I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Monday Melbourne Medievalism Blogging (6) Montsalvat

Not sure when The Age started reporting on weddings (not long after it started putting Paris and Britney on the front page of its website, I guess), but my attention was certainly caught by this medieval/gothic wedding at Montsalvat.

I like the way medieval and the gothic run into each other here (tattoos; guests all wearing black; bride wearing big black boots and mauve corseted gown). Whatever their original significations, these terms are both used together here to signal "non-conventional", even though this is completely contradictory, like "breaking with tradition" to use an old truck, or proposing in the Northland (the outer suburban, very unchic shopping mall we quite like hanging out at) carpark, but espousing conventional values like family dinners and insisting on marriage before children. And the very idea of a themed wedding to begin with.

Montsalvat (it is three-quarters of the way from here into the heart of the worst of the fires) was founded in the 1930s as an artists' colony, and is still the base for a dozen or so artists. Concerts are held there too, though it is principally known as a wedding venue.

Sarah Randles writes about the ideology of medievalist architecture in Montsalvat in Medievalism and the Gothic in Australian Culture. But as a setting for a wedding, it reminds me of the heterosexual romance of the medieval: that sense that people are comfortable in invoking its ethos to give meaning and shape to their relationship. It isn't always coded, then, as historical.


Francis Xavier Holden said...

ah the regimentation of the Goth look.

The meaning of the tattoo these days is hopelessly confusing.

If most people of a certain age, and perhaps their parents, have at least one tattoo - what sort of a rebellion or breaking of taboo does a tatt signify?

Most tatts seems to unambiguously signal lack of creativity.

Stephanie Trigg said...

Yes. Especially the really "creative" ones. There was a brief window of time — about thirteen years ago — when my partner and I thought we might get matching tatts to celebrate the birth of our child. But the moment passed, and it would now be impossibly fashionable. (Heh. I typed gashionable...)

Michelle Smith said...

There used to be quite a number of goths who dressed in what was supposed to be medieval garb and who would participate in re-enactments. When such couples married they'd inevitably have a handfasting ceremony.
Now there's nary a young "medieval goth" to be found as they are all attaching flurorescent plastic tubing to their hair and wearing reflective PVC. Translation: there are now more "cyber" goths into electronic music than "medieval" ones into classical music. (Perhaps not the case in Europe, though, where there are extremely popular "medieval" bands like Corvus Corax).

Stephanie Trigg said...

Yes, it's not as fashionable an inflection of gothic as it used to be, I think that's true. Luckily there are still lots of medievalism fans (who do medievalism, and don't need goth) to carry on...