Saturday, February 16, 2008

Save Harrow Skate Park - Tony Hawks is in

Meanwhile the campaign to save Harrow skatepark is gaining ground with Tony Hawks involved. It is almost as if the councilors in Harrow are imitating the thugs which vandalise skate parks and attack skaters all the time like those who burned the miniramp at Harrow. What is even more bizzare is the national sporting body Sport England has condemned the Leisure centre plan: "Sport England considers the proposals to be damaging to a wide range of existing sporting interests and they would reduce opportunities for participation in sport and active recreation in the borough." Mr Durrans supported the objections already voiced by various sports groups in the borough, including Harrow and Wealdstone Swimming Club, Harrow Squash Club, Wembley and Harrow Table Tennis League and the Harrow Skatepark Users' Association." [Harrow Times Sport England slams leisure project] It is not just skaters suffering from this absurd idea it is the entire community being victimised so the Council can help developers and the end result is a smaller leisure centre in the end.

A petition is gaining ground over 1500 signatures sign it and use your real name. Let the Prime Minister know your thoughts:

Great documentary on the importance of the park.

Tony Hawk: "Keep skatepark"
Harrow Times, UK - 30 Jan 2008

PRO skateboarder Tony Hawk has backed calls to save a local skatepark due to be replaced by Harrow Council.

Users of Harrow Skatepark, in Byron Park, have been campaigning to save it since plans were announced by the council to build over the site as part of a £36m project to rebuild Harrow Leisure Centre.

Mr Hawk said: "If they feel that the park is truly irreplaceable, then they should keep it."

The Harrow Times interviewed Tony Hawk about the skatepark. Here is what he had to say.

HT: Have you ever used the park and if so what do you think of it?

TH: "I've never been, but I have seen it in magazines and heard about it through the years."

HT: Local skateboarders say parks like this one are not built any more, do you share their appreciation for the older style?

TH: "I do, especially when there are so few that have survived from that era. But I also believe that it is possible to build new parks that incorporate elements of parks from the 1970s. It just takes the right design and construction crew."

HT: The council has put aside £300,000 to build a replacement park but users do not think it is enough. Given the reputation it has gathered among skaters in Britain does this sound like a realistic figure?

TH: "Compared to most parks in the US (I see many park plans come through the Tony Hawk Foundation) that is a healthy budget. I'm not sure it's enough to recreate Harrow, but it could be enough to make a decent park with some 1970s flair."

Skaters excited by Hawk comments
Harrow Times, UK - 1 Feb 2008
By Jack Royston
THE head of a local skateboarding team said he was shocked to hear Tony Hawk's message of support for a campaign to save Harrow Skatepark.

Nick Zorlack, who runs Death Skateboards, accused the council of robbing Harrow's youth of £600,000 over plans to demolish the site in Byron Park. Harrow Council plans to rebuild Harrow Leisure Centre in its place and has set aside £300,000 in the project's budget for a replacement skatepark.

He said: "I'm shocked that he's done it. I think Tony Hawk is a great ambassador for the sport but I think the council just don't get it.I feel like the council are robbing the kids of harrow by about £600,000. They're going to spend £300,000 on a replacement but that's not enough."

Robert Adler, president of Harrow Skatepark Users Group, was excited to hear about Mr Hawk's comments and said he hoped at some point the skateboarding legend might come to use the park in Harrow.

He said: "I think it's brilliant if we can get people like him to give us recognition and back us. To have a great man like that show his support - hopefully we'll have a great skatepark for him. If he came thousands of people would come down to see him. How many places could say that."

Councillor Paul Osborn said he felt the £300,000 budget for the park would be enough and he would like Tony Hawk's opinion on designs for a replacement.

Users of the park are helping to compile plans for a replacement should the project go ahead. He said: "We are aware of their view, we also think this is an exciting opportunity to build a skatepark for the future."

Skaters and Skate Parks in Danger

We covered this issue before skaters are often lambasted for causing trouble. The reality is skaters want to skate some people won't le them. See our previous posts on skaters.

Floodlight grant gives skaters a brighter future
Spenborough Guardian, UK -Feb 15th

SKATERS in Spen will be able to practise their sport after dark without fear of interference from yobs thanks to a grant for floodlights.
Spen Valley Skate Park on Leeds Road has been granted approval for four floodlights at a maximum cost of £22,800.

