The Emo on the street is lean in skinny jeans, deaf to the world thanks to the ever present i-pod, blind in one eye due to their long lank hair smoothed to one side and, as they never move quickly, are an impediment to those with a purpose.
Wikipedia describes Emos thus:
Emo has been associated with a stereotype that includes being particularly emotional, sensitive, shy, introverted, or angst-ridden. It has also been associated with depression, self-injury, and suicide.
That man Goethe has a lot to answer for! (see The Sorrows of Young Werther – he out Emos, Emos)
As far as I can tell from this great distance, looking across the void of the generation gap, the quintessential Emo shares many characteristics with their Goth cousins.
Aren’t both associated with a particular kind of music – dark, mournful dirges?
As I preferred Goths to normal kids at school, does it mean, if I were at school now, I’d be hanging with Emos?
Though never a Goth myself – I was too vain to hide my physical perfections under make-up, too lazy to dye my hair black, too wimpy to have piercings and life in black velvet was too damn hot – I did like the Cure, however, I did like writing bad poetry, mock suicide letters and angry lyrics in tiny writing using the finest of fine felt tip pens and I did like pretending I was unique (I just wasn’t going to prove it by dressing like my Goth friends).
If I may continue to generalise… I was drawn to them because the kid who became a Goth was usually intelligent, highly literate, creative and quick witted… the downside was they were indolent, they lacked self-esteem, felt isolated and were resentful of the ease of others in most social situations.
The one great benefit of this association with the Goths, apart from introducing me to Nick Cave, was that they taught me to read.
They were reading classics like Sartre, Camus, Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Kerouac… the poetry of Keats, Poe, Bryon, Baudelaire, Rimbaud… but also more modern writers like Bret Easton Ellis, Hunter S Thompson, Kurt Vonnegut, Milan Kundera… and popular novelists, too – lots of Stephen King, Anne Rice…
There was a definite intellectual bent to the Goths, who were, basically, modern day Romantics.
What are the Emos reading, if they read at all? Are they intellectuals? Are they idealists? Dreamers?
Do you know an Emo?
Are you an Emo?
What are you thinking?
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.