25 November 2014

The 100 Day Song Challenge - Days 31, 32, 33 & 34

Day 31: If you were to have a party for your birthday, this song has to be played.

Since this birthday I attended the Minicave festival in Münster and saw Urban Grey first time live, this song by them got to me and has been stuck in my head ever since. I am completely in love with this song, it is very chill out and romantic, you should totally check UG out, they´re going to release a 7" soon!

Urban Grey / Only In Me

Day 32: A song in the current charts you like the most.

You know how I like the current charts, so here you go:

Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj / Bang Bang

Day 33: A really short song.

Really short indeed, and one of my favorite The Horrors songs.

The Horrors / Death At The Chapel

Day 34: A song performed by an actor/actress.

I don´t think I know any actors who make music, not that I can think of any right now. The first that comes to mind is Jared Leto with his band which I dislike, so let´s try someone else:

Jenifer Lopez / Booty

N. Finsternis

18 November 2014

Return To The Batcave Festival

Calling all goths!
On the end of this month we are going with Totenwald to Return Of The Batcave Festival which will take place in Wroclaw, Poland.

Look at this lineup! I am very excited to go to my first ever festival! I´ll help selling Totenwald merch and possibly will collect some reviews for a zine we are thinking to start with friends from Copenhagen about the europe goth and diy scene. 

If you live in Europe somewhere join us all! 
Or if you know people who still haven´t heard of the festival please spread the word around and share the even on FB! :)

N. Finsternis

15 November 2014

Face Of The Night - much elegant, very cleavage

We went to a pub yesterday, this was my makeup:

Kind of went overboard with the pronzer, but what the hell.
I am currently growing out some hairs in the beginning of my brows to shape them better. Somehow the left brow always looks weak.

My lipstick for this look is a dark shade of plum by an Israeli brand called Careline. They are cruelty free and their lipsticks are my absolute favorite. This one is going to run out soon (in like a year or so), need to ask my mom to buy me some.

Restocking on eyeliner recently, I could finally ditch the awfully uncomfortable liquid eyeliner that I had and buy some gel liner. I had gel liner before but it dried really fast. The reason I´ve decided to buy it again is because of the super easy application. I hate liquid eyeliner. I always contour my lower lash line and liquid eyeliner always sticks to them, staining my fingers after I wipe off each lash.

I put mousse in my hair. Can you tell? I couldn´t...
This wonderful ring necklace was given to me by my aunt from Uzbekistan. I usually wear it a lot higher, but yesterday was a "velvet v-cut tank top outfit" kind of mode.
I am thinking of taking pictures of my face with my camera again and not with my phone. Then again, the lighting in my house is so bad the phone actually makes it look better. Never underestimate a phone camera, that´s what I say.

On we continue our weekend with another The Wings Of Desire gig. I am excited!
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

N. Finsternis

13 November 2014

Book Review: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: & Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

Earlier this month I told you about the book Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: & Other Lessons from the Crematory- the stories told by Caitlin Doughty after her working in a crematory.
Now that I have read the book I can review it for you guys.

The book is basically a memoir written by Doughty, featuring her first ever experience with the death industry, her studying in mortuary school later on and her establishing The Order Of The Good Death.

It is a book about her personal experience with working with death (as a job and concept) as well as a book about the death industry. I was happy to dive into her own confrontation with dead bodies, mourning customers of the crematory she worked at and the way she herself described the subject of death and dying and how her view on it is changed throughout the book.

Though I was also excited that the book had a lot of information about the trade in itself: what practically happens in a crematory, how bodies are embalmed (I was equally grossed and satisfied with that very detailed chapter) and how the death industry established itself in the United States.

If you are someone completely new to the subject then you have a lot to discover about the trade in this book. The historical information provided was very interesting for me, I am happy that I stumbled across a book which turned out to be so educational!

As for the perspective on death part, I personally wasn´t new to the subject of death, as we subcultural people do come across it in it´s philosophical sense quite often. I liked that Doughty presented the way people address death nowadays, and how the death industry profits from selling caskets and "death packages" like any other business in the world, which is a bit sad considering the different ways we can embrace death (not in the goth way of the word).

There is a lot of room for wondering about the subject of mortality in the book. Doughty´s life story and her personal development as a "character" in the book provided a sort of a plot, which is exactly what one might expect from a memoir.
It left a very touching feeling when I finished it. I delayed finishing this book, it was a lot of fun to read, easy yet deep, grim yet funny with lots and lots of juicy details. I recommend!

