performances below on Belsat Music Live and enjoy their phenomenal talent.
Shortparis are hard band to pin down in terms of genre – I guess you’d call them synthpop, but they have more darkwave vibes and certainly their subject matter is incredibly bleak and gloomy. I discovered them recently by a Spotify recommendation. Would it surprise you if I told you they were Russian? I swear to god, man – these Russians and their amazing music. The first Shortparis video I saw was for their most popular song, Страшно (Strashno) ; skinhead creeps infiltrate what looks like a refugee camp inside a school gymnasium, look threatening at first, before treating them to an immense song (which translates to ‘Scary’) and some slightly homoerotic dancing (and I mean that with all the love in the world, it’s fantastic). How could I not be intrigued by that?! I was excited to see these guys in Bristol in June, and had hoped that *just maybe* this whole covid-19 nastiness would have blown over by then. A week or so into lockdown, with the death toll piling up, I realised this thing was enormous and deadly and we wouldn’t be escaping any time soon. Sadly, my tickets were refunded last week.
She Past Away
I believe this goth darkwave duo were another Spotify recommendation, and I loved the danceable synth music paired with poetic verse. Their lyrics actually put me in mind of a favourite band of mine, Rammstein – their songs are pretty abstract and often tell dark, melancholy tales. Another thing that fascinated me was the fact they’re Turkish! My experience of Turkey was of a hot but desolate place stuck in an 80s time-warp, so it’s refreshing to see such artists coming from there and representing a different side of that culture – perhaps a dark li’l goth underbelly? I was excited to see these guys were playing in London, but the gigs were unfortunately cancelled. I believe they hope to play sometime next Autumn, but I’m not holding my breath.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
This was one big, massive, kick in the teeth – Nick Cave needs no introduction at all, least of all by the likes of li’l old me. In spite of the fact that this would have been an enormous concert venue, and therefore not the intimate experience I looked forward to with the bands above, I was still *so stoked* to see Nick. I remember first hearing Red Right Hand and then looking up the video, becoming absolutely beguiled by this spooky, eloquent bard. I say ‘bard’ because he’s another one who tells stories and creates characters, which the bookworm in me falls in love with. My father bought me standing tickets for my 29th birthday and I was so looking forward to it, but alas – weren’t we all? The tickets are still valid, but the tour has been rescheduled to occur the same time next year. At least I have something to look forward to for my 30th – I’ve never been a party -person.
Funny story – I told my friend and colleague Kate that I was seeing Nick Cave, and she was excited and envious and very tempted to book tickets of her own (I believe she would have). She then said, “Oh, Troubled Soul…” and I sort of looked baffled for a second, because I didn’t recognise that, and I said, “Oh, I’ve not heard that one – Troubled Soul?”. “…I meant him. He’s a troubled soul.” Cue me facepalming.
Anyway, there we have it – all the amazing bands I never saw in 2020.
Weclome back to my blog! I put up new posts every Wednesday, about literally anything that interests me.
My last few posts have been about surgery and anxiety, so I thought I’d lighten things up a little with a pictorial tour of my childhood crushes. Many of these will absolutely not surprise you. Many people blogging today are adults who grew up in the 90s (I was born in 1991), therefore we’ll all have crushed on the same people – especially if you were an oddball child of the alternative persuasion.
However, I do believe we need to keep this stuff alive for posterity’s sake, and at the very least to re-live the things we loved. I’ve kept this to the highlights because (believe me) I’d need 100 blog posts to comb over absolutely every icon I had a crush on. I mean it – I was a horn-dog and I fell in love with everyone. So while these people stuck out for obvious reasons, rest assured that there were many, many more.
Some of these will make you roll your eyes. Who didn’t love Jareth the Goblin King and (though he isn’t listed) Brandon Lee of The Crow? Literally every kid in the goth or alternative scene idolised them.
So alas, this will read like a Buzzfeed article (and indeed, many of these will have been covered by the very same website), but you’ll enjoy it anyway – because let’s face it, Buzzfeed is a guilty-fucking-pleasure and its simplicity is, at times, the easiest escapism to access.
These are the characters and people I loved before I even knew what love was. Enjoy!
Joel from Addams Family Values
He was weird, he had asthma, and he didn’t fit in – what’s not to fall in love with when you’re a fellow kid? As a girl who identified completely with Wednesday Addams, it was obvious why Joel become her little summer camp romance. I believe he is to blame for my affection for Jewish Italian American men, or those with that aesthetic. I’ve had an affection for dark hair and big eyebrows ever since.
Casper & Thackery Binx
These two get listed together ~ because ~ unbeknownst to me, this was an actual thing: these two ghosty-boys were the heartthrobs of the 90s. This E News article (which made me chuckle) thinks Casper wins, and I’d have to agree: “Can I keep You?” brings a tear to the eye all these years later. Interestingly, neither actor actually voiced their ghostly/cursed counterparts. I independently fell in love with the both of them. They’re both winners to me.
Atreyu from The Neverending Story
He’s a little fictional warrior with the fate of the world at his hands, and he loves his horsey, Artex (as in…the stuff on the ceiling?). Do not even talk to me about that scene with the horse. Just don’t. Anyway, with his other-worldliness, strength, courage, and adorable floppy hair, I stood no chance against Atreyu.
Bernard from The Santa Clause
Bernard from The Santa Clause. Hold the phone! Is that…yes it is. It’s Joel from The Addams Family (it took me a shocking amount of time as a kid to realise they’re the same person). He’s grown up a little and he’s got a massive arsey attitude (which I totally loved, har har), a cool outfit, and dreadlocks peaking under a velvet hat. He was elfing before it was cool. It was a 10/10 swoon from me.
