31 December 2015

Last December party outfit + face

Not my new year´s outfit, but from last weekend, when I actually took the time to take some pictures. Lets finish this year by looking all pretty and trad.

I have also had my hair cut in the beginning of the month, I´ve missed teasing my hair and bangs are a must.

 A new makeup routine- smudged cut crease with gel eyeliner and bordeaux pencil and lips. I love how this makes my eyes look huge and requires minimal effort.

Boris had a fancy outfit that night as well, looking more feminine than ever. His mother made the shirt which goes well with everything we own.

And for once, the party we went to turned amazing. Now to celebrate the new year with good friends, champagne and food!
I wish everyone an amazing new year celebrations! And thanks for sticking around with my blog :)


24 December 2015

My 2015 in music

Today I sum up the bands that have been accompanying me throughout this past year.

Join me, in this genre-broad overview, and here is the post from 2014.

1. Placebo

Live 1999

Boris´ and mine lives will never be the same after this year´s  placebo fever. I finally got Boris to acknowledge that this band was not crap (he HATED them before! Can you imagine?) and it turned to be a success:
Not only was he inspired musically, gender-wise and had his (and mine) long awaited homosexual awakening, but now he also has his hair short like Brian fucking Molko, over whom we are still happily fangirling. Placebo have given us so much charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent this year and it felt amazing!!

2. New Model Army


I was introduced to this band by a dear friend, in fact the first friend I´ve made in Berlin, and had this album for 2.5 years before I actually got into it. It has inspired me greatly this year and has given me strength and a lot to think about, not to mention giving me insane bass goals. 1984 is one of my favorite songs, there is so much more than post punk in this band.

3. The Underground Youth

I Need You

Well, I think I have mentioned this band enough this year. I went to see them live twice and it was amazing each time. I am mostly not impressed by quiet, monotonic music, but live it had a different dynamic to it that had me very convinced and sucked into the atmosphere. This is not about guitar solos or crazy vocals, it´s something different, and that´s why I like this band a lot.

4. Jayne County and the Electric Chairs

Peels Sessions

Boris has tormented me with this band making me listen to them every damn day, but they were one hell of a discovery. Proto-post punk from the CBGB fronted by one of the first Trans* women in punk - it can´t get any better than this. They were very inspiring as well, and County´s voice made it sound melancholic at times and a lot less punky, not to mention sassy song lyrics, like "I like it when you smell my dirty sock. toilet love"; or - "I´m getting ready to meet my midnight pal".

5. A Perfect Circle

live @ Stone & Echo

Like with Placebo, I have come back to a band that I´ve been listening to in my teens, to see if they would still speak to me, and they did, more than ever! I just love Keenan´s troubled voice tone, and it´s exactly the kind of "progressive rock/metal" I enjoy. Instrumentally and bass-wise they made a lot more sense than when I was a teenager. And no, I don´t like Tool if you´re curious. But I do like these guys.

6. The Mars Volta

Speaking of progressive rock and coming back to bands, I did the same with The Mars Volta. For a long time I couldn´t listen to them properly due to this band being introduced to me by my ex, and has always reminded me of a bad period of time + breakup Boris I´ve had a few years ago. But time goes on, and the need for amazing music grows. 
The only album I could digest by this band has always been Octahedron (their most popy one, ah well) but I got into their first one and was happy to hear tons of Led Zeppelin and (expected) post hardcore influences (no, I don´t like At The Drive In, if you´re curious). I fell in love with Omar´s incredible voice all over again.

7. Various Nowa Fala acts

Republika - obcy astronom

I have dug more into a few Polish post punk bands this year, inspired by Return To The Batcave festival. Republika, Maanam and Madame were the ones I listened to more than ever and liked the most, but by songs rather than albums. Republika has to be my favorite so far, since it gathers so many influences like ska, jazz and what have you and mashes it into brilliant post punk, which is exactly the kind of music I like and want to make. 
And most of all, they have set a very nostalgic feeling in me for things that have never happened (that´s the only way I can explain the feeling I get when I listen to them, Thank you, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, for this brilliant description).

