33. Romanticizing the Victorian era

March 7, 2024 21:53

Mood: Lazy

Listening to: To Bestial Gods by This Burning Effigy

Oh look it's been two years now since I began this website. Wowwwww. I'd like to truly thank everyone who has followed meeee, wowww it means the whooooole wide worldddd, this has changed my life for the better blah blah blah blah blaaaaahhhhh whatever. You get it.

This year has been a new high for me being into goth music. Now, over half of my top 100 favorite albums are under the umbrella. Trying to balance listening to all the new stuff I want and making sure I'm giving everything I've already listened to a good shot and memorizing what I'm into and stuff. So I would say in January this was my primary obsession.

In February Twin Tribes came to my city, and it became my top priority to go see that show. In order to do that, I was required to obtain a coveted plastic rectangle. I basically got ID the day before the event I think. And bought a ticket on resale. I cut it fucking close but I was able to see them and by extension attend my first goth-related event. (Thanks to my girlfriend who found the ticket for me, I would not have attended the show otherwise!!)

Later in the month, I went to a goth club for the first time. That was a pretty big deal for me. I didn't enjoy my time there a whole lot, even though the venue was cool, because I was really worried about getting home with the transit system and I mostly didn't like the music they were playing and there were too many humans. Want to go again when I don't have to worry about getting home and with different expectations this time. Basically, if I wasn't sure I was a goth before, I am now.

During February my primary obsession was architecture, especially in the Victorian era. It connects to my overall fascination with beauty and why I find some things more appealing and attractive than others. I know I like these buildings more, but why? What attributes define these styles? What sets them apart from what is being built today and around me?

The shift to modern architecture began in early parts of the 20th century. I generally dislike modern architecture. I don't know enough to claim that we shouldn't build like that, but I think at least some effort should be put into making the places we live in more pretty, and a part of that is the buildings themselves. Don't believe it's too much to ask for the world to be aesthetically pleasing. But obviously the first priority is to get everyone in housing, and eliminate the massive wealth inequality and classism.

My interest and affinity for these older-style buildings indubitably originates from their association with haunted houses and dark fantasy. And they came before car-centric infrastructure became the norm around the world. I admit I romanticize the period, but as we've discussed, I'm a goth, so of course I have to romanticize things.

Even so, I think most people can agree these buildings just look fucking pretty. I am drawn towards Victorian Gothic and Queen Anne style buildings, and enjoy ornamentation and detail. I feel really smart knowing so many terms now. Attributes I find appealing include asymmetrical fa├žades, wrap-around porches/verandas, balconies, bay and oriel windows (damn I love these), finials, dormers, towers and turrets (damn I fucking love these too, especially when they have steep slopes and taper to points), and Gothic elements such as pointed arches (which could be present in lancet windows and spandrels), window tracery, hood moulding, and clustered columns. Hoping to go to a used bookstore soon and hunt for books about this topic to learn more.

I love places that are narrow, small, or divided into parts. A building which takes up less land but is multiple stories is much more attractive to me than a building that is wide and a single story. And if you think about it, it's more efficient too, because say it has the same amount of floor space. That means you're getting the same amount of space in your building while also using land much more effectively, because you're building things more densely. It takes less time to walk past a building that is less wide, and it means you build things closer together, which makes it easier to get places. This doesn't mean we should build everything as tall as we can and have glass rectangle skyscrapers everywhere. I think it's a balance.

This goes for outside as well, because those are also places humans build. Trees are always good. Plants in general always make places look better. Trees specifically are tall, though, and they create a sense of enclosure outside that can be analogous to walls or even a ceiling, which makes places feel more like places with their own identity. None of this stuff is impossible and I feel like it's pretty easy to understand. Whoever is in charge of this shit just needs to do better. Until then I'll be busy absorbed in my own fantasies.

And speaking of fantasy, my most recent obsession which got its beginning in February but has blossomed in March is of the video game American McGee's Alice, released for PC in 2000. I very seldom play video games but this is a rare time where one really catches my fancy aesthetically and artistically. It's one of the million pieces of media that are based on Alice in Wonderland. In this one, it's a more grown up Alice and she's stuck in an asylum after her parents were killed by a fire in her home like a decade ago, caused by a mischievous black cat. Hee hee.

So she retreats into her imagination and Wonderland reflects her inner turmoil and emotions by being a twisted, dark nightmare. This concept is one I really like to begin with. So I really like the atmosphere of the game, the art direction, and the world, but what I especially like most is the music. I never expected to like a soundtrack this much. It feels really catered to me. The composer was recorded saying he needed to make it creepy, otherworldly, and not modern-sounding.

Hearing him list some of the instruments he used made something click in my head like. Okay this is an actual person that got real instruments that he found and presumably played them, or had someone else play them? And then recorded the sound to then edit and later put into the game. That is so cool. I'd like to accrue instruments to play with. One he pointed out was toy pianos, and I looked it up and it's like WOW this really is a sound that exists in the real world coming from this object!! I love the sound of them so much and after knowing what sound they make, I've become able to point out times where it's used in the soundtrack, and I realize how often it's used in the music by Pram. I love it because you find the sound childlike. It's coming from an instrument meant to be used by children. So when put in a horror or spooky context, it sounds creepy and gives music a quality I really love. I'd like to own one, as well as a theremin.

Wasn't expecting to type this much but that's what I've been into recently. One extra thing: a movie I found recently that I really loved is The Others. It's a gothic horror film. So yea gonna go back to immersing myself in creepy horror spooky stuff now byee!!

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