N. Finsternis

11 November 2014

Film Review: 20,000 Days On Earth

On the 10th of November Boris and I celebrated 8 years together, and we couldn´t think of a better way to commemorate the day than with a movie about Nick Cave.
Nick Cave has been a huge inspiration for Boris and his music, and Cave´s Berlin days with Blixa Bargeld have indeed inspired us to move to the infamous city. I recall I have told you about the film The Wings Of Desire numerous times before lol.

Official Trailer

We were beyond excited to see the film. We heard some mixed reviews but came relatively open minded. We do not love Cave´s current music but this was not a reason not to see the film (one of the main reasons was to see him without his horrific mustache).

In short, the movie is a semi documentary and tells Nick Cave´s 20,000th day on earth (52 years). We watch him wake up, do his daily duties like writing, visiting a psychologist (lol), playing music in the studio, recording, performing (well not on the same day presumably) and even going to his private archive. His fucking, private archive...
If you can sense my opinion shining through the words, then yes- some parts of the film I did not like, and felt they were kind of portraying a superstar in his "sort of a regular day schedule". Stuff like Nick Cave wearing ugly huge golden rings annoyed me a bit, and some song scenes made me cringe since I do not emphasize with their lyrics and don´t find them charming like they used to be.

Also, if you are looking for crazy rare footages of The Birthday Party and Cave´s 80s concerts- don´t expect too much. There is not a lot of it in the film except of some photographs and stories from the past.

But- but! 
This is where my criticism ends, as I absolutely loved the rest. Through the film you can hear Cave´s narrative, him talking about a bunch of things like writing songs, the experience of performing on stage etc. from his point of view. I found this narratives incredibly inspiring and I could connect to every word. As a musician Boris felt really attached to them too.

We managed to get a bunch of postcards from the theater!
The film is visually beautiful- the editing is great and I could sink into it while watching.
But the best part for me personally was probably in the end, the scene where Cave performed on stage during which his old performances were shown, making it a collage of Cave from the past and the present. I cried at this part. It was incredibly touching in a very positive way. The comparison of the old and the present made me appreciate everything we are doing in Berlin, in terms of our music especially. 
It was a very emotional moment for me, since to me Nick Cave associates with The Boys Next Door, The Birthday Party and The Bad Seeds in the 90s. Those little scenes of him performing with his backcombed hair, red shirt + black vest and the entire band so young had really inspired me.

We went out of the film with a very positive feeling. The whole superstar Cave in some moments of the film wasn´t too bad, more so it could have been presented in a worse way... Instead we got the impression that Cave as he is today is a bit lost, as if in previous years he had more direction, more confidence. But perhaps it was only our impression.
I also had a very young feeling after the film. It was not like watching some old rock star and thinking "this is all well and good but I don´t want to end up like this". Nothing of the sort- the film depicted Cave in a very heartwarming manor, not snobbish (as it could have been) and still very dark and wondering...

I have a heroic plan about stealing the film poster later this month, since the nice girl in the theater said they are not even allowed to sell it to anyone. I hope I will be able to pull that one off.

I encourage you to go see the film if Nick Cave´s music has ever touched you, his way of thinking and view on life. Despite us not liking his music today we still enjoyed the film greatly.

N. Finsternis

7 November 2014

Face Of The Night, good ol´ smokey eye and Kryzys

I have reached this point in my life where I refuse to experiment with makeup and just stick to routines, since by now I have already found the makeup looks which suit me best and make my face look like I want it too. 
Aside from the occasional third eye dots and crazy lipstick shades (lipstick is probably my favorite makeup item) I don´t do any cut crease eyeshadow (and on my asian eyes it is merely impossible), not crazy liquid liner eyebrows, no false upper and lower eyelashes (I´ve told you already how I feel about this type of masochism) and no super exaggerated cat eye. Maybe Siouxsie eyes every once in a while, since you can never be wrong with that.

For some reason I find black lipstick the perfect complimentary for smokey eyes. This "black lipstick" is probably my best makeup "trick": a heavy layer of chapstick with a thin layer of black lipstick on top. 
I use the cheapest Halloween lipstick there is, since to make life simple I do not believe there is that one perfect black lipstick in this world. Stick to the simplest product and make it work for you, somehow. Since cheapy black lipsticks are dry as fuck, chapstick is the perfect base for them. And it stays on very well, I kid you not.
I also love the half transparent look it gives you. You can apply a couple of layers to achieve a pitch black color of course, but I like the light gray-brown shade better, since a good brown lipstick is also quite hard to find. 
And there you have it, two in one. Fucking a, right?

I should be coloring those roots by now after having my tips cut last week, but I´m always lazy to (make Boris) do it. I´ve noticed that I color my roots every 2 months, which is frankly a big time to wait. I just don´t want my hair to fall out at once, but gradually. Everything is planned, you see.

Oh, and I´ve been wanting to share this awesome Polish post punk revelation that I came across while searching for songs to dj. 
The band is called Kryzys (= crisis), and if you are a Polski post punker you´ve probably known about them and about Brygada Kryzys (=crisis brigade) which followed after Kryzys´ disbanded. But I haven´t.
You know that feeling where you stumble upon a band from a very explored (at least in your perspective) genre and go excited beyond belief how this band is everything you´ve been loving about that particular genre and how come you haven´t discovered it before?
Well that was the feeling about Kryzys for me, since the young, dub-inspired-saxophone-featuring post punk is the exact kind of post punk I enjoy (the early music of Russian Auction having a similar sound).
So here is some nice post punk to brighten up your mood, but which would still make you wonder about... things! While you´re dancing!

You can listen to the entire album 78-81 here.

I´m slowly spotting some other Polish post punk goods and would love to write about them here, since this kind of music is one of my favorite. 

N. Finsternis

5 November 2014

Face Of The Day - Red Matte Lipstick

One of the many souvenirs I got from Uzbekistan was this red matte lipstick by the brand Golden Rose.
I am very familiar with this Turkish makeup (mostly lipstick?) brand, since it´s a cheap brand sold in many Israeli pharmacies. I couldn´t find in anywhere in Berlin and was excited to see it in Uzbekistan.
This matte red came from their matte (duh..) series which I haven´t encountered in Israel before. I was desperately looking for a good, deep red matte lipstick for a while. 

Absolutely love this necklace combination.
There is no info about Golden Rose being a cruelty free brand, so unfortunately I cannot say anything about that. I own 4 different Golden Rose shades by now and I promise to do a lipstick collection at some point in my life to show you how beautiful their lipsticks are.
Their lipsticks are full of pigment and very creamy too, which is essential for my always dry lips. Even this matte is not dry at all, which is a major plus.

I had to slightly edit the picture to show the color´s full potential. Sorry for the low quality photos.

N. Finsternis

2 November 2014

I´m not a boy - Gender Questioning

Straying from the usual subculture-selfies-post punk related posts, I would like to share my little gender experience. This is a very personal matter to me, so I apologize in advance if I would (again) sound melodramatic or utterly confused, since often I am indeed confused when it comes to this.

The reason I chose to write about the matter here is because I love being frank about things and I
don´t believe in taboo topics. Maybe my experience will ring a bell to some, maybe you could give your opinion on gender matters as well and we could all learn(?).

I do fear however, that this might come up as a "trending topic", as if you are spending as much time on the internet as I am you might notice that it has become more than common to wonder about ones gender identity, to come out as this or that and deny all possible stereotypes, claiming that how some people portray themselves is very complicated.
It is true that I haven´t addressed this topic ever in my blog nor do I speak with people about it (only with my closest friends) but I have been dealing with some personal questions for a long time, and I would just like to share it here.

I love men.
I love men so much I love to watch them with other men.
I love men so much I wish to be one of them sometimes.
I love men so much I wish to be one of them to be with other men as a man myself.
I love men so much that being seen as a woman by them is sometimes not enough for me.
I love very particular, long haired, feminine, makeup wearing men.
I´m not attracted to women, but I love femininity.

I have been struggling with the above for a good amount of years now. My love for all things gay and homoerotic was and is something I cannot explain.
This issue has 2 sides which are the main reason for my problem:
  1. I love wearing makeup and dressing like a woman, I love having long hair and I love my feminine body. I was raised to love it and I would never in the world change it, not with hormones or surgery! I love the way I look more and more as I grow up. I do not feel that I was born in the wrong body.
  2. Yet sometimes something in me doesn´t fit. The average young woman would sometimes think "I wish I could look like that" while looking at other young women on the street. My mind has the same thoughts whenever I look at other young men on the street! I literally caught myself on this thought so many times by now. I envy how other men look and I wish to look like them.
These 2 extremes are the source of my dilemma. If I don´t want to physically become a male, what´s my deal then!?
Exhausting Boris with this talk and wishing to actually do something to know for sure rather than wondering "what if", I´ve decided to do a little experiment. On the last The Wings Of Desire concert I dressed like a man, and even did my makeup differently:

What a disappointing experiment it was. Look at me- I am nowhere near looking like a man. This is the closest of going without makeup as I can get, and even without any I would look worse than this. My round face is too feminine, and my face features (especially my eyes) are the complete opposite of what I would like them to be.
I was very discouraged after appearing in public like this, when I finally understood what was my problem.