Madame - moze wlasnie Sybilla

I am happy to have come back to familiar bands and discover them all over again. 
Aside from the mentioned above and many more, I have attended many concerts of Boris´ secondary band Totenwald and spent a lot of time perfecting his newly composed songs for our band together, Girls Like Us
I am excited to what musical adventures, discoveries and fruits the new year will bring.

You are all welcome to write a similar post and share your favorite music from this year, and send me some band recommendations!


21 December 2015

Holiday Nostalgia

Post in cooperation with Man Crates

The holiday season is here, and so is the feeling of excitement for me, since the biggest holiday of all is coming- The New Year.

As mentioned numerous times before, I do not celebrate Christmas, but the New Year on December 31st.
I grew up in a Russian speaking home which followed Russian tradition despite living in Israel, where the New Year is not being celebrated (not in December, since it´s not a Jewish holiday).
And in Russian tradition, December 31st is BIG. So big, that people still celebrate it into the beginning of January, and well, that involves mainly getting drunk.

Some things are a New Year must, like decorating the pine tree, preparing a huge ass table full of traditional food a few days before the 31st, watching special New Year´s eve movies on television even if you´ve seen them a hundred times and know them by heart, and so on....

Here are a few things that have always made the New Year a special time, that I love having around me since childhood:

Ирония Судьбы, или С Легким Паром! - The Irony Of Fate, or Enjoy The Steam!

God forbid that I have translated the title for you, it sounds completely ridiculous, but this film is the film of all films, of all Russian films, and of all Russian New Year films.
This film is a romantic comedy, a drama, a holiday film and a music film. It has so many things in it I find it hard to point down what makes it so magical. Here is the plot:

Moscow, and the main character gets super drunk with his friends in a sauna/public bath on New Year´s eve and ends up accidentally flying to Leningrad. Confused and still drunk, he takes a cab to the street number where his house (originally in Moscow) is located, takes the elevator to "his" floor, and opens "his" apartment with his key. This is made possible in the film as an anecdote that all soviet houses are built the same. When the main character is drunk and asleep (believing he has reached his own apartment in Moscow) the real inhabitant of the apartment comes in: a beautiful woman,
A scandal begins when she discovers a drunk stranger in her bed, and the main character understands awkwardly that he is in fact not in Moscow at all, but in Leningrad! (you can read about the film here)

A love story develops later, as beautifully touching songs are being played (or sung by the characters in the film) in between. Don´t get me wrong, it´s not a musical at all, and the songs come very naturally during the scenes (no dancing, thank god).
Also, some scenes in the film are so iconic they have become jokes, understood by any Russian person. A good few generations can quote this film from start to finish.
Have I seen this film more times than I´ve celebrated New Year´s eve? Certainly.

But I suppose the real magic of the film is that you grow up watching it, and each period of time you watch it with different eyes:
Once a child laughing at the drunk main character oblivious to the situation he´s in
Then a teenager admiring the love story, the beautiful blonde woman whose apartment in Leningrad the main character intrudes, and how from a drunk man he sobers up and falls in love
Or listen to the songs instead, how they portray a certain loneliness that contradicts the cheery mainstream holiday spirit
Then as a grown up you put all the above together, and realize how this film has spoken to so many generations, regardless of age, music taste etc etc. How it will always stay with you and if you happen to be alone among strangers, it would be enough to find another Russian speaking individual to cite the film and feel at home again (I am writing this with tears in my eyes I am not kidding you).

One of my favorite songs from the film

Cone ornament for New Year´s tree

We have never put a star on the head of the tree in our family, we´ve always put a cone-shaped thing, and I think it´s pretty common in the tradition. I don´t know why. I couldn´t find a nice cone in the stores in Berlin, people use stars here, so our tree has no head ornament, but that´s ok.

I also love the old tree decorations. When I was little we had a few glass ones but they all broke with time. Most of ours were in the shape of pine cones, icicles or diamonds.

Mandarin oranges and caviar

Not much to say here. You would lay a few mandarin oranges around the tree and eat them all through December, and caviar on bread with butter is a must on each New Year´s table. It´s no luxury, it´s a standard. Caviar was always there. Add champagne to the mix and no doubt you will soon be speaking The Mighty Language.
Speaking of tables, nothing surpasses the enormous New Year´s dishes which lasted for at least a week after New Year´s eve and you were happy to eat leftovers cause it reminded you of how amazing celebrations were. 


Grandfather Cold and Snowy the granddaughter

Ok, this is where we get even more traditional. In Russian folklore, what you might guess is "Santa Claus" comes to visit the children on New Year´s eve. He has a slay, a staff that shines and a granddaughter, wearing blue with long blonde braids (usually one braid though) to accompany him. The closest I could translate her name was Snowy. 

Here´s the cool part: you might think all this winter imagery was somewhat ironic due to me growing up in Israel, where there is no snow. Well, it was, but what wasn´t is that each New Year´s eve there would be people (married couples mostly) who would dress up as both characters whom you could "book" to come to your apartment to entertain the children, so that no Russian traditions would be lost during your Israeli socialization.
My parents always did that when I was little, even till my early teens, and me and my brother loved it. The people who role played Grandfather Frost and Snowy got paid to do it of course, and always got their share of alcohol from the parents who would book them. The later they came during the evening, the drunker they were. It was fun for everyone.

In Russia they would come to the kindergarten and the entertainment would be more thought through, like leading a circle around the New Year´s tree with the children etc etc.

All in all, I like keeping my New Year very traditional. No goth tree decorations, no thank you. It is also very important for me to celebrate with family, or at least with closest friends. Because, and that´s the most important lesson of the New Year: how you will celebrate it, that´s how your New Year will be.

Happy holidays everyone, a summary of 2015 in music will follow.

N. Finsternis

11 December 2015

Some GIFs

Lately my friend Trish showed me this really cool app called GifMe, where you can create your own gifs! Now my phone-spending time is even greater than before.

The only down side is that you cannot post the GIFs to instagram, but at least I can do it here. Phew, it won´t go for nothing at least.

For instance, watch this footage of Boris cutting a pumpkin:

Or me doing what I do best:

Look at the Hanukkah candles (with the pentacle and iconography in the background XD):

Or my artistic attempt! This will blow up on Tumblr!

This reminds me of stop motion animation. You can even shoot a band video with this!
Although I bet Jan Svankmajer would have a lot to say about stop motion:

N. Finsternis

5 December 2015

Girls Like Us - our new band!

I am very excited to share our band at last! We have 2 songs up already, Not Enough & Manifesto. Click on the links to go to our Bandcamp page.

We don´t have a clue what genre our music might be, so I prompt you to give us a listen and write your feedback here in the comments!

You are also very welcome to like our Facebook page.

I am excited to share our little project, tell me what you think and spread the word!
A wonderful weekend to all!

N. Finsternis

30 November 2015

What I Learned From The Berlin Goth/ Alternative Scene

January will mark 3 years of accomplishing our dream and moving to Berlin. There is so much to tell about the life here, but I have decided to share some observations and lessons learned from the alternative/ goth scene, since it´s basically what we came here for.

Ever so varied and absolutely nothing like in Israel (or anywhere else), this is what Berlin´s squats, parties and gigs have taught me:

1. Reminder: you have 20 events coming up this weekend

Berlin is exhausting. Good luck choosing from 5 different parties, 3 gigs, 2 birthdays, 4 other possibly cultural events every. damn. weekend!
And don´t be surprised you don´t see you friends regularly.
And bring a gas mask because each pub or club has no ventilation whatsoever so you either learn how to convert cigarette smoke into oxygen, or die, or go home. But the third one is not an option!!

