You might not think it to look at me now given that I'm a bit of a slob, but once upon a time I was quite spiky and interesting looking.

Well I thought I looked interesting, but then I would say that, wouldn't I? The punky alternative gothy style has always been to my taste. Why is this? I can sort of answer that, although the answer itself only raises a further question.

Like many things that happen to teenage boys, it all comes down to girls. Of course.

At school it seemed as though the majority of my peers waxed lyrical over the physical charms of Olivia Newton John, Farrah Fawcett and the like, not to mention the airbrushed women in the creased glossy magazines they used to sneak into class. I could never really see the attraction. They all seemed so bloody wholesome. Except for the ones in the magazines who seemed plastic and soggy.

Due to my lack of enthusiasm for the traditional teenage boys' fantasies, I was often branded a "bender" or a "mo". This wasn't the case. I thought women were brilliant, but the only ones that sent my stomach on a rollercoaster ride and made my viscera turn somersaults were the scary looking ones I'd seen on TV and in the Kings Road or West End when I'd made my solo trips into town to visit Forbidden Planet in Denmark Street. Punk girls.

I don't know what it was, but there was something about the combination of brightly coloured scruffy hairdos with shaved bits, torn fishnets, leather jackets, extreme makeup and unsuitable boots that seemed to press all my buttons simultaneously.

This raises the further question, why? Punk was a relatively new phenomenon; it's not as if I was remembering something from deep in my childhood. To this day I have no idea why my brain decided I would be attracted to fierce, frightening-looking women.

But of course at the time I wasn't bothered why. I just knew that there was no way any of those beautiful beings would be remotely interested in a short spotty nerd in a white arran-knit jumper and corduroy trousers clutching a copy of Doctor Who magazine. I'd have to radically change my image if I was to stand a chance against the competition, which at the time seemed to largely consist of blokes eight and a half feet tall (if you included the extra two foot of mohican), arms like tree trunks, complex tattoos covering 98% of their skin surface and half a pound of scrap iron embedded in their face.

I wasn't so keen on the scrap iron or the tattoos, but made an effort and after a while drifted sideways from a New Romantic Influenced Punk look into the new subgenre of "Goth" (or "Positive Punk" as it was known at first). At the time this wasn't nearly as morose or pretentious as it could sometimes be in later years; a lot of the time it was a laugh.

Looking back on it of course my obsession with unconventional beauty meant that I missed out on a lot of opportunities over the years. Walking around with my alt-blinkers on meant that I completely failed to notice when normal looking girls showed an interest in me. This probably explains why I was single such a lot.

It doesn't explain why I didn't have loads of punk and goth girlfriends instead though.

to be continued...

2 comments

  1. stuart  

    I've always been quite confused by goth's early tag of 'positive punk'. I vaguely remember the NME doing an article on positive punk, though the only band I remember in the article were Brigandage, and I only remember them because a schoolfriend ended up doing his MA with their singer.

  2. Chris  

    It doesn't quite make sense given the gloomy and/or morbid association people now have with Goth, but I suppose the epithet was implying that Goths didn't share traditional Punk's "smash the system and destroy" MO. And back then in Batcave days it was more fun rather than sepulchral.

Post a Comment