"Apply the heat that gently turns,
My sickness in to health."
Not all goths are created equal. According to Howard. Picture Howard as the Elder Goth. One who sires other fledgling goths. Like in those vampire shows. Howard was always talked about in revered tones by kids in the years above me at school. And teachers would say to me, "Oh you must know Howard, he’s a goth too".
Can’t remember how or where I finally met him. But in the summer of 1988, Howard used to turn up at my front door every couple of weeks. Under cover of darkness, of course. Head to toe in black. And always with a tape for me. Usually something by Clan of Xymox or Cindytalk. Fully approved goth bands to his ears.
On Howard’s sliding scale of gothdom, I was a mere demi-goth. I had made the cardinal sin of listening to Fields of the Nephilim, which knocked off loads of goth points, apparently. But I clawed some back by owning most everything on 4AD at the time – though I never quite understood what was so ‘goth’ about that label, as the majority of their bands seemed more influenced by the Velvet Underground and Tim Buckley.
We quickly fell out of touch after that summer. Finding Belinda Carlisle in my record collection was probably the final insult to Howard's pure-bred gothic sensibilities. I like to think he’s still sitting on his throne of molten Nephilim albums, seeding plans for the next gothic uprising. If he’s been reading this blog, somehow I don’t think I’ll be invited.