Autodidact: self-taught


The Blogging Goth

by V. L. Craven

The Blogging Goth Banner

The Blogging Goth is an incredibly well-written site about Goths in the media, be it entertainment or the news. It’s mostly based around the UK scene, but speaks to Goths everywhere. And it’s definitely the best long-form Goth blog I’ve seen.

Tim Sinister, the man behind The Blogging Goth, kindly agreed to answer some questions.

When/why did you start your site?

I launched The Blogging Goth as a Tumblr blog in August 2011. It’s now running on its own domain at

I’m about to graduate as a Journalist, and as I said back in my first ever update, the plain is “to combine clear-eyed Journalism with the intricacies of one of the world’s oldest musical and social counter-culture movements. The Blogging Goth will report the news being generated within the Goth scene, as well as providing a contact for media enquiries into the Gothic culture.”

Rather than a ‘zine, or a personal blog, TBG is based on professional news values and objective writing wherever possible. It mainly started up as a counter to the mainstream press’ frequent misunderstanding of the Goth subculture, and the somewhat skewed opinion they got from interviewing Goth ‘representatives’ who had no idea about good public relations!

Not to criticize them of course, but the intention is to offer other journalists and conventional news organizations a sensible and informed source for commentary on a vibrant, long-established but ill-understood subculture.

What sort of subject matter do you cover?

The Blogging Goth is aimed at writing contemporary news reports of Goth-relevant issues – we’ve discussed academic studies into the culture, reported on alternative-orientated ad campaigns, promoted charity events and increasingly covered the rising issue of violence directed towards alternative culture.

We’ve excelled in this field so much that we’ve been asked to contribute to other news sites – I wrote a guest article for on the recent introduction of Hate Crime Monitoring for unprovoked assaults on alternative fans in Manchester.

How frequently do you update?

As The Blogging Goth is known to provide multimedia updates, and the area of news isn’t too broad, we’ve elected to go for a monthly update at least. Occasionally we’ll respond to breaking news with succinct updates, and we do maintain an active twitter account – @TheBloggingGoth

What would you like to achieve with it?

We’re already doing what I want! People are really excited by our updates, and to see our stories shared and commented on is achievement enough!

Being asked to contribute to mainstream news websites is a great accolade, and we want this to increase more than anything – the Goth subculture needs good representation in these days of alternative hate crimes, and we certainly hope we’re doing a good job of that.

Do you create all of your own content, if not where do you find content?

We’re in a unique situation where the content we create is usually to cover someone else’s work! We’ve been invited to video-blog (v-blog) the Whitby Gothic Weekend and we’re currently processing our latest update – which includes interviews with both headline acts! We’ll mention really exciting new music releases, and discuss some of the more amusing or worrying reporting on Goths in the mainstream media.

We go out and find stories, then create our coverage of them.

Is there anything else you’d like people to know?

We are always looking for contributors! The Blogging Goth isn’t just a one-man show – certainly I don’t want it to be. If you’re willing to get behind our standards on reporting, and you’ve got an idea for content, then we definitely want to hear from you!

Tim, I love your site and thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!


And thank you, readers, for reading this interview. If you know of any blogs that would appeal to goths, please leave a comment!


Last Minute Gifts for Techy People

by V. L. Craven

Before you go mad buying electronic gift cards for the people you either missed out or simply have no clue what to get (or as a little extra something for the geek in your life) check out these apps and services.

Apps for Windows

Apps for Mac

Premium Web Services

Mobile Apps

iOS Apps

Android Apps

Also, see my posts on cloud storage space and mobile productivity apps .

If you’re looking for games for your gothy/geeky friends, you may try:

Apps for the Darkly Inclined (part one)

Apps for the Darkly Inclined (part two)

And here’s one I haven’t yet tried, but looks right up my street.

Little Inferno for the Wii or PC

It’s dark. It’s twisted. It’s by three indy game developers who don’t even have an office.

And it’s $15 (DRM-free) for Windows versions. You can also sign up to beta test the Mac or Linux versions.



