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by on October 17th, 2014 in Alchemy Gothic, News | No comment

Our favourite night of the year is approaching – what plans do you have for Halloween? The event falls on the eve of the Celtic festival of Samhain, which marks the end of the harvest and beginning of winter and is still celebrated by many pagans. Over the years, 31 October has also become an occasion to remember the dead in the form of either All Hallows Eve or the Mexican holiday called Day of the Dead.

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The British Library’s Gothic exhibition

by on October 6th, 2014 in Alchemy Gothic, News | No comment

Vampires, ghosts and zombies are all featured in the British Library’s magnificent new exhibition, ‘Terror And Wonder: The Gothic Imagination’, which opened last week. Timed to coincide with the 250th anniversary of the very first Gothic novel, Horace Walpole’s ‘The Castle Of Otranto’, it’s the UK’s largest exhibition of Gothic and is open to the public until 6 January 2015.

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A Drop of the Red Stuff from Beyond the Grave

by on October 3rd, 2014 in News, Uncategorized | No comment

Decades after his death in 1993, Vincent Price remains one of cinema’s most distinctive and distinguished Gothic icons. A multi-talented performer, Hollywood’s silver-tongued, moustachioed master of menace introduced a rich dose of elegance and refinement into the horror genre, even in his most ghoulish roles. Behind the scenes, Price was just as much of a class act. A noted art collector and gourmet, Vincent penned celebrated cookery books and even recorded an EP dedicated to his love of fine wine. So it’s particularly apt that the latest venture dedicated to celebrating his eclectic legacy is a prestigious new wine collection.

Devotees of vintage horror might also consider the tribute particularly appropriate. In his first horror role, in the ghoulish historical thriller ‘Tower of London’ way back in 1939, Price’s character the Duke of Clarence is drowned in a vat of Malmsey wine. In one of his best-loved scenes, that demonstrated the actor’s talent for comedy, Vincent loses a wine-tasting contest to fellow horror icon Peter Lorre in the 1962 chiller ‘Tales of Terror’. It was one of a series of horror films, loosely adapted from the work of the legendary Gothic author Edgar Allan Poe and directed by B-movie legend Roger Corman, which cemented Price’s iconic status in the genre.

The Vincent Price Signature Wine Collection features four wines, each with a label designed by an artist associated with the macabre, with a name referencing Poe’s prose and poetry. There’s a Lenore Chardonnay, Raven Cabernet, a Prospero Pinot Noir, and a Bartolome Red. Sadly we can’t comment on them personally, as they are currently only available in the USA, but we gather they’ve impressed some connoisseurs. For further info on the wine collection, click here http://www.vincentprice.com/pages/wines For anyone curious to hear Vincent himself on the subject, here’s a link to the first side of his EP on the topic, ‘Wine is Elegance’… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i961NGIdPpo


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Apple Tree

by on September 26th, 2014 in Alchemy Gothic | No comment

Apples and love, not sure why they have become such good friends over the years having in mind that an apple made Eve ruin Heaven for Adam in the first place…or so they say…
Somehow the magical connection between love, desire and apples decided to play a romantic part in our lives, sometimes without us really knowing it. For example, search for spells including apples and love and you’ll find out there is a whole bunch of them.

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Gothic Animals

by on September 19th, 2014 in Alchemy Gothic, Alchemy Gothic Jewellery, News | No comment

Gothic animals

Humans and animals share a microcosm in this grand universe of ours, it’s understandable therefore that we’d form bonds and alliances with our earthly cell-mates. From the dawn of time man and beast have co-existed and relied on each other for survival. But more than this, an elevation to friendship and spiritual bonds make our animal counterparts a glittering facet to our transcendental selves.

Every culture has evidence of animal influence, from the European witches with their animal familiars to the totem animal guides echoed in America and Africa and everywhere between. Animals are anthropomorphized with human traits as we choose which to align ourselves with.

In no stretch of the imagination therefore, that the alternative scene has incorporated animals in their very definition, as discussed in my previous post on gothic symbology. While the scene is prevalent with vegans and animal activists who look to extend their inclusive and passive attitudes to all living things – so too many take their own “totems” to represent their allegiances. And as one would expect the most loved are those which are largely feared or rejected by the mainstream. Ones which look past to see their darker beauty, here are some of my favourites (and ones which – growing up in South Africa – I have a lot of first-hand experience with!):

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LondonEdge September 2014

by on September 10th, 2014 in Alchemy Gothic, alternative fashion, News | No comment

One of the most important ways for Alchemy to meet it’s trade customers, to showcase each season’s latest products, preview Alchemy’s new designs and projects and discuss ideas and issues, is through the circuit of international trade shows. Certainly one of the most important and by far the best of these to attend, (for both business reasons and fun!), is LondonEdge, a twice-yearly event held in London with occasional showings in exotic locations such as New York, Hong Kong or Berlin.

The current show, presenting Alchemy’s 2014 Autumn collection of expressively dark and alternative essentials, is at the amazing Islington Design Centre, with a sensational first night party in Camden Market Stables’ Horse Hospital, featuring burlesque naughtiness, vintage harmony singers, a drag queen and an exotic fire dancer! Lots of the great business connections are informally made at these Music and alcohol fuelled events, also.

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Terror and Wonder in the British Library

by on September 5th, 2014 in Uncategorized | No comment

Dark culture vultures should wing their way to London this autumn, as the British Library are hosting an exhibition celebrating 250 years of Gothic literature. Entitled ‘Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination’, the event, which opens October 3rd, commemorates the anniversary of the publication of ‘The Castle of Otranto’, widely regarded as the first full-blooded Gothic novel. While it comes as no surprise that, in a library, the display’s springboard into the macabre is book based, the exhibition draws upon all of the dark arts – from painting and photography, to cinema and live storytelling – in order to illuminate the Gothic world.

