So, the non-allergic reactions occasioned by your non-immunodisorder have conspired to keep you home, again. You will no more be attending the Sanctuary reunion on Saturday night than you were able to attend the Hellfire Club Halloween party (living as far south as you can and still claim to be in Sydney is also a factor). The humidity is vile and the cats are sulking. So what's to be done? Time for a goth's night in!
Now, obviously you can light candles, wear fingerless gloves and play The Tea Party at a reasonable volume or in headphones. But on nights like this, that's simply not enough. It will not assuage the craving, the soul-deep hunger, to break free from the everyday and stalk the night in your true guise. To twist and turn, one of a black-clad coterie in a fog-shrouded maze, lit only by green lasers.
I once staged a very small goth club in my apartment for a film shoot (this was the same one that involved having three coffins in my garage). I draped every visible surface (except the dart board) in black cloth, set out my skulls, strung some cobwebs, put a red gel over the light and there it was. This option is available to you, to the extent your cats will permit. With corset on, eyes half-closed, and Temptation thundering in your ears, the illusion can be quite convincing. After all, you don't actually need to talk to anyone. But nonetheless, after a while of doing this the irresistible truth filters through: it is not the same. There is a real difference between pretending to be alone in a crowd of people, and gyrating on your own in a corner of the study. And dancing in headphones is dangerous. Don't ask how I know this.
Perhaps a better way of utilising the same preparations is a photo shoot. After all, when was the last time you got completely dressed? That you did that thing with the eyebrow pencil and the red glitter? It is a gruesome fact that most photos actually taken at clubs, especially during the 1990s, do not quite live up to the memory. There is the question of sweat, and what one's hair was actually doing and, for goodness sake, is that a rubber bat? A posed photo or two can remedy the situation, always assuming that you can still fit into the carapace of your skeletal, 90s self. Or don't try: take the photos as the wonderful, worldly-wise Goth you are today. With a little deviousness, you can add them to the postings made by people who really did attend the Sanctuary reunion and join in the online after-party. After all, what is one more layer of fantasy, to the fantasy of being a creature of the night?
Which inspires a truly lateral option, resurrecting a character from that Sabbat vampire campaign you played in the 1990s. There were plenty of goth clubs in White Wolf supplements back then: Hell, I even created one! With a map, one of the old soundtrack mixes and a couple of random encounter tables, Verity the Toreador Antitribu could go clubbing. Yes, I am aware that White Wolf did not go in for random encounter tables, but if you were to construct one, it might look very much like this:
Club Dante Encounter Table
1 – Woman who should possibly not be wearing a corset without a shrug. Definitely should not be dancing.
2 - Short, slightly odd-smelling guy who keeps insisting he is a real vampire.
3 – Acquaintance who has recently suffered a break-up and wants to show you his memorial tattoo.
4 – The Baroness.
5 – Drunk man wearing an Mjolnir amulet who wants to explain to you, in great detail, the blacksmith's code.
6 – Woman with the same eye make-up that you attempted, only she has done it properly.
7 – Person you don't actually know but who seems to know you, with whom you have been dancing for the past hour.
8 – Frank. He knows who he is and what he's doing.
9 – Acquaintance who asks if you are all right, "because you just look so depressed."
10 – Treacherous, diabolist Bishop.
But, once again, the fantasy fades. The sensations, the emotions you are attempting to revive subside once more into the morass of memory. You realise that the humidity has in no way relented, you are fresh out of the ingredients for a mocktail, and there is now ginger cat hair all through your gauze. In truth, there is no substitute for walking proud in the inner city night, although the fact that there is now no need to brave the nightride bus provides a frisson of genuine relief.
So, with all these options considered and found wanting, what is left ? Ice cream and a BluRay of Interview With the Vampire, of course. But perhaps you will leave the gloves on, and twine a bat into your hair, just because..