October 8th, 2010


Goths, clubs and inclusiveness.

Most of you probably know I used to spend quite a bit of time on the goth/industrial scene. Indeed, my ex and I even set up a club night called Intrusion, that somehow survived my drunken idiocy. That club night has been passed on to the eminently deserving Mark Wickson and Doktor Joy, who are (as far as I can tell) doing a far better job of responsibly DJing and running a night than I ever did. I'm genuinely pleased for them both.

What I used to like about the scene was that it valued everyone based on who they were. It was accepting of the odd normal wandering in with an open mind and having a good time. It was smarter than most scenes, and wasn't scared of people with brains expressing considered opinions. It wasn't about 6 inch heels and eyeliner, they were just there.

Time has moved on, and so have I. I don't dislike the "scene", but it's not really where I am any more. Anyone who listened to my DJ sets (which you could set your watch to) would be able to tell you I'd lost my passion for it. I will always be fond of it, and the people I met during my time. I will always have fond memories of DJing Whitby, great parties, genuinely interesting people, and being fortunate enough to have had a great deal of interesting experiences.

I have a lot of friends who have never been involved in this whole thing, and I while ago, I took them to a club. They weren't head to toe in black, but they weren't exactly in tracksuits and gold chains either. Think jeans, suit jacket, and a smart shirt. Not so different to what I wear these days.

I was appalled at how they were treated when I wasn't around. They were referred to as chavs, and made incredibly unwelcome. Someone referred to them as my "fucking chavvy friends". Now, aside from the fact that word has somehow come to mean anyone not fitting into some sort of subculture, that's just shit. These friends aren't chavs. They aren't anti anyone. They aren't unpleasant, and if they see a goth/alternative type getting trouble from people, they're far more likely to weigh in on the side of the alternative types. They weren't threatening, or sneering, or anything other than interested and looking forward to it. They came in with an open mind, and took nothing but shit for it.

These friends didn't say anything to me, for fear of upsetting me. But it was pretty clear they wanted out of there. They came in with a far better impression of the scene than they left with, and I couldn't argue otherwise, then or now.

The thing that really galls me? This was Intrusion. This was the club my ex and I set up. I popped back for the first time in years, just to say hi, and my group was welcomed with a nice big fuck off. Now, I'd like to make this clear, this wasn't anything to do with the current organisers. This was other people. But it did include a large group of people I knew, and would have thought knew better.

I was really hurt by this, and really embarrassed that good friends, who have always stood by me, were treated so shabbily at a night I still felt some responsibility for. I don't know if things have changed, or going back to the scene for the first time in years made me look at it anew. I do know that this was no longer a place I felt welcome.

The irony of a place where people like to dress differently being abusive to people who aren't dressed like them is obvious. If I head out for the night now, I'm not heading to goth clubs, I know that. I might go back to one at some point, but I'm not taking any bets.

I'd like to reiterate that none of this is anything to do with Mark or Dok, who are lovely people doing a stand-up job with a club that deserved more than my half-arsed stewardship.

Please, next time you think someone doesn't belong in your club, ask if it's because of their behaviour or their appearance. If it's their behaviour, and they're sneering at you, then all well and good, give 'em both barrels. But if it's the way the look, challenge yourself to go and say hi. Or put your drink down and go home, you're ruining it.
  • Current Music
    Some chavvy shite, probably.