Sunday, November 10, 2013


PUNKS AND GOTHS continues...

With sole responsibility for three young daughters, the punks milling around in a mischief-inviting melee at the bus station had already stirred latent feelings of anxiety in my motherly breast. Mohawk haircuts, facial spider-web tattoos, black leather jack-boots and chunky jewellery in a menacing tumble of chains and swastikas left me feeling extremely apprehensive as I stepped off the airport bus at Gloucester Green that September. Was this moving to England a crazy idea, something I'd live to regret?

For months prior to our departure from Canada, James and I had suffered from heavy dollops of wanderlust, a subtle mind-infiltrating process that had stalked us with a persistence that we found hard to resist. As with thousands of others before us, its siren call proved irrisistible and we succumbed. Just ten years earlier we had departed South Africa for Canada – albeit for different reasons - and now after a decade in Canada we were on the move again.

Beautiful South Africa, sunny and relatively warm year-round, with a landscape that includes craggy mountains, deserted beaches that meander for thousands of miles along a pristine coastline, abundant wildlife and undulating wide-open veld, was for 35 years my home. Canada, equally dramatic, equally beautiful, modern, well organized with four distinct seasons and like its sister America, with possibilities lucrative and pleasureable for all those who care to use their imagination, was our home of choice. And now here we were in England.

Our plan; James and our son Michael were to stay on in Canada until January when Michael would rewrite his math exam. A pass was a requirement for his eventual admission to Sandhurst, England’s military college. The girls and I would head on over to England so that Melissa, Nicola, and Gillian could start the school term afresh in September.

And so I returned to the letter. “My daughter will be round to welcome you. You’ll recognize her by her black and red striped hair. She’s heavily into make-up and outlines her eyes with kohl. Jewellery usually comprises a black leather choker studded with metal. Her dress sense runs to long, and with her Goth leanings her attire is black.

Goths were a new phenomenon to me. In 1984 they had yet to make an appearance in Canada. I continued reading, but after a few minutes sensed that someone was watching me.

I turned. And yes, it was the Goth, and she was even more intimidating than her mother had described. Her face was chalk white, like that of a geisha out for a night on the town. Her lips were a startling vampire red. Her dress slipped seductively from a pale left shoulder. If I hadn’t read about her just seconds before I would have suspected imminent mugging by an exotic female thug….and screamed blue murder. Instead, I put out my hand and said calmly, “You must be the daughter. So nice to meet you.”

She smiled, but her eyes I suspected had picked up on my discomfort. “Just thought I’d pop in to tell you about the cat.” Oh yes, she’d intended to scare me, but her mother had pipped her at the post.

Billeted for the next two weeks in our red brick, dark eerie house we set about exploring our new environs.

In the sitting room occult books were scattered about. In our meanderings we discovered stuffed birds, beloved of Victorian wives, perched on branches brittle with age in dust-covered antique glass domes. In the low light their eyes glinted as they stared sightlessly into space. Soft- bodied puppets perched on chests and others dangled grotesquely - like the recently hanged - from hooks in the ceiling. Glassy-eyed, they seemed to watch our every move.
More to follow tomorrow...
Photo copyright Anne Gordon
Posted by Anne Gordon on Monday, 11th November, 2013.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home