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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Sunday, February 05, 2006
    Going up
     
    "The Gothic may be construed as the romance of the things that will eat us in the end. It is an attempt to subdue them and to dance with them, it is our perversity and a fancy-dress rehearsal for reality. When the Gothic is in fashion we allow ourselves to be infatuated with Mr Death, to flirt and be felt up by him. I think we are most sane when we can joke a bit with him, most healthy when we are artistic about our own mortality. The stubborn endurance of the art we call Gothic is a testimony to our need for an aesthetics of death."

    - Audrey Niffenegger in yesterday's Guardian, which lay unread in the boot of my car while I was at a friend's Goth wedding. Not quite Tim Burton gothic, more of a medieval costume show set to ambient electronica, it was a fairly unique and hugely enjoyable church service.

    But perhaps the most goth time I had yesterday was on the journey home, over the high pass of the A66 shrouded in mist, swinging the car too rapidly through the dark trees of Stainmore Forest as the fog deepened. In the blinding headlights of oncoming wagons I was keenly aware of the slender thread of my mortality.

    Through the headphones during this wheel-gripping journey came the sound of Jhonn Balance singing his own death-song, the last he ever sang onstage, the recording of it replayed at his funeral service - the theme from Are You Being Served?; a quirky-witty-scary witness to a musician who had it completely sussed, the aesthetics of death.

    Ground floor perfumery,
    stationery and leather goods,
    wigs and haberdashery
    kitchenware and food...going up

    First floor telephones,
    gents ready-made suits,
    shirts, socks, ties, hats,
    underwear and shoes...going up

    Second floor carpets,
    travel goods and bedding,
    material, soft furnishings,
    restaurant and teas.
    Going up!