Context is everything but out-of-context is even better. I heard Actress drop The Cure’s “A Forest” in the middle of his techno set at a warehouse party in Peckham a couple of years ago and the room went off like wildfire. When a paid-up member of the electronic avant-garde reaches into the past to drag an old record into a new setting, it never feels anything less than radical. I mean, not that you could go wrong with The Cure. It’s The Cure. The Cure. “A Forest” came out it April 1980, when I was gearing up for my first birthday and generally trying to get my acute drooling problem under control. Beyond teen adoration of their weekend worshipping hit “Friday I’m In Love,” I can’t pretend to be have been a Cure fan growing up—I was all about my Now Dance double cassettes—but when I moved to Leeds for university in the late ’90s it was the band that kept popping up. A group of friends ran a night in the city called Technique, and while the bookings were always techno gods like UR’s DJ Rolando or electroclash stars like Miss Kittin, they often ended the night on a pop-rock note—like The Cure’s “Love Cats.” It always had us all back on the dancefloor, summoning up that last bit of energy to sing our hearts out as we danced in a boisterous huddle.
Around the same time, a friend who would go on to become one of my dearest burned me a CD copy of their Best Of compilation and songs like “Pictures of You” and “Close to Me” became sad day go-to’s. While today my ears stay hungry for electronic adventure, a chance to curl up inside a Cure song takes me right back to that warm feeling of forging new friendships on dancefloors. So when I heard it was World Goth Day, I immediately thought: excuse to play The Cure when I would normally be blogging some mysterious producer from Romania or something. Not that one should need an excuse to play The Cure, but y’know. I also find it kind of funny that a band so associated with the lonely gloom of goth should mean warmth and friendship to me, but that’s the magic of music and memory.