Season of the Witch: The Book of Goth

Cathi Unsworth

02 May 2024
464 pages


A Times Book of the Year
A Mojo Book of the Year
A Louder Than War Book of the Year
A Waterstones Book of the Year
A Resident Book of the Year

'A beautifully written, meticulously researched account. 4/5.' - CLASSIC POP

1979. Months of industrial action throughout the winter have left the dead unburied and mountains of rubbish piling up in the streets.

Punk has reached its bleak climax with the fatal heroin overdose of Sid Vicious while awaiting trial for the murder of his girlfriend.

Unlikely alliances of outsiders prepare to seize power, set the political agenda and write the soundtrack for the years to come. Their figureheads are two very different kinds of dominatrices...

As Margaret Thatcher enters 10 Downing Street, a handful of bands born of punk - Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division and the Cure - find a way to distil the dissonance and darkness of the shifting decade into a new form of music. Pushing at the taboos the Sex Pistols had unlocked and dancing with the fetishistic, all will become global stars of goth.

By the time Thatcher is cast out of office in 1990, the arrival of goth will have imprinted on the cultural landscape as much as the Iron Lady herself.

Forty years on, author Cathi Unsworth provides the first comprehensive overview of the music, context and lasting legacy of goth. This is the story of how goth was shaped by the politics of the era - from the miners' strikes and privatisation to the Troubles and AIDS ­­- as well as how its rock 'n' roll outlaw imagery and music cross-pollinated throughout Britain and internationally, speaking to a generation of alienated youths.

A fascinating social history, Season of the Witch tells the tale of an enduring counter-culture, one that steadfastly refuses to give up the ghost.
'Cathi Unsworth not only succeeds in conjuring her personal history and dark tastes into a book of immense and lucid insight, but in doing so has crafted a rich reflection on the signs and sigils of the times, taking in - as well as using - associated cultural ritual and alchemy, featuring a cast of the lost, the damned, the beautiful and the bizarre; the possessed and dispossessed. All with the best possible sense of glacial cool.'
''Season Of The Witch' is to Goth what Jon Savage's 'England's Dreaming' was to Punk... a magnificent, wild dissection of the music, the madness, and social dysfunction of the era that spawned it. Hail Unsworth.'