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Short Chubby Goths

by Roger Young, images by Duran Levinson / 01.07.2010

I love short chubby goth chicks; the skinny ones are always so uptight and, if last Friday night at ROAR was anything to go by, a little punchy as well. Downstairs, in the Gandalf’s foose room, the walls are thick with the condensation of teenage defeats. The mallgoths and private school punks crowd around the edges of the dancefloor fist pumping to Die Antwoord and Fokof tracks, occasionally something older comes along, like a crap top twenty The Cure track and they sway, holding their jug specials, in what they imagine to be some sort of retro ironic knowing.

It’s not like I never danced ironically to the songs my parents told me remind me of their youth but it’s embarrassing to watch, so I move on, crawling upstairs to find that AB Turbo have started. I go down front to watch but they’re messy and I can’t get into it, so I go back to the bar to watch from a distance and silently judge them. The best things about AB Turbo are their drummer and Brett Allen-White’s hair. They’re the only two things that aren’t sloppy and all over the place. They play their shouty hard rock as if it’s rote, done, boring; even if they’re having fun onstage it’s doesn’t seem like they’re playing because of the music. By the time they get to that song they just made a music video of I’ve lost interest, mainly because I’ve discovered a pretty tall-ish non-goth who seems a little insane and is either going to kill me later in the alley or disappoint me completely. I glance over at another journo’s notes on the AB Turbo set, he’s going to be less kind than I just was, I feel relief.

In the queue to the one functional men’s toilet I overhear some dude saying: “You should have been here last night, we had to share toilets with the girls!” in some sort of awe. Clearly he never went to a co-ed school or has ever actually seen breasts. No wonder he’s emo. The staff at Gandalf’s are the people the mallgoths think they wish they could be; a kind of resignation on their faces as they serve you; somehow I get the feeling that they’re glad they need money so badly that they have to work here, rather than be bored and desperate enough to come here. Except for the longhair behind the wood bar; a thousand teen speculations must be made weekly about him and his over enthusiastic smiling maniac nature.

Captain Stu belt through their set, so tight, so good, except for James, the lead singer who stepped up to the plate after they lost their former lead singer nearly a year ago and still hasn’t actually stepped up to the plate. There is something in the accordion manner that the Stu’s bounce through their songs and around on stage that grabs me always, but James doesn’t pull it through, his voice is howly and doesn’t seem to have the punch to anchor it. It doesn’t really get in the way of Capt Stu’s rock-ish ska, but it doesn’t enhance it either. It’s all okay anyway because I’ve found a chubby goth who will be my friend and we sing the words anyway as we dancefloor fling ourselves about and I stare at her breasts.

Apparently there’s a pseudo gangsta rap song out there about people who drink at Gandalf’s every night, all the people who drink at Gandalf’s every night seem to know about it. But it’s like anything, the moment people are talking about the moment they’re in rather than being in it, I get suspicious, there is a sort of fake posy-ness to a large section of the crowd here, like a PG version of a proper goth dive. I spot the tall crazy eyed girl and I ask her if she’s going to hurt me and she punches me in the ribs, repeatedly. She looks like Constantia trash but she punches like Bonteheuvel royalty. And then I’m trying to work out if the two girls with identical peroxide blonde hair with a pink streak are sisters, lovers or just stupid.

Enmity just fuck with my head. They play the kind of music that I can’t stomach; yet I love them. I don’t know if it’s their total joy, the complete fun they’re having, Alaine’s multi tonal screaming or the paradigm shift it takes to process Chloe’s vocals along with the rest of the super technical metal-core shit they’re throwing out. James is then telling me off to the side about a “ball of thrush” he once discovered and I’m trying to find the punchy girl and somehow some other girl is punching me.

It’s getting late and the population on the dance floor is swinging toward reality; the kids are going home and the real trash is manifesting. There is a girl with a large breasts and a big nose who is squint in a really interesting way, she seems to be looking at my stomach and my left ear, the bar staff have become the customers and I’m liking and not liking this place all at once. It ends with samoosas, of course, and as I watch the one tattoo’d-to-the-hilt, well-scrubbed kid get into his mom’s Mercedes, I think to myself that these kids, they think they got all the answers, they just don’t know yet there are no answers, they don’t understand my envy but their confidence in their youth is all the genius they possess.

All images © Duran Levinson.

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