Gothic Cruise 2008 – October 17th

Friday was the last night of the cruise and another “Fun Day At Sea” because the ship was steaming back to Orlando Florida. The last Gothic Cruise event was a rock concert in the Amber Palace featuring Red Flag, a synthpop band which has become popular with the dark industrial and goth crowd. I’ve never heard of them before the Gothic Cruise but I don’t follow Industrial music except for Skinny Puppy. Most of that kind of music is only released on compilation albums and you don’t check out the individual artists if you are lazy. So apparently Red Flag has been around since 1984 without ever making it onto my radar.

Fortunately nobody challenged me as I entered the Amber Palace for this concert. I was kind of worried that they would. Chris Reynolds, the singer for Red Flag seemed disappointed in the reaction from the audience. He tried to get people to stand up, called on CombiChrist for help, and made sarcastic comments like “This is music, people” and pointed out the melody in the song. I thought that was hysterical. Later on someone at our dinner table said it sounded like he was doing karaoke to his own music. I think his music just relied on more technology than was available on his Macbook. He did mention that his vocals needed some reverb and his musicians were playing to a track. CombiChrist’s drummer was seated in front of me to my left and saw him take some of his famous arms length photos that he uses on his blog. I must say that he writes lengthy blogs with plenty of photos so he must be the most prolific blogger in alternative music. The Red Flag singer is 40 years old and he must have felt self conscious about his age because he mentioned it but several people shouted out that they were older. I may have been the oldest person in the room but I wasn’t going to shout that out. I could identify with Chris Reynolds after that.

At dinner after the show some people began to dress down and wore regular street clothes. I drank two glasses of wine which may have had some effect because I was more aware of my tendency to stare into space afterwards. There was a farewell party on the Lido Deck just like the Bon Voyage Deck Party on the first night. Several people wore white bath robes over their gothic outfits. There were two Carnival Cruise bath robes left in my room as a gift but I did not touch them because there was not enough room in my luggage for something that large.  Before the party began there were some normal people playing bean bag toss right where the dancing would take place and they were not in a hurry to leave. I sat next to a black family who seemed very amused by the party.

My dinner companions, Sam and his wife were there but they were not dressed for the occasion so they mostly just sat and watched. I shot a lot of video and some photos. I was especially interested in capturing the dancing on video when they played my favorite songs like Rammstein’s “Amerika” and Skinny Puppy. Zaida talked about her plans for the next cruise so I recorded that to play back later.

The next morning I videotaped the Disney cruise ship Magic as we docked at Port Canaveral. I spent the entire day Saturday sitting in airports waiting for my flights. I did allow myself to eat at Burger King when I got hungry. I did not get home until late at night but one final spectacle was the city of Philadelphia which I saw out my plane window that night. It was a vast mosaic of lights that seemed to stretch out forever with many ribbons of lights where the highways were. It was a pretty awesome sight!

Overall the Gothic Cruise was a grand adventure for me although a few things went wrong and it was not the perfect vacation. But it really meant a lot to me to finally meet some goths and participate in their scene. Williamsport has never had a goth scene so I’ve been impoverished all these years. Unfortunately, the Gothic Cruise may give me a false impression of the real scene because it probably was not a typical crowd and the Carribean definitely was not a typical environment. I think the cruise has had a profound effect upon my imagination and may inspire me to be more creative. This is exactly the effect I anticipated and it is the reason I invested so much money on this vacation which must have cost me at least $3,000. It was very inspiring to see so many creatively attired freaks although a little disconcerting because goth has always been a very private part of my fantasy life which does not really involve anyone else. It was shocking to meet people who play the same kind of music as I do and who have the same fascination with “dark culture”. It also occurred to me that they may not be so very different from me and they may be as powerfully influenced by the disquieting muses as I am. Usually I can assume that the people around me know nothing of such things. I had to keep reminding myself that I should not underestimate these people because they could be on the same wavelength as I, although I’m pretty sure they didn’t consider me to be very “goth”. That does not really bother me because I know I’m about as deep into the unknown depths of the psyche as you can get. You really would not want to delve any deeper and I cannot imagine you going any deeper.

I’ll probably be buying many more gothic rock CDs and getting deeper into dark culture now that it seems more real to me.

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