October 31st is the day when the veil between this world and beyond is said to be at its thinnest. It’s the night when ghosts, vampires and demons can most easily break through from their domain to ours, and it’s when we are at the greatest peril from otherworldly intervention…
Popular music has always flirted with the ideas of death, hauntings, sprites and spirits from beyond, and not just on Halloween. From shock rockers Screaming Jay Hawkins, to Alice Cooper to The Misfits or Marilyn Manson, but it was Punk that really opened the doors for more day to day exploration, and even some Halloween style fun, concerning the dark arts.
Not the safety-pin, Kings Road, gobbing at the Roxy punks maybe, but more the morning after Punks who were finding new ways of challenging the cheerful, sunny, smiling mainstream culture foisted on us in the 1970s, and death, mystery and misery were always going to be good place to start. It was the dawn of Goth, so who’s coming to our Punk Halloween party? ….Here are some initial suggestions.
Our favourite Witch appeared on the scene apparently fully formed, fully in control and thought nothing of peppering her lyrics with a certain darkness. From “Playground Twist” to “Spellbound” there was an emerging theme, a playful witchy take on life’s frailties, and the exploration of space between mental states and the great unknown. The black clothes, the wild hair, the fondness for cats….yes we see it all now. Siouxsie is definitely our Witch, and providing our theme song for the evening, Halloween.
Dave Vanian, the white-faced, cloaked frontman of the Damned, the band who made it seem like every night could be Halloween. Fronting one of the first UK Punk bands who weren’t head to toe in Westwood’s bondage wear, or one of the leather jacket brigade, Vanian simply decided that he was instead going to use the opportunity to dress as a vampire.
Our Spirits and Sprites
The Slits seemed to sum up the mischievous spirit within us all. The Slits were naughty. The Slits were wild and unpredictable, Ari wore her pants over her clothes, and didn’t follow the rules. Like a pack of untethered elfin savages, they smeared themselves with mud and stood proud. We love the Slits, and their earthy unfettered spirit.