30 November 2015

What I Learned From The Berlin Goth/ Alternative Scene

January will mark 3 years of accomplishing our dream and moving to Berlin. There is so much to tell about the life here, but I have decided to share some observations and lessons learned from the alternative/ goth scene, since it´s basically what we came here for.

Ever so varied and absolutely nothing like in Israel (or anywhere else), this is what Berlin´s squats, parties and gigs have taught me:

1. Reminder: you have 20 events coming up this weekend

Berlin is exhausting. Good luck choosing from 5 different parties, 3 gigs, 2 birthdays, 4 other possibly cultural events every. damn. weekend!
And don´t be surprised you don´t see you friends regularly.
And bring a gas mask because each pub or club has no ventilation whatsoever so you either learn how to convert cigarette smoke into oxygen, or die, or go home. But the third one is not an option!!

2. Nobody gives a damn about your appearance

I thought WGT is already behind us, because you are not impressing anyone with your hair extensions, shaved eyebrows, latex corset and New Rock boots (unless they are stomped out completely and are the only shoes you possess, along with an obligatory torn band t-shirt, which is ok, gives you that post-gothapocalypse look).
Consequently from nr. 1 on this list, nobody has the time or energy to doll themselves up too much for each party. Most people will wear basic clothes, with some stockings max.
Of course, there will always be some Deathrockers  who would sport a head-to-toe old school look, but they are rare and travel in packs (if they are not late to the concert already from all the prepping-up).
Basic clothes include:

  • Band t-shirt, preferably falling to pieces
  • Combat boots, new or old, it doesn´t matter, You have them- the dancefloor is yours.
  • A vintage piece, thanks to Humana, a chain of super cheap second hand stores we all love.
  • A really cool hair due that goes well with everything and needs little to no styling.
  • A belt, but no more than 2 in one outfit.
  • Some type of gothy makeup, but one that doesn´t look like you´ve been sweating over it.
picture by Krousky Pictures
3. If a party costs more than 5 euros, it´s not worth it

Not to mention squat prices (3-5 euro mostly). Everybody is broke in Berlin, and so are you, or you can pretend to be. Parties for 10 euros? Ok, how about putting me on the guestlist for that one.
As well as:

4. Knowing the good and bad venues

How to tell if a venue is good? Here are some positive-venue-experience qualities:

  • You can sneak your own drinks in, without having to buy an overpriced, disgusting beer (like Berliner or Becks, lord have mercy on us)
  • They have mexikaner shots, preferably for 1 euro/ shot.
  • No incidents of harassment, stealing, sexism, racism, homo/ transphobia occure (with a bunch of stickers on the bathroom doors to remind you how to behave).
  • Gender neutral bathrooms are always a plus

5. Here come the snotty hipster goths

Perhaps my favorite part in the Berlin goth scene is the diversity of events and happenings, making the subculture seemingly broad, or at least various.
Which is why with a bit of time and hanging out, one can easily orientate between a number of "layers" the scene has to offer. This include: 
  • Fancy mainstream goth parties
  • Cheap squats with gigs and cheaper beer
  • Expensive fetish parties
  • Minimal synth parties with music that seems likable in Berlin but sounds absolutely horrific
  • 80s parties where old people are likely to be seen
  • 80s parties where younger people are likely to be seen
  • Post punk gigs
  • Post punk gigs with bands claiming they play something else but end up sounding like Post Punk or worse
  • Snobbish hipster goth parties with a love for trendy Tumblr music and Tumblr people
  • Queer goth parties with wonderful music and atmosphere
  • Some more minimal synth/ minimal wave parties leaving you thirsty for guitar music that will never come
and the list goes on, depending on your music tastes, budget, hangeout, morals or lack thereof.

6. have we met before?

To shatter your and mine provincial expectations, despite the wonderful things listed above, the scene in Berlin is actually not big at all. Sure, there are a lot of possibilities to do your thing, more than 2 people that will come to your gig or party and stores or flea markets where you can expand your rare record collection. But you probably know most people, or at least you see familiar faces in different hangouts; everybody dj-s at everyone else´s party, everybody plays in everybody else´s bands, etc etc. 
Expecting that the scene would be an engine to get your career moving is a no go as well.
And you realize that even in other European countries there will always be the same people who organize parties, festivals, gigs, etc.
So speaking form a more global perspective, the goth scene is indeed small, but we might just enjoy it as it is, contribute as consumers, artists, creators and friends, and not save on the hairspray.

I hope you have enjoyed this post! You are welcome to share your experience with subcultures in big cities you know, or share your own expectations of places famous for their alternative style.

N. Finsternis

17 November 2015

Wedding Pictures

They´re here! We married on the 6th of November with Boris! By far the most pleasant bureaucratic procedure that we´ve faced in Germany.

