Thursday, 27 May 2010

I don’t want to sign up to MyFaceFreaks!

For some time now I've managed to evade following the herd in many aspects of life; music tastes, attitude, political and philosophical opinion and not least, fashion. If I've managed to achieve anything at all in this life it's the deft avoidance of joining in.

Where technology is an issue I don't so much avoid it as take a fleeting glance when all the bugs have been worked out. I generally believe that the people who dive head first into anything new are the ones who will have their time taken up with having to reassess their approach, continuously amend, upgrade, abandon, and ultimately end up out of pocket both in finances and time-you can't get either back easily if at all.

The same can be said for social networking. It was a good while before I created a Myspace page, and even then I wasn't sure what I'd use it for. I was primarily a musician years ago so of course being me, I made the first mistake of creating a 'personal' page rather than a 'band' page. So I had to close that down and start again. Once I'd done that I experienced trouble trying to get my music into the little Flash player thing. Then there was the page customisation and…oh my god, pretty much everything was hassle.

After several months I got the hang of it, used it to its full potential, then just as I was able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labour, swapped tack to be a DJ. At least then I didn't have to change my Myspace profile to a personal one, I just had to make a few text changes.
Meanwhile, it was about that time when everybody started to migrate in droves to Facebook.

Being the stubborn bugger I was, I staunchly refused. From what I could see, it wasn't customisable enough, had no music player support and was generally fiddly to use. Then even more people slowly migrated to it which really left me baffled.

What was the problem with Myspace? Nothing that I could see, apart from when they automatically (and almost stealthily) allowed band profiles to accept any old friend request from clearly inappropriate profiles 'for our convenience'. Bad Myspace; very bad social networking site. You caused me much frustration when all I got was additions by metal bands and hip hop labels that, lets face it, were sent by someone not intelligent or respectful enough to even take a look at my page. They see the 'DJ' at the beginning of my profile name and immediately think I'm going to be a target audience. Doctor Who is a Timelord. He flits round space in a telephone box and zaps daleks. I wouldn't take my high blood pressure problem to him just because he has 'Doctor' in his name, would I?

Then of course there's the irritatingly imposing Flash header adverts that expand all over the page you're trying to read just because your mouse pointer was a few pixels too near the bottom of it for a split second. It then takes a while to find the 'close' icon to get rid of it, by which time you've apparently ingested all of the information that the oh-so-clever marketing guy thinks you should have done whilst struggling to get shot of it.

Here's news for you, marketing guy; it's atrocious, invasive advertising. I'm not reading the details of the advert; I'm trying to find the 'close' icon. If I ever meet the person responsible for them I will more than likely cheerily stab them in the eyes with a plastic chip fork.

Anyway, I sorted that problem out easily enough. By then though, the rot had certainly started to creep in; Myspace was becoming as quiet as an old folks home post nuclear winter, and Facebook was filling up with its desperate refugees…

Nowadays, I'm a 'Twitter' man (and a 'Blogspot' man, obviously). Twitter blows away the competition when it comes to getting a message out in 140 characters or less; World Goth Day is evidence of this. To ramble on in further detail requires this blog page, and all I have to do is pop a message in Twitter about a new blog and people will come to read it without needing to sign in, give blood. No commitment, nothing. It's insanely simple.

The one infuriating thing about Twitter, though more about other users than the platform itself, is the synchronised 'links' thrown out by cross-connected social networking sites, worst of all, Facebook. There's been many a time when someone posts a tweet which might be interesting, so I click the associated link and presto; a bloody Facebook sign in is required to read the rest of the post or view the photo gallery. Thanks for that dead-end link, guys. No, really…

Nothing on earth is important enough make me sign up to yet another social networking site just to read something that probably isn't as life-essential as first thought. I've toyed with the idea, but right now Facebook is having a lot of bad publicity with its security issues. I'm too scared to submit little more than a username and password in fear of it having enough information on me to allow a kid in Pennsylvania to organise a Facebook House Party at my home while I'm at work. To quote a good friend of mine, "'s usually just telling me someone I don't know is doing something I don't care about and then demanding I take a quiz about it...". Well, screw that for a game of soldiers. Doesn't that sound suspiciously like work to you? If I had to dutifully log in each day, read some information then answer random queries, I'd expect to be paid for it.