Every Day is Halloween

by V. L. Craven


Well I live with snakes and lizards
And other things that go bump in the night
Cos to me everyday is halloween
I have given up hiding and started to fight
I have started to fight

Well any time, any place, anywhere that I go
All the people seem to stop and stare
They say ‘why are you dressed like it’s halloween?
You look so absurd, you look so obscene’

O, why can’t I live a life for me?
Why should I take the abuse that’s served?
Why can’t they see they’re just like me
It’s the same, it’s the same in the whole wide world
Well I let their teeny minds think
That they’re dealing with someone who is over the brink
And I dress this way just to keep them at bay
Cos halloween is everyday
It’s everyday

O, why can’t I live a life for me?
Why should I take the abuse that’s served?
Why can’t they see they’re just like me
It’s the same, it’s the same in the whole wide world

O, why can’t I live a life for me?
Why should I take the abuse that’s served?
Why can’t they see they’re just like me
I’m not the one that’s so absurd

Why hide it?
Why fight it?
Hurt feelings
Best to stop feeling hurt
From denials, reprisals
It’s the same it’s the same in the whole wide world

© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

**I’ve changed the name of the song in the title, because the correct wording is ‘every day’, meaning each day, rather than the actual title of the song, which is ‘everyday’ meaning commonplace.


The Goth Bible

by V. L. Craven

After years of denying being goth I’ve finally accepted it. Yes, I’m as goth as a bat orgy in Transylvania during a full moon on a Friday the thirteenth in October.

They say the first step is acceptance.

Then I became interested in the goth culture and picked up The Goth Bible by Nancy Kilpatrick, which is an excellent overview of the history of the sub-culture, as well as the sub-sub-cultures. (Apparently, I’m industrial goth.)

Like many books by members of non-mainstream cultures, it was be a bit self-congratulatory at times, but overall it was full of interesting information and trivia. Quotes will be added to the Non-Fiction pages on the left side of the page…eventually.


Mad Monster Party

by V. L. Craven

My last tattoo was Tim Burton-esque, and my tattooer recommended Mad Monster Party, a stop-motion film released in 1967.

What a trippy, fun time.

Dr Frankenstein needs someone to succeed him upon his retirement, so he calls a weekend-long party/conference to choose his successor. Included in this group is Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde, the Invisible Man, Frankenstein, Dracula, a werewolf, the Mummy, the creature from the Black Lagoon and other monsters. Also invited is the doctor’s nebbish nephew Felix.

Dr Frankenstein is voiced by Boris Karloff and Frankenstein’s mate is voiced by Phyllis Diller. I cannot tell you how fantastic that is. There’s also Dr Frankenstein’s helper, Yetch, who is based on Peter Lorre. The impression was so well done I was surprised to learn the character wasn’t voiced by Lorre himself.

And my tattooer was right about the Tim Burton connection. According to Wikipedia:

The stop motion cute/ghastly look of the creatures in this film was very influential on Tim Burton’s Vincent, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride; in particular, Burton creations strongly resemble the little monsters seen in the Stay One Step Ahead number.

And the end was a genuine surprise.


Apps for the Darkly Inclined (Part 2)

by V. L. Craven

More games for long lost Addams relatives:

Dark Meadow: The Pact
This is my first horror-action game.I’m not a huge fan of killing monsters–it’s repetitive and boring–but the graphics and atmosphere make up for that so it’s enjoyable thus far. We’ll see how it goes.


Dead Runner
You’re running through foggy woods from something scary by tilting your device. There are three modes–distance, points and chase, where you can also control your speed. It’s great for when you have a few free minutes. The atmosphere is top-notch, with trees, bushes, gravestones and other things I have yet to get to because I’m not great at the game yet.


This is a side-scrolling platform jobbie of which Edward Gorey would be. You’re guiding a Victorian pram across the rooftops of London, trying to avoid nefarious types. If you hit something, the baby comes flying out. It’s brilliant.


Run lil dude!

Nosferatu: Run from the Sun
Another 2-D side-scroller. This time you’re a little nosferatu trying to get home before sunrise. It’s ridiculously difficult to get enough coins to buy power-ups,but it’s a fun little game nonetheless.


Van Pershing Gothic
You’re Van Helsing (wait… I mean, Pershing) and you’re just trying to get through a cemetery without being done in by skeletons, vampires and Frankenstein’s monster. You know, the usual of a Saturday night. Luckily, you have an arsenal of weapons that would make John McClane weep. The ‘Gothic’ version of the game is heavier on the black, red and white, whereas the non-Gothic version is in colour, though the gameplay is the same.


200 Weird Death
What it says. A small collection of odd deaths throughout history. Many I’d heard of, but a few recent ones that I’d missed somehow. It’s free and provides perhaps an hour’s worth of macabre entertainment.


Spooky spooky spooky

I’ve only recently downloaded this one, but I’m thuper looking forward to it. I shall report back. It’s billed as being an interactive way of reading some of Poe’s work. I can only hope they wind up adding all of my favourite stories.


