In the company of Neil Atkinson and some good friends from his 'Moments in Time' photography club * I visited the 2017 Halloween Whitby Goth Weekend for the first time - a Whitby Goth Virgin Voyeur!
Goths young and old, human and non-human (well a dog actually), had been joining the train since Darlington. Arriving at Whitby itself the atmosphere was amazing: amiable, anachronistic anarchy as the Goths promenaded, to see and above all be seen.
All styles served here. Many had spent ages on maleficent make-up and elaborately embellished, discerningly designed, carefully chosen costumes. Vampires vied with Victoriana visions, girls of glamour mixed with mature mesdames, whilst on the fringe Batman and the Predator featured.
All genders gathered here too, some dazzlingly delightful, others disarmingly different (and still uncertain after a second or third look). In a sense that was part of the point, not just celebrating diversity but pushing the definition of diverse beyond the limit.
Not only did they look good, they were good at looking. Some would assume their own set pose as you approached them, some just looked. The eyes certainly had it, set in startling surrounds and sometimes disconcerting through creepily coloured contact lenses. Some were gifted with presence, all were generous and good-humoured in pausing and posing for pictures.
Carried away with the spirit of the day I did many a double-take when, for example, a Romantic Goth suddenly spoke out in a broad Yorkshire accent, or a Vampire settled for a bitter instead of blood.
It was an exceptional event. I was impressed with the elegant eccentricity and conventional unconventiality of the costumes. For an oldie like me surely shades of Von Bek and Cornelius, or Gormenghast.
But whatever, it was serious fun!