2. Nobody gives a damn about your appearance

I thought WGT is already behind us, because you are not impressing anyone with your hair extensions, shaved eyebrows, latex corset and New Rock boots (unless they are stomped out completely and are the only shoes you possess, along with an obligatory torn band t-shirt, which is ok, gives you that post-gothapocalypse look).
Consequently from nr. 1 on this list, nobody has the time or energy to doll themselves up too much for each party. Most people will wear basic clothes, with some stockings max.
Of course, there will always be some Deathrockers  who would sport a head-to-toe old school look, but they are rare and travel in packs (if they are not late to the concert already from all the prepping-up).
Basic clothes include:

  • Band t-shirt, preferably falling to pieces
  • Combat boots, new or old, it doesn´t matter, You have them- the dancefloor is yours.
  • A vintage piece, thanks to Humana, a chain of super cheap second hand stores we all love.
  • A really cool hair due that goes well with everything and needs little to no styling.
  • A belt, but no more than 2 in one outfit.
  • Some type of gothy makeup, but one that doesn´t look like you´ve been sweating over it.
picture by Krousky Pictures
3. If a party costs more than 5 euros, it´s not worth it

Not to mention squat prices (3-5 euro mostly). Everybody is broke in Berlin, and so are you, or you can pretend to be. Parties for 10 euros? Ok, how about putting me on the guestlist for that one.
As well as:

4. Knowing the good and bad venues

How to tell if a venue is good? Here are some positive-venue-experience qualities:

  • You can sneak your own drinks in, without having to buy an overpriced, disgusting beer (like Berliner or Becks, lord have mercy on us)
  • They have mexikaner shots, preferably for 1 euro/ shot.
  • No incidents of harassment, stealing, sexism, racism, homo/ transphobia occure (with a bunch of stickers on the bathroom doors to remind you how to behave).
  • Gender neutral bathrooms are always a plus

5. Here come the snotty hipster goths

Perhaps my favorite part in the Berlin goth scene is the diversity of events and happenings, making the subculture seemingly broad, or at least various.
Which is why with a bit of time and hanging out, one can easily orientate between a number of "layers" the scene has to offer. This include: 
  • Fancy mainstream goth parties
  • Cheap squats with gigs and cheaper beer
  • Expensive fetish parties
  • Minimal synth parties with music that seems likable in Berlin but sounds absolutely horrific
  • 80s parties where old people are likely to be seen
  • 80s parties where younger people are likely to be seen
  • Post punk gigs
  • Post punk gigs with bands claiming they play something else but end up sounding like Post Punk or worse
  • Snobbish hipster goth parties with a love for trendy Tumblr music and Tumblr people
  • Queer goth parties with wonderful music and atmosphere
  • Some more minimal synth/ minimal wave parties leaving you thirsty for guitar music that will never come
and the list goes on, depending on your music tastes, budget, hangeout, morals or lack thereof.

6. have we met before?

To shatter your and mine provincial expectations, despite the wonderful things listed above, the scene in Berlin is actually not big at all. Sure, there are a lot of possibilities to do your thing, more than 2 people that will come to your gig or party and stores or flea markets where you can expand your rare record collection. But you probably know most people, or at least you see familiar faces in different hangouts; everybody dj-s at everyone else´s party, everybody plays in everybody else´s bands, etc etc. 
Expecting that the scene would be an engine to get your career moving is a no go as well.
And you realize that even in other European countries there will always be the same people who organize parties, festivals, gigs, etc.
So speaking form a more global perspective, the goth scene is indeed small, but we might just enjoy it as it is, contribute as consumers, artists, creators and friends, and not save on the hairspray.

I hope you have enjoyed this post! You are welcome to share your experience with subcultures in big cities you know, or share your own expectations of places famous for their alternative style.

N. Finsternis

17 November 2015

Wedding Pictures

They´re here! We married on the 6th of November with Boris! By far the most pleasant bureaucratic procedure that we´ve faced in Germany.

Fun Fact: Boris´s insanely talented mother sewed both our dresses. We provided her with the measurements and the exact design each of us wanted. I wanted nothing more than to wear a simple, Morticia Addams inspired dress. Boris went for the middle ages.

Fun Fact #2: whenever in queer spaces, for example the pub where I weekly read Tarot, when we would tell a person we are getting married, they would ask if one of us is German, or rather- if we are getting married for the "documents" (must be a typical reason for getting married in the queer community). This cracked us up each time. 

Us and our families. My 16 year old brother rocks.

Fun Fact #3: We married on the 6th of November, and became 9 years together shortly after on the 10th.

Us and our Dearest ♥

N. Finsternis

16 November 2015

Recent musical discoveries

While I am still waiting for our wedding pictures, which are taking an unsettling long time, here is some of the music that has been inspiring me lately.

Also, you might notice the new blog design. I thought bringing some hipster to the front could be nice, I got tired of the old school goth *gasp!*.

Regardless (or not?), if you are in a dreamy, bittersweet mood, you have come to the right post.


I am going to see them again this month, as their gig this Summer has had me transfixed ever since. I love how soft they sound on the recording, and how surprisingly heavy and even more psychedelic they sounded on stage. I just can´t wait for the gig!
It´s not a really "new" music discoverie, but I just wanted to share this band again.



So what I did was to click on a bunch of suggested similar bands after listening to a couple of songs of The Underground Youth on YouTube (my favorite way of discovering new music), and I discovered Cigarettes After Sex. In a similar dreamy-shoegaze fashion, this band is all about atmosphere and a bit of sadness, nice for spending quiet afternoons at home (PS they do claim to play in the genre of "slow motion", can´t say no to that).

To be honest with you I am surprised I actually like this kind of music, I would normally consider something like this to be too vague or plainly overdone (I despise shoegaze of course). But I ended up listening only to these guys recently.



Clicking on to the next recommended band, and I ended up spending an entire evening (most of which consisted of preparing for a night out) with an entire album by Wild Nothing. It left me very content and carefree!
This band is a sensible combination of The Smiths and The Cure. And I would normally smirk at the emulation of the two in this band´s music, but they are just so damn good, you have to try!

Should I make this a regular post series? Would you like to discover new music with me?
Let me know and please do share bands that you think I would like, especially if they are contemporary and have some kind of post punk influence.

N. Finsternis

10 November 2015

Beginning of 2000 goth

We´ve only been this far, haven´t we? It is hard to sum of gothic fashion of that time, since already in the 90s the subculture began to split music and style wise, taking influences from Rave, Metal etc.

But for me, beginning of 00s goth means heavy black/red eyeshadow, thin/no eyebrows, long black hair in 2 colors and possibly with dreads, and pretty much any outfit out there, as long as it involved bell bottoms and cut out gloves.

from Back To School video by Deftones

Why should you give a fuck?
Because this is an appreciation post! 00s goth marks the time when goth will soon be confused with emo; or when metal goth began; and when the stereotype of goth as we know it came to haunt our gloomy everyday life.

In this style, the common "long black hair" got embedded into every babybat´s first step in the goth ladder, and thin eyebrows as the first beauty rule. Funny that people still dress like this even today when they first come across the style and want to try it out.

Queen Of The Damned

 This was also the time for goth models to become more popular. One of my favorite goth models will always be Wednesday Mourning. She has a very old school charm, has no tattoos or piercings and was very inspiring for me in my babybat years.

The Wave Gotik Treffen began to attract attention more and more since the end of the 90s-beginning of 00s. One of my favorite source of inspiration (and jealousy) in my babybat years was Viona Art´s website, especially her WGT galleries (the early 00s were especially my favorite). Unfortunately, last time I checked the galleries were brought down.
This picture is a dream for me ever since:

There is a huge variety of styles from the beginning of the millennium in the goth subculture, tell me what are your favorites, or the ones that make you most nostalgic :)

N. Finsternis

1 November 2015

Halloween Face

I ended up reading Tarot cards again for Halloween, but didn´t stay for long as people came mostly to get drunk and the pub was so packed nobody paid any attention to my table. My eyes began to sting from the cigarette smoke at some point and my vibes were pretty much gone. But it was a nice evening nonetheless. I had plans to go to a party afterwards but gave it up for Penny Dreadful and beer at home. Boris was away for a gig in Lodz to it was not fun going out without him.

Kind of went for a classic goth look, I love my red eyeshadow which does not look like it should through the camera. It is very pigmented and makes perfect for a sick, beginning of 00s goth inspired look.

Some 19 year old self inspirations going on here
One does not simply not take a Myspace selfie with this makeup/hair. I looked up 90s hair tutorials and really wanted to try these pigtails out, it´s the closest to pigtails my hair can get, plus I had no energy to tease my hair when it´s this long.

Hope everyone has had a more interesting Halloween than I!