And a Bonus! For the Steampunk people!

Jump o’Clock

You’re a little robot, trying to make your way up the inside of a clockwork thing. The graphics are fun and the little sparks you make when sliding down the wall are cute.


Apps for the Darkly Inclined (Part 1)

by V. L. Craven

After receiving a Walkman for my twelfth birthday, I was never without it. Then came discmans, which were a pain to cart everywhere, but it had to be done.

And then came mp3 players. Sometimes I think about time travelling back to my younger self, showing her months’ worth of music on something smaller than a cassette player and blowing her mind.

At the same time, I’ve never cared for phones. People call and interrupt your thoughts and expect a response straightaway. My most recent mobile answered calls and that was it. I could also send texts, something I did roughly ten times a year at most.

Music players were supposed to play music. Phones answered calls.

Then my mp3 player finally died and the next in the line was one of those touch screen jobbies that does everything.

I scoffed. I would only be using mine to listen to music, thankyouverymuch.

So now I’d like to tell you about the best apps I’ve found for the darkly inclined among us.

This post is about hidden object games on Big Fish Games , which (if they’re good) combine interesting plot, characters, incredible artwork and atmosphere. Big Fish Games offer a trial period, then you can unlock the complete game. I’m not including the titles I tried and chose not to unlock. The majority of their hidden object games are wonderful, but occasionally a stinker gets through.

I have played and recommend:

  • Death at Fairing Point
  • Doors of the Mind: Inner Mysteries
  • Enigmatis: Ghosts of Maple Creek — This one was particularly immersive and is one of the best I’ve played thus far.
  • Haunted Hotel: Lonely Dream
  • Haunted Hotel II
  • Haunted Manor: Lord of Mirrors
  • Shiver: Vanishing Hitchhiker

  • Snark Busters & Snark Busters 2 — while not Goth, they’re very Alice-Through-the-Looking-Glass and quite well done.
  • Twisted Lands: Shadow Town
  • Weird Park: Broken Tune

These are only so-so:

  • Awakening: Moonfell Wood — The graphics were nice, but the controls could be needlessly fussy. Tapping on an object didn’t work so you had to work out where they wanted you to tap around the object.
  • Empress of the Deep — The map was far too sprawling and the hidden object scenes were nearly impossible. I didn’t hate it, but I won’t play the others in the series
  • Mirror Mysteries — This one didn’t have much in the way of narrative–it was pretty straight-up finding things. The atmosphere wasn’t as creepy as I’d’ve liked.

These had the potential to be great, but failed in one way or another:

  • Haunted Legends: Queen of Spades — I got stuck at one place and restarted the game, thinking I’d missed something out. When I got stuck at the same place, I used a walkthrough and did everything in the order prescribed. And still became stuck in the same place. Others didn’t seem to have this problem, so it’s up to you if you’d like to give it a go.
  • Redemption Cemetery: Curse of the Raven — This one wouldn’t load on my iPhone, but I’m playing it on my computer.
  • Stray Souls: Dollhouse Story — At what have must been the end of the main story the game crashed. This meant I could not play the bonus content included in the collector’s edition. Still, it was worth the money for the gameplay I did have.

I’m currently playing and enjoying:

  • Dark Dimensions: City of Fog
  • Dark Tales Edgar Allan Poe’s Black Cat
  • Dark Tales Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder in the Rue Morgue — Enjoying the hell out of this one
  • Haunted Halls: Green Hills Sanitarium
  • Macabre Mysteries: Curse of the Nightingale
  • Maestro: Music of Death
  • Mystery Seekers: Secret of the Haunted Mansion
  • Nightmare Adventures: The Witch’s Prison — I’m not sure if I’m going to finish this one, as it’s ludicrously difficult. The storyline, artwork and atmosphere are excellent,though.
  • Shiver: Poltergeist

My To-Try List (I’d love to hear from people who’ve played any of these)

  • Gravely Silent: House of Deadlock
  • Mystery of the Ancients: Lockwood Manor
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Twisted Lands: Insomniac


Next up: Non-Big Fish Games!


…As I Pondered, Weak and Weary

by V. L. Craven

Since it’s the beginning of October, I thought I’d tell you about Dahlia Jane.

Dahlia Jane is a warped young woman who likes creepy things, black and white stripes and keeping a blog.

For Dahlia Jane every day is Halloween.

Her site is Upon a Midnight Dreary . It is a blog devoted to all things gothic and macabre.

She posts about gothy clothes , decor and clothing the Addams family would love, goes to art shows , special effects exhibits and other great places like Alcatraz . Then she writes about it and shares it with us lucky people.

