Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Growing up in Montreal in the 90s Gothic style

An old friend of mine (ironically from Highschool) shared a blog post on Facebook titled "Growing Up In Montreal In The Nineties" and I did not relate to this article but was inspired to write  my own from my point of view.

I was born in the suburbs of Montreal called the West-Island. Most people laugh at me for this because it is uncommon for a goth to live there. Think white Anglo Saxon and that pretty much describes the area! I am sure there were a couple of West-Island Goths but I never really stuck around to meet them. I made the most of my situation.At the end of my street, there is a river and I used to go there with some of my local non-goth friends to drink!

I also lived near a train station that took me downtown in 25 minutes. This was much better than spending 90 minutes taking various buses and metro to get there. While I was sometimes at the river boozing away, most of my time was spent downtown.

Living in the West-Island or Waste-Island sucked for me. I was often ridiculed, had things thrown at me, and mocked because of the way I dressed. As a teenager, I used to parade around in this huge black cape that I made for myself. It took me a long time to knit that thing out of wool and  I even made a secret inner pocket that came in handy. I would walk around all summer, in a heat wave no less with the stupid cape on! I remember approaching this one girl on the bus because she appeared to be upset and all of a sudden, she starts exclaiming how happy she was because I was talking to her. Apparently, she used to see me around all the time but never approached me and now she feels like she is so cool because the goth girl is talking with her. I regretted approaching her after that because I felt like this weird, local celebrity or attraction. I never got that kind of attention when I was downtown.

While I was not legally allowed to go to clubs, I still managed to get in, occasionally. That changed when I turned 18. I love it. The legal age here is 18 and I remember counting the months for my birthday. Partying downtown was a huge pain in the ass because the last train leaves the station at 12:25am. I did not want to take the night bus alone and whenever I did miss the last train, I was often left stranded at a shady part of town (Spot Bowling). My parents used to get so mad whenever I would call them collect from a pay phone (no cellphones back then) for a ride home! There was this one time,  I remember getting scared while stranded at a bus stop because this guy was giving me the creeps so I flagged down a cop car. I explained the situation as best as I could and the cops gave me a lift home! You should have seen the look on my parent's faces when they saw me getting out of a cop car that night!

I eventually made friends with people who were much older than I was at that time. These elder goths took me under their proverbial bat wings so to speak and I had a place to stay for the night once the clubs closed at 3:00am. I no longer had to worry about the last train and I was happy to be at a club until closing time! These clubs no longer exist but I used to frequent places called Purple Haze, The Sphinx, Pharaoh's Tomb, and The Vampire Lounge. I went to the Vampire Lounge once then it apparently got caught on fire not long after my visit there. It was rumoured to be owned by the mob!

On Tuesday nights, I would stay up late to listen to a Gothic Radio program called Les Mouches Noires.

I met author Nancy Kilpatrick at a party (I think it was her place) before she wrote the Goth Bible. I was very bouncy and probably annoying back then but despite all that, she was very kind to me. She was very patient with me when I started freaking out because I discovered she was a writer of vampire novels. How cool is that? To this day, I still have an admiration for the woman and we sometimes talk on Facebook. I met her for coffee once. A very nice lady, indeed.

I remember those 99 cent pizza places. I didn't have much money back then but they were really good for a late night snack after a night of partying.

I went to a High School that had a uniform and apparently, the year I left, they changed rules in the agenda because I found loopholes in the rules for dress codes. They added in specifically "no ripped up stockings or fishnets" because of me and a couple of other students.

I went to see Clan Of Xymox play at Foufs back in 1999. It was my first goth concert. I remember Rhea's Obsession opening for them.

Movies like The Crow and The Craft came out and I remember watching them religiously. Shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Charmed played on TV.

There was a magic shoppe called Le Mélange Magique (Magickal Blend) that I used to go all the time. The owner had a bunch of cats in the store and never seemed to mind us loitering there.

I remember shopping at Cruella (closed down several years ago) and Diabolik (still open!) I also remember a huge thrift store called Eva B. I think it is still open but I have not been there in ages. I also remember discovering Rio X20 for Doc Martens.

I hated High School but I did have a lot of fond memories of my youth here in Montreal. I was pretty wild back then but I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world!

Ha! I found a videoclip of the Xymox concert, kick ass!


  1. I always crash at a friends place if I have to do something in the city. It's nice the older Goths were so nice! I love your story of meeting Nancy Kilpatrick!

  2. 'They added in specifically "no ripped up stockings or fishnets"' - hahaha, that's how legends are made!
    I feel you living in the ungothiest neighbourhood possible, I grew up in absolute lowest class slums full of thieves, drunkards and lately junkies, where the only thing closest to goth are long black skirts worn by Gypsy women (I can't even count how many times I've made that mistake). I used to ride to the opposite part of the city to hang out in a beautiful historical cemetary. Went two or three times to gothic parties, but it wasn't my kind of thing, and thematic clubs specifically for goths? No such thing.

  3. Thank you for sharing! I always love hearing other people's teenager goth stories. What a great time to be alive (other than the bullying and creeper's) ;)

  4. I don't know much about the Goth Community, but I do know it's always very interesting living in any kind of a subculture community! That cartoon made me laugh too.

  5. Such a great, relatable post (though, I didn't grow up in, or anywhere near Montreal). It's hard to believe sometimes that more than 15 years have passed since the nineties wrapped up. In so many ways, they feel like mere days ago. That comic so, so nails it. I get exactly the same sorts of remarks as a vintage wearer, too (especially from late October to early November).

    xoxo ♥ Jessica

  6. I loved this post, kind of imagined babybat Sylvie's adventures in the style of The Crow and other movies with similarly dark atmosphere and old comics inspired videogames like Vampire: The Masquarade...^^ That's why I love teenage stories^^

    I used to hang out with older friends, so I could get into any club, but I grew up in a village and the last bus home from town left at 10.30am, so if the place was a little further from the bus station I had to leave at around 10.00am, even before the party starts...Not that I went clubbing that often anyway, but we used to play vampire larp.

  7. Even though I grew up half a world away (Norway), it's really cool to see how similar many of our experiances were. I also started sneaking in to the goth club when I was 16 (leagal age 18), and definatly remember running as fast as I could to catch the last train (12:55, so I got a whole half hour more than you :p ), and of course having to call my parents when I didn't make it. And having elder goths take me in made such a differance!

  8. LOL changing the schools rules is amazing <3 kind of sad but amazing XD I guess a lot of this can be applied to baby bats all around the world at least I found some things that seemed similar to my early days! this article really made me smile!



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