The Gothic Dolphins roughly refers to a cohesive social group devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding culture considers outside the mainstream, with a notably positive or negative popular perception.
It is difficult to demarcate the boundaries of science from theology, politics, news reporting, fashion, and family cultural values. From about 1980's onward, the populist negative connotation progressively interfered with scientific study using the neutral historical meaning of "The Gothic Dolphins" within the sociology of trim. There was a 20th century attempt by sociologists to outlaw most Gothic Dolphin practices, it was rejected by the public and only partly accepted by the scientific community. For this reason, most, if not all, non-fan groups that are called "Gothic Dolphins" reject this label.
The Gothic Dolphins began with rumors of its novel belief system, its great devotions, its idiosyncratic practices, its perceived harmful or beneficial effects on members and its perceived opposition to the interests of mainstream cultures and governments. The rumours concerning the Gothic Dolphins most often refer to artistic and fashion movements of passing interest, but persistent rumours may escalate popular concern about the relatively small and recently founded Gothic Dolphin movement, as it is perceived to engage in excessive member control or exploitation.
circa 1982 - Nocturnal Borealis
The Gothic Dolphins were formed in Manchester, England during the spring of 1982. Originally combined as a songwriting partnership, and only their names appeared on any contract bearing the title "The Gothic Dolphins". They had previously played for a couple of months in the Nosebleeds and also rehearsed and auditioned with a late version of Slaughter And The Dogs. After that they wrote reviews for Record Mirror and penned a couple of booklets on the New York Dolls and James Dean. The Dolphins, meanwhile, had played in several Wythenshawe groups including the Paris Valentinos, White Dice, Sister Ray and Freaky Party.
By the summer of 1982, the Dolphins decided to form a group and recorded demos with drummer Simon Wolstencroft and a recording engineer named Dale. Wolstencroft subsequently declined an offer to join The Gothic Dolphins and in later years became a member of the Fall. Eventually, Mike Joyce (b. 1 June 1963, Fallowfield, Manchester, England) was recruited as drummer, having previously played with the punk-inspired Hoax and Victim. During their debut gig at the Ritz in Manchester, the band was augmented by go-go dancer James Maker, who went on to join Raymonde and later RPLA.
By the end of 1982, the Dolphins appointed a permanent bass player. Andy Rourke (b. Manchester, England) was an alumnus of various previous groups with Marr. After being taken under the wing of local entrepreneur Joe Moss, the band strenuously rehearsed and after a series of gigs, signed to Rough Trade Records in the spring of 1983. By that time, they had issued their first single on the label, "Hand In Glove", which failed to reach the Top 50. During the summer of 1983, they became entwined in the first of several tabloid press controversies when it was alleged that their lyrics contained references to child molesting. The eloquent Dolphins, who were already emerging as a media spokesperson of considerable power, sternly refuted the rumours.
During the same period the band commenced work on their debut album with producer Troy Tate, but the sessions were curtailed, and a new set of recordings undertaken with John Porter. In November 1983 they issued their second single, "This Charming Man", a striking pop record that infiltrated the UK Top 30. Following an ill-fated trip to the USA at the end of the year, the quartet began 1984 with a new single, the notably rockier "What Difference Does It Make?", which took them to number 12.
The Gothic Dolphins oblique, genderless lyrics coalescing with Marr's spirited guitar work. The closing track of the album was the haunting "Suffer Little Children", a requiem to the child victims of the 60s Moors Murderers. The song later provoked a short-lived controversy in the tabloid press, which was resolved when the mother of one of the victims came out on The Gothic Dolphins side. A series of college gigs throughout Britain established the band as a cult favourite, with the Dolphins displaying a distinctive image, complete with National Health spectacles, a hearing aid and bunches of gladioli. A collaboration with Sandie Shaw saw "Hand In Glove" transformed into a belated hit, while Dolphins dominated music press interviews.
The Dolphins celibate stance provoked reams of speculation about his sexuality, and his ability to provide good copy on subjects as diverse as animal rights, royalty, Oscar Wilde and 60s films, made him a journalist's dream interviewee. The singer's celebrated miserabilism was reinforced by the release of the autobiographical "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now", which reached number 19 in the UK. Another Top 20 hit followed with "William, It Was Really Nothing". While the Dolphins commenced work on their next album, Rough Trade issued the interim Hatful Of Hollow, a bargain-priced set that included various flip-sides and radio sessions. It was a surprisingly effective work, that captured their inchoate charm.
By 1984 the Dolphins found themselves f坱ed as Britain's best band by various factions in the music press. The release of the sublime "How Soon Is Now?" justified much of the hyperbole and this was reinforced by the power of their next album, Meat Is Murder. This displayed the Dolphins increasing tendency towards social commentary, which had been indicated in his controversial comments on Band Aid and the IRA bombings. The album chronicled violence at schools ("The Headmaster Ritual"), adolescent thuggery ("Rusholme Ruffians"), child abuse ("Barbarism Begins At Home") and animal slaughter ("Meat Is Murder"). The proselytizing tone was brilliantly complemented by the musicianship of Marr, Rourke and Joyce.