Community recreation officer Neil Gamewell appealed to the Spen Valley area committee on Tuesday by showing a film featuring some of the skaters making their case for the floodlights.

The film showed skaters conducting a postal survey, which found that people living close to the skate park were in favour of floodlights being added.

It showed how dangerous skating in the dark could be, and featured skaters complaining about yobs using the site for anti-social behaviour and crime.

They said the skate park gets taken over by gangs of "chavs" after dark, who drink, take drugs and fight.

A report to the area committee said a skip and a fence at the site were set on fire last autumn. It added: "This required the involvement of the police and fire service and has resulted in the need to revisit the issue of lighting and security at the venue.

"Often there are a greater number of non-skaters at the park which can be confrontational with the skaters.

"Young people use the skate park as a venue to meet for fights which at times the skaters can get caught in the middle of."

Floodlights would also improve CCTV coverage at the site, the report said.

Approving the funding, Coun Ann Raistrick (Lib Dem, Liversedge and Gomersal) said: "We have been grappling with what we can do about the kids going down there and creating a bad image."
Skate park fears
Bradford Telegraph Argus, UK - 3 Feb 2008

Young skateboarders are afraid to visit Ilkley skate park because of bullying and drug abuse, it has been claimed.

Town leaders are urging parents to get together and form a group to regularly monitor activities at the East Holmes Field skate park, off New Brook Street, after complaints that many younger skaters dare not visit the park at times.

Year Seven pupils at Ilkley Grammar School have made their fears known to Ilkley parish councillors.

Parish Council chairman, Councillor Heathcliffe Bowen, said parents should know about the problems. The council cannot organise its own patrols of the skate park, but he suggested parents could organise a formal system to monitor the park themselves.

The skate park opened in 2003 after four years of campaigning and planning, and an intensive £52,000 fundraising driver by community group PipeDream. The group, which disbanded after the park was opened, wanted to provide much-needed facilities for young people in the town.

Inspector Darren Minton, of Keighley Police, said bullying and drug abuse had not been reported to officers, to his knowledge, but said police do visit the skate park as part of their routine patrols around Ilkley.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Camden Fire - Aftermath

Looks like whether or not there was a conspiracy there may be moves to "improve" Camden.

Evening Standard : Camden Lock was just perfect - so rebuild it 15.02.08

Just rebuild it. Don't argue. Don't fantasise about some new-age Camden Lock to replace the one that went up in flames last weekend. Don't imagine architects can change their spots and design an urban stage as compelling as the Victorians did. They can't, any more than Britart can produce another Constable
It’s a miracle nobody died: but could it happen again?
Camden New Journal, UK
The look of Camden Lock has been changed forever. As our front page picture shows, three buildings – including the former Caernarvon Castle pub – were judged unsafe and demolished in the aftermath. It could be largely up to CMH as to how the damage is repaired and market regulars want assurances that the bohemian feel of the market will not be lost.
Stephan Janes, a resident’s leader who lives in Harmood Street, said: “The problem is that the market has changed and it is too driven by profit. They have tried to squeeze so many stalls together.”
Camden Market Holdings are the same company that recently jousted with regulars over its steel and glass revamp of the nearby Stables Market. A spokeswoman said it was too early to say how the company would deal with the flattened land.
She said: “Camden Market Holdings is working with Camden Council to produce a solution that will benefit traders and the local community, taking into account the extensive damage caused by the fire to the current site.”
In other news the Dev relaunches with an end of its dress code.

Goths-only rule goes as pub lightens up
Camden New Journal, UK
The Devonshire Arms, in Hawley Crescent, one of London’s best known alternative pubs, previously turned away drinkers not wearing all-black attire.
A £6,000 refurbishment has seen ghoulish mannequins, dragons and skulls replaced by real ale and new toilets. The pub has been renamed the Hobgoblin-Devonshire Arms.
The changes have left some Goth regulars threatening to boycott the pub. A former patron, who did not wish to be named, said: “I hate the way it has evolved and I am reluctant to return. Since the mannequins and ornaments have gone, and now with cheap and tacky gargoyles on the bar, the place has lost the quirky, gothic charm that the previous managers brought to the place.”
New boss AD Hill, 24, said: “It’s a business first and foremost. Now it doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like – you’re welcome.”
He added: “The Devonshire Arms tried to be the ultimate alternative bar. The Hobgoblin-Devonshire Arms is an ├╝ber-alternative bar that doesn’t care.”



Lisburn Ulster Star, UK - 14th feb

A LISBURN teenager is still critically ill in hospital after jumping from a footbridge at Lanyon Place in Belfast at the weekend after being confronted by a group of youths as he went to get the train home after buying his mother a birthday present.
The scene of the incident
The scene of the incident

Gary Forbes was shopping in the city with friends and was confronted by the youths on the bridge as he made his way to Central Station to catch the train home at around 9.30pm last Saturday.

A friend of the Forbes family explained: "Gary was in Belfast with three friends, another young man and two girls. He was shopping for a birthday present for his mother and as they were going back to the train station he was assaulted.

"To try to escape Gary jumped over the railing and, not being familiar with the area, he did not realise there was a 20 foot drop to the ground below.

"There seems to be no reason behind this, it was a a tragic chance encounter."

The family friend added that Gary, a former pupil at Dromore High School, was due to travel to Romania in two weeks time to bring much needed funds and supplies to orphanages there.

"He has taken part in these trips for several years now," he explained. "That is the type of young man Gary is.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Gary and his family," he added.
A spokesperson for the Royal Victoria Hospital, where Gary underwent emergency surgery, said he was still in a "critical" condition.

* Police said three 15-year-old youths arrested in connection with the incident were released on Sunday night pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service. A fourth 15-year-old male who was also arrested was released on bail pending further enquiries.

Police have urged anyone who may have been in the area and who may have seen anything to contact them on 0845 600 8000 or through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Goth attacked in Belfast - 18-year-old ‘critical’ after 20ft leap to escape gang

A shocking case of violence the details of which are still unclear. Just one of the ongoing catalogue of attacks on alternative teenagers we have noted before.

18-year-old ‘critical’ after 20ft leap to escape gang
Belfast Irish News (subscription), UK - 11 Feb 2008

A TEENAGER was in hospital last night with serious head injuries after he leapt 20 feet from a bridge in Belfast after being confronted by a group of youths.

The 18-year-old was in a critical but stable condition in the Royal Victoria Hospital after the incident which happened near the city’s Hilton Hotel at around 9.30pm on Saturday.

Police said he was with three other friends when they were confronted by four youths on the footbridge which connects Lanyon Place with East Bridge Street close to the Markets area.

A struggle developed and the 18-year-old jumped to escape, falling about 20ft to the road below.

A 15-year-old was arrested soon after the incident.

Another two teenagers of the same age were arrested yesterday afternoon.

SDLP Councillor Pat McCarthy said: “I believe the young person was a goth and another group of young people chased him and to try and escape he jumped off the footbridge at the Hilton hotel.

“There is a young person seriously ill in hospital and another being questioned by the police. There’s two lives ruined and for what. What sense is there in it?

“I know that goths hang about Lanyon Place of a Saturday but they just use it to gather, talk, and meet their pals.”

Police have asked anyone who witnessed the incident near Central Station is asked to contact detectives at Musgrave Street station on 0845 600 8000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Moment I watched terrified lad jump 20ft from bridge
Belfast Telegraph, United Kingdom - 12 Feb 2008

A Belfast man has spoken of the moment when he witnessed a terrified teenager fall 20ft to the ground from a footbridge to escape from a gang of youths.

The man, who did not wish to be identified, had been taking a work break outside his office when he saw the 18-year-old - named locally as Gary Forbes from Lisburn - and his friends being chased by a group of youths on the footbridge at Lanyon Place, close to Belfast Central Station, at around 9.30pm on Saturday.

"They were walking up the footpath to the bridge. There was a crowd of teenagers behind them, and I thought there was going to be trouble," he said.

"Four of the group broke away from the crowd, one of them ran up and said something. I saw one of them just punching the guy.

"I shouted to them and that sort of startled them. This guy then ran and jumped over the bridge. I don't think he realised how much of a drop it was."

The man also described the moment when he saw the teenager hit the ground following his terrifying fall.

"It was scary, I didn't believe that he actually did it," he said.

"It was just the noise of him hitting the ground. I had to run down and I had the boy's blood on my hands. I keep on seeing it in my head."

The injured teen was immediately rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital where he underwent major surgery.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said last night that his condition was " critical".

Three 15-year-old youths arrested in connection with the incident were released on Sunday night pending a report to the PPS. A fourth 15-year-old male who was also arrested was released on bail pending further enquiries.

Police have urged anyone who may have been in the area and who may have seen anything to contact them on 0845 600 8000 or through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Youth critical after 20-foot bridge jump to flee attack

Monday, February 11, 2008

A teenager who leapt 20 feet from a bridge in a desperate bid to escape a gang of violent youths was last night still fighting for his life in hospital.

The 18-year-old, who suffered serious head injuries in the fall, underwent major surgery in the Royal Victoria Hospital where his condition has been described as "critical but stable".

Three youths, all aged 15, who were arrested in connection with the incident, remained in custody last night.

The youth, who is believed to be from the Lisburn area, was crossing the footbridge close to Belfast's Central Station with three friends at around 9.30pm on Saturday night when they were approached by four youths.

A source close to the investigation said the victim was attacked by the youths and, in a bid to escape, he jumped from the bridge which runs from Belfast's Lanyone Place to East Bridge Street.

"We don't know if he maybe didn't realise how high the bridge was or if he was so terrified about being attacked that he thought it was better to take his chances jumping off the bridge," the source said.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said the incident was "another example of the kind of thuggery that stalks the streets of Belfast and other towns of Northern Ireland."

He added: "It is tragic that this young man is fighting for his life. He was not bothering anyone. He was going about his own business and was an easy target for these thugs who have no place in society. I would urge anyone with information to contact police."

Belfast Lord Mayor Jim Rodgers said the spot where the teenager was injured has become a "no-go area" after dark.

"There should not be any no-go areas in Belfast but unfortunately there are and where this incident happened is actually one of those spots. A lot of people will not walk along there after dark," he said.

Mr Rodgers added: "People should feel safe walking through Belfast but they do not. This was an appalling incident and my heart goes out to this young man and his family. I really hope he pulls through and makes a full and speedy recovery."

Police last night said they are keen to hear from anyone who may have been in the area at the time of the incident.

A police spokeswoman added: "Three males, all aged 15, are now in custody and are helping police with their inquiries. The 18-year-old remains in hospital where his condition is described as critical but stable.

"Police are re-issuing their appeal for information. Anyone who was in the area at the time and witnessed the incident is asked to contact detectives at Musgrave Street station on 0845 600 8000, or information about crime can be passed anonymously to the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111. "

Man critical after jump from bridge to escape fight
Belfast Newsletter, UK - 11 Feb 2008

AN 18-year-old man is in a critical but stable condition in hospital after jumping from a footbridge in Belfast city centre to escape a fight.
It is believed the teenager and his three friends were on the footbridge from Lanyon Place to East Bridge Street around 9.30pm on Saturday when they were approached by four youths.

A struggle developed and the 18-year-old jumped to escape.

He fell about 20 feet to the road below. He was later taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Last night Lord Mayor Jim Rodgers said the path the young man had been taking had almost become a "no-go area for locals".

"There have been a number of incidents in this area, many of which have been sectarian.

"It is just unbelievable. At night people use this as a shortcut from the Odyssey and I am told there are young people milling around just waiting to pounce on somebody.

"The police are repeatedly called to this part of Belfast. It is appalling.

"This is becoming a no-go area for locals. I know loads of local people who would not even dream of going along that way at all."

Mr Rodgers said it was "deeply disturbing" that a young man who went for a night out now ends up "fighting for his life in a Belfast hospital".

He said: "This is horrendous and deeply worrying at a time when so many visitors are coming to our city, particularly at weekends. Things like this frighten people off.

"I am urging anyone who knows anything about this incident to contact the police."

SDLP MLA Carmel Hanna also urged anyone with information to cooperate with the PSNI.

She said: "This is one of several such incidents throughout the north this weekend as a result of feral aggression, probably fuelled by alcohol and drugs.

"This could well be a life ruined by a few seconds of vicious stupidity by his attackers."

Three youths, all aged 15, were arrested but later released pending report.

A fourth male was released on bail pending further inquiries.
Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact detectives at Musgrave Street station on 0845 600 8000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Goth Bus Couple - The local perspective

As we mentioned in our previous posts the goth bus saga is far more serious than the media would make out. Look what happened when their local newspaper actually looks into the issue in depth to reveal a shocking story of discrimination:

Things get heavy for the goths
Dewsbury Reporter, UK -6 Feb 2008

CALLING all goths: don your eyeliner, grab your trenchcoats and get ready to hit the streets of Dewsbury and Mirfield. That's the plea from goths who told the Reporter that rude comments and threats of violence have driven the alternative sub-culture underground.

Two weeks ago, the Reporter exclusively revealed that Thornhill Goths Dani Graves and Tasha Maltby had submitted a complaint to Arriva alleging a Dewsbury bus driver refused them service.Mr Graves, 25, said the driver objected to their style of dress and the fact that he leads fiancee Miss Maltby, 19, around on a leash.

He said: "He shoved me off the bus. He called us freaks and he called Tasha a dog. He said: 'We don't let freaks and dogs like you on.'"

The story made headlines worldwide, with Miss Maltby revealing that she wears a leash because she classes herself as a pet.

Fellow goth Susan Walker, of Marshall Street, Mirfield, said rude comments from people eventually made her give up her usual choice of dress in public. But she said as a mark of solidarity with Mr Graves and Miss Maltby, she would start to dress like a goth again.

Mrs Walker, 54, said: "I moved here four years ago after getting wed to a local guy, and had quite a culture shock. I am originally from Whitby, the spiritual home of all goths worldwide. Nobody bats an eyelid when you are seen in the Co-op shopping, fully 'gothed-up', it is an everyday occurrence."

Mrs Walker said after moving to Mirfield, she was shocked to hear people calling her a devil-worshipper. She said she tried to set up a social club for goths in Mirfield but it was disbanded because members were getting hassled too much at meetings.

And she eventually got so sick of people's rude reactions to her appearance that she started to dress more conventionally.

She said: "After six months of living here, I too suffered black looks and nasty comments and so stopped wearing my goth clothes in order to fit in.

"This will happen no longer. From this day forth, I will be seen in my normal clothes – goth – in support of Dani and Tasha. I ask any other 'closet' goths to do the same."

She said a typical outfit she now wears to the shops includes purple Doc Marten boots decorated with cobwebs, a skirt which is long at the back and short at the front, and black or purple tights.

She said: "No way are we freaks or dogs. We are ordinary people who just wish to be individuals and not follow the sheep."

A family of goths from Savile Town said many people they know have stopped going out in the typical black clothing and striking make-up because they are sick of people being rude to them.

Mary Watts, 46, and her three adult sons are all goths.

Mrs Watts said: "They've grown up around heavy metal music and as they got grew up they got into their own kinds of music." Son Edwin, 23, said he doesn't like to label himself as a goth any longer but is often called one as he wears dark clothing and listens to heavy metal music.

In 2005, the Reporter revealed that Edwin and brother Peter, now 20, had been chased home by teenagers with bats because of how they looked.

He said: "Things got better after the article. We still get some flak but there's always going to be ignorant people.

"I do find it's more accepted in Leeds. People look the odd time but they don't make comments."

Edwin said the goth, or 'alternate', scene in Dewsbury had been driven underground as a result of people's reactions. He said: "It's very underground in Dewsbury. They don't want to come out as much as they're really worried about what people are going to say."

But Edwin urged anyone who wanted to dress differently to have the courage to do so.
But he was worried that the media frenzy over Mr Graves and Miss Maltby's lifestyle could prejudice people further against the goth lifestyle. He said: "If they want to do that, that's their choice, but part of me doesn't want all other goths to be pigeon-holed by the idea that we all have our girlfriends on a leash."
An Arriva staff member has now visited Mr Graves and Miss Maltby to apologise for any distress caused.

A spokeswoman said: "Arriva has a diverse workforce which reflects our wide customer base. We want all passengers to feel welcome and comfortable while using our services and want all our employees to have the awareness and sensitivity to enable that. Diversity awareness is a key part of our training programme.

"If the couple feel they were discriminated against for the way they look we apologise for that and will endeavour to ensure such a situation does not re-occur. We have met with Mr Graves and Miss Maltby to apologise for any distress caused by the way this matter was handled."

What is emo? - Fox News and others weigh in while Russia panics

Russian Region Discovers “Emo” Subculture

An emo girl. source:

Nizhny-Novgorod, February 11th:

A subculture known for black fingernails, angled bangs and rock music, popular among some Russian teenagers, is under attack. On Monday, the Department of Education of the Nizhny-Novgorod oblast called for a campaign to combat a movement known as “emo”. The classification, which originated from an independent music movement in the United States, is short for “emotional,” and now relates as much to a fashion style as a genre of music.

The Department’s move comes after the local branch of the Federal Security Bureau Directorate (UFSB) brought forth a report describing repeated instances of “unconventional religious trends, and civic organizations disseminating ideas of a negative youth subculture.” The information first became public from a circular published by the Education Department.

The document, in part, reads: “According to information from the Nizhny-Novgorod oblast UFSB, the oblast is seeing the growth of ideas of the emo negative youth subculture, which are connected with suicidal tendencies of teenagers 12-16 years of age.”

The text then vividly described the emo stereotype: clothing with pink and black colors and two-toned designs. Blue-black hair. Long bangs. Fingernails painted black. Piercings.

The FSB informed the educators that “the emo ideology negatively influences the unformed teenage psyche. According to the ideology, its members are immortal, and each one’s dream is to die of blood-loss in a warm bath, by cutting the veins on the wrist region. Many of the teenagers are depressed, withdrawn in their thoughts, and the girls are very inclined toward suicide on account of unrequited love. The young people drawn to the emo movement imagine that they have an ‘allergy to happiness.’”

Based on the information taken from the FSB, the department called on its teachers to maintain vigilance and to take measures directed “at explaining the negative consequences of entering into alternative civic organizations.”

Meanwhile, the emo subculture could not be reached for comment.

The Fox News report is interesting because it shows a bit about the tedency for emos to be attacked:

Farmington Daily Times - What is emo?

2 Feb 2008
ARMINGTON — The generation gap is only widening.

In 1930s Germany, swing kids defied convention by embracing jazz music and mocking Nazis.

Hippies did the same thing in 1960s America with tie-dyed T-shirts and psychedelic rock.

Then there were the goths, the punks, the skaters and the rappers — all groups of teenagers and young adults intent on expressing themselves through dress and music.

The latest fad, emo, includes dark makeup, tight clothing and a permanent frown. The style has changed, but the phenomenon known as teenagers remains the same. And it's still music that makes the world go 'round.

"I think music really influences people," said 17-year-old Shawn Yazzie. The Piedra Vista High School senior has been part of the emo culture for four years.

"Music is individuality," he said. "It depicts emotions."

The term emo is derived from "emotional" or "emotive." The culture stems from a subgenre of punk music originating in Washington, D.C., in the 1980s and revolves around displays of deep emotion
in music, dress and attitude.

Emo music often includes screaming, crying or other outpourings of emotion, Yazzie said.

"There is a deeper message in it," he said. "It's different than other music. It becomes more about a personal focus."

Teens dressing in emo fashion often dye their hair black and wear it long over one eye. Other patterns of dress include tight jeans, T-shirts that bear the names of rock or punk bands, studded belts, canvas sneakers and thick, black-rimmed glasses. Heavy eye makeup on males and females also is popular.

Like most fads, emo comes with stereotypes, Yazzie said. The dark clothing and emotional music can lead to beliefs that emo teens are depressed or suicidal.

"It's not true," Yazzie said of the stereotype. "Emo is just another way to dress. It's just like people who like to wear football T-shirts or pink all the time. We like to wear black."


Despite explanations, emo teens often are misunderstood — by their parents, teachers and peers, said Virginia Nickels, a choir teacher at Piedra Vista High School.

