About the Author
Pete (on the left) and his brother Mike in a kitchen some time around 1983.
Pete in 2014 (DJing to an audience of pot plants at the British Library)
Pete Scathe was born a long long time ago in a music scene far far away.
Suffice to say I was a teenager in the late 70s and early 80s, which pretty much coincides with the rise of Goth.
I was living in Portsmouth, on the South Coast of Britain. Although it could hardly be regarded as a hip and happening place, it had its fair share of goth bands play there, including Sex Gang Children, Alien Sex Fiend, The March Violets (twice!) and the Sisters of Mercy. It was also reasonably close to London, which certainly was hip and happening.
As far as I can remember, I first became aware of goth bands via John Peel's radio show. I was into "alternative" bands in general, and goth bands were simply part of a wider scene that involved bands such as Joy Division, (early) New Order, Fad Gadget, Killing Joke, The Chameleons, The Birthday Party, Cocteau Twins, Rudimentary Peni and so on. Bands such as Danse Society and Play Dead fitted perfectly into this wider post-punk scene, and at no time did I ever care about whether bands were "goth" or not. It just happened that a sizeable percentage of the bands I liked were bands who would later be tagged "goth", and somewhere along the line I moved from a "monochrome punk" look to a "goth" look.
It helped that being skinny was a positive advantage in the goth scene, and that an extended goth mohawk added about six inches to my height (many drunken goths had long conversations with the top of my mohawk).
I liked the music, I liked the look, and I liked the people.
The early years of the goth scene were brilliant as far as I was concerned.
In 1984 I moved to Bath University, where I had a great time (which didn't help my degree studies).
In 1985 I went to Sheffield University, where I had a horrible time (which didn't help my degree either).
In retrospect, I think one of the reasons I didn't enjoy Sheffield so much was that my time there coincided with the death of the original goth scene. Most of the bands I liked had either split up or gone in directions I wasn't keen on, and the original goth scene was giving way to Goth Rock. As readers of my Later History of Goth can probably fathom, I was never a fan of that genre. By the late 80s/early 90s I had moved back to Portsmouth and virtually given up on the goth scene. Although every now and again a goth band would come along whom I liked, the dominance of such bands as Nosferatu was enough to put me off the scene as a whole, and most of the bands I liked were bands with a gothic edge to their sound rather than goth bands as such.
However, by the mid- to late 90s I'd got back into the scene, and in March 1997 I started up a goth night in Portsmouth, Resurgence, which ran until its venue closed in 2016, though I still run another both night, Possession, in Bournemouth. Around the same time as I started Resurgence, it struck me that there was no one reliable source on the early history of goth online, and in a moment of madness I decided to write one.
I currently make a living from DJing alternative nights in Portsmouth and Bournemouth - not goth nights, I hasten to add, it's well-nigh impossible to make a living from goth DJing in the UK. Fortunately I have a fairly broad music taste. I also have a broad range of interests, including medieval history and collecting 18th century periodicals.
I'm also very, very bad at answering emails, so apologies if you're one of those legions of people who've emailed me about the site and never got an answer.