Where did you get the idea, and how did you start?
Well, I used to live in a small town where there were no other Goths which, looking back was a very isolating experience.
I put an ad in NME for penfriends and got over 150 replies!! I picked out about 40 and wrote to them religiously for
months, until I decided it would be great to meet them all.
Since it's original premier, how has WGW developed?
By this time I'd made some friends in Nottingham so we decided
we'd go up there one weekend and just invite loads of ppl along.
I guess it was like Chinese Whispers really!
Cos when I got
there - everyone couldn't fit in the pub and that was the only trouble we've ever had with the police. Drinking on the streets
is illegal in Whitby and they kept telling us off for standing outside - we couldn't all physically fit inside!!!
It's changed in SO many ways - obviously it's bigger.
What can you see as it's future?
It's gone from 200 goths in a pub to a twice yearly event that still doesn't
have enough room for everyone!! But more than that I'd like to think its put a whole new slant on Goth. I think Goth was self -destructing
through wallowing in its own misery and 'gother than thou' attitude .
I think Whitby was the kick in the balls the scene needed. Don't get
me wrong here, I'm not suggesting that I single handedly saved the Goth scene (ego tripping isn't my style) it's just the ppl that do come to
Whitby DO have a good time, they DO laugh and giggle and dance to Abba records and they spend less time worrying about their tiara being straight
and more time being buried in Sandcastles and generally having a good time.
I guess that's why I started the whole pink thing. I just wanted to people to know that it doesn't matter what you look like - it's the love
of the music and the scene that counts.
Well this is a difficult one - it's become obvious that Goths want the event to continue in Whitby but as it continues to grow this is
What's your room like?
The Halloween event had sold out by mid June this year so I put on an overspill event which will also sell out any
day. I don't consider an outdoor event to be an option after the disaster that was Dracfest in Whitby last year.
It was a good line up,
excellently organised and very well promoted but it lost an estimated 1/2 million quid!!!
I personally hate outdoor fetivals and I'm sure
many Goths feel the same.
So I guess unless the Spa gets a lottery grant for an extension, the event will spill into more and more venues around the town until
its like the Whitby Folk Week where there's a band on in every pub in the town!!!
Ha!! Funny you should mention that but I've just been quoted in a newspaper article as saying 'my room isn't painted black - even with a
100 watt light bulb you can't see a thing in a black room!!'
Any final thoughts? [Yes, the questions are in their original order - Marcus]
I mean in the past I have had the black walls, red velvet curtains and candles
but I'm getting on a bit these days!! I'm not saying I have Laura Ashley curtains but it's quite tame - do I get any extra points for
having two Rosetta posters up?
Just be yourself.
Bands must be falling over themselves to play at Whitby, how do you choose which ones will play? Is it simply a matter of popularity?
That's the one thing I can never understand about Goths - we're meant to be rebelling against normality
and 'daring to be different', yet 90 per cent of goths look exactly the same. Girls in Corsets and Plat forms and blokes in Jeans
and t-shirts. So just do what you want to do and be who you are!
I like Rosetta Stone and I like the Spice Girls and I don't care
what anyone thinks about that.
Well I usually book bands that I personally like (even though I never get to see any of them) and particularly try to include some
bands that have never played in the UK before.
Besides the 'usual' Goths, what sort of people does WGW attract?
Again without meaning to sound egotistical, I think a lot of people would come to
Whitby no matter who was playing, but I don't believe in being complacent, so I always try to book the best bands I can. Whitby
can only go so far due to its limited ticket capacity.
Eldritch wanted 50 grand to play, which is obviously out of the
question - I'd have to charge about 50 quid a ticket!!
I think thats just the thing - Whitby doesn't attract 'usual' goths.
Whitby seems to have developed a lot since the early 80's, this must be in at least part because of the gothic attraction to
I'd say about 70 per cent of the ppl that come are
regulars and they're a special kind of person - I'd describe them as the kind of person who'd be first to get up and dance at
the school disco - not exhibitionists, more like 'life and soul of the party types'.
People who get into the spirit of things.
The kind of Goths who shoegaze at their local alternative night probably don't come to Whitby!!