I have constantly bemoaned social networking sites as been the cause of death of the 'official' band website. It's made bands lazy; their 'dot com' addresses frequently lead to landing pages which promptly redirect you to Myspace or Facebook pages. Almost any shred of originality and artistic quality are either discarded or suppressed in favour of uniform looking blocks of text and graphics. When even large corporate bodies see fit to sign up to Facebook pages and Twitter accounts in order to be seen around the world, you know we're in trouble (and I don't even need to point out the irony of such bodies imposing lockdowns on accessing such sites at work).

It's time to take back what is yours and not let your life become the intellectual property of backroom geeks that you've never met and who have full access to it. I won't waste my time or yours telling you why because it'll never happen. Seeing as I can't convince everyone to go and delete their social networking accounts for the sake of their own identity, and to be fair I put a LOT of time into getting my rarely updated Myspace page looking something like coherent to just go and erase all my work, maybe I can politely ask one request of all Twitter users:

If you're going to synchronise all your 'potential identity fraud outlets' to send a Tweet, please make it publicly viewable.

Meanwhile, here's my request of the internet in general:

Dear Internet,

Just give me the information quickly and without consequence. I don't want to sign in. I don't want to create an account. I don't want to register for a monthly newsletter. I don't want to enhance my old feller or purchase a Thai bride.

And I certainly don't want to take a bloody quiz.

Monday, 24 May 2010

On the flipside...

This is bloody legendary. Psycho Clown from the WGW forum; we salute you.

World Goth Day; The Holiday Blues Effect

Imagine being shut in a cargo container for five months and having the exterior repeatedly hammered by a hundred people with baseball bats for twenty four hours a day, then all of a sudden, stop. That's how it feels today. It's the feeling you get when you come back from a holiday; that sort of downward spiral into reality that wipes the smile off your face and all you have to show for it is a straw donkey and sunburn (or in my case a WGD badge currently living on my waistcoat).
I'm sat at my desk with Ikon quietly playing away on my iPod and flicking through the odd spreadsheet adding invoices to them like the weekend never happened. I'm keen to start working on next year's World Goth Day immediately.
I don't think Martin Oldgoth & I ever saw the reaction to this year being so huge, at least online, which is where all the correspondance with several promoters, website owners and members of the general goth scene took place. We've received emails and forum replies from promoters saying that they've had turnouts they hadn't seen for a long time, people who have driven for up to five hours to get to events that I imagine normally wouldn't go to that sort of effort and expense.
World Goth Day wasn't just a success, it restored my faith in humanity or at least the Goth scene; quite the opposite of the disillusioned stereotype that us Gothic types are supposed to live to.
For the rest of the year, there will in all likelihood be muted activity on the WGD forum, maybe a couple of weeks of reminiscing and photograph sharing, occasional bouts of adrenaline fuelled "what are we going to do next year?" and suchforth. I'm half tempted to put it and the website into hibernation straight away for the next six months so it doesn't look abandoned and dusty like a much loved childhood rocking horse in the attic. People don't want to see an annual museum exhibit; they'd much rather see a plaquard in its place, "Back in six months-See you in 2011". I guess I'm just reacting from my own 'holiday blues' right now, and will probably replace that notion quite quickly with a more optimisitc one after a few days. But oh, what a ride. And so many passengers.
Thank you, Goth scene.
Thank you everyone who ran the social network pages on Facebook, VampireFreaks and anywhere else we might not have been aware of.
Thank you to the people who run online and FM radio stations who took interest and even played music which wouldn't normally be part of the playlist policy. Radio Nightbreed, Phoenix Radio and BBC Radio Shropshire, I'm looking at you, personally, though I equally acknowledge those for whom with some embarassment I forget the name of at the time of writing this.
Thank you to the DJ's who donated their time and talents to create special WGD shows for people who couldn't leave the house for one reason or other to hear and join in with the celebrations.
Thank you to the Bloggers, Magazines and journalists who promoted our cause to people who would otherwise have missed our attempt to promote World Goth Day elsewhere.
Thank you to the promoters who took a chance on an event simply made up on the spot, and of course,
Thank you to the people who got woke up, dressed up, left the house where possible and even drove for hours to meet up with friends or people they've never even met before.
Thank you to my family who put up with me and of course, Mr. Oldgoth for sticking with this insane idea in the first place. It simply wouldn't have happened without his help.

