Red Hot Steampunk
Delving into the red hot steampunk world for the first time, in a semi-serious manner, I believe the best and most fun bit are the offshoots of the steampunk tales. There has been an explosion of ‘stuff’ to accompany the tales. And the inventiveness is fantastic.
For me this dress up sort of thing, except for those parties where you can never think of a costume, started in Sydney, Australia. A bunch of us decided to go and see the ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ starring many Aussie actors who became the greats of the Australian acting scene. This included Reg Livermore playing Frank-N- Furter who was “just a sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania“.
The theatre was old and dilapidated and it seemed that it had been made especially for this musical. It looked like a demolition site but that gave it great atmosphere.
There were bodies on the floor, bodies suspended from above, the ushers were pretty ugly and rats scurried around. By the way only the rats were real! And guess what, so many people dressed the part for this engrossing musical play that the audience really became part of the story.
In fact the theatre was a perfect site for some very strange aliens.
Now this has nothing to do with steampunk, unless there was mechanical steam power carrying these aliens to and from earth. But it did show the power of a good thing rolling into everyone getting involved and having fun in huge quantities.
Steampunk has grown in many ways into a really fun, exciting and interactive party. Quite often the gear, gadgets and gizmos have little to do with steam or punk. However the structure of them certainly allows the imagination to visualise power provided by steam if power is necessary.
The fun party is a huge venue for imaginative people to go massively over the top in a friendly, Victorian (or Western or other worldly) and very mechanical way. Steam is optional. In fact the time in history, dimension and/or space can be pretty arbitrary too!
So let the imagination wander, the costume gear be created and the fun begin. What are these mythical gadgets, gizmos and gears (with their often fantastical accompanying cogs)?
And if you haven’t the energy to steampunk it physically you can sit down with a colourful book with a steampunk theme.
Kinky Steampunk Gear
Briefly, there is men’s stuff and women’s things (or for Frank–N-Furter and Rocky things from either selection). Children can go wild with Victorian wear, at Willy Wonka parties, or Halloween for that matter. The Victorian children’s wear gives a great range of fashion; from child labour right through to the ‘elegant’ nobility.
|Although if I had worn gear like this as a child it wouldn’t last long. Maybe that would reduce me from the nobility to the common folks.
And if I had been a boy I would probably look like one of those chimney sweeps. In my case covered in coal dust as we had a coal furnace and a coal storage room. We just loved rolling in the dust. What a patient mum we had. We were usually cleaned up before dad got home from work.
Or maybe clay. Have you ever encountered a bank of clay with ground water springs in it. What a slippery slide! We looked like creatures of clay with only our eyes showing. Oh the creatures from the clay bank!
And pets, I never imagined steampunk attire for pets but there you go. Some amazing things happen – there is even gear for ferrets! You can make all sorts of ‘steampunk furniture. Beds from tubular scaffold parts. Desks from old armed forces mines. (Unarmed of course!)Then there are toys and sculptures made from old gears and cogs. And gadgets that might work and perform some unknown action but at least you can remember their names. Or those other things, gizmos. The gadgets you can’t remember the name of.
Whatever it is, boy will you find laughter and delight and sometimes frustration in making these. Then you can delight in them and find excitement in using them.If you can find old gears to collect, add to them bags of new gears and make jewellery. Add chains, add odd bits of metal add anything that hints of the old mechanical age. Modernise it if you must but keep the integrity of steampunk.
The sky and your imagination is the limit.
Steampunk Adults (or ye olde children)
We more mature children have a great choice of gear, mostly based on Victorian dress. (Mature children; now that is an oxymoron if I ever heard one!) Go out and rage my older friends. Steampunk gear is made for you even though none of us is old enough to have experienced the actual Victorian Life. However we most likely have seen many family photos that give us a pretty good idea.
Steampunk gear is often souped-up with an astonishing range of embellishments.
