Monday, January 05, 2009


A long, long (long) time ago I dressed all in black and hung out at what would be described as "goth" clubs. We didn't call them that at the time, and I never referred to myself as "goth" but whatever. Labels are what you make of them.

So last Saturday, January 3rd, one of the last of the (so called) original "goth" clubs in Toronto closed after 15 years of business. Savage Garden was a fixture on Queen West, including the 12 years I lived in Toronto but I will have to admit I think I may have been there two or three times at the most, and usually didn't stick around for long.

I always found the place rather cheesy. Packed with aging goths who were more interested in preserving their stupid fetish clique. Granted it was not as bad as The Sanctury/Vampire Sex Lounge (which closed years ago and the building now holds a goth-themed Starbucks), but it came pretty close. It was also not nearly as cool as places I used to visit more frequently, including The Anarchist Cocktail or even The Dance Cave (both long since closed).

Personally, I preferred anywhere DJ IAIN was playing (Limelight in the early-90's was an absolute) especially if I was out with my lady and she felt like dancing. Catch-22 wasn't bad either but I was probably there only slightly more frequently then Savage.

My hangout was Sneaky Dee's. Loud and live punk/indy rock upstairs and the cheapest draft in town downstairs. It was the kind of dive bar that was filled with pensioner alcoholics during the day, and then slowly filled with a healthy mix of artists, students, anarchists, punks and freaks as the night went on. I saw EVERYTHING and ANYTHING happen in that bar. From a girl having full-blown group sex in a booth with a dozen people watching to a bar-clearing brawl that turned into a street fight between regulars and a group of Nazi Skinheads who had started to show up more frequently and in greater numbers. Lets just say the Nazi's didn't come back after that night.

To get back to my story about Savage Garden, and more to the point, being "goth", whatever that is. My facebook has been clogged over the last few days with posts from some old friends (and friends of friends) complaining that they couldn't get in to Savage on the last night because it was filled with "kids who were only there to be part of the last night" and not "people who built the scene" or "people I have never seen there before" (getting back to my comments about the place being nothing but a stupid goth clique).

The fact is, dressing all in black and pretending you live in some post-apocalypse world is fun when you are in your 20's. Hell, doing ANYTHING is fun when you are in your 20's, but when you are pushing (or past) 40 it just becomes ironic.

Another honest truth is the LAST thing the owners of Savage Garden wanted on their final night in business would be a bunch of tired and bitter late-30's has-beens who would stand around and complain about the "good ol' days" and then leave early to get home because they had grown-up things to do Sunday morning. They wanted young and hip kids, who would drink their faces off, dance like the world was ending, and then stagger off into the night with a new fuck buddy.

You also don't show up at any "last night" a club is open at 10:30pm and expect to walk right in. You couldn't even do that at Sneaky Dee's back in the day.

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