London Goth travel guide: Camden Market Gothic Punk shops, Cyberdog clothing & Slimelight club.

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As much as I travel, I can’t be everywhere in the world at once. Thankfully, I have a crew of Pirates who sail through dark waters, gathering alternative coverage for you!

Read on for John Skeleton’s gloomy London adventures, and an announcement about Naomi’s deathly Portland performance. We start with Sir Skeleton in Ye Olde England…

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The city of fog – London. I certainly wasn’t disappointed when I disembarked at Heathrow Airport to find a town shrouded in mist and a persistent rainfall that chilled me to the bone… I had finally arrived in the birthplace of Goth music.

Regardless of whether one considers London to be the home of Goth, it most certainly is the home of the Gothic – literature, that is! And it was the castle of Horace Walpole (1717-1797), the author of the very first Gothic novel, that I was headed. St. Mary’s University and Strawberry Hill were presenting “Gothic: Culture, Subculture, Counterculture,” a two-day academic conference, and I was set to give a presentation on my research of the Japanese underground scene.

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Tucked away in the borough of Twickenham on the shores of the Thames River, Strawberry Hill is an elaborate example of the Gothic revival style that Walpole himself helped to initiate. With its exterior walls, arches, and crenellations recently repainted in their original pure white, and much of its intricate interior painstakingly restored, who could ask for a better setting for a dark summit?

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Topics ranged from The Castle of Otranto and Dracula to Marilyn Manson and Sopor Aeternus, covering literature, architecture, film, music, and culture. My own paper covered my work on the Japanese subculture, and how participants use body modifications and other subcultural capital to define and negotiate their cultural identities within this underground scene.

In the evening, I took a tour of the castle, absorbing the historical atmosphere and later taking our dinner and wine in the famous long gallery, replete with gold gilding and Gothic tracery.

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While in London I decided to do some sightseeing as well, taking in some splendid artworks at the Tate Modern museum. And how could I resist taking a stroll through the famous Highgate Cemetery?

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(Established in 1839, Highgate inspired the setting of many dark novels, including Stoker’s Dracula and Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.)

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(Contrasting the Gothic splendor of St. Paul’s Cathedral with the colorful rave boutique, Cyberdog.)

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Of course, a trip to London wouldn’t be complete without a stop in Camden Town, the one-stop-shopping destination for those who embrace alternative fashion. (Photo by babi; all other images by John, unless noted.)

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Camden Town is jam-packed with tattoo/piercing shops, Gothic fashion boutiques, and of course, Cyberdog, a veritable department store of cyber-tronic gear for Goths who aren’t afraid to glow in the dark. (Photo by skene)

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Before hopping on the plane, I knew there was one place left to hit up: Slimelight, or “Slimes,” as it is affectionately known by the locals. My friend Wendy, a veteran of the London clubbing scene, was kind enough to guide me to the venue, which at first glance is nothing more than a large, old industrial building, if it weren’t for the crowd of ebony-clad darklings loitering outside the entrance.

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The club itself has been in existence since the 1980s. The interior is somewhat labyrinthine, split between multiple floors each with its own dance floors and bars. There were rooms for “trad” (traditional) Goth music and for the more EBM/industrial-oriented beats. After catching the last half of Mexican aggrotech duo Hocico, by chance I met up with some old friends from the Tokyo Goth scene… it truly is a small world! The crowd was an eclectic mix of Elder Goths, Cybergoths, and Industrial types — it was a pleasant and amicable atmosphere despite the various genres of music and fashion represented. After a hard night of dancing it was time to leave the city of fog… but hopefully not for long!

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Now let’s teleport to PDX. My First Mate Naomiyaki is doing a live drawing performance this Sunday, at a Portland Goth club. She writes:

Last year I was invited in hushed tones to a mysterious venue for Deathclub, an event on the final day of each month. I found myself peering in on a Butoh performance that faded into some of the best Goth mixes I’ve heard since the last time I was in Tokyo. Since then, the night has featured aerial acrobatics, unthinkable performance art, and, for one sweet moment, even an improvisational theremin jam. All of this is regularly bracketed by DJ Entropy, who excavates strange tracks around a solid musical theme for each night.

