So what’s started this drift back into the dark recesses of Goth? Well, I was talking to an old friend about the time I spent in Los Angeles. There were two little shops on Melrose Avenue, one a distinctly Goth shop (all bats, long black dresses and Alchemy Gothic merchandise) and one which didn’t look the part, but was definitely much more Goth in my mind. This was about twenty years ago (I don’t even have a passport any more) so I doubt that either of the shops in question are still there – not that it would matter much anyway, as my sieve-like brain has totally forgotten what either of them were called!
The former, more “traditional” Goth shop was on the corner of Melrose Avenue and a little side street (which again, I have successfully forgotten the name of) and sold a variety of men’s and women’s garments, stationery (I bought a lovely set of pale blue notepaper with an embossed border and matching envelopes – US sizes mind!), crockery, jewellery and assorted trinkets and baubles. It was all very much of a muchness and, with odd exceptions like the stationery, I didn’t feel that there was much there I wouldn’t find in my local Goth emporium back home in the UK.
The latter, though – well, what a revelation. It was further back down the street, over the road from some basketball courts and just looked like a fairly nondescript kind of junk shop. It was the coffee table constructed of wrought iron and a gravestone that gave the game away for me though, and it became my regular haunt for most of my three month stay in the City of Angels. Inside was a treasure trove of weird and wonderful – stuff.
It transpired that the coffee table also had a matching dining room set (I kid you not – the dining table was a mausoleum slab), there were old x-rays, Victorian surgical and trepanning sets, jewellery made from glass eyes and linen embroidered with human hair – it was heaven to a certain sad old Goth. I could very easily have bankrupted myself (especially on that dining table, I fell in love with it) but behaved remarkably well, settling for a Victorian gynaecologist’s set, some LA County Coroner stickers (which I immediately stuck on a variety of things), a bracelet with a glass eye set into the top and a pendant made of a mouse skull with onyx set into the eye sockets. There may have been something else, but I can’t remember now. If I do I’ll edit this post.
Because I haven’t been back to LA for so long, I genuinely have no idea if the shop is still there, but in the event that it is – and in the equally unlikely event that I win the lottery between now and the great hereafter – that dining table is mine.