Right. I have invoices to reciept. See you later.

Friday, 21 May 2010

World Goth Day. Not quite the Olympics.

I wrote an email to the newsroom of the Shropshire Star, my local newspaper the other day.
Seeing as they were all foaming and gushy about the new mascots for the 2012 Olympics being unveiled in the little village of Much Wenlock (just up the road from my house, incidentally) I thought, quite misguidedly, that if they like things that come from Telford and have potentially become world famous, they might like to have a copy of the press release we've been giving out to magazines for the World Goth Day articles you might see dotted about the 'tinterweb.
After all, the Olympic Mascots ('Wenlock' and whatever the other one is called) resemble a weird interbreeding between the T-2000 robot from Terminator 2 and the symptoms of bronchitis. But if they're willing to cover that, surely they must be suitably motivated enough to go out looking for another 'local man made good' story?
Apparently the answer to that is a resounding no. I heard exactly f*ck all from them.
Maybe I underestimated just how 'undergorund' the underground scene actually is. I'm completely immersed in the Goth scene, so my judgement of how important World Goth Day is to todays society may well be clouded.

Yes, I may be being cruel about the Olympic mascots, but equally I'm still sore about the amount of public money which went into the 2012 Olympics logo, which looks like one of those paintings you get when you give an elephant a brush and an easel, or as my good friend TJ Nexus once said, " looks like Lisa Simpson giving head".

Never mind. I'm quite happy to be living in a delusional state where World Goth Day is more important than the result of the General Election, a cure for cancer or finding out exactly what the f*ck is going on in the last episode of Ashes To Ashes.

I shan't be bothering the busy denizens of the Shropshire Star again; they're clearly to preoccupied with being on the starting blocks for the next big scoop.
After all, it's not every day that a local and quite nameless MP will be standing on the outskirts of some tattered third world Telford estate, needing desperately to be photographed pointing awkwardly at a pothole on a main road.

Sorry. My mistake. It is.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Phoenix Radio: The World Goth Day Takeover.

Its World Goth Day on May 22nd, and Phoenix Radio kindly donated a whole bunch of airtime to me to fill up with back to back goth shows & mixes.

I would like to loudly thank Nigel Wordsworth who runs Phoenix Radio for offering up the airtime in the first place, and of course fellow Nightbreed DJ's Martin Oldgoth, DJ Po, DJ Wolfman and DJ Ghost of Charnel House Radio for contributing shows especially for World Goth Day, without these people, you'd only have an hour of goth to listen to on Phoenix Radio on the 22nd May!

The mixes inbetween the shows are ones that I've previously had aired on Radio Nightbreed apart from 'Oldgoth's Girlie Show Mix' which is obviously Martin's mix.

12.00 - 80s & 90s Gotherama
13.00 - Charnel House WGD Special
14.00-16.00 - Wolfmans Monster Mash
16.00 - Oldgoth's Girlie Show_Mix
17.00 - Trinity Show World Goth Day Special
18.00 - Winterborne
19.00-21.00 - Fadeout WGD Special
21.00 - Hex In The City Revisited
22.00-00.00 - Thirteen13 WGD Special

Tune in to Phoenix Radio on

I've just got wind that the initial 12 hour takeover has been extended to *24 HOURS* as the schedule will be repeated after midnight so that international listeners can catch it all too.

How great is that?

12 noon to midnight of 22nd May: First play
Midnight to noon: repeats (4pm - 4am US Eastern time)

So everyone should be able to listen in wherever they are in the world. Nice.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

World Goth Day; The work so far (by absolutely everyone it seems)...

