When I first went to university in 1980, Goth culture was just beginning to emerge from Punk. Leeds in the UK was a key location in this with the March Violets, Sisters of Mercy and the Mekons emerging as leading roles. Rosie Garland was the leading female vocalist – I got to know her 1980-81 when she was stepping out with M. who aside from being a student, took care of a Boa Constrictor for a Working Mens' Club cabaret performer. I spent 1981-82 abroad and on my return, me and Rosie struck up – she was “Goth” but I certainly was not – but would go to March Violets' gigs, not out of a sense of duty/loyalty but because I truly enjoyed them (hey – when my school friends were listening to Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Genesis, I was listening to the Sex Pistols, the Damned, Motorhead, Capt Beefheart and Frank Zappa – oh , and the Bongo Dog Doo-Dah Band).
The March Violets split up acrimoniously in 1984. Me and Rosie acrimoniously split up in 1986 (another long story, perhaps another time) but she has now become my best ever friend.
So let us get to the point of this post ... the March Violets are doing a reunion gig in Leeds on 8 December. Details here.
Wrote this to Rosie last week.
“DEAR ROSIE (AND SIMON AND TOM)
Real shame I cannot be there ... went to the website and was most impressed especiallyas the first featured video was “Strangehead”, albeit somewhat dark and obscure (surely you can come up with a video editor who can digitally enhance it ... hey if you can send me the file I'll try and do it myself!).
Right off to my mercenary suggestions, for the gig at least ...
- Dedicate your new song, Long Dark Hair (which I haven't listened to yet), to all kids who lose their hair undergoing chemo/radio-therapy for cancer. If you want some images shout ...
- Donate x % of the gig/single to the Royal Manchester Childrens Hospital, Clic Sargent, Leukaemia Research Fund etc or people in Africa with cancer
- Raise retro and new Goth awareness of cancer and leukaemia ... cancer patients wear a yellow ribbon (as apposed to AIDS red ribbon).
- Donate x % of proceeds to supporting Kezia ... I have been very loath to start charity pleads/campaigns which many parents do. But given my USD salary met a 26 year low against the pound today ... Goths throwing coins would feel good!
I'm revolted by the Madeleine McCann campaign when there are so many children in the world missing, raped, child soldiers etc. Darfur, Rosie, is always in my mind ...
And Kezia's musical tastes are totally eclectic ... she dances to anything from Captain Beefheart's “Bat Chain Puller” to the March Violets to Michael Jackson's “Thriller”. So we would love a video or sound recording of the gig.
Who will play bass?
Make my daughter a Goth!
Rosie responded with this news:
thanks for your lovely, and timely message .. especially as it is so heartfelt!
I will certainly raise your suggestions with the guys in the band. It's not 'mercenary' at all!
The only thing which might get in the way is that there is a lot of awareness raising going on in the goth community right now about hate crimes against goths (a 20 year old young woman was recently kicked to death in the NW for being a goth) & so it might be difficult to be doing 2 awareness-raising/collection things at one gig, if you get my drift.. eg, people are wearing black roses for Sophie at the moment.
I do hope that doesn't dound like we don't care. It's just that a lot of folk out there haven't ever grasped the concept of hate crime, so there's a lot of work to do.
& I do agree with you about the 'Maddie' campaign. It grinds on and on.. and meanwhile people who aren't blond & cute get kicked to death in Bacup... if you want to find out more about this very new campaign, do go to: