Dr Catherine Spooner

Amy Winehouse Gothic: Chanel’s Pre-Fall 2008 Collection Thumbnail

Amy Winehouse Gothic: Chanel’s Pre-Fall 2008 Collection

Posted by Catherine Spooner on August 07, 2008 in Dr Catherine Spooner, Guest Blog tagged with

Karl Lagerfeld has stated that he took direct inspiration from Amy Winehouse (among others) for his Pre-Fall 2008 collection. The beehive and the crayoned-on eyeliner are certainly there, but in the publicity shots featuring supermodel Coco Rocha, they are as reminiscent of Goth style as they are of Winehouse’s 1960s-inspired look. The encrustation of crucifixes, the black silk and rubber, the fingerless gloves, the whiff of Victoriana: it seems Gothic is back yet again. Much of my academic career thus far seems to have been spent observing Gothic’s perennial return on the cat

The joke’s in the telling: or, why the Joker steals the show Thumbnail

The joke’s in the telling: or, why the Joker steals the show

Posted by Catherine Spooner on July 29, 2008 in Dr Catherine Spooner, Guest Blog tagged with

There’s been a lot of media attention given to Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker in Christopher Nolan's Batman: The Dark Knight. The Joker is arguably the most charismatic of Batman’s adversaries, and Ledger’s is the most sophisticated screen portrayal of the character (I’ll no doubt be shot down for this, but I always thought Jack Nicholson was merely playing himself in clown make-up). What is it that is so compelling about this screen villain, and about Ledger’s performance? It has become convention to the point of cliché in representatio

Phantom Fabrics: Alison Watt at the National Gallery

Posted by Catherine Spooner on July 23, 2008 in Dr Catherine Spooner, Guest Blog tagged with

I was recently lucky enough to catch Alison Watt’s Phantom, an exhibition of paintings produced while she was artist in residence at London’s National Gallery. It was a profoundly affecting experience in its own right, but it also intrigued me because of the way that it opened up questions around the way we can talk about Gothic in relation to the visual arts. In all the media attention surrounding the exhibition, I never once saw the term Gothic used – and indeed, the paintings probably didn’t fit most people’s preconceptions of the word, being virtually abstract

On Teaching Contemporary Gothic Thumbnail

On Teaching Contemporary Gothic

Posted by Catherine Spooner on July 16, 2008 in Dr Catherine Spooner, Guest Blog tagged with

At Lancaster University where I work, I currently teach an MA module in Contemporary Gothic. It's ten weeks long, taught in 2-hour seminars, and usually attracts around 16 students, the majority of whom are taking MAs in Contemporary Literary Studies or Literary and Cultural Studies. It's closely based on my own research, and a chance for me to share the texts and ideas that have been most exciting me with a group of highly advanced students, some (if not all) of whom are as bonkers about Gothic as I am. I've just had a year off from teaching the course while on leave, and as a result have de