King Jareth (obviously)
I was scarily young when I fell in love with the Goblin King. I have very fond memories of asking mum to rent this from Starburst Video in Shoeburyness (now defunct, of course) over and over again, until she bought it for me on VHS. I watched it hundreds of times. I also remember freaking out when my dad told me we could email David Bowie’s fan email address on our snazzy new home computer, and I remember him helping me type out a message. That’s how young I was – I wasn’t even old enough to type yet. That hair, that makeup, that riding crop (and that bulge, yikes – seeing that years later had me in stitches) – he is responsible for my love of dramatic, incredibly ~ extra ~ men. We all wished and dreamed we could be Sarah, dancing with him at the masquerade ball. But alas. This was no gift, for an ordinary girl, who takes care of a screeeaming baby. “Do you want it?” sent shivers where there should not have been shivers, and I think we can all relate to that.
Harvey from Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Oh, Harvey. He was adorable, he was sweet, and he loved Sabrina just the way she was. I seem to remember him discovering her witchcraft in one episode and saying, “I always knew there was something magical about you”, and oh golly – who doesn’t want to hear that?
Drop Dead Fred
Another from my early childhood. He was irritating, he was hilarious, and he was there for Elizabeth when she felt all alone against her wicked mother. I desperately wished I had an imaginary friend like him, but thanks to Rik, we all did – in the movie. Unnecessary kiss at the end, sure – but nobody was complaining. If you ask me, he was Elizabeth’s true love – not Mickey from next door. Stupid spaghetti boy.
Duckie from Pretty in Pink
Alas, another lost soul, another hopeless romantic. Why oh why would Andy pick Blaine when she had Duckie all along?! Nobody could watch him come sliding into the record shop to Try a Little Tenderness and not adore him for his moves and total lack of self-awareness (or lack of caring). He was hopelessly in love with Andy but, as her daddy explained, “You can love her, but it doesn’t mean she’ll love you back”. I loved you, Duckie. I will remain, as always…a Duck Man.
This gothic masterpiece by Tim Burton set my little goth soul aflame. We all felt like that girl trapped in boring, ordinary suburbia, just waiting for our oddball counterpart to mysteriously appear in our lives. No, it doesn’t all go to plan, and poor Edward ended up back in his creepy mansion all alone, where he can’t be misunderstood, but he lived on in my heart. Who among us doesn’t think of Edward carving an ice sculpture of Kim whenever it snows? Personally, I would have happily lived up in the castle with Edward, away from it all. /siiigh.
Oh, Axl. One of my first loves. To this day, I still have an active email address under the name of ‘Mrs Axl Rose’, which I believe I activated when I was 12 or 13, and used up until I needed something a little more grown-up. Guns ‘n’ Roses was one of my first loves when I started discovering alternative music as a young teenager. I was utterly in love with Axl and was convinced that, one day, when I was all grown up, I’d run off to California, meet Axl Rose, and we’d somehow run off into the sunset together. The details didn’t matter: I was Mrs Axl Rose, his biggest fan.
I read biographies about him, straightened my still-auburn hair (I was to later dye it black), and wore a Guns ‘n’ Roses bandanna and baseball cap, just like Axl. So not only was I “soooo in love” with him, but I wanted to be him as well. I remember the joys of discovering his name was allegedly an anagram, and that his real name was (*snort*) Billy Bailey.
‘Don’t Cry’ was my favourite song, along with ‘Welcome to the Jungle’, ‘You could be Mine’, ‘Rocket Queen’, and ‘My Michelle’. Actually, you know what? They were all my favourites. I still love Guns ‘n’ Roses to this day, even long after discovering new bands. Great music never dies.
I remember searching the streets near where I live for ages, trying to find my Guns ‘n’ Roses bandanna. Alas, it must have blown away on the wind.
Oh, golly. Peter Steele. The ultimate fantasy goth boyfriend. I remember getting into Type O Negative around the age of 15 after purchasing an album at Golden Disc (or was it MVC? Aka ‘McVitties’) and listening to it on my desktop at home. It wasn’t until I saw those infamous appearances on Jerry Springer and Ricky Lake that I realise – holy fuck – this man is a god sent to earth. At 6″8, built like Conan the Barbarian and with a voice like Brooklyn’s answer to Dracula, he was my absolute dream. Not only that, but his beautiful (and sometimes very funny) music opened up a whole new world for me, after years of listening to heavy metal. Here was Peter Steele, a man chiseled out of marble with princess hair and a voice that made the hairs on my arms stand up. I’m willing to bet he was many a girl’s “awakening”, shall we say, when we stopped having mere girl crushes. It gets serious when you discover Peter Steele.
Remember how “Love You to Death” and “Christian Woman” made you feel the first time you heard them? I do. “Am I good enough…for you?” still brings tears to my eyes and “She needs…Corpus Christi” still makes my heart do somersaults.
I was incredibly upset when I learned he’d died in 2010, before I’d even had a chance to see Type O play live. Initially, people thought it was the inevitable result of years of drink and drugs, but sadly it was sepsis after a perfectly common gut problem. He was taken from us so early and it is such a horrible shame, because by all accounts he was as beautiful inside as he was out, and a truly gentle giant.
I hope you enjoyed that little glimpse into my love-addled teenage and childhood brain. Who did you fall in love with as a kid? I’d love to know – leave a comment.