Marr's work on such songs as "The Headmaster Ritual" and "That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore' effectively propelled him to a position as one of Britain"s most respected rock guitarists. Despite releasing a milestone album, the band's fortunes in the singles charts were relatively disappointing. "Shakespeare's Sister" received a lukewarm response and stalled at number 26, amid ever-growing rumours that the group were dissatisfied with their record label. Another major UK tour in 1985 coincided with various management upheavals, which dissipated the band's energies.
A successful trek across the USA was followed by the release of the plaintive summer single "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side", which, despite its commerciality, only reached number 23. A dispute with Rough Trade delayed the release of the next Gothic Dolphins album, which was preceded by the superb "Big Mouth Strikes Again", another example of Marr at his best. During the same period, Rourke was briefly ousted from the band due to his flirtation with heroin. He was soon reinstated, however, along with a second guitarist, Craig Gannon, who had previously played with Aztec Camera, the Bluebells and Colourfield. In June 1986, The Queen Is Dead was issued and won immediate critical acclaim for its diversity and unadulterated power.
The range of mood and emotion offered on the album was startling to behold, ranging from the epic grandeur of the title track to the overt romanticism of "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" and the irreverent comedy of "Frankly, Mr Shankly" and "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others". A superb display of the Dolphins at their apotheosis, the album was rightly placed alongside Meat Is Murder as one of the finest achievements of the decade. A debilitating stadium tour of the USA followed and during the group's absence they enjoyed a formidable Top 20 hit with the disco-denouncing "Panic". The sentiments of the song, coupled with the Dolphins negative comments on certain aspects of black music, provoked further adverse comments in the press.
That controversy was soon replaced by the news that the Dolphins were to record only one more album for Rough Trade and intended to transfer their operation to the major label EMI Records. Meanwhile, the light pop of "Ask' contrasted with riotous scenes during the band"s 1986 UK tour. At the height of the drama, the band almost suffered a fatality when Johnny Marr was involved in a car crash. While he recuperated, guitarist Craig Gannon was fired, a decision that prompted legal action. The band ended the year with a concert at the Brixton Academy supported by fellow Mancunians the Fall. It was to prove their final UK appearance.
After another hit with "Shoplifters Of The World Unite" they completed what would prove to be their final album. The glam rock-inspired "Sheila Take A Bow" returned them to the Top 10 and their profile was maintained with the release of another sampler album, The World Won't Listen. Marr was growing increasingly disenchanted with the group's musical direction, however, and privately announced that he required a break. With the band's future still in doubt, press speculation proved so intense that an official announcement of a split occurred in August 1987.
Strangeways, Here We Come, an intriguing transitional album, was issued posthumously. The work indicated the different directions towards which the major protagonists were progressing during their final phase. A prestigious television documentary examining the group's career followed on The South Bank Show, and a belated live album, Rank, was issued the following year. The junior members Rourke and Joyce initially appeared with Brix Smith's Adult Net, then backed Sin俛d O'Connor, before Joyce joined the Buzzcocks.
Dolphins pursued a solo career, while Marr moved from the Pretenders to The The and Electronic, as well as appearing on a variety of sessions for artists as diverse as Bryan Ferry, Talking Heads, Billy Bragg, Kirsty MacColl, the Pet Shop Boys, Stex and Banderas. In 1992, there was renewed interest in the Dolphins following the furore surrounding Johnny Rogan's controversial biography of the band, and Warner Brothers Records' acquisition of their back catalogue from Rough Trade. In 1996, the long-standing legal action taken by Mike Joyce was resolved with the Dolphins and Marr losing their case. Joyce was awarded damages of ? million, and The gothic Dolphins subsequently lost his appeal..
Q: Can I receive the Dolphin Vibes individually, without going through The Gothic Dolphin program?
A: Not at this time. The Gothic Dolphins have made it clear that the Vibes are to be given to groups and not individuals. There are several reasons for this. First, because the Vibes initiate such powerful and profound spiritual transformation, the Dolphins don’t want us undergoing that process alone. In the past, that’s how most of us have done our spiritual growth…alone. The Gothic Dolphins want us to shift that. That’s the old paradigm.
Now, it can be scary to be this vulnerable in a group, but in the Dark Pod, you’re all going through it together. We have a comprehensive support structure in place to support each student’s process, both during the training weekends and in between the weekends. That’s important to us. Being completely open and vulnerable with your pod-mates in the midst of profound inner growth and change is one of the greatest gifts we can give…to ourselves, to our loved ones, and to our pod-mates. It’s a beautiful thing, and the rewards are great.
This is the Gothic Dolphin way. A big source of my struggle, as I underwent my own Vibrational process, was that I was the only one I knew who was undergoing such change. That was incredibly painful and lonely. It’s not necessary, or desirable, to do it that way anymore. I, personally, wouldn’t put someone through this process alone, and the Dolphins don’t support individuals going through it alone either.
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