Thursday, 29 November 2012

Whitby Goth Weekend

The Goth Weekend was an incredible experience, but not for the reasons I thought it would be when I booked the tickets as an enthusiastic darkling. Rather than the official events and the other Goths, I was captivated by the creativity of the traders (we attended the Bizarre Bazaar, the steampunk market at The Rifle Club and several other assorted small markets we found in our travels around Whitby), and the atmosphere of the town itself; a charm and a strangeness about the place that I am almost at a loss to describe.

I felt almost like the town, watched over by the solemn, brooding presence of Whitby Abbey, rekindled a dormant spirit in me that I hadn't realised was lost: a faith in mystery and magic, a sense of the unknown and unseen all around us. I fell in love with the winding streets, quaint buildings, hidden alleyways and salt air.

Dan and I stayed in the Argyle Hotel, where most of the WGW guests are regulars who help each other dress up for the evening events and who take breakfast together in their black pyjamas and bat-patterned socks. Our room was in the attic - from our window we had an undisturbed view of the abbey keeping watch over the town below.

The train journey had been fairly arduous, a ten-hour affair leaving us tired, hungry and fairly cranky, but nonetheless we dropped off our bags and headed out straight away for food and a spot of sight-seeing. It was Halloween night, and couldn't have been more romantic - there was a light drizzle falling as we ascended the infamous stairs to Whitby Abbey (chili-spiced hot chocolate clasped firmly in hand) for an evening wander amongst the gravestones of St Mary's. We ended the day with a walk along the pier and a quick trip to Jumping Jack's, a 1950s-themed diner, for hot dogs and - in my case - an ice cream sundae as big as my head. Possibly my favourite Halloween ever, despite the utter lack of a costume!
The rest of our trip continued in similar vein - we missed one club night that we had planned to attend entirely because we were so intent on a conversation that we lost track of time - although I spent far too much money in the markets! Unfortunately I suffered a couple of migraines whilst we were there which meant we also didn't make some of the bands I had wanted to see, although I did scrape myself out of bed to see ten minutes of Alien Sex Fiend before I had to give in and return to the hotel. I was determined that I wouldn't miss them!

I loved how much the shopkeepers of Whitby contributed to the event - almost every stall and shop was selling some kind of Goth-themed product or had hung a 'Goths Welcome' sign; even the charity shops had decked out their windows with corsets, bustles and other spooky regalia. The restaurants were in on the act too; I treated myself to a bag of purple Whitby Goth Floss on the seafront and downed a Howling Goth Chili Burger at the Hatless Heron. My favourite place to go, however, was a lovely coffee shop called Sherlocks, decked out entirely in, well, you guessed it, Sherlock-themed decor. Beautiful and cosy! We had breakfast there one morning and for me it was a highlight of the trip!
Another highlight included fangirling over - I mean, meeting! - artist Anne Sudworth, whose work I've admired with all my heart since I saw a piece on her in a magazine. Not only did I buy myself an unframed print of her work 'Night' for my reading corner, but Dan bought me a copy of her latest book and she signed it for me and gave me a hug. I probably made an ass of myself and could only gibber incoherently for about half-an-hour afterwards, but it really made my day!

Music-wise, it was a delight to finally see the Fiend, but I also thoroughly enjoyed Mesh, Fangs on Fur, Inertia and Bad Pollyanna - I came home laden with their CDs. :-) Of course I had too much cider and danced badly - what would you expect? ;-D
In short, a trip definitely worth the taking, and I do hope that I will be able to go again in future. Also cannot recommend Dan more highly as a travelling companion, I enjoyed it all the more for him being there.

(P.S. I hope the images on this post are OK; I've used Tumblr as Google says I've reached my upload limit... oops.)


  1. Alien Sex Fiend! I'm getting to see them live on this Saturday for their 30th Anniversary in London at the Boston Dome. On the steampunk photo, you look nervous there. Most of all you certainly had a good time there.

    1. Oh great, hope you have loads of fun! What I saw of their show was brilliant, I only wish I could have stayed a bit longer :-)

    2. I sure did have fun that night. Same with me in time wise, I got to stay at the Boston Arms for 3 hours and 20ish minutes to the fact the tube shuts around that time, I wish I was there till the Aftershow part and see Now I'm feeling Zombified. Main thing is I saw the theatrical effects in my own eyes. The hissing fog machine, skulls, the mannequins with the red eyes and the doctor outfit with splattered fake blood and a doctor mouth mask and brutal screaming sounds. Nevertheless still a good night, drinking, buying merchandise and meeting a few people.

  2. That sounds lovely! I'm still dreaming of seeing Alien Sex Fiend live some day :3