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Season of the Witch


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The first book to cover in-depth and from an insider's perspective the inception and rise of goth - one of the world's most enduringly popular musical subcultures.

About the Author

Cathi Unsworth began her career on the legendary music weekly Sounds at the age of nineteen, where she topped a poll to be named the Sounds journalist readerswould most like to go for a drink with. Her popularity was down to her identification with gothic music.

Cathi's previous book, Defying Gravity, the life and times of punk icon Jordan, was described by Julie Burchill as 'the only book about punk you'll ever need' and was chosen as 'Book of the Year' by Rough Trade, Uncut and the Daily Telegraph in 2019. She has also written six pop-culture-laced noir novels and her short-form work has appeared in The Guardian, the Financial Times, Bizarre, Melody Maker, Mojo and Uncut. She has appeared on TV and radio, given talks, organised walks and hosted events too numerous to mention.


*Lydia Lunch*

'Cathi Unsworth not only succeeds in conjuring her personal history and dark tastes into a book of immense and lucid insight, but in doing so has crafted a rich reflection on the signs and sigils of the times, taking in - as well as using - associated cultural ritual and alchemy, featuring a cast of the lost, the damned, the beautiful and the bizarre; the possessed and dispossessed. All with the best possible sense of glacial cool.'
*Richard Cabut (ne: Richard North)*

'Season of the Witch is to Goth what Jon Savage's England's Dreaming was to Punk ... a magnificent, wild dissection of the music, the madness, and social dysfunction of the era that spawned it. Hail Unsworth.'
*Billy Chainsaw (former Siouxsie and The Banshees’ personal assistant)*

'Drawing on both her novelistic skills as well as her years as a music journalist, Unsworth's account of Goth and its origins is rich and absorbing, establishing its political and historical context (with Margaret Thatcher as the most infamous dominatrix of all). She shows that the dark matter of Goth amounts to more than mere Addams family cosplay but has deep cultural roots in literature and cinema, as well as magnificent precursors such as The Doors, Nico, Suicide, David Bowie, who helped breed giants such as Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Cure, Joy Division and Magazine.'
*David Stubbs*

*David Peace*

'Cathi brings darkness to light.'
*Jon Savage*

'An utterly compelling social history filled with passion, sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. This is the essential account of all things Goth, the epic and intimate story of a great tribe that emerged from Thatcher's Dark Ages.'

'The First Lady of Noir seamlessly stitches politics, psychogeography and secret history into the most mesmerising musical tapestry of the Eighties, to create a Gothic masterpiece. I was spellbound.'
*Ann Scanlon*

'Cathi Unsworth's Season of the Witch is a panoramic view of the musical culture of the UK in the 1980s and its search for a voice to capture - a voice sometimes captured by - a nation seized by traumas of displacement, dispossession, depression, powerlessness, and silencing. But for all the twists and turns of the music whose tales make the body of the book, what both grounds it, and opens a period of time now in the past as a gaping hole waiting as the future, is the constant underpinning of the greater Goth forces at work in the land, the true lords of mendacity, cruelty, and domination: Rupert Murdoch and Margaret Thatcher. ". . . once again able to feast on those who would destroy her," Unsworth writes - and for all the adventures of bands from Siouxie and the Banshees to Sisters of Mercy, that is the most Goth line in the book.'
*Greil Marcus*

'A beautifully written, meticulously researched account. 4/5.'
*Classic Pop*

'A superb history of the dark and all its risings. It's as monumental as its subject, a real temple of love. 4/5.'

'Even for those not drawn to the goth flame it's a brilliant piece of cultural history.'
*Choice Magazine*

'A rich sourcebook of darkly cultural thrills. 4/5'
*Fortean Times*

'Unsworth is a wonderful writer who throws brilliant light and decadent shade on the UK-focused movement often with a welcome focus on the female protagonists.'
*4 stars, Record Collector*

'Brilliantly written and contextualised. I couldn't put it down.'
*Martyn Ware, Heaven 17*

'A cross between social history and Dickensian epic.'
*Claire Biddles, The Wire*

'A superbly absorbing social history of the music, context and lasting legacy of goth told with novelistic skill.'
*Martyn Ware*

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