Fun Fact: Boris´s insanely talented mother sewed both our dresses. We provided her with the measurements and the exact design each of us wanted. I wanted nothing more than to wear a simple, Morticia Addams inspired dress. Boris went for the middle ages.

Fun Fact #2: whenever in queer spaces, for example the pub where I weekly read Tarot, when we would tell a person we are getting married, they would ask if one of us is German, or rather- if we are getting married for the "documents" (must be a typical reason for getting married in the queer community). This cracked us up each time. 

Us and our families. My 16 year old brother rocks.

Fun Fact #3: We married on the 6th of November, and became 9 years together shortly after on the 10th.

Us and our Dearest ♥

N. Finsternis

16 November 2015

Recent musical discoveries

While I am still waiting for our wedding pictures, which are taking an unsettling long time, here is some of the music that has been inspiring me lately.

Also, you might notice the new blog design. I thought bringing some hipster to the front could be nice, I got tired of the old school goth *gasp!*.

Regardless (or not?), if you are in a dreamy, bittersweet mood, you have come to the right post.


I am going to see them again this month, as their gig this Summer has had me transfixed ever since. I love how soft they sound on the recording, and how surprisingly heavy and even more psychedelic they sounded on stage. I just can´t wait for the gig!
It´s not a really "new" music discoverie, but I just wanted to share this band again.



So what I did was to click on a bunch of suggested similar bands after listening to a couple of songs of The Underground Youth on YouTube (my favorite way of discovering new music), and I discovered Cigarettes After Sex. In a similar dreamy-shoegaze fashion, this band is all about atmosphere and a bit of sadness, nice for spending quiet afternoons at home (PS they do claim to play in the genre of "slow motion", can´t say no to that).

To be honest with you I am surprised I actually like this kind of music, I would normally consider something like this to be too vague or plainly overdone (I despise shoegaze of course). But I ended up listening only to these guys recently.



Clicking on to the next recommended band, and I ended up spending an entire evening (most of which consisted of preparing for a night out) with an entire album by Wild Nothing. It left me very content and carefree!
This band is a sensible combination of The Smiths and The Cure. And I would normally smirk at the emulation of the two in this band´s music, but they are just so damn good, you have to try!

Should I make this a regular post series? Would you like to discover new music with me?
Let me know and please do share bands that you think I would like, especially if they are contemporary and have some kind of post punk influence.

N. Finsternis

10 November 2015

Beginning of 2000 goth

We´ve only been this far, haven´t we? It is hard to sum of gothic fashion of that time, since already in the 90s the subculture began to split music and style wise, taking influences from Rave, Metal etc.

But for me, beginning of 00s goth means heavy black/red eyeshadow, thin/no eyebrows, long black hair in 2 colors and possibly with dreads, and pretty much any outfit out there, as long as it involved bell bottoms and cut out gloves.

from Back To School video by Deftones

Why should you give a fuck?
Because this is an appreciation post! 00s goth marks the time when goth will soon be confused with emo; or when metal goth began; and when the stereotype of goth as we know it came to haunt our gloomy everyday life.

In this style, the common "long black hair" got embedded into every babybat´s first step in the goth ladder, and thin eyebrows as the first beauty rule. Funny that people still dress like this even today when they first come across the style and want to try it out.

Queen Of The Damned

 This was also the time for goth models to become more popular. One of my favorite goth models will always be Wednesday Mourning. She has a very old school charm, has no tattoos or piercings and was very inspiring for me in my babybat years.

The Wave Gotik Treffen began to attract attention more and more since the end of the 90s-beginning of 00s. One of my favorite source of inspiration (and jealousy) in my babybat years was Viona Art´s website, especially her WGT galleries (the early 00s were especially my favorite). Unfortunately, last time I checked the galleries were brought down.
This picture is a dream for me ever since:

There is a huge variety of styles from the beginning of the millennium in the goth subculture, tell me what are your favorites, or the ones that make you most nostalgic :)

N. Finsternis

1 November 2015

Halloween Face

I ended up reading Tarot cards again for Halloween, but didn´t stay for long as people came mostly to get drunk and the pub was so packed nobody paid any attention to my table. My eyes began to sting from the cigarette smoke at some point and my vibes were pretty much gone. But it was a nice evening nonetheless. I had plans to go to a party afterwards but gave it up for Penny Dreadful and beer at home. Boris was away for a gig in Lodz to it was not fun going out without him.

Kind of went for a classic goth look, I love my red eyeshadow which does not look like it should through the camera. It is very pigmented and makes perfect for a sick, beginning of 00s goth inspired look.

Some 19 year old self inspirations going on here
One does not simply not take a Myspace selfie with this makeup/hair. I looked up 90s hair tutorials and really wanted to try these pigtails out, it´s the closest to pigtails my hair can get, plus I had no energy to tease my hair when it´s this long.

Hope everyone has had a more interesting Halloween than I!

N. Finsternis