for the crowd

Journey to the Centre of the Goth
January 11, 2009, 1:58 am
Filed under: Anecdotes, Opinion | Tags: , ,

Aw, isn’t it sad that my first post of the year is about Goths. 😦 Ha ha ha. Etc. This is a semi review/anecdotal piece about Edmonton’s Goth club, New City Suburbs. If you’ve ever been interested in attending the ‘Burbs, or are looking for fresh perspective, then it’s your lucky day, homeslice.

suburbs, yo!photo by sfllaw (under this license)

Okay, so I tend to view the Gothic subculture in Edmonton as being comprised of members who all inhabit the same universe of dark clothing and musty places. I’m not talking about people who have a Gothic taste in things – bats, maybe skulls, antique furniture and red roses, or just people who dress in severe, classic lines of black. I’m talking about the ones who throw themselves into a subculture in order to belong; it seems to me to have little to do with personal tastes or preferences but more like a demand to hold a certain viewpoint, dress with a certain (but manufactured) flair, and to sometimes demonstrate a certain lifestyle. If it makes you happy then that’s cool, but that isn’t really my thang.

To me, nearly every ‘Gothic’ store in Edmonton feels the same. Cramped, overheated, reeking of incense, and filled to bursting with overpriced clothes in polyblend fabrics that claim a price tag with a ridiculously high number on it. Why anyone would spend over a hundred dollars on a poorly-made polyester dress (which may or may not be put together by children in Asia) is really beyond my understanding. Still, I’ve always been intrigued by the subculture itself, at one point in my life (high school, yo!) even wanting to become a part of it, and usually failing. (I may have been a misfit, but I was a misfit generally unaccepted by most of the other misfits.)

Last night, my friend and I wanted to go dancing, and I finally went and dove into one of the larger pockets of the Goth Dimension, called New City Suburbs – two floors of Gothic hell. Oddly enough, this friend of mine – a good Christian girl who willingly attends Church and is a rarity among self-admitted Jesus Freaks (you wouldn’t know she’s so devoted unless you try to do something with her on a Sunday) – has been to Suburbs quite a few times. So at least I had a semi-reliable escort.

I became very distraught as we approached the crowded-with-smokers entrance. “I don’t want to do this! They’re all… Goth.” I was pushed unconcernedly inside. So much for friends and their famed understanding. Inside revealed itself to generally be the nightclub version of those clothing stores I mentioned, but it wasn’t as glamourously BDSM as I had expected. Instead there was an eclectic mix of partiers, but most of them subscribing to the ‘stranger’ style of dressage, though there were a few ‘normal’ people hanging around. I guess the best way to describe it would be… you know those really low-budget vampire flicks? That’s where the vampires get their victims.

Like every other club, Suburbs attracts people who dress in a certain code – with pubs the girls are in jeans, in nightclubs the girls are in scraps of cloth that pass for miniskirts, and thus with Suburbs black was the dominant colour. Still, I can’t count how many boys I saw in baggy sweaters, loafers, and knit caps, let alone girls in a similar costume wearing gigantic glasses with the lenses missing. And it was like most other clubs to me, where someone spilled a drink on my nice jeans, I was knocked into repeatedly by the same drunk girls who whirl around in circles thinking that they’re not doing anyone any harm, and I was pawed a few times by the same sweaty overweight boy (apparently he stood behind me as I was dancing for awhile, leering, and then grabbed at me, and pretended to have done it by accident when I turned around. Then he put his arms around my friend and I as if he wanted to dance with us; I said ‘no’ and pushed him away. Then about ten minutes later he tried to get me to dance with his friend; I said no again, I was already dancing with someone. Then after that whenever he tried to walk across the dance floor, he’d put his hand on my shoulder as he went by in a fake ‘oh, excuse me’ kind of way. Note to men: I don’t care what you look like, acting like that towards a girl is never cool, all right?).

I went upstairs to get a drink near the beginning of the night, because I was dying of dehydration. I asked for a coke. The bartender gave me a gin and tonic (how the hell does that happen?). Loathe to waste a good drink, I had to find someone to give it to rather than give it back to the bartender and demand something else (also, I was driving and wasn’t drinking anything alcoholic). Then I went to try the bar downstairs. I picked one bar that appeared to have a smaller lineup, manned by a girl. She was one of the worst bartenders I’d ever seen; there were people clustering all around the bar, holding money up in plain sight, and what did she do? She paid attention only to the section of the bar right in front of her. She served about ten customers in the time I stood there, all people who were in that one metre-long section of bar that she kept returning to. I don’t understand it; bartenders make most of their money via tips, and her tip jar was understandably pretty low. Possibly she was a new employee, but still, she had to catch on sometime, right? Eventually I stalked back to the dance floor with the resignation that I’d just collapse of dehydration sooner or later. Of course, the third and last bar that I tried had fast, friendly service, though unfortunately in the last drink I had of the night I sucked something solid up through my straw, and when I spat it out it revealed to be a very small fly that had probably dived into the ice well earlier in the night. Joy of all joys, right? It’s a good thing I’m not squeamish.

Now that all makes it sound like it’s a lousy club and I wasn’t having a good time – on the contrary, I danced a hella lot with my friend, and besides a few incidents there was a minimal amount of people leering, and absolutely no men sneaking up behind me to grind themselves against me. I even ran into someone I knew, which was a pleasant surprise. The music was the music I like to dance to; mostly electronica and techno, and sometimes with popular songs really low in the mix so that you had to listen carefully in order to catch it. The DJ’s (I think there were three of them, all told) seemed pretty young to me, and there were a few glitches during the night and sometimes the pacing was pretty bad and sometimes cranked to a halt (it’s not a good thing when half the dance floor is standing there for over thirty seconds, looking unsure) and one of them liked to dance around and milk the crowd, which kinda got annoying, but I was there to dance, not be entertained, so don’t take my word for it. People were climbing on the stage to dance around and were really getting into it, unlike the clubs where DJ’s are locked in a little booth or shoved into a corner.

Surprisingly, for such a big club, on the first floor there appeared to be only one ladies room boasting two stalls. Also, one of the stalls was out of order. That means that during the night, if you have to go to the bathroom you’re screwed when that one drunk girl takes up that working stall while she’s puking. And who likes putting unnecessary strain on their bladder?

Anyway, based on all that, I can’t tell anyone whether it’s a good club or a bad club, since everyone is looking for something different. Of course, I urge anyone who is interested to go out and experience it for themselves. Cover charge was eight bucks, fyi, and that was for a Friday. I don’t know whether to complain about that, since bars’ll usually have the cover charge to stop their drink prices from climbing, but with the new laws requiring a minimum drink price, I really don’t know how the economics are playing out. Also, water came in bottles and thus they charged you for it ($4) instead of just giving you water for free in a glass, and that might be a factor in your enjoyment of the night. Personally I just order pop and then eat all of the ice cubes. Or drink my friend’s water, harrharr. That might be cheap, but at least I’m a notorious tipper.

So that’s all. For now. Hopefully this post was of some help/amusement to… anyone, really.


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