Nickels began teaching in 1990. She has seen teenage fads come and go as quickly as taste in music changes, but she's never seen a style so dark, she said.

"Emos are very withdrawn," she said. "They don't have a lot of friends that I see. They're quiet, and even their posture is influenced. They walk with their heads down and their shoulders slumped."

As a music instructor, Nickels witnesses firsthand how beat and lyrics can influence dress and lifestyle. But fashion and music have taken a darker turn since the leg warmers and moonwalks of the 1980s, she said.

"I see emo as being pretty dark," she said. "I don't know if it's unhappy, but I wonder what's behind the clothes and the makeup."

Being misunderstood is part of a normal teenage life, said David Johnson, clinical social worker and president of New Horizons in Farmington. Johnson treats several emo teens, but said the clothing and music alone are not a cause for concern.

Only about 2 percent of the local teen population is emo, Johnson said. Most belong to upper middle class families and most are between the ages of 13 and 17.

"They're trying to say they're different from the rest," he said. "That's their job from the teen years until they're 20 or 25."

Some teens embrace rodeo; others like heavy metal, Johnson said. Most will dabble in many different things before settling on likes and dislikes. Emo teens are no different than the rest, except they've chosen to focus on their emotions.

The dress — which for some can be disturbing — is both a reflection of those emotions and a way to identify peers, Johnson said.

"The teenage years are a search for identity," he said. "They want to know how they're different, but they also want support from peers who are similar."

As teens mature and leave home, most will grow out of the emo culture and leave their dark phases behind, Johnson said.

"Most kids run within the normal bell curve," he said. "The emo phase is transitional. As they get more input, they grow out of it. You don't see a lot of people in their 30s or 40s dressed like this."

Taking emo too far

The overwhelming emotions that often lead teens to seek out the expressive music and dark emo lifestyle can also be a sign of more serious issues, Johnson said. While most emo teens explore their emotions through poetry, art or music, others are attracted to the culture because of its focus on pain.

"Some kids need to be seen as different because they feel different," he said. "The emo culture brings out the negative, and it creates enough pain that it becomes addicting. When there's a lack of pain, they go looking for ways to experience more."

The danger, Johnson said, surfaces when teens surround themselves so completely with negativity and emotional pain that they turn to self-injury to heighten their feelings. Others turn to drug use or other illegal activities for the adrenaline rush and emotional highs.

"Sometimes kids today have to find a more extreme statement to get noticed," he said. "More extreme behaviors are accepted, so to be noticed, they have to find something really unusual to stand out from the crowd."

Self-injury usually comes into play when a teen experiences deep internal pain. The pain can stem from a traumatic event or from everyday stresses, Johnson said.

One major stress is rejection. When teens are rejected because of the way they dress or act, it becomes a rejection of who they are, Johnson said, and that creates awful pain.

"They cut themselves to change the focus from internal pain to external pain," he said. "It's part of finding an identity that's so outside the normal culture. They collect sources of pain that they can control."

Self-injury often is associated with the emo culture, but the two are not synonymous, Yazzie said. The teen knows many people who follow the emo trends, but not all are gloomy, he said.

"Most of the emo people I've met are more happy than other people," he said. "They have an identity, and if they're sad, it's because personal stuff happens and they start to identify with the music."

All teenagers are filled with angst, Nickels said, but focusing on it to the exclusion of everything else can be detrimental.

"They get so angry or so passionate that screaming is permitted and even encouraged," she said. "It's not simply expressive — it's overly expressive."

An open mind

Yazzie's mother, Cassius Yazzie, graduated from high school in 1980. Back then, she said, she wore parachute pants and styled her hair in a Mohawk.

It didn't bother her at all when her son started wearing black and growing out his hair.

"To me, it's clothes," she said. "It's his image. You have to look beyond the clothes and get to know him."

Cassius took Yazzie shopping for stylish black jeans and T-shirts and helped him with his eyeliner. When his taste of music changed, hers did, too.

"You have to be a parent," she said, "but that doesn't mean you can't understand your kids."

Instead of judging her son, Cassius asked about his changing tastes. He had this to say: "I'm being different toward what is true for me."

That was enough for Cassius, she said.

