lauren m. e. goodlad and michael bibby
introduction
Gpolitics
oth subculture emerged in the socioeconomic decline and Thatcherite
of late 1970s Britain, on the heels of punk’s infamous rebellion.
Drawing on diverse fringe cultures, from Dada to garage rock, punk had
catalyzed a generation of youth with its diy attitude toward music, fash-
ion preference for safety pins and thrift shops, and contempt for mass-
marketed music culture. By the late 1970s punk was itself being exploited for
commercial potential.Yet punk had also energized a surge of new styles such
as new romantic, industrial, new wave, and hardcore. Amid this dizzying
subcultural effulgence, a number of bands and personalities began culti-
vating what would soon become known as goth.1
Many keynotes of goth subculture can thus be traced to the early days
of punk. Punk had reveled in the crass and trashy—evoking ‘‘flowers in the
dustbin,’’ to cite a well-known Sex Pistols lyric. As this style became inten-
sified and romanticized, a gothic predilection for the dreadful and macabre
emerged from within punk’s ranks. Siouxsie Sioux, who began her career
as a gothic doyenne in the Sex Pistols’ scene, helped to popularize a look
characterized by deathly pallor, dark makeup, Weimar-era decadence, and
Nazi chic (fig. 1). Punk’s ethos—its militant, antisexual anarchy—was chal-
lenged by the gothic’s romantic obsessions with death, darkness, and per-
verse sexuality. Punk’s carnivalesque but often rigid male body (epitomized
by the ‘‘pogo’’ dance) was supplanted by an androgynous gothic body. At
the same time, punk’s driving musical rhythms were infused with diverse
gothic gestures. In his contribution to this volume, Michael Bibby explains
how postpunk bands such as Joy Division provided important foundations
for gothic rock. Through distorted guitars and foregrounded basslines, Joy
Division articulated an aural melancholia that has since become central to
goth style. Still other gothic musical inflections could be heard in the Sisters
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