Season of the Witch

The Book of Goth

Cathi Unsworth author


Publisher:Bonnier Books Ltd

Published:11th May '23


Available for immediate dispatch.

Season of the Witch cover

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.


Months of industrial action throughout the winter have left the dead unburied and mountains of rubbish piling up in the streets.

After ten brutal homicides and the biggest police hunt in history, the Yorkshire Ripper is still at large and preparing to strike again.

Punk has reached its bleak climax with the fatal heroin overdose of Sid Vicious while awaiting trial for the murder of his girlfriend.

Unlikely alliances of outsiders prepare to seize power, set the political agenda and write the soundtrack for the years to come. Their figureheads are two very different kinds of dominatrices...

As Margaret Thatcher enters 10 Downing Street, a handful of bands born of punk - Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division and the Cure - find a way to distil the dissonance and darkness of the shifting decade into a new form of music. Pushing at the taboos the Sex Pistols had unlocked and dancing with the fetishistic, all will become global stars of goth.

By the time Thatcher is cast out of office in 1990, the arrival of goth will have imprinted on the cultural landscape as much as the Iron Lady herself.

Now, forty years since its inception, author Cathi Unsworth provides the first comprehensive overview of the music, context and lasting legacy of goth. This is the story of how goth was shaped by the politics of the era - from the miners' strikes and privatisation to the Troubles and AIDS ­­- as well as how its rock 'n' roll outlaw imagery and innovative, atmospheric music cross-pollinated throughout Britain and internationally, speaking to a generation of alienated youths.

A fascinating social history, Season of the Witch tells the tale of an enduring counter-culture, one that steadfastly refuses to give up the ghost.

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

ISBN: 9781788706247

Dimensions: 240mm x 162mm x 43mm

Weight: 742g

496 pages