I’ve purchased several things she’s posted (my wallet does not thank you, Madam) and love being able to virtually visit places I’d never be able to on my own. It was her post about Dearly Departed Hollywood Tragical History Tour that led me to Six Degrees of Helter Skelter. I have no strong feelings about Charles Manson one way or another, but the documentary was still excellent.

And she has a countdown to Halloween on her blog. Year round.

So you should go there and be delighted.


Just in from BBC News…

by V. L. Craven

The Last Goths of Tashkent

Goths in Uzbekistan are being targeted by police for a variety of non-crimes; including desecration of a cemetery, which is complete rubbish as Goths love cemeteries. We’d never desecrate one.

Some are considering moving to other countries. It makes those of us lucky enough to live in the West grateful for being able to wear what we want. Yes, people may think we’re freaks, but we’re (hopefully) less likely to be arrested to no purpose.

It’s a damn shame about the goths of Tashkent, too, because they are several shades of attractive. You can live near me any time.



by V. L. Craven

We had an agreement dude


If it Works, Don’t Fix It

by V. L. Craven

This has been around awhile but it’s still hilarious.


Dreary Sacrilege

by V. L. Craven

This week the awesome blog Upon a Midnight Dreary posted about an art show at the Congregation Gallery in Los Angeles with a Sacrilege theme.

I particularly dig the skull piece at the top left of this photo:

Skull Sculptures are Awesome

And I want these skeletons to dance at my funeral:

Other pieces I’d proudly hang in my house:

Satanica Naturalis by Corey Benhatzel

Superless Messiah by Yvette Endrijautzki

The Profane Blessing by Corey Urlacher


Gliese 581c (a.k.a. the Goth Homeworld)

by V. L. Craven

Thanks to Cracked, I’ve recently learned about Gliese 581c .

From this article.

Of the limited number of planets where humanity might actually be able to live, Gliese 581 c is the closest. But don’t think that means it looks like Earth. Assuming it could sustain life, here’s exactly what you could expect:

The planet orbits a red dwarf, so the sky would always be a bloody crimson. The red light wouldn’t just make you feel strange; it would affect all vegetation, forcing every plant to attain photosynthetic energy from the infrared spectrum. The tangible consequence of that is that every plant would look pitch black.

You would also wake up each day to a perpetual state of twilight. That’s because Gliese 581 c is so close to its star that it doesn’t revolve anymore; one side of the planet always faces the star, and one side stays in darkness forever. The only place where you or anything else could survive is on the narrow strip between the two where the temperature is just right.

And with one side of the planet always hot and one always cold, you can expect some strange weather patterns, with gale winds perpetually surging from the hot to the cold side every day, along with permanent torrential rain, because there are no seasons.

So to summarize: red skies, black plants, gale winds, never-ending twilight and a step too far in one direction could lead to either freezing to death or incineration.

And yet, rather than tiptoeing around that planet and looking for life somewhere a little less terrifying, we’re doing our best to wake up whatever nightmare might be living there already. In October 2008, we sent a message from Earth directly at Gliese 581 c, and it should reach the devil planet around 2029. Then, presumably, misfortune will infest our souls for eternity, but think of how much it will teach us about space!

I had to look up information about the message that was sent: (Bolded bit mine.)

More than half a million Bebo users had got involved in the competition for selecting the messages, and had uploaded their messages onto the social networking site. Several celebrities were also involved in the project, including Sir Patrick Moore, Deborah Meaden, Gillian Anderson and pop band McFly.
…The message also included images of notable landmarks, such as the London Eye and Edinburgh Castle, and of famous people, such as Hillary Clinton, Cheryl Cole and Richard and Judy.
… A senior astronomer from the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence Institute in California, Seth Shostak, had observed that it is unimportant whether the aliens who might receive the messages would understand them.

If anybody’s out there and they find that signal, they at least know that… there must be a planet with some pretty clever things on it.
—Seth Shostak

If I were an intelligent lifeform twenty light years away and I received a message including Richard and Judy, the chief thing I would learn from it was that I needed to head twenty light years in the opposite  direction.

[While I was caught in the gravitational pull of Wikipedia I also learned about the types of planets:

  • “rock giants” mostly of silicate.
  • “cannonball” planets of solid iron.
  • “gas dwarfs” mostly of helium and hydrogen.
  • carbon-rich “diamond worlds”
  • purely hot “ice VII worlds”.
  • purely “carbon monoxide worlds”.]



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