In Search Of A Subculture

Trying to fit in, and eventually, seeking out and finding like-minded people
November 23, 2009
In a way, this is a sequel of sorts, to my last article. At the end of my last article I stated: "I held fast to what I liked, and eventually, I finally met other people with similar interests." (Reading the last article, Childhood Boredom, might be a good idea, but it's not completely necessary) Well, this was a long process. I didn't truly start meeting other people with my actual interests (as opposed to people of the "eh, he's okay, he's chill" variety) until late High School/Early College.

So, my last article talked about my elementary years a bit. As a brief recap, they weren't much fun, I didn't have anything in common with anyone, or as I put it, "I was a Pugsley Addams (though I wasn't chubby) in a sea of Beaver Cleavers."

Well, middle school was way worse. In fact, I can safely say, that the two years I was in Middle School, were a complete living Hell, and that the rest of my education seems completely wonderful in comparison. The ironic part? They were the only years I got straight A's. That aside, it was Hell. I was harassed and picked on just about every day, even to the point where one person once tried to dump a garbage can on me. Thankfully, they missed.

In retrospect, I know exactly why it happened. I was high-strung and stressed out all the time (from the pressure I was putting on myself to get A's), and it was pathetically easy to push my buttons. Moving on, the other ironic thing, was in the midst of all this, the two years I was in Middle School, were also my last desperate attempt to fit in with the "cool" (or normal or what have you) crowd. Yes, that's right, as embarrassed as I am to admit it, I was that desperate.

I started wearing surfing clothes, like Bilabong, even though I didn't surf. I wore jeans, even though I hated them and thought they were uncomfortable. At one point, I even stopped slicking back my hair, and got one of the oh so trendy spiked hair cuts.

I was a pathetic douchebag trying my hardest to jump on the bandwagon. So, as you can probably guess, none of those changes made a damn bit of difference, and I was still picked on. At one point in 8th grade, some asshole even started a rumor that I was going to shoot up the school, just to get me in trouble.

Boy, that was fun. So, by the time middle school was over, the thought of going to the nearby High School, was out of the question. The thought of dealing with the same assholes for another 4 years made me want to go jump off a cliff. So, I didn't. I went to a different High School, a technology based charter school. I would end up sorely regretting my choice.

At first, I thought, "Great! No P.E.! No Assholes! Great!" Well, true enough, but it still sucked. I didn't give a damn about computers or technology, I only went there to escape the fate that would have awaited me otherwise. I was surrounded by people who did nothing but play Halo or Magic the Gathering.

Now, no offense to those of you out there who enjoy these things, but to me, it was like watching paint dry. Also, all of the work, was "project-based". No more mindless fill in the blank worksheets etc., everything was a long drawn out project. For a procrastinator like myself, this sucked. In 9th grade, I actually had fairly competent teachers. In 10th grade though, I encountered two of the most annoying teachers in my life. One in particular, was Incredibly, Hyper and Loud. I swear she could have broken the sound barrier if she tried. The breaking point, for me, came in 11th grade. Ms. Hyper and Loud, had decided to move up a grade, and she was my teacher, AGAIN. Now sure, I could have tried to petition to get one of the other teachers instead, but at this point I was so sick of the school, I wanted an excuse to leave. Of course the thought of going to the other dreaded High School disturbed me, but at this point, I was ready for any change. So, I left the charter school, and went to Plain Old Normal High.

At first, I was worried that the people I used to know, would immediately start giving me shit again. Though, surprisingly they didn't, and the worst of the bunch, weren't even there at all! I guess people really do change sometimes. Anyways, changing High Schools was a huge improvement. Practically everyone who went to my new High School was a mellow stoner who wouldn't hurt a fly. In fact, about all any of them did, was play hackey sack non-stop.

Though I never had a huge interest in Metal music (only a cursory one), it was the crowd I ended up falling in with in High School. There were two main reasons: I couldn't really find anyone who liked the stuff I liked music-wise (Bauhaus, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division etc.), and, they accepted me as one of their own.

Towards the end of High School though, any interest I had in Metal was gradually fading (I still listen to it sometimes for the sake of nostalgia).

I wanted to find people who truly liked what I liked, besides horror movies: Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Edgar Allan Poe, Jean Paul Sartre, Bauhaus, The Cure, Joy Division, Kommunity FK, sleeping in the shade, instead of playing sports....

I started to frequent a local coffee shop called Lestat's (which has since become infiltrated by the Starbucks crowd) Over time, I eventually came to the realization that I indeed wasn't the only one who liked this stuff. In fact there was a whole subculture of people who liked it. I realized they were called Goths (Deathrockers in the old days in the states), and that I had pretty much been one all along without even knowing it had a name. (When I was younger I was fairly oblivious to musical/cultural/etc. labels, I just liked what I liked)

Oldschool Goths

A whole new door had finally been opened for me. Sure, I had a vague knowledge of Goths in the past, but, unfortunately, those were of the, ahem, Hot Topic variety, who were obsessed with the Nightmare before Christmas. ***Though, to each their own, and I would feel like a complete hypocrite for criticizing anyone else for what they like, so I'm not going to.*** I had finally found a place, a niche, where I felt at home, where everyone was simply an extended member of The Addams Family.

As a small side note, I've never ever had a Punk give me any shit, and find Punks to be some of the friendliest people I know.

I also enjoy quite a bit of Punk music myself, and if you know you're history, Gothic Rock would have never came about without Punk: Punk-PostPunk-Gothic Rock. There's a direct lineage. When Gothic Rock first started, (Especially when it first hit Stateside with bands like Christian Death, Kommunity FK, and 45 Grave ) it was basically Death Punk (later coined "Deathrock" by Rozz Williams from Christian Death)

45 Grave

Well, there you have it. Good night.

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