N. Finsternis

29 October 2015

Things that made me happy in October

I have been neglected the blog since uni has started this month, but I am not complaining. I had a lot of stuff to do aside from studies, like band practices and preparations for the wedding that kept me very motivated, so I can sum this month for lack of regular updating.

1. Celebrating my birthday was definitely a nice thing happening at the beginning of the month. I did nothing special, just went with Boris to devour sushi and we took a nice walk.

2. Going to the Return To The Batcave festival! Aside from meeting old and new friends, I got to listen to some incredible bands. A new band that I was happy to discover are Kandahar - a fine example of people coming from the hardcore scene interpreting post punk their own way. I was mind blown by the live show!
I was dying to see Wieze Fabryk, the Polish legend, and let me tell you it was a dream... they sounded exactly like the recording, with the meaty live sound as well, the songs were just perfect and I have discovered some new ones (my favorite has to be the ever so tribal Huk, I realized I was laughing throughout it because of how pagan the singing sounds).

Seeing 13th Chime was actually worth it. The guys kicked ass, and then I realized they actually sound a lot like PIL and it was so cool hearing this in contrast to all the new bands. Pogoing was going on through the Coffin Maker (I call it the Coffee Maker and tragically nobody caught on the joke despite my continuous attempts).
The festival as a whole had an amazing atmosphere, I am so glad we went!

attempted dirty mirror selfie, I couldn´t care less about capturing my outfit for the blog
3. Buying my first bass guitar was very spontaneous and satisfying. I have been borrowing a classic model from a friend for too long, and Boris and I were searching for second hand basses online for a while but to no avail (I had no idea about guitar models without him).
Then one day we accidentally saw that somebody was selling an Epiphone Thunderbird. We ran to grab it without thinking twice, as this was exactly what we´ve wanted. The bass is a beast, the sound is incredible and kind of plays on it´s own. I am more than happy to be playing such an iconic model.

4. Reading Tarot cards every wednesday at a queer bar has been making this and the previous month as well. I am having so much fun reading (and learning the craft better as I go on), sitting there with different people talking about their lives, not to mention meeting so many new and interesting people. I also sat down with queer refugees from Syria and Lebanon one night, and listening to one of their stories was fascinating but terrifying. Boris accompanies me to the bar sometimes in full cross-dressing and friends come by sometimes as well, the vibes are great. Not to mention tips coming my way more than ever, it´s nice to see more people coming.

5. Preparations for the wedding which will take place in the beginning of November has brought me "in the holiday spirit". Previously, the only thing I could give a damn about was seeing my parents and my little brother, Boris and mine´s best friend from Israel and our dearest from Copenhagen after such a long time of parting. The wedding and all the fuss everybody but me were making about it were left somewhere in the back of my mind.
But then, when the lady on the telephone from the restaurant we were booking for after the ceremony cheerfully congratulated me, and I actually sat my ass down to book a photographer, it began to sink into me, making my heart race each time I thought about greeting all out friends at the faithful day, drinking champagne and laughing, taking stupid photos where everyone would be looking pretty and satisfied (with the possibility of printing them out later), seeing my mother´s face after the ceremony, throwing the buke and shit.... 
And I realized I was freaking out. And so was Boris.

So I actually can´t wait, and pray that everything will go smoothly, and that we will actually have time to spend with each person that arrives especially for us from abroad for this occasion. 

Hope your month has been lovely as well. Until next time, probably with Wedding posts already.

N. Finsternis

22 October 2015

Photos from Wrocław

Last weekend we went to Return To The Batcave festival, and before I write a post about the amazing bands, I would like to share a few photos from the amazing city. We have been to the city on the last year´s festival, but this time we have discovered a lot more, as we had more time.

The 4.5 hour bus ride was especially cool this time, because we have managed to take the front seats on the upper deck for the first time! We enjoyed the view:

We were very lucky with the weather, it was sunny and warm most of the time, unlike in Berlin where it´s rainy every day and suddenly feels more like winter!

Little gnomes are scattered everywhere around the city

And this is how we went back home lol:

Next post will be about the musical highlights from the festival. Stay tuned!

N. Finsternis