Category Archives: Alternative Subculture

Celebrating 30 years of (official) Steampunk

Celebrating 30 years of (official) SteampunkCelebrating 30 years of (official) steampunk

K. W. Jeter coined the term ‘Steampunk’ in a letter to science fiction magazine Locus, with the letter printed in the magazine’s April 1987 issue. It was meant to be a playful, tongue-in-cheek term for the genre. It stuck!

Steampunk was around long before 1987, but its birthday is this month. Let’s celebrate!

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Filed under Alternative Subculture, Books & reading, Celebrating 30 years of Steampunk, Community, Cosplay, Steampunk, Uncategorized

CapriCon – get up close and personal with Cogpunk Steamscribe

CapriCon

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Cogpunk Steamscribe – in her alter ego of Lynne Lumsden Green, will be attending CapriCon to discuss Australian Steampunk Authors.

panel-for-background

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Filed under Alternative Subculture, Personal Appearance, Personal experience, Pop Culture, Steampunk, Steampunk Genre, Uncategorized

The Doctor Who Christmas Special 2016

first-look-at-the-doctor-who-christmas-special

Finally! A new Doctor Who episode and it was everything I had hoped for. Be aware, SPOILERS SWEETIE! Please watch the episode before reading this review, or I can’t be held responsible to ruining some great moments.

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The Christmas episodes are usually in a category by themselves, and The Return of Doctor Mysterio was no exception. I was particularly impressed with the way the writers linked this episode to The Husbands of River Song, and the perfection of the casting choices. And – again – London was in danger of an alien invasion and yet didn’t TURN UP on screen. Instead, the setting was New York.

For a comic book themed episode, New York is the perfect choice. It is an open secret that New York was and is the main inspiration of the Metropolis of the Superman comics. As well, it was the setting for the Watchmen graphic novel written by the famed comics writer, Alan Moore, illustrated by artist, Dave Gibbons, and given life by the colourist, John Higgins. Both these comics heavily influenced the look, the plot, and the story line of  The Return of Doctor Mysterio. 

pk-mysterio-preview

The Ghost, who has Superman’s powers, but his costume resembles a modernistic Batman. In personality, he reminds me of Nite Owl from Watchmen, well meaning and trying to do the right thing. He does have the classic comic book characteristic of unrequited love for Lucy.

My favourite bits were the interaction between the Doctor and Nardole. Matt Lucas is a genius when it comes to making likeable characters out of unpromising material. Nardole, originally as a character, was rather sweet and clueless, but he has grown into a lovely person with a real fondness for the Doctor. His best line: Yes, yes, go save the planet. You always do that when the conversation turns serious. I may be misquoting this, but that is the general gist of Nardole’s comment. He isn’t clueless so much as single minded. As a companion, he is probably the best ever at understanding who the Doctor really is and what his motivations are.

sushi

Lucy, our intrepid girl reporter, is more than the vapid love interest – though she does end up in need of rescue. She is less a damsel, and much more a dragon lady. And she is a single mother, happy to leave her child with a male nanny.  She has the Doctor dancing to her tune by the middle of the episode. 

However, I also enjoyed the Doctor eating sushi while spying on the alien invaders. (As a big fan of sushi myself.) The humour in seeing the Doctor snacking it what should have been a serious and tense moment was physical humour at its best in Doctor Who. There were many moments of both physical humour and witty dialogue, as it should be in a Christmas episode.

This episode did a fine job of deconstructing the stereotype of the comic book superhero, as well as adding a wistful epilogue to the previous Christmas episode. My husband didn’t like this episode, but he didn’t read comic books as a child and doesn’t particularly enjoy graphic novels (Nobody is perfect). As a fan of both comics and Doctor Who, I enjoyed this episode both intellectually and it was satisfying emotionally. You can’t ask for more than that!

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Filed under Alternative Subculture, Comic Book Genre, Doctor Who, Review, The Watchmen, Uncategorized

Making New Memories from the Old

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As part of Steampunk activities, I take part in Steampunk cosplay. This involves me in creating my own costumes and accessories. In the two images above, I converted a 1980’s short-sleeved dress and a second-hand lace shirt into a vest with coattails and the coat’s sleeves into spats. The vest was success, the spats not so much. Below is the outfit, worn to the Steampunk Charity Ball 2014.