Eccentric Steampunk Embellishments
We find hats and gloves; things to hold both you and your trousers up; suitable footwear, neck wear, spectacles and goggles; things of metal and glass, gears and springs; and you can make your face hairier too.We can also find lots of deviant style steampunk objects that titivate our senses; sculptures and loads of different clocks, barometers, house interior fittings such as light switch covers and toilet paper roll holders. Keep it up and you will forget what age you are living in!
And there is also animal steampunk gear. I do not know how some of these constructions are placed on the feral or pet animals but again that is for the imagination. Or like some costumers you could just build or draw the beastie and pretend it is real.
Besides I believe animals should live free. No pretensions and no costumes.
Well there you have a small glimpse of the fantastic world of steampunk.
You can dress up to your heart’s content. Find wonderful and wacky objects d’ art to gaze at and imagine grand stories around them. Project yourself outwards into a new but old world.
And to do this there are people to provide for you. One place that has a reasonable selection of steampunk costumes and ancillaries is Amazon.
If you have found any further interesting stuff about steampunk I would be delighted to hear about it. If so please leave a comment so I can talk to you about it.
Helen you have a very interesting site. I am not much of a sci fi buff but for someone who is, you have all the info to feed their passion.
Interestingly, I had not even heard the word “steampunk” until I came to WA. Michael has a great site at steampunkwayoflife.blogspot.com.au/ .
Dennis, yes I have connected with Mike and his site. He has made some quite wonderful items from things he bought at junk fairs. I think the tea pot racing is quite inspirational. I must dig out my old ones and have a look at their potential.
I actually think there is some sci fi you might like but you will have to dig to find it. Some of the old books with Jules Verne and HG Wells may attract you.
Thanks for visiting me and reminding me of Michael.
Fascinating glimpse into the world of steampunk! I have always been interested in this subject, and have delved into making steampunk jewelry. I love the way it uses your imagination to come up with ways to create totally unique jewelry pieces out of everyday items. I’m also a fan of Rocky Horror, but had never thought of it from the steampunk aspect. Thank you for sharing.
Carol a straight post on Steampunk clothing and then Steampunk Jewellery and artworks are both in the air. Stay tuned but don’t hold your breath. (I have a number of ideas on the go at the moment.)
Thanks for visiting.
What a fascinating glimpse into the world of steampunk! I’ve always been interested in making steampunk jewelry and I love the way it incorporates everyday objects to make unique jewelry pieces. As fan of Rocky Horror, I had never viewed it from a steampunk angle before. I love the way you can express yourself individually through this genre. Thank you sharing.
Carol, I have found wonderful jewellery with this theme and will be doing a post about it quite soon (soon at least for me!). Unique is right as the artist doesn’t have to conform to a rigid idea. I don’t really think the RH show had any steampunk, but what the heck, if they can imagine so can I. I saw that twice in Sydney and each time I was thrilled and felt part of the show. As did everyone else.
What an interesting article. I have never heard of Steampunk prior to reading this article. It is interesting to hear that kids, especially young ones, partake in this; even animals. I have heard of and seen some very different styles of expressing one’s self, but never this form. Nice job!
Calvin, I expect this is why Steampunk is rapidly gaining in popularity, the ability for everyone to enjoy it. I am not really sure how much the animals (usually pets) like this as some of those goggles look pretty heavy and constricting. Their people probably enjoy it more!
Thanks for commenting and please feel free to come visit again and give your valuable perspective.
Hey i absolutely love this site it has so many great and exciting things to read about and great use of pictures i was truly engaged from the first word great job on this site and i hope more will come. Keep it going now i am interested in steam punk so i will visit more sites like this
Joshua thanks for your comment. Yes I find science fiction and fantasy have so much to offer as one is not limited by reality. Now I have discovered steampunk I think this is the possibly the most adaptable to so many things. There other ‘modern’ genres such as cyberpunk but a lot of these are bound into steampunk too.
I look forward to any visit to you. Hope to have a couple of more steampunk posts soon. And then are return to Urban Myth and Dark Fairy tales for the next. See you around.
