Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Atavistic Soul Rises Once More

OG Synchromystic Ben Fairhall blogged recently about Goths and Pagans reviving the Medieval ritual of the Morris dance. Of course The Independent is going to mock this phenomenon, because the smartass colleges its writers go to teach nothing about how culture really works.

One of the great appeals of Post-Punk and pre-Goth bands like Killing Joke and Siouxsie and the Banshees for me was how they brought to fruition vague, atavistic threads of British culture I had sensed in say, the Hammer horror films or Clockwork Orange. Christianity, Imperialism and the Industrial Revolution changed the character of Britain, which in Roman days had very much been the Wild West frontier of the Empire. Its strange lure for wandering conquerors like the Danes or the Normans seemed to instill a combative nature in the people of the British Isles, which coupled with the collision of the indigenous Druidic worldview with the corporate Church fostered a distinct witchy vibe that was never really snuffed out.

So we've looked at the Edinburgh fire festivals in the past, and the Solstice reveries at Stonehenge are pretty well established. Hell, the Church of England is run by a Druid, for Christ's sake. I would say to look for more of this kind of thing in the future, particularly in England. The Goth subculture is one of the few surviving indigenous pop culture movements to emerge from the UK, so I wouldn't be surprised if it married itself to these kinds of old traditions and sparked an entirely new counterculture there. Certainly the comics of Alan Moore, Bryan Talbot and Jamie Delano (among many others) have been on the cutting edge of this for some time. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see this all start to play itself out in the streets.

With that, I'll leave you with this British masterpiece, filmed in the very same woods where some of Hammer's horror epics were shot.


  1. Oh my dear, dear Chris!

    1. That is my favorite song by Siouxsie

    2. That's why I wanted to move to Ireland. That untamed pagan undercurrent is still alive and well.

    3. I'm still very much a goth at heart.

    4. I would love to take part in the Edinburgh Fire Festival. To visit Scotland would be pure bliss.

    All of these urges run very deep in me and I can't deny them.

    It's a first for me that I've come across someone that is driven by such similar forces.

    I'm smiling...

    Thank you, thank you!

  2. Glad to be of service! Siouxsie is a big camp icon now, so people tend to forget how vicious and witchy those old records are. I've heard Goth is having a comeback in Britain, but it never went away in Europe. I've heard it's big in Mexico, believe it or not.

  3. Don't get so hasty there (re: first comment) - I live in Scotland and it's the same as everywhere else. Most places suck and the people are evil.
    Just another chavtown-ridden corporate high street nightmare, with admittedly wonderful scenery if you're rich enough to move to those places.

    Edinburgh does have a great deal of the old architecture left for example (proper hewn blocks, cobbled streets, gargoyles, that kinda thing), but like Europe in general it's being taken over by bland and soul-killing malls and just general ugliness that makes you sorry to have been born into this timeframe.
    It's mostly just zombies wandering around malls, like everywhere else that's populated to a certain level.

    Many people here need to be burned in a big wicker man.

    Nice post; I was recently thinking myself how ignorant people that mock Morris Dancing are. I knew someone that used to do the more traditionally-known version down in Cornwall.

  4. You're right on the money, Zuppie- anyone with any degree of awareness is going to be in the extreme minority pretty much everywhere.

  5. Just to clarify, I'm speaking of visiting rural, unpopulated areas for the most part. I agree that most people don't have a clue and I'm not interested in hanging out with most people. I'm a rather solitary person. People are not my thing.

    It would be nice to hit the big reset button and clear out the whole mess.

  6. Clarify?!

    I prefer remoteness too; but I'd rather be in a crowd of normals that know as little about me as I do about them (ie - nothing at all, unless we've been formally introduced) than have to deal with that other inexplicable painful variant where there's people you don't know who have no links with you at all, but they behave towards you as if they know you or of you.

    It's those people who are the problem, not people in general who are the problem.