As normal, I was dead set against the concept of working for a living, so instead of battling with Excel I decided to crack open a healthy session of heavily restricted corporate internet access and Google "World Goth Day" and "" to see how far word has spread about the partially insane concept me & Mr. Oldgoth had launched earlier this year off the back of 2009's 1-week campaign in the UK.
Stuff me; there's pages and pages of results that don't repeat the same hit.
It makes interesting reading for someone who likes to watch humanity do its thing without any particular restrictions. Most results are from discussion forum threads which either treat the concept with total disdain ("why would I want to celebrate Goth Day? I'm a goth EVERY day!"), a little bit of disinterest, extreme suspicion as if there's some sinister marketing ploy behind it to hike up the price of event tickets or something equally bizarre, or treat it with enthusiasm ranging from mild curiosity to the peak of conceptgasm. Other results are journalistic reports about World Goth Day and event announcements by promoters, working hard as usual to get the word out about their impending celebrations.
Either way you look at it, the idea really has travelled some serious distance and frankly, I'm utterly stunned.
Just to put the point across, World Goth Day is something belonging to every goth across the planet. It's not something that is owned by me, Mr. Oldgoth or any of the people who have kindly given their time to run the social networking pages associated with WGD. It's an idea that without other people taking it on, doesn't exist. Obviously I'm chuffed to bits that I decided to run with the ball that was first presented by BBC 6Music in the first place, when they aired a subculture weekend from 21st-23rd May 2009 ('Goth Day' was on the 22nd May). I'm equally chuffed that I was backed both actively & spiritually by so many people around the world. The team behind the Goth Cruise documentary DVD have decided to release it on May 22nd to coincide with World Goth Day. The Sophie Lancaster 'Hope' compilation album will also be released on the same day. Several promoters around the world have organised events in the name of WGD, and many other things, too many to mention here, are all happening just over a week before this blog was posted to celebrate the gothic subculture on the almost literal say-so of a goth DJ from Telford.
For that reason I'd like to publicly thank every single person involved in some way with making World Goth Day so huge in its first official year of existence. With any luck, it'll be bigger next year and only grow over the consecutive years. But that will only happen as long as the idea is pushed every year; we can't rest on our laurels yet because disinterest can settle in much quicker than any work to promote it. With any luck I'll still be one of the people at the forefront of it nagging the world to join in for years to come. Who knows...

Sunday, 9 May 2010

The S.O.P.H.I.E fundraiser playlist. Since you ask.

Better late than never.
Here's the full playlist of the DJ's involved in the S.O.P.H.I.E fundraiser held at the Whitby Pavillion on April 22nd. As you can see just by the songs, it was a cracking night to do.

martin oldgoth
Creatures - Simoom
Autumn - Desert Winds of Jezebel
Among The Weeds - Beauty
The Eden House - The Dark Half
Collide - Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing
Drowning Season - Heaven Falls Hard
Abney Park - Under The Radar
Kooper Kain - Icy Stars

penfolds nemesis
In Strict Confidence - Silver Bullets
Diary of Dreams - Giftraum
Clan of Xymox - Farewell
Anders Manga - Mercy Seat
IAMX - Nightlife
Deine Laiken - Where You Are
She Wants Revenge - Tear You Apart

Children on Stun - Hollow
Chameleons - Don't Fall
Bolshoi - Happy Boy
Ghost Dance - Celebrate
Nick Cave - I Had a Dream Joe
Dance Society - We're So Happy
Dragons - Here Are The Roses
Ikon - Ghost in my Head

Cabaret Voltaire - Nag Nag Nag
Danse Society - Heaven is Waiting
B Movie - Nowhere Girl
Siouxsie - Fireworks
Suspiria - Alledgedly Dancefloor Tragedy
Nightporter - Blood Rite
Danielle Dax - Cathouse

Cruel Britannia
Furniture - Brilliant Mind
Anders Manga - Last Alarm
Last Dance - Do You Beleive in Angels?
Blacklist - Shock in the Hotel Falcon
Solemn Novena - As Darkness Falls
All About Eve - Flowers in our Hair

martin oldgoth
Autumn Cannibals - Monument to Shame
Andi Sex Gang / Marc Almond - The Hungry Years
New Model Army - Dawn
Rosetta Stone - Eye For The Main Chance
March Violets - Walk Into The Sun

penfolds nemesis
Orgy - Blue Monday
Pink Turns Blue - Dynamite
De/Vision - Addict
Depeche Mode - I Feel You

E Nomine - Mitternacht
Cruxshadows - Cruelty
The Eden House - To Beleive in Something
Sleeping Dogs Wake - This Little Piggy
Miranda Sex Garden - Peepshow

Eyes of the Nightmare Jungle - Shadowdance
Iggy Pop - The Passenger
Fad Gadget - Collapsing New People

Cruel Britannia
Creatures - Right Now
Killing Joke - Eighties
Shatner and Jackson - Common People