I'd asked him what he thought the philosophy behind Goth culture was.
"Wouldn't you say punk is about the same thing?" I asked.
"Punk is more like, 'Fuck authority.'"
From there he explained that Goth allowed for a wider range of personal expression -- embracing androgyny and sexual ambiguousness, for instance. But definitions were difficult to pinpoint. Another person disagreed, arguing that Goth derived from punk. Without one, there wouldn't be the other. Then the conversation became a discussion of how Goth had splintered into other things, had broken into subcategories and derivatives. A multitude of musical genres were suggested: electronica, Goth-rock, death metal. All the categories blurred together; most of them I'd never heard of before. One person commented that the trouble with subcultures was that, regardless of how anarchic they might originally be, eventually customs evolve: They become as conformist as the cultures against which they railed.
There was one guy on the dance floor for whom all the other dancers allowed a wide space. Like most of them, he danced alone, but his movements seemed more like interpretive pantomime than dancing.
"More like intrepid-ive dancing," Dave P. quipped. "He's the Shaolin Drunk."
An accurate description -- and funny. But I couldn't help admiring the guy. He seemed to be the one who best personified the idea of fucking the norm.