Hay­ley Sproull

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - CONTENTS -

In 2006 I was an awk­ward goth teenager at a very poncy pri­vate school that wasn’t very ac­com­mo­dat­ing of my look. Then I met a group of peo­ple from an­other school and be­came an emo, get­ting fully im­mersed in emo cul­ture. In this year’s Com­edy Fes­ti­val, I did a show called Just a Phase about this whole pe­riod.

It was like I had sud­denly found out who I re­ally was, which was an amaz­ing feel­ing. It meant I wasn’t weird. Through that group of peo­ple, I ended up meet­ing my first boyfriend and fall­ing in love for the first time. We were to­gether for ages and be­came this weird emo cou­ple who’d share clothes and skinny jeans. I’d dye his hair black and put eye­liner on him.

I lost all in­ter­est in ev­ery­thing ex­cept this group of friends. We’d go to gigs ev­ery week, jump into mosh pits and have the time of our lives. Even though I was only 16 and it was just a phase and I grew out of it, I have held on to so much of that pe­riod — things like my in­ter­est in rock mu­sic and my pas­sion for cloth­ing.

Be­ing a goth was dif­fer­ent. That had started when I was 13 and it was just so hard to main­tain. You have to do so much up­keep ev­ery day that en­thu­si­asm starts to peter out fast. For a start, be­ing a goth is all about black clothes and lay­er­ing. You can’t just slap on a pair of jeans and a shirt. You’re think­ing: how can I stuff up this out­fit even more by ad­ding 19 skirts and neck scarves?

Be­ing a goth in sum­mer is re­ally hard. The right clothes don’t come in the form of beach shorts and sin­glets. You spend all your time sweat­ing in black gloves and tights and huge skirts. And a key el­e­ment of be­ing a goth is a trench coat, which also doesn’t work well in sum­mer.

Makeup is a big deal. My makeup was very ex­treme with enor­mous black eyes, like I’d got a Vivid and scrib­bled on them for an hour. You have to main­tain the tease in your hair and fluff it up sev­eral times a day to keep it as big as pos­si­ble.

My goth friends didn’t fol­low me into the emo phase. When I be­gan turn­ing up at school with pur­ple hair and a new pierc­ing ev­ery week, they couldn’t work out what had hap­pened to me.

It was an up­tight school and I re­ally put it on hold that year while I was rag­ing and danc­ing and drink­ing. The fol­low­ing year I was still emo, but it was com­ing up time to leave school and I thought I should pull it to­gether. I was al­ways into drama and act­ing and com­edy. I did well at that stuff.

The school was amaz­ing. They ended up let­ting lots of my dis­crep­an­cies slide be­cause I was al­ways a bit cheeky and able to get away with it. I had great friends there but the point of it was to suc­ceed and con­form. You were sup­posed to look and be­have a cer­tain way, which is fine, but I thought: what’s the loud­est way I can not do that? It’s funny be­cause be­com­ing an emo it­self was con­form­ing. As told to Paul Lit­tle

Be­ing a goth in sum­mer is re­ally hard. The right clothes don’t come in the form of beach shorts and sin­glets.

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