Monday, May 21, 2007

My Lurking Sound: The Sisters of Mercy, part 1

(mild apologies to Sean Witzke, from whom I misappropriated the name)

Oh hell with it, I'm just gonna phone this one in. I hated doing book reports as a kid.

From Wikipedia:
Though Andrew Eldritch is often called the "Godfather of Goth", The Sisters of Mercy (the main artistic vehicle of Andrew Eldritch), despite being formed in 1980, were originally not very popular in the post punk sub-genre that the British press, in the early 1980s, had labelled, both the artists and their audience, Goth. The Sisters of Mercy were, however, accused by the press of plagiarizing Joy Division, who were marketed by their management as "gothic" in the late '70s.

The Sisters of Mercy would have a big impact on the second wave of Goth that came in the late 1980s and early 1990s, one of the reasons Gitane Demone of the first wave commented that the scene had turned "stale". The use of drum machines and the atonal, deep vocal style used by many second generation Goth bands were inspired by the Sisters of Mercy and were not that common among the first generation.

Since the early 90s, Eldritch has publicly rejected associations with the Goth subculture. He describes The Sisters of Mercy as humanist, modernist, and implies he wants nothing to do with Goth, stating "it's disappointing that so many people have in all seriousness adopted just one of our many one-week-of-stupid-clothes benders". He also notes that, "I'm constantly confronted by representatives of popular culture who are far more goth than we, yet I have only to wear black socks to be stigmatised as the demon overlord."

(song ends at 3:27 mark)

She stands pressed against the wall
So she can see the door
In case the laughing strangers crawl and
Crush the petals on the floor

Alice in her party dress
She thanks you kindly, so serene
She needs you like she needs her tranqs
To tell her that the world is clean
To promise her a definition
Tell her where the rain will fall
Tell her where the sun shines bright
And tell her she can have it all

Pass the crystal spread the Tarot
In illusion comfort lies
The safest way the straight and narrow
No confusion no surprise
Alice in her party dressed to kill
She thanks you turns away
She needs you like she needs needs her pills
To tell that the world's okay
To promise her a definition
Tell her where the rain will fall
Tell her where the sun shines bright
And tell her she can have it all

Don't give it away


  1. "he wants nothing to do with Goth" - referring to my previous comment, if we don't buy his records he's gonna have trouble putting food on the table. I say let him starve...

  2. "..let him starve.."

    Your average goth is far too busy denying the gothness of himself and other goths too mount any sort of protest against Eldritch because he's denying he's goth.

    Like it says on my blog's profile, just because he says it, doesn't mean it's true.

    ps: erin - kggltn? Isn't that dangerously close to a female muscle group?

  3. S'all good. I took it from Tom Jenkinson.

    Also - pretty famously toured with Public Enemy on the Apocalypse 91 tour.

  4. I thought denying being a Goth when you quite clearly were, an 80's trait if ever there was one, was something that ceased during the Great Black Armistice of 1990? I'm still a Goth and have never denied it - I just can't get away with dressing like one anymore, mores the pity :(

  5. Well, everyone knows there hasn't been any REAL goths since the 80s, and everyone who actually CLAIMS to be goth isn't REALLY goth. You can't be Goth unless you're from Leeds, Manchester, or London and were part of the ORIGINAL scene, or Me. So there. ;-p

    No actually, I know people like this. It's a far more common attitude than you'd think, and most of these people think that Goth started with Floodland and ended with Vision Thing. And they've never heard of Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry. And Robert Smith was never goth because he wore Orange lipstick instead of black.

  6. Fair enough Salem - can't argue with bitter personal experience. As an aside (and showing my age) Is Emo the watered down Goth it appears to be or something far lamer? And if you are an Emo - are you supposed to deny it in the same way as Goth? Too many pigeonholes to keep up with...

  7. Emo is Goth's far trendier, far whinier cousin that Goth doesn't claim. Emo isn't REALLY related to Goth, but it couldn't have existed without it.

    From what I can tell, Emo's about kids that are depressed enough to be goth, but just want to have bad haircuts and tight jeans with none of the other personal commitments.

  8. I find it slightly distressing that this conversation between Salem and Highlander is far more entertaining than anything I could write on the subject....

    And yes, Emo is goth without the fashion sense. Back when I was part of the "scene", we used to call them "Kindergoths".

    "Lazy" works, too.

  9. Erin, it's the paradoxical nature of writers. The best of us don't realize or refuse to acknowledge just how entertaining and thought-provoking we could be, yet if we were ever to give in and embrace that ego, we would immediately cease to be as entertaining and thought-provoking.

    Of course, in return, we'd probably make Oprah's book list.


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