I love, love, love steampunk gizmos. I think that not only are they a wonderful conversation piece, they are also so multi-layered with history, intrigue, and, of course, fantasy. I’ll sometime stop by thrift stores or garage sales and keep an eye out for some cool gadgets. The coolest thing I ever found was from a thrift store. It is a steampunk scope that is absolutely gorgeous. I still, to this day, have it proudly displayed on my mantle!
Brandy, I just like gizmos! I find every ‘junk’ stall I can at markets. Then I use the stuff in crafts for the house and garden. Here is a link to one of my WA friends that is quite interesting. It has expanded a lot but in there is an steampunk item he built. Start out on his about me page. http://steampunkwayoflife.blogspot.com.au/
Have you got a photo of your steampunk scope. I would love to see it.
As a person who absolutely loves gadgets, this article is right up my street! I must admit i have never heard of steampunk before, but the style is so creative! I love the goggles and spectacles, and this article definitely makes me want to know more about steampunk. Well done
Well Jazzy all I can say is ‘gadgets are us’! Take me to a market and I gravitate to the ‘junk’ stands. And I mean real junk not that cheap shoddy stuff often sold. I mean ancient, metal objects like pulleys and block and tackles. Thanks for your comment. I will be doing more about Steampunk. My next (hopefully) post will be on the artwork side of it. This will include jewellery, sculpture and just plain ‘more junk’.
Your article is very interesting and unique. That is a good quality. I love Victorian clothes and homes.
It looks like you have a lot of fun with your website. When I started reading your article I didn’t know what the heck it was about but I quickly understood!
I like your motor with gears (image). When I looked at it I could not imagine what your article was going to be about.
I was born in 1957 and I remember a lot of the old vintage stuff like clothing, cars etc.
Edward, you youngster you. My dad was a mining engineer. When I was a kid there wasn’t any written law to stop children having fun. If fact we were encouraged to explore. This meant we were often taken into the mines or mills and we watched all the old machinery work. I have worked in factories (when young and travelling) where the machinery was basically the same as was in the Victorian times. So I grew up loving this sort of stuff. I had read steampunk stuff a long time ago but the term is only fairly recently coined so I didn’t know it was steampunk stuff! Anyway live and learn (and keep exploring).
Thanks for your comment. I am glad the end result of my post informed you that quickly as that is what I set out to do. Feel free to visit anytime.
Funny, I had never heard of steampunk before until I visited an actual steampunk museum in New Zealand just last week and I was introduced to the wonderful world for the first time.
I never even realised it was a ‘thing’!
The Rocky Horror Picture Show sounds like such an amazing show to see.
Kris, I expect Queensland is a bit like Tasmania for these sorts of displays or festivals. I am sure we will catch up one day. Looks like you are travelling a bit so you might come across more. Let me know if you do.
The first Rocky Horror Show was a movie starring Tim Curry. The Rocky Horror stage show was written by Richard O’Brien who spent a chunk of his life in New Zealand. If you want to see this you can get a copy online. This is the English version and Richard plays Riff Raff. He did a spot on ABC’s Spicks & Specs and is still fabulous. (As is Adam Hills in black lace stockings!)
I’ve never heard of this before, not even close haha I am glad I ran across this post, you learn something new everyday. People sure have a cool way of expressing themselves by their fashion choices, I am surprised I havent seen more of this in the city I live in, people have some colorful tastes where I live.
And don’t colourful tastes help make your world a cheerful (and often unusual) place. Steampunk festivals seem to be growing in popularity quite quickly. The flavour of the year so to speak. I haven’t heard of many here in Australia but I live right at the bottom of the country on a little island state called Tasmania. We specialise in food, wine, whiskey, fantastic food and art festivals. I suppose the two could be combined at one of our great steam museums!
Thanks for your comments and feel free to visit anytime. I am going to do a post on hand crafted steampunk jewellery soon. Keep tuned.
I’ve always found Steampunk fascinating. Never got into it in a big way, but always thought people looked really cool when they wear the goggles and other accessories.
Does the word Steampumk derive from punk music or is it totally unrelated? That’s something I’ve wanted to ask for years.
Excuse my ignorance.
Great article by the way!
Hannah, there is no such thing as ignorance – only the unasked question! I am the master of asking silly questions. Since you asked it you are anything but.
