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Bulletin - 24th February 2006

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How to recognise a Goth

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Photo of Dunja Brill

Dunja Brill will catch up with her old Goth friends in Brighton ("some of them proofread my thesis!") when she comes to graduation.

Most people's idea of a Goth might be of a pasty-faced, sullen-looking teenager dressed head to toe in black - with a morbid taste in music and a penchant for the Dark Side. Sussex postgraduate student Dunja Brill, however, paints a brighter picture to that of the stereotype image - which should come as a relief to parents, if not to Goths themselves.

The Brighton Goth, according to Dunja, has a healthy sense of humour, is intelligent, eminently employable - and partial to a bit of pink in his or her wardrobe.

Dunja, who graduated with a doctorate in Media and Cultural Studies today (24 February), researched and compared Goth lifestyles in Brighton, Edinburgh, Berlin and Bonn/Cologne as part of a deeper examination of a youth subculture that has become an international phenomenon.

She says: "Goths have an unfair reputation. They might not like me saying it, but the Goth lifestyle, unlike the Punk scene, is a middle-class subculture. Those who remain as Goths into their thirties are usually holding down pretty good jobs."

Flamboyant and with a positive attitude to life, Goths can be flamboyant and fun-loving too, says Dunja, and she pays particular tribute to the Brighton Goths in her study.

Dunja says: "British Goths are less pretentious than the German ones. As Brighton is not such a big city, the Goths all know each other and it's pretty friendly. There are different types of Goth, and the Cyber Goth look is very dominant in Brighton. Cyber Goths are into robot looks and technology, but they don't take themselves so seriously. Brighton's Cyber Goths like adding a bit of pink to their wardrobe - a colour that's usually anathema to black-clad Goths."

Dunja used to be a Goth herself, although it was the music rather than the dressing up that attracted her at first - she was once in a Goth band called Lie Still. Now, her ambitions are more in the academic line, and she hopes to get into academia back in her native Germany.

Meantime, Dunja will catch up with her old Goth friends in Brighton ("some of them proofread my thesis!") when she comes to graduation.

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