On March 31st, I am proud to announce that I will be live drawing at this month’s Deathclub (the illustration above is a taste of what to expect!). My performance will be alongside DJ Entropy’s tribute set to Pop Will Eat Itself. The event is strictly RSVP only; join the event on their Facebook page or email events {at} — entrance is $3 and there is a cash bar featuring theme cocktails.

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Have you explored Portland or London’s Gothic scene? Been to Slimelight or Cyberdog? What are your favorite UK haunts?

I haven’t been to England in years; I hope to be back soon. Perhaps for Whitby Gothic Weekend



  1. Jenny
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Love Camden Market

  2. Camden Town
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 10:15 pm | Permalink


  3. ladyflower
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 10:20 pm | Permalink


  4. Pixi
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 10:21 pm | Permalink


  5. MelissaR
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    I LOVE those old graveyards! Great photography :-)

  6. Lucrezia Fausti
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Amazing trip! *_* I want to go to London now!

  7. Charles
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Great piece, there was also a vampire sighting in Highgate Cemetery that inspired the movie Dracula AD1972

  8. pedro
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    thanks for you live…

  9. Claire
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    is amazing reading i love it

  10. John
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    That’s my London neighborhood!

  11. Ali
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Ahh too cool!

  12. Romeo
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Squeee! :-D

  13. Alan
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Awesome snaps. Truly talented mate.

  14. Zoe
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Nice L)

  15. Suz
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Strawberry Hill is wonderful, and after years of neglect the restoration has finally done it proud!

  16. Cyberdog UK
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Thanks a lot! Great blog :)

  17. Elephant
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Permalink


  18. Chriz
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Glad you enjoyed it here. Growing up as a London goth was nothing short of awesome. Shame it’s so damned expensive in the city these days…

  19. naruhime
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Cyberdog has got to be one of my favourite Camden shops, I love their Ts!

    • lacarmina
      Posted March 30, 2013 at 2:47 am | Permalink

      John got one of their Tshirts during his visit! I must go back…..

  20. Sashie
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    My friend yazz works at cyber dog XD

  21. James
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    NICE :)

  22. Ana
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Wow love! It will help when I visit England

  23. Heather
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    I’d definitely add FairyGothMother corsets. Her work is fantastic and globally known within corsetry circles

  24. Larry
    Posted March 30, 2013 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    This is the best Goth UK guide i’ve found on google!! Thanks!! I Will go to the Slimelight club.

  25. Eric
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    Great style and different.

  26. Dan
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    nice . Your Tokyo recommendations last year were top notch

  27. Andrew
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

  28. Nala
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    you said it.

  29. Soli
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 12:26 am | Permalink


  30. Katie Martin
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Hello! I’m one of the Cyberdog dancers and I’ve just moved to Tokyo :) So if you see a brightly coloured British girl dancing enthusiastially in one of Shinjuku’s alternative clubs, please come say hi!

    • lacarmina
      Posted April 1, 2013 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to Tokyo!! I hope you find my Goth cyber club and shopping guides helpful (links are on my sidebar). Let me know what you think of the city and clubs!!!

  31. Barbarella Buchner
    Posted April 3, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    First time I went to Slimelight was in 1987. Last time I went there was in 2003 (before I moved away from rainy London to tropical Lanzarote). Yes, I´m one of the ORIGINAL GOTHS (since 1982)! Well, I´m more of a rainbow goth now, but hey, we can´t wear frilly black lace forever. ;)

    • lacarmina
      Posted April 5, 2013 at 4:54 am | Permalink

      I bet Slimes was amazing in the 80s!! Wish I can go one day!!! xoxox

      • Barbarella Buchner
        Posted April 5, 2013 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        Slimes has *always* been amazing. It must be one of the best goth clubs on this planet. I gave it a break during the early 90s, you know when you go somewhere *all* the time it gets boring, but started going again in the late 90s, until I moved away from London in 2004. I really do miss it sometimes!

  32. Barbarella Buchner
    Posted April 3, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if the toilets at Slimes are still as “legendary” as they used to be? You tell me!

  33. Kurnn
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    I went to Slimelight for the first time in 2004. I came from a friends Goth wedding.
    It was like living in Nine Inch Nails – Head like a whole scene..

    Even though I live in Sweden, I head there from time to time…

  34. Laura Louise
    Posted September 2, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Ha ha is that Sara argy in the picture? The blonde girl. I know her

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