Tag Archives: goth

Bela Lugosi’s Dead by Bauhaus (Small Wonder)

BAUHAUS were four arty white boys from Northampton who made a big deal about driving around in a hearse and wearing pointy shoes with big buckles on them. In 1979, they inadvertently invented Goth with an anaemic dub reggae homage to an icon of the Silver Screen who was forever defined by his most famous role.

I have no idea of what Bauhaus thought they might possibly be doing when they recorded Bela Lugosi’s Dead but whatever it was, a works like a charm (I’m thinking alternating little bats and skulls, in platinum, natch). It’s an extraordinary piece of music.

“Bela was just a simple bossa nova rimshot beat with a slowed-down glam-rock guitar riff and a ton of reverb,” says jpsst34, on former Bauhaus singer Peter Murphy’s site forum, spoiling it for everyone. “None of the individual sounds in that song were original. Only once put together to form a complete work did they become ‘groundbreaking’.”

Meanwhile, according to some clueless NME worker drone: “Bauhaus are to Goth what Radiohead are to Prog ..” Really? What the fuck does that mean? I don’t even know what it’s supposed to mean. Do they really think that Radiohead invented prog rock? Are they mad? Continue reading

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Gothic and proud

IT’S easy to take the piss out of Goths – well, it was until the fashionistas went all Gothic-luxe on us. I’m sure it must have absolutely horrified original Goths, bless ’em. They must be an awful lot happier (it’s all relative) now that whole look is so last season.

I’ve never really had a problem with Goths. None of it really interested me. I never saw the Sisters of Mercy live, or bought any of their records – but I always used to dance to Alice and Temple Of Love when they came on at ‘alternative discos’. They’re great records. So sue me. Okay, so there may have been the odd Bauhaus record in my collection too. And maybe the Danse Society as well.

goth3Though I thought the whole look and philosophy was indicative of an innate narcissism and rather prissy conservatism when it appeared in the early Eighties, there was a lot of it about. It was the early Eighties. When you actually got talking to them, Goths were often gentle, kindly and timid souls who read books, wrote letters and wore eye-liner. So what if they danced like girls? They often were girls.

There was still a lot of it about when I moved over to Leeds a few years later and Leeds 6 seemed to be full of wan little kohl-eyed romantics in black lace with big, big hair. Being in such close proximity all the time – well, they started to get on my nerves a bit. I was quite angry, quite a lot of the time.  I blame Thatcher. And the drugs.

I was writing for a local arts, culture and politics mag called Grunt at the time, so when a Sisters ‘convention’ was advertised at the Astoria towards the end of 1988, me and Dallas got up ridiculously early one Sunday morning and went over, fully intending to take the piss.

It didn’t quite work out that way.

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Filed under expletive undeleted, features