I am not a man, not in this body at least. This body is dedicated to something else, and it is not where I will find the solution.
It is my mind.
I am a man on some days, especially on paper, when I write about things, be it this blog or fiction, into which I pour a lot of my gender questioning. I am a man in my mind, and in my mind I know that if I would posses the body of a man, I would be looking completely different. I would be a lot taller, thinner and I would even be of a different race.

Having a penis and growing a beard would not solve my problem. In fact, I don´t even like masculine features that much, and I am positive that if I would have been born a man I would have been very feminine.
This is a stupid cycle I am going through every once in a while. I am blessed to have a partner like Boris who more than understands this, yet sometimes I do not really know how to express the feeling of being a man in my mind. Being called a different name even with masculine pronouns didn´t work either. I felt awkward and not like myself.

That´s why I have put the issue aside for now. Sometimes a lovely thought comes to me, that I am not less of a man when I am wearing a skirt and makeup. I do not wish that society will see me as a man, I am more than comfortable staying as a woman, since I know that my appearance has nothing to do with my gender identity.
I don´t know if this is common or not, but I do think that most people who´s gender identity is opposite than their sex will have the need to change their appearance according with their gender. It´s not my case, far from it. I sometimes feel that "being a man" is a sexual stimuli, it´s something connected with eroticism in my head, as I have been writing homoerotic short stories for a couple of years now, and it is the only way where I can dive into that masculine place in my mind, and dare I say- play out the scenario of what could have happened to me as a man in this world.

I am ending the topic on a positive note. I´ve run experiments to find a solution to my problem, and found out more about myself. I cannot identify as girlfag or queer or what have you... I´ve read a lot on the subject and no category seems to fit me, even so that the more specific I go into those categories the more confused I feel.
But little things seem to make me feel in place, for example like writing and being honest with myself. Talking to Boris has been a huge help as well.
Funny though, that unlike everything else I have tried, finding my "man name" was really easy, and it is one of the things I identify with the most. It makes me happy to know it, even if no one addresses me with it. None should, since I am a man on paper. The closest to describing it would probably be like having an alter ego, or when a writer is using a pseudo name.

So is this a coming out post? Maybe, maybe not. I just wanted to share an aspect of my personality, and it makes me feel relieved to share this with the world. I am not ashamed of it.
If you have any advice or thoughts on the matter please share them! It could be nice to hear a different perspective, regardless if you emphasize with the subject or not.

Alexander F.

1 November 2014

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory

I do not celebrate Halloween, but this year I thought to treat myself with a theme appropriate book.
Last month I´v stumbled upon a review of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty.
Doughty is a mortician and in the book she describes how it is like to be one, featuring a lot of gruesome stories told with a lot of humor.

I was happy to discover that Book Depository (where I recently began to buy books from) has it. It was a total of 15.62 euro including shipping (shipping is free worldwide in Book Depository).

Doughty has a youtube channel dedicated to the subject as well, called Ask A Mortician. I didn´t know it before and I found it really entertaining; her perky manor of approaching the subject of death will bring butterflies in the stomach of every goth.

I am currently finishing a sociology book and haven´t begun reading Smoke Gets In Your Eyes yet, but going quickly through the pages I am sure going to love it. Besides, aren´t you excited when a book starts with the following:

Fun Fact: on the same day when I read a review about the book, I have met a person who actually worked as an embalmer. So getting this book was meant to be I guess.

I think that this is the one goth cliche I actually fit- I have always been interested in death and I find it fascinating. So I am very excited to read the book, since I have absolutely no idea how bodies are cremated and the whole process. I find the profession of leading humans to the other world very mystical, I hope to get some inspirations with this book since I have been writing about death all the time in my teenage years and kind of miss that ;)

Have a wonderful Samhain and Halloween everyone! I am going to see a themed movie tonight and hope to blog about it afterwards!

N. Finsternis