My backpack

I was a much thinner and younger woman when I wore that dress. When I finally accepted that I was never going to fit into it again … ever … I made the decision to make it over rather than throw it away.  I went hunting through op shops looking for other fabrics that matched the neutral colours of the strips, and lucked out by finding a lace shirt in the exact same colours. With some creative splicing and sewing, I converted two items of clothing into Steampunk fashion items. I made some new memories, from the satisfaction of completing a project successfully and all the fun I had at the ball.

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There can be great memories made by going through old photos and letters. In the future, with most of us living online rather than writing letters or getting photos developed, I wonder if we are cheating our descendants out of the fun they could have going through these old memories.

Of course, I suppose they could go through my online accounts…

But they will have to dredge through a lot of trash to get to the nuggets of treasure.

This is where Steampunk is ahead of the game. It takes old memories and makes new ones. It means that my great-umpteen grandchildren will know what was important to me by seeing that dress turn up in a pile of images.  That might even have kept the vest as an heirloom. I certainly hope they never toss away the Steampunk Ghostbusters backpack. That really is an original work of art.

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Lynne’s Five Accessories to Achieve Steampunk Aesthetic.

1/ Goggles

Nothing adds instant Steampunk goodness to an outfit than goggles. They can be as simple or complicated as you like. My first pair of goggles were cheap goggles from a hardware store, painted with a metallic copper paint. Aviator goggles, diving goggles, welding goggles, all of these can be adapted to a Steampunk outfit.

Doctor Who Series 8 (episode 9)

Peter Capaldi as The Doctor

2/ A Snazzy Hat

Hat with buckles AND bows - image from eBay

The Steampunk Aesthetic can work with any sort of top hat or bowler. It can be worn plain, or as decorated as you like. Pith helmets are also good and aviation helmets. The Victorians wore all sorts of hats, so it is easy to  find a style that suits.

wunderkammer553

Professor Elemental

Professor Elemental

3/ Gloves and Gauntlets

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A pair of gloves or Steampunk gauntlets improve the style of any Steampunk outfit. Again, they can be as plain or ornate as you want. Driving gloves go well with airship pilot cosplay, and lacy gloves complete a feminine outfit with a bustle and a corset. There are tutorials all over the Internet on how to make gauntlets.

Antique Victorian knitted silk gloves.

4/ Boots

Be they thigh-high pirate-style boots or dainty ankle-length boots with buttons, boots indicate you mean business. Modern looking high-heel shoes need not apply…the more straps, buckles and lashes, the better. A pair of spats needn’t go astray, because they can convert a plain pair of shoes into Steampunk footwear.

Boots from Polyvore

straight-razor-slasher-white-spats from Solia Online

5/ Belts and Suspenders

It can pretty hard to keep you trousers from sliding off when you have a lot of gadgets and buckles and chains decorating them. Not only are suspenders stylish for both men and women, they also are useful. I hang a Steampunk chatelaine off my belt, and if you want to hand a holster for a parasol or fan off your belt you really do need suspenders.

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Filed under Alternative Subculture, Cosplay, Personal experience, Steampunk, Steampunk Aesthetic, Steampunk Cosplay, Uncategorized

The Steampunk Aesthetic: or, how I learnt to love the cog.

No words.:

Tauruscat Dream Helmet

I am not of a fan of the ‘less is more’ minimalist fashion trend. This helmet is a perfect example of what I like. There is a clear indication of complicated gadgetry while still being stylish.

Image from Brute Force Studio

Image from Brute Force Studio

I was married in the Eighties, and I wore a dress based on the Late Victorian era Lingerie dress. It was very similar to the one below, except is was a heavy cream, almost light tea-with-milk colour. I tea-dyed my veil to match. As you can see, I was a fan of Victorian styles well before I become an official Steampunk Enthusiast. I also had a white lace blouse that resembled the top of that dress, which I wore with a brooch at the throat of the collar. I’ve still got that dress and that blouse, but I am no longer married to that man.

1980s Lace Wedding dress

1980s lace wedding dress

It was fated I would become a Steampunk Enthusiast. Gadgets fascinate me. Science beguiles and excites me, as does the history of science. Victorian fashions suit me. Put that all together and what do you get?

littlehousebustlegownup

Recreation of a Victorian style dress for ‘Little House on the Prairie’

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Snarky

Generally, I can remain fairly even tempered with other people. But even the most placid human being (which I am most certainly not) has a breaking point. And I am distressed to see the proliferation of the “Steampunk is when Goths Discover Brown” meme.

