When the saint of Shadow appears on the heath, this is the outfit she wears.
Paint it Black
In Paint it Black, Gosha goes up to the heath at midnight to perform a summoning to the gothic tones of Bela Lugosi’s Dead by Bauhaus.
Here’s the opening of the movie The Hunger, where Bauhaus perform the song before an audience containing a pair of vampires played by David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve preparing to feast on Ann Magnuson and John Stephen Hill.
I’ve always had a soft spot for droney avant-garde music, and I went through a very big Goth phase when I was a teenager and into my early twenties, and these two came together in my love for this one album by the band Cindytalk. The lead singer, Cindy Sharp, sang on one of my favorite records ever, “It’ll End In Tears” by This Mortal Coil, which must be the reason why I bought this album when I cam across it at the Rough Trade Store just off the Portobello Road.
Listening to Camouflage was an intense and harrowing experience, which turned out to be a perfect background mood for the writing of Paint it Black. I had this album, and especially the song “Disintegrate…” on repeat in my headphones while I was working.
Here’s a playlist featuring the entire album:
And here’s “Disintegrate…”, which is a bit more melodic than the other tracks:
If all of this is too much for you (and I don’t blame you if it is), here’s Cindy Sharp on “Kangaroo,” a lovely track from This Mortal Coil, and singing background vocals on the Cocteau Twins song, “Dear Heart.
When I was a teenager, we lived in the next street over from Portobello Road, home of the famous street market. The market had been one of the magical places of my childhood thanks to the song in Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
In the 80s, when we were living in the neighborhood, it was a very different and much scarier place. I remember my father coming home with stories of witnessing drug deals happening in plain sight. Now Portobello Market has been made all spick and span for the tourists. I imagined Morel Market as a dark reflection of the modern Portobello Road, with a bit of the dark and and magical still there if you only know how to look.
The character of Johnny’s friend and onetime lover, Sir Wilfred Stepney, is based on two painters: Lucian Freud, who wasn’t gay, and David Hockney, who is.
Though Millicent is a few years younger than Gosha, Gosha entertains hopes that she and Millicent might be friends. Unfortunately, the circumstance of their meeting sets that friendship off to a difficult start.
The hair salon she works at is based on a famous salon from London in the 80s called Antenna, one of the pioneers of hair extensions. I spent an amazing afternoon there getting a flat top haircut when I was a kid and still had hair watching a rather ordinary man with lank hair become transformed into a lion of a superstar with an enormous pompadour and mane.