- Format: Paperback
- ISBN: 978-1-5261-7676-9
- Pages: 744
- Price: £14.99
- Published Date: October 2023
This is the first comprehensive history of goth music and culture. John Robb explores the origins and legacy of this enduring scene, which has its roots in the post-punk era.
Drawing on his own experience as a musician and journalist, Robb covers the style, the music and the clubs that spawned goth culture, alongside political and social conditions. Reaching back further into history, he examines key events and movements that frame the ideas of goth, from the fall of Rome to Lord Byron and the Romantic poets, European folk tales, Gothic art and the occult. Finally, he considers the current mainstream goth of Instagram influencers, film, literature and music.
The art of darkness features interviews with Andrew Eldritch, Killing Joke, Bauhaus, The Cult, The Banshees, The Damned, Einstürzende Neubauten, Johnny Marr, Trent Reznor, Adam Ant, Laibach, The Cure, Nick Cave and many more. It offers a first-hand account of being there at the gigs and clubs that made the scene happen.
One of Resident Music's Books of the Year 2023
'This exhaustive book shows why the dark side is not dead and buried.'
'Gloriously knowledgeable and inclusive, rich with words like crystalline, lysergic, spectral, and stuffed with stories about the bands who changed your life as a teenager.'
'A feast for fans of the subculture'
'John Robb brilliantly illuminates the realm of imagination and dark beauty. Enter the other side of love. The kingdom of goth is within you.'
'An encyclopaedia of excitement - thanks to this book goth is undead.'
'John Robb has written the definitive book on a scene that demands to be celebrated. Fascinating, thoughtful, surprising and freakishly detailed.'
'John Robb is an inexhaustible fact finding music sleuth, a sturdy writer and trustworthy guide'
'I could not stop reading about the birth, death and ghost of goth as it poured out of this extensively researched panorama of goth music and culture. Connect the dots, do that dance. while wearing black, of course.'
'This is a glorious book, exploring Gothic from its historical roots to the cliches, caricatures and catcalling of the present age. The music, dance and fashion are sumptuously brought to life, but more than that, Robb manages to take us into the psyche, fantasies and imaginations of a plethora of fascinating goths. The go-to book on all things goth.'
Janina Ramirez, author of Femina
1 Floorshow: a night out at the heart of 1980s goth
2 The fall of Rome
3 Deep in the forest: Europe's Gothic history
4 'Mad, bad and dangerous to know': the Romantics and the Gothic imagination
5 Euro visions
6 The devil has the best tunes
7 Paint it black: the dark heart of the psychedelic sixties
8 All the children are insane, or people are strange: the (un)holy trinity: The Doors/Velvets/Stooges
9 Wham bam thank you glam: the dark side of glam rock
10 Proto post-punk
11 The punk wars
12 'What was once unhealthily fresh is now a clean old hat': post-punk to a very Public Image
13 Spellbound: Siouxsie and the Banshees
14 Feel the pain: The Damned
15 Ridicule is nothing to be scared of: Adam Ant
16 New dawn fades: Manchester and Joy Division
17 'The wreckers of western civilisation...': industrial music
18 'I must fight this sickness... find a cure': The Cure
19 The naughty north and the sexy south
20 All we ever wanted was everything: Bauhaus
21 Lord of chaos: a dark and beautiful playground: Killing Joke
22 Release the bats! Nick Cave
23 'I am not avant-garde I am a deserter': Blixa Bargeld, Einstürzende Neubauten and the reinvention of Berlin
24 Voodoo idols: the ballad of Lux and Ivy
25 First, last and always: how post-punk Leeds created goth and The Sisters of Mercy
26 Vagabonds Bradford: New Model Army and Joolz
27 Flowers in the forest: Southern Death Cult
28 Wanted dead or alive: how Liverpool opened the doors to a new (North) West Coast sound
29 Do you believe in the westworld? Theatre of Hate
30 A new form of beauty: Virgin Prunes, Dublin: how Lypton Village changed a nation
31 'Good poetry can still resonate louder than a thousand guns': Rammstein for grown-ups: Laibach
32 At the gates of silent memory: Field of the Nephilim
33 Darklands: how the dark energy infected indie
34 'We sing to the gods to be free': American Gothic and the dark art of the American dream
35 Trans Europe Express
36 In the flat field, suburbs and satellite towns: the second coming of goth
37 Apocalypse now! Goth's end days
John Robb is a journalist, broadcaster and musician. He is the author of Punk Rock: An Oral History (2006) and the founder of culture website louderthanwar.com. He plays bass in the post-punk band The Membranes.