London Goth travel guide: Camden Market Gothic Punk shops, Cyberdog clothing & Slimelight club.

gothic fashion, goth modeling, alternative models, goth boy, goth male hairstyles, mohawk

As much as I travel, I can’t be everywhere in the world at once. Thankfully, I have a crew of Pirates who sail through dark waters, gathering alternative coverage for you!

Read on for John Skeleton’s gloomy London adventures, and an announcement about Naomi’s deathly Portland performance. We start with Sir Skeleton in Ye Olde England…

gothic lolita clothes london, goth fashion shop, sai sai, goth dresses london, goth england

The city of fog – London. I certainly wasn’t disappointed when I disembarked at Heathrow Airport to find a town shrouded in mist and a persistent rainfall that chilled me to the bone… I had finally arrived in the birthplace of Goth music.

Regardless of whether one considers London to be the home of Goth, it most certainly is the home of the Gothic – literature, that is! And it was the castle of Horace Walpole (1717-1797), the author of the very first Gothic novel, that I was headed. St. Mary’s University and Strawberry Hill were presenting “Gothic: Culture, Subculture, Counterculture,” a two-day academic conference, and I was set to give a presentation on my research of the Japanese underground scene.

strawberry hill, walpole castle, st mary's university, gothic architecture london, uk goths, london goths

Tucked away in the borough of Twickenham on the shores of the Thames River, Strawberry Hill is an elaborate example of the Gothic revival style that Walpole himself helped to initiate. With its exterior walls, arches, and crenellations recently repainted in their original pure white, and much of its intricate interior painstakingly restored, who could ask for a better setting for a dark summit?

Strawberry Hill House, twickenham, Horace Walpole castle, london gothic revival, england gothic architecture

Topics ranged from The Castle of Otranto and Dracula to Marilyn Manson and Sopor Aeternus, covering literature, architecture, film, music, and culture. My own paper covered my work on the Japanese subculture, and how participants use body modifications and other subcultural capital to define and negotiate their cultural identities within this underground scene.

In the evening, I took a tour of the castle, absorbing the historical atmosphere and later taking our dinner and wine in the famous long gallery, replete with gold gilding and Gothic tracery.

highgate cemetery, london gravestones, goth cemetery, graveyard, gothic tombstones

While in London I decided to do some sightseeing as well, taking in some splendid artworks at the Tate Modern museum. And how could I resist taking a stroll through the famous Highgate Cemetery?

highgate cemetery tombstones, gothic graveyard, dracula cemetery, london uk burial ground, old tombstones

(Established in 1839, Highgate inspired the setting of many dark novels, including Stoker’s Dracula and Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.)

cyber dog, cyberdog rave shop, rave clothing store, camden market stores, st paul's cathedral

(Contrasting the Gothic splendor of St. Paul’s Cathedral with the colorful rave boutique, Cyberdog.)

camden market punks, camden market, goths, london punks, england goths, goth travel tips

Of course, a trip to London wouldn’t be complete without a stop in Camden Town, the one-stop-shopping destination for those who embrace alternative fashion. (Photo by babi; all other images by John, unless noted.)

cyberdog, camden market, london, cyber clothing store, rave fashion, cyberdog shop

Camden Town is jam-packed with tattoo/piercing shops, Gothic fashion boutiques, and of course, Cyberdog, a veritable department store of cyber-tronic gear for Goths who aren’t afraid to glow in the dark. (Photo by skene)

slimelight, london goth club, uk goth party, slime light london

Before hopping on the plane, I knew there was one place left to hit up: Slimelight, or “Slimes,” as it is affectionately known by the locals. My friend Wendy, a veteran of the London clubbing scene, was kind enough to guide me to the venue, which at first glance is nothing more than a large, old industrial building, if it weren’t for the crowd of ebony-clad darklings loitering outside the entrance.

london gothic nightlife, slimelight, london goth parties, industrial clubs

The club itself has been in existence since the 1980s. The interior is somewhat labyrinthine, split between multiple floors each with its own dance floors and bars. There were rooms for “trad” (traditional) Goth music and for the more EBM/industrial-oriented beats. After catching the last half of Mexican aggrotech duo Hocico, by chance I met up with some old friends from the Tokyo Goth scene… it truly is a small world! The crowd was an eclectic mix of Elder Goths, Cybergoths, and Industrial types — it was a pleasant and amicable atmosphere despite the various genres of music and fashion represented. After a hard night of dancing it was time to leave the city of fog… but hopefully not for long!

portland goth, portland goth parties, deathclub, oregon goths, gothic events, skull drawing

Now let’s teleport to PDX. My First Mate Naomiyaki is doing a live drawing performance this Sunday, at a Portland Goth club. She writes:

Last year I was invited in hushed tones to a mysterious venue for Deathclub, an event on the final day of each month. I found myself peering in on a Butoh performance that faded into some of the best Goth mixes I’ve heard since the last time I was in Tokyo. Since then, the night has featured aerial acrobatics, unthinkable performance art, and, for one sweet moment, even an improvisational theremin jam. All of this is regularly bracketed by DJ Entropy, who excavates strange tracks around a solid musical theme for each night.