Partnering the British Library on this macabre season is BBC Four, who will not only be screening documentaries on the subject, but have also combed the BBC’s vaults for classic footage of performances by Goth musical icons such as Bauhaus and The Sisters of Mercy. “Gothic was the perfect encapsulation of the beauty and darknessof the British spirit, displayed in our architecture, our artwork, our literature and our lyrics”, explains the BBC’s Cassian Harrison. “I’m delighted that some of BBC Four’s most insightful art historians will be delving into the British Library archives and beyond to look back on a style that has shaped modern culture.”

In addition to the exhibition, and collaborative season with the BBC, the British Library’s also hosting a series of one-off themed events. As well as talks by experts on everything from vampire-slaying to ravens, and live theatre performances, there will be some familiar faces in unfamiliar contexts. For example, Queen guitarist Brian May will be discussing his passion for antique 3D dioramas of Hell, while comedian Stewart Lee will be telling a spooky tale or two. For further info on the Terror and Wonder exhibition and events, click here http://www.bl.uk/whatson/exhibitions/gothic/index.html while a preview of the BBC season can be found here http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2014/gothic-season

Our resident devotee of dark culture Gavin Baddeley ( http://www.gavinbaddeley.com ) plans to attend some of the events, and if he does, he’s promised to report back…

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Gothic symbols

by on August 22nd, 2014 in Alchemy Gothic, News | No comment

We have evidence of jewellery used as decorative adornment dating back as far as between 90,000 and 100,000 years ago. But as mankind progressed and our understanding grew, jewellery changed from merely decorations to representations and reflections; jewellery started to serve as a symbol of wealth and/or status, as well as to protect against harm, ward off evil, and heal ailments. And through the years and across continents from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome, Asia and India to the Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian eras an indeed to modern day, shining examples of such adornment have opened a window to the soul of humanity and shed light on our thoughts, dreams, beliefs and desires.

It is not difficult therefore, to understand why the alternative scene has embraced this means of decoration. Already very demonstrative in their means of attire, jewellery adds the embellishments and can act as icons of their philosophies for the more spiritual among us. Indeed many of the ancient symbols are often found in our ornamental adornment. However, how much meaning and power is put in these pieces vary from wearer to wearer. Sometimes it’s the simple aesthetic of the design that appeals and not its deeper meaning. But whether you wear to decorate or to invoke, it’s still good to have at least a rudimentary understanding of the myth behind the symbol that hangs glittering from your neck, ears and arms. And here I list a few of the most common:

Ankh: the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph meaning “key of life” and symbolises eternal life. For this reason the symbol has since been associated with many vampyric themes too.

Latin Cross: this is the standard cross, with the base stem being longer than the other three arms. This is the principle symbol of the Christain religion recalling the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the redeeming benefits of his Passion and death. It therefore again has the ideas of death and rebirth and the promise of an eternal life after salvation.

Pentagram: This symbol has gone through many incarnations and been adopted through the years by various faiths. Starting out as a Sumerian glyph it was later used in Christianity to symbolise the five sense and five wounds of Christ. By the mid 19th century it started being used as a magical symbol in the occult arts. Today it is most often associated with paganism and witchcraft with the two orientations (point at the top and point at the bottom) broadly representing the “good” and “evil” forces (a whole article can be written here on the interpretations and understandings of each…)

The Gothic Ankh was my very first Alchemy purchase and is still one of my most treasured pieces of jewellery. The ankh has always been one of my favourite symbols to wear because of its associations with the everlasting and interweaves nicely with the Amaranth mythology of “never fading”. These are my chosen storybook fairytales that help mitigate the humdrum of reality, where one night on the dance floor will last forever and Monday will never come.


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Bloodstocking with Baddeley

by on August 15th, 2014 in News, Uncategorized | No comment

Alchemy have become regular visitors to Bloodstock Open Air festival. While we were hard at work on the stall, our resident metal fiend Gavin Baddeley was swanning around enjoying himself. Here he explains why he reckons Bloodstock’s become an essential date in the metal calendar…

Come early August it’s time for the UK’s metal faithful to make their annual pilgrimage to Catton Hall for the Bloodstock Festival. Now in its fourteenth year, Bloodstock has evolved from a modest indoor day event with an audience of some 700, to an open air weekend that welcomes around twenty times that number of eager fans to its extensive grounds. It may not be the biggest festival in the UK, or indeed the cultiest (or kvltiest?), but Bloodstock’s now in the proud position of being widely regarded as the connoisseur’s choice amongst Brit metal fests.

It got there in part from a succession of strong bills. While Bloodstock certainly pulls crowd-pleasing headliners out of the bag, the festival’s underlying philosophy focuses on the kind of acts beloved of the grassroots, but routinely overlooked by the British press and promoters. That same by-the-fans-for-the-fans ethos colours every aspect of the event to this day, with a sense of community and attention to detail conspicuous by its absence among many of Bloodstock’s more corporate competitors.

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Bloody teardrops

by on August 8th, 2014 in Alchemy Gothic, News | No comment

He told me I had blood on my mouth. I looked at him confused yet quite amused at his observation. ‘Your lip is bleeding,’ he insisted. Grinning I licked my lips clean and tasted once again the blood that wasn’t mine. The last drop of my most recent sustenance.

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