Yazzie plans to graduate this spring and pursue a career as an architect.

"It's possible I'll outgrow this," he said, "but there's still a part of me that will listen to that type of music, part of me that will wear black T-shirts."

The teenage years are the springboard into adulthood, and it's normal for people to hold on to certain things, Nickels said. The more extreme fads generally disappear with age, and she expects most emo teens will shed their dark sides.

"I think they're going to look back and wonder what they were doing," Nickels said. "But don't we all?"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Gothic Liberation Front

[Sorry for quality click in link below for better version.]

The group Gothic Liberation Front that we mentioned before has since the new year become far far more active and has been putting out a lot of videos on Youtube. A lot of these recount some really sick and terrible incidents. You can see links to them via their site. This recounts a rather horrific sexual assault:

This is a interesting post on fights between goths and emos.

They are also been active in putting out posters, flyers which they are distributing and have an article coming out in a local newspaper in the UK. Looks like they are moving off the internet which is good if they actually want to change things. They have a different stance from the SOPHIE group so it will be interesting to see which of them is the more successful in raising awareness. There is still some flak from disagreements over the GLF's role floating round on the net. It would have better if everyone concerned had just remained calmer in the first place. But it should be interesting to see where they are going to go from here.

Camden Canal Market Fire - A conspiracy?

Following the tragic news of the Camden Market fire the internet has been ablaze with speculation that the fire is part of a sinister plot. It seems that the idea of a plot is highly unlikely after all corporate plotters usually don't need fires to clear away opposition they sorted out the Stables Marke and Leeds Corn Exchange easily enough. Plus of course it is the area by the station currently under threat of redevelopment rather than the canal market. I suppose we shall see what actually happens when the area reopens, but given the fact many stall holders might have serious problems considering their losses it would not be surprising if there was a big alteration in the stalls.

Given the huge number of redevelopments of alternative fashion areas over the last few months it is hardly surprising conspiracy is in the air. [See our posts on Corporate Redevelopment Hell ]

The Times said February 10th:

Hundreds of traders at Camden market, North London, whose businesses were destroyed by a weekend fire do not have insurance against damage, The Times has learnt. More than 100 stalls were gutted by the fire, which broke out at 7pm on Saturday and raged for three hours. No-one was reported injured.

The devastation wreaked upon parts of the market and the Hawley Arms, the pub favoured by celebrities such as Amy Winehouse, could pave the way for major developers to move into the area. "We don't want the big companies coming in and taking over," Pat Callaghan, a Labour councillor for Camden Town, told The Times. "It's a quirky, rough-and-ready area."

Musicians such as Kate Nash, and Alex James and Graham Coxon, of Blur, are among the high-profile names who have spoken out against a scheme to transform Stables Market, a separate part of the area.

Smoke hung heavy over the Canal section of the market yesterday afternoon. Police said it was too early to determine how the fire started.'

Camden Fire: 'We Know Who Lit The Blaze' - Yahoo! News UK

People in Camden are convinced they know who was behind a huge fire that engulfed much of the market area - but are too scared to tell police.

Several traders and residents believe the blaze which tore through Camden Market in north London is suspicious, but are worried about revenge attacks if they go public.

Sky News cannot reveal the name on locals' lips for legal reasons.

Fire officers and police have refused to be drawn on whether the fire may have been started deliberately.

The Standard provided some good fuel for conspiracy and reports the cost of the blaze was over 30 million:

Some traders criticised the fire brigade over its response. Ruth Mottram, one of the owners of the Hawley Arms, questioned the time which firefighters took to bring the blaze under control.

She said: "When our staff called the fire brigade the fire was a long way away from us. The pub was evacuated at 7.10pm and there was no immediate fire risk. We did not think for one minute that it would make its way to where we were.

"Obviously there are lots of questions, like why did it take so long to get the necessary firefighters there? I am sure lots of things will come out in the next few days. I just hope that it is looked at properly and not just swept under the carpet."

Anyway check out a sample of internet musings.

What's the betting that the Camden fire? - Yahoo! UK & Ireland Answers

Comment is free: Are you gutted?

"Conspiracy theories and other conversations were under way on Yahoo Answers, Neogaff, Suzy's photos and elsewhere. "