I get all ages from 2 months old to 70 years old. I think everyone that comes has some connection to the music as I specify that
it has no connection to Vampires - it IS about Goth music.
How has Whitby reacted to such invasions and to WGW itself?
It's been very difficult on the Public Relations front, but I think we've won everyone over.
Do people scream 'Freak' at you in the street?
It all got a bit heated in 1996 when
there was damage caused to the church and candlewax left on some of the gravestones. Rumour has it that Cradle of Filth had something
to do with it (and the rumours were abound before they became famous) but I don't know if they were even in the town that weekend.
The town councillor went on local TV calling the event 'sinister' and the local vicar was on the phone to me every other night.
It was at that point I had to disassociate myself and Whitby Gothic Weekend from the Vampire scene, otherwise the event wouldn't
have been allowed to continue.
These days the locals love us. (Touch wood) there's never been any trouble at the event. We bring around 1/4 million pounds worth
of trade to the town twice a year during out of season weeks.
Lots of shops and pubs put up signs saying 'Goths Welcome' amd
many have special window displays for us.
Maybe about 5 years ago!! I think the last thing I got called in the street was 'G.I Joe' by some kids outside the off
licence cos I was wearing combats and Dok Martins.
What are your favourite bands?
Not very exciting really - it's been a while since anyone shouted 'Oi Mortisha'!!
On the Goth front I tend to shy away from Growly stuff and enjoy stuff like London After Midnight, Siouxsie, Switchblade Symphony, Gene Loves Jezebel.
I've always rated the Mission higher than the Sisters.
On the non Goth front I guess my ultimate favourites would be Depeche Mode and Dead or Alive. I love cheesy and
typically gay 'hi-nrg' dance stuff, everything from Army of Lovers to Sash.
How many of those bands would you deny liking in public?
None!! See my above comments on being yourself!!
Are there any bands that you personally would like to appear at Whitby?
I've been known to decorate the Spa in Spice Girls posters! The
last album I bought was Steps!! Hey! I have no shame!!
I'd really like to have some Classic 80's bands on, but even Doctor and the Medics are looking for 2 grand these days!
Compare and contrast, April WGW and October WGW, in your answer you may like to include popularity, events and
anything else that you feel is relevant.
It would be nice to have someone like the Human League on just to give it a little more diversity.
Well the main difference with these 2 events is that October is always busier.
Do you ever find yourself just wanting to pack it all in?
I figure this is purely cos at Halloween it's
half term and the students are off, whereas in April not only are they at college, but they're coming up to exam time too. Obviously the
Halloween event is themed with fancy dress and best pumpkin competitions, it's difficult to find a theme other than Easter Bunnies for April!!
Y'know I was having this conversation with someone who also has quite a high Goth profile the other day (not fair to name them) and we
were saying how we both have days where we 'feel like telling every Goth in the country to fuck off'.
Do you remember 'Chorlton and the Wheelies'?
Perhaps this sounds ungrateful,
but people are very quick to judge and belittle something that takes a hell of a lot of work and I don't just mean Whitby here. Even
the smallest bands demo or the promoter of 'Keith Harris and Orville at Trumpton Village Hall' takes hours and hours of work.
I think you have to stand back and put it into perspective and think 'yes that person has really pissed me off, but there are a
lot of people out there who do enjoy what I do'.
The Goth scene is a political minefield and my main bugbear is the 'why can't everyone get along' line. So the ppl who make
this kind of comment have never fallen out or disagreed with ANYONE, EVER in their whole lives then? EVERYONE has people
in their life that they dislike or just can't see eye to eye with. It's life.
Only the title and that it was a cartoon - more of a Scooby Doo / Hong Kong Phooey girl myself.
The Goth scene in N Ireland is relatively new, do you have any cautionary advice for a fledgling alternative community?
Don't get involved in other peoples arguments.
The Goth scene's arguments/politics get inflamed by people who know nothing
about a situation sticking their oar in.
Also for some reason where large groups of Goths gather it all gets very incestuous.
Don't go there!!!!!
If you know someone's attached - keep out of it!!
There that's Top Mum advice for you!!