As for what Steampunk is derived from this is my take on it. I found it is part of a science fiction conglomerate. Generally this consists of life in the mechanical and steam age, generally considered to be the era of Queen Victoria. Although steam power started much earlier than this in limited ways it really powered up during this era.
Added to the background of this era is the use of modern technology with the Victorian facilities. So it has steam driven computers, clocks, vehicles and so on.
Then we have traits of Cyberpunk, with its electronic world and its integration of humans. This tends to be dark, dirty and desperate. If you havenâ€™t seen any Cyberpunk see if you can get a copy of â€œBlade Runnerâ€ as this is a classic of this type of Sci Fi.
As for the punk bit, Steampunk shows the spirit of people who donâ€™t conform to societyâ€™s standards.
Thanks for visiting me and for your comment. Pop in anytime as I found your question very stimulating.
Call me old fashioned but I don’t really understand the steampunk world. Even so, many people are really taken with this way of dressing and all the paraphernalia that goes with it.
Last year, our home town had a festival of steampunk along with a victorian week which we have every year in August. It was a great success and it seems we will be repeating it this year.
The kids really love it and it is drawing many supporters from all over the country. Ches
Ches, I think the idea of Steampunk is great and it is one, huge dress-up party. (Or the excuse for one.) The costumes can be so diverse and are a change from the normal, ‘old fashioned’ dress up parties.
I am not sure I would want to wear those goggles. I think they could be a bit distracting to vision. As for some of the costumes, if they had been around when I was a young ‘un I would be wearing them. I was a bit risque way back then. Mind you I would have been fairly normal now.
I haven’t seen any Steampunk festivals here in Australia yet. Maybe soon.
Thanks for commenting. I love comments I can give a fun answer to.
I love the googles. I checked them out on Amazon and saw that they have a pair with green and purple glasses as well. Also really like the hat. It reminds me of the one Johnny Dep was wearing in Alice in Wonderland.
Guy, wasn’t that a good movie. There were some unpleasant reviews about it but fortunately I usually ignore these. Some of the best movies I have seen have been panned. We saw this movie in 3D. I was so absorbed in it I felt like I had been smoking some illegal product by the time I left the theatre.
Yes the goggles are great but I can’t see wearing them myself. I think I would become too busy seeing their ‘wings’.
Thanks for you comment and feel free to visit me again.
I had no idea what I would be reading when I first looked at the title but was very interested in finding out what it was all about.
As soon as I started reading through your article, it reminded me all about some of the older movies I really enjoyed about the inventors with their crazy inventions in the older days when they were pretraining to be high tech.
To reenact the concept in a party would be a lot of fun and I can see why this is getting popular. Every now and then we do costume parties and this would probably be a fun one to do.
I certainly agree about it being fun Travis. If you wore too many gears and cogs you would have to be careful not to injure anyone with them! Older movies are great fun with the ‘mad’ scientists and their frenzied hairdos.
One movie I love, although classified cyberpunk, is “Blade Runner”. I believe there is a sequel coming out. It will be interesting to see if it is as good.
Loved to hear from you. Visit anytime.
I love Steampunk! Then again, I pretty much nerd out on anything fantasy/sci-fi. The imagination that goes behind the creation of their gizmos and gears is creative.
One of my favorite things are the steampunk airship ideas. Youtube has several videos that show different designs. I can get lost searching through them all to see how the airships glide through the air.
Great Post Helen! I really enjoy your website 🙂
Imagine how much quieter flight would be. Don’t know about the power source though. Might need to condense water from the air to get a medium for making steam. And a much lighter fuel source too. But what fun to fly quietly like a bird or glider.
Lovely to read your comment. Look forward to any future visit from you.
Nice post, I used to live in Australia too.
Helen, thanks for this comment. I love people to read my pages and posts as so many have some wonderful things to offer to this area of entertainment. Yes I am in Australia, way way down south where the penguins and Tassie Devils grow. (And hopefully the TDs keep growing.)
See you around. Please feel free to visit again. I have visited your site – nice one.