On March 31st, I am proud to announce that I will be live drawing at this month’s Deathclub (the illustration above is a taste of what to expect!). My performance will be alongside DJ Entropy’s tribute set to Pop Will Eat Itself. The event is strictly RSVP only; join the event on their Facebook page or email events {at} thesteepandthornywaytoheaven.com — entrance is $3 and there is a cash bar featuring theme cocktails.

whitby gothic weekend, uk goth events, europe goth festivals, whitby goth fashion, london goth music festival

Have you explored Portland or London’s Gothic scene? Been to Slimelight or Cyberdog? What are your favorite UK haunts?

I haven’t been to England in years; I hope to be back soon. Perhaps for Whitby Gothic Weekend

  • Jenny

    Love Camden Market

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      me too

  • Camden Town

    nice!

  • ladyflower

    Representin’

  • Pixi

    YES!

  • MelissaR

    I LOVE those old graveyards! Great photography :-)

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      Graveyard photoshoots are the best.

  • Lucrezia Fausti

    Amazing trip! *_* I want to go to London now!

    http://www.facebook.com/loveandstuds

    http://www.loveandstuds.it/

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      London rocks!!

  • Charles

    Great piece, there was also a vampire sighting in Highgate Cemetery that inspired the movie Dracula AD1972

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      Cool!!!

  • pedro

    thanks for you live…

  • Claire

    is amazing reading i love it

  • John

    That’s my London neighborhood!

  • Ali

    Ahh too cool!

  • Romeo

    Squeee! :-D

  • Alan

    Awesome snaps. Truly talented mate.

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      yay

  • Zoe

    Nice L)

  • Suz

    Strawberry Hill is wonderful, and after years of neglect the restoration has finally done it proud!

  • Cyberdog UK

    Thanks a lot! Great blog :)

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      thank YOU

  • Elephant

    (^∇^)

  • Chriz

    Glad you enjoyed it here. Growing up as a London goth was nothing short of awesome. Shame it’s so damned expensive in the city these days…

  • naruhime

    Cyberdog has got to be one of my favourite Camden shops, I love their Ts!

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      John got one of their Tshirts during his visit! I must go back…..

  • Sashie

    My friend yazz works at cyber dog XD

  • James

    NICE :)

  • Ana

    Wow love! It will help when I visit England

  • Heather

    I’d definitely add FairyGothMother corsets. Her work is fantastic and globally known within corsetry circles

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      I will check her out!

  • Larry

    This is the best Goth UK guide i’ve found on google!! Thanks!! I Will go to the Slimelight club.

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      Take me with you!!

  • Eric

    Great style and different.

  • Dan

    nice . Your Tokyo recommendations last year were top notch

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      Thanks to John!!

  • Andrew

    How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      awwww

  • Nala

    you said it.

  • Soli

    (*^-^)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=835773065 Katie Martin

    Hello! I’m one of the Cyberdog dancers and I’ve just moved to Tokyo :) So if you see a brightly coloured British girl dancing enthusiastially in one of Shinjuku’s alternative clubs, please come say hi!

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      Welcome to Tokyo!! I hope you find my Goth cyber club and shopping guides helpful (links are on my sidebar). Let me know what you think of the city and clubs!!!

  • http://www.themadcatlady.com Barbarella Buchner

    First time I went to Slimelight was in 1987. Last time I went there was in 2003 (before I moved away from rainy London to tropical Lanzarote). Yes, I´m one of the ORIGINAL GOTHS (since 1982)! Well, I´m more of a rainbow goth now, but hey, we can´t wear frilly black lace forever. ;)

    • http://www.lacarmina.com/blog lacarmina

      I bet Slimes was amazing in the 80s!! Wish I can go one day!!! xoxox

      • http://www.themadcatlady.com Barbarella Buchner

        Slimes has *always* been amazing. It must be one of the best goth clubs on this planet. I gave it a break during the early 90s, you know when you go somewhere *all* the time it gets boring, but started going again in the late 90s, until I moved away from London in 2004. I really do miss it sometimes!

  • http://www.themadcatlady.com Barbarella Buchner

    I wonder if the toilets at Slimes are still as “legendary” as they used to be? You tell me!