Friday, September 21, 2012

The Louvre

The Louvre needs to be set up something more akin to Disneyland: maybe with a hotel on the premises and a week-long pass available. I think at the very least some kind of 1/3 price ticket should be available that lets you just see one section of the museum (like just the paintings, or just the Egyptian goods, or just the statues...) I think it was the first museum where I ever actually started to become frustrated at finding MORE COOL STUFF. The brain cannot take so much in one day. Hell, even my camera couldn't handle it -- it ran out of batteries taking snapshots of so many things!

Some highlights:

Just be sure to mind the pickpockets (you will find signs all over the building about this. Paris is actually kind of a nasty place.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Saint James Infirmary

Well I went down to the Saint James Infirmary,
And I found my baby lying there.
She was stretched out on a long white table,
So sweet, so cold, so fair.

Let her go, let her go, God bless her,
Wherever she may be.
She can search this whole wide world over,
She won't find another sweet man like me.

When I die, put on my straight-leg britches,
My box-back coat, and my Stetson hat.
Put a twenty-dollar gold piece on my watch-chain
So all the boys will know I died standing pat.

And give me six craps-shooting pall-bearers,
Let a chorus girl sing me a song,
Put on a red-hot jazz band;
We raise Hallelujah as we go along.

Well folks, now you have heard my story.
Pour me another shot of that booze,
And if anybody should ask you,
Tell them I've got the Saint James Infirmary Blues.

This famous song -- amazingly kind of a traditional folk melody of the US -- has been performed by many different artists. Below, dressed as Satan for no obvious reason, is a young Danny Elfman having a go at it.

The song seems to be based upon this old English ballad about a man who finds his friend dying of venereal disease:

As I was a-walking down by St. James' Hospital,
I was a-walking down by there one day,
What should I spy but one of my comrades
All wrapped up in flannel though warm was the day.

I asked him what ailed him, I asked him what failed him,
I asked him the cause of all his complaint.
"It's all on account of some handsome young woman,
'Tis she that has caused me to weep and lament.

"And had she but told me before she disordered me,
Had she but told me of it in time,
I might have got pills and salts of white mercury,
But now I'm cut down in the height of my prime.

"Get six young soldiers to carry my coffin,
Six young girls to sing me a song,
And each of them carry a bunch of green laurel
So they don't smell me as they bear me along.

"Don't muffle your drums and play your fifes merrily,
Play a quick march as you carry me along,
And fire your bright muskets all over my coffin,
Saying: There goes an unfortunate lad to his home."

Nevertheless the American version seems to be the standard nowadays. Here's a few minutes of a rather good jazz band I caught in Edinburgh, Scotland, playing it out on the street. They are called TJ Muller and the Dixie Six.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Mulan Drinking Game

Okay... so a drinking game to a Disney movie is arguably not very Goth. Let's just point out that Disney hosts Bats Day and that you can drink this while sipping some suitably spooky beverage like Blood or Absinthe or Tea Caudle.

Mulan is one of the final movies of the Disney Renaissance. It is based on an old Chinese poem about a woman who went into the military in place of her old father and little brothers. The movie is of course Disnified and has weird elements like a talking dragon voice by Eddie Murphy thrown in to be more 'hip.'

Now... this is actually the best drinking game to a film I've done. It's got a small enough number of imbibe moments that one can usually remember them, and they are all for just one drink so there's no confusion about how many sips or chugs this or that requires. Here are the moments:

  1. Shan-Yu's hawk screeches (repeat the screech and drink)
  2. Characters pour or have tea (drink)
  3. Nudity (drink)
  4. Ancestor spirits on screen (drink)
  5. End of the Tung Shao Pass sequence (drink)
  6. Chi Fu on screen (drink)
  7. Characters cross dressing (drink once for each character. Mulan only counts for one drink, when she first set out for war.)
  8. Shang takes off his shirt (drink)
  9. The Emperor says something that sounds wise or mysterious (drink)
  10. Mushu says something stupid (drink)
  11. Musical production number (drink)
Interesting fact: Shan-Yu's falcon is called Hayabusa. I just learned this from Wikipedia.

Anyway, since Mulan is a generally agreeable film to most of my friends and since alcohol makes an evening more fun, the Mulan Drinking Game has occupied many an evening with my friends. You can try it yourself and see.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Power of Black

Depressing when frequently worn, black can negate the wearer's personality. Of all clothes, black should be cleaned or aired more frequently because it absorbs and emits negativity.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

And Since I Am Dead, I Can Take Off My Head...

(Originally from Metafilter):

Walking down Zürich's Lindenhofstrasse, you might stop in surprise by a relief depicting two men and a woman, draped in gauzy robes, each one calmly carrying their own severed head. There is no explanatory sign. Don't worry, though: Felix, Regula and Exuperantius are just the city's cephalophoric patron saints.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Blog Catalogue of Guest Posts

In an effort to attract new friends, Gothica Gothique sometimes blog posts for others so as to spread the gospel of gloominess (or not.) Here are a few past guest posts that have been done -- perhaps you've even been acquainted with them before or were brought by one of these very articles.

5 Ridiculously Morbid Works of Art - at Stripy Tights and Dark Delights.

As you can see, two of the three relate to the food and gothic homemaking aspect of this blog. Gothic culture can be discoursed upon from so many angles -- the music, the fashion, the writing, the art -- but the homemaking seems to be a common topic of interest for myself and other bloggers. Perhaps it's that it needs to be done every day. Perhaps it's that it requires more activity from the doer than, say, listening to music. Who knows? Nevertheless it's clearly a subject I like to go on about.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Faux Bangs

I usually go more for the Victorian/Edwardian hairstyle looks myself, but I recently started learning about faux bangs and think I might have a go at them sometime soon. I have herd they're usually made with a hair rat but here's a video tutorial I found for how to create them with just hairspray and pins.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Make a Wish with Marie Laveau

There is an old tradition in New Orleans, if you ever make your way to the St. Louis Cemetery #1.

There is a tomb in front of which one often sees offerings of flowers and candles, and the structure is covered over with X shapes scratched or drawn on the walls. This is the tomb of the famous Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.

History -- written largely by whites who didn't approve of her practice -- has claimed she began as a hairdresser who learned secrets about her wealthy clients, and passed herself to them as a fortune teller and magician. Recent scholarship finds no evidence of her having been a hairdresser, and instead it appears she married, and was subsequently widowed, at a young age. She then took up with a man descended from French nobility. She was apparently left fairly well off by her gentlemen, and either for fun or as public service began pitching her Afro-Catholic Voodoo practices to the public. Her public Voodoo Dances became a tourist destination, and to this day shops in the city promote themselves by using her famous name.

Voodoo believes in not just life after death, but also that the spirits of the dead will be able to assist you in your worldly affairs. Marie Laveau became a popular spirit to request for help. The tradition is that you draw three Xs on her tomb and make your wish, then leave an offering for her -- however, the owners of the tomb now discourage the markings being made. It is recommended instead to just leave the offering with the wish. One man who claimed to be a descendant of Laveau recommended that one go to her tomb and promise a certain amount of money be paid upon her granting of the desired outcome; the money could be donated to a Catholic church.

Actual money is a traditional gift to leave on graves in hoodoo rites, but for a popular tomb like Laveau's, you would probably not want to do this since cash likely to be seen and taken by other visitors; perfume and alcohol are other traditional presents, and can be poured out in front of the tomb or splashed onto it.

Marie Laveau never worked cheap when she was alive, and her services are probably even more in demand now that she's dead; so be sure leave her a nice, substantial gift if ever you want her services.
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