 

Steampunk is meant to be a bit of fun. But when you’ve just spent twenty minutes explaining the Steampunk literary genre and Aesthetic to newbies, this meme just confuses the cog out of them. It was funny the first three times. Now I just want to rip out someone’s throat.

This might sound like I’ve lost my sense of humour. After all, Steampunk is just a bit of fun, right?

Right. And wrong. Steampunk is a big part of my life now, and I won’t have it denigrated!  It isn’t a serious genre, but it should still be taken seriously. Goth is not the black version of Steampunk, and Steampunk is not Goth-lite.

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Steampunk Ghostbuster Proton Packs

Matt the Tinkerer and his Steampunk Ghostbuster's Harness

Matt the Tinkerer and his Steampunk Ghostbuster’s Harness

I am extremely fortunate to live in a city with a vibrant Steampunk Community. I am even more fortunate to have made a lot of new friends within the community, while at the same time reconnecting with an old friend from school and discovering a shared love of the Steampunk Aesthetic. One of my ‘new’ friends is Matt the Tinkerer; he is a new friend only in the sense that I met him and his family through the South-East Queensland Steampunk community. Matt is an inventor, and he designed and constructed his Steampunk Ghostbuster proton pack, and my own, and the one his fiancée Colleen wears. He assisted the other Steampunk Ghostbusters with their equipment, which is why our equipment looks so authentic.

The back of my ball outfit, phot taken by Susan Wolf

Some people have approached me and asked to purchase my pack. The answer will always be ‘no’, because it is :

  1. A work of art by an inventive genius;
  2. Irreplaceable; and
  3. You should make your own.

To assist in designing your own proton pack,  here is a labelled original pack from the original movie.

You can see that my pack lacks a lot of this detail … because I am a middle-aged woman who can’t really carry around too much weight on my back while wearing heeled boots. You can see that Matt’s pack is much larger, more detailed, and much, much heavier. When you are designing your pack, you should take weight constraints into account. The male members of my team always have sore backs after a night in costume. They look amazing, but they pay for their commitment to their art.

Below are some other Steampunked proton packs.

Steampunk Ghostbusters proton-pack by James Odinson Mclardy

An assortment of proton packs. As you can see, you can get fairly creative but you should still be recognisably a Ghostbuster.

I may be a tad biased, but I like Matt’s interpretation better than this.

One of the proton packs used by the League of Steam.

Of course, not everyone is as creative or clever as Matt the Tinkerer.Of course, it also helps that Matt has the love and support of Colleen. But half the fun is giving it a go. You can’t make a hash of it, because it is your interpretation!

Matt the Tinkerer and his beauteous Colleen.

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Filed under Alternative Subculture, Gadgets, Steampunk Cosplay, Steampunk Ghostbusters

Steampunk Ghostbusters Charity Ball Report

I am very proud to share with you the donation amount raised by the Steampunk Ghostbusters at our Charity Ball:  $7109.92

The Ghostbusters portrait - sadly, I was collecting tickets at the door and didn't make the shoot.

The Steampunk Ghostbusters with the representatives of the Queensland Cancer Council – sadly, I was collecting tickets at the door and didn’t make the shoot.

This is due to the hard work of the committee members and our supporters, the generosity of all our sponsors, and the warm hearted Steampunk Community who threw themselves into having a good time at the ball. Special mention should be made of those people who helped on the night without being committee members, like Amy Driscoll, Brian Green, Sai the Sound man and Tay the Photographer, the Burlesque performers, and Nadine Tallon, who helped set up.

I  would in particular like to thank Lea-Anne Martin, whose generous donations were made as a personal gesture, rather than as a sponsorship.

The venue was brilliant. Tattersalls used to be a men’s only club, and I took particular pleasure in seeing all the female participants ‘storming the male bastions’. It was a larger space than last year, and this made it easier to manage the separate events, such as the burlesque and the auction, and the line to the photography booth wasn’t interfering with the line to the bar.

Lynne's portrait

My only regret is that I didn’t get to see the teapot races (particularly since they were my idea, inspired by teapot racing in New Zealand). However, I did get to see the actual racers, and now am planning to design and make my own racer for next year. Everyone who witnessed the races said they were delightful fun. Matt the tinkerer designed the racing platform.

The Teapot Racers

The Teapot Racers

Well, now that’s over … back to concentrating on my writing. If your interested in seeing more images from the ball, you can go to Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/steampunkCharityBall?ref=hl

https://www.facebook.com/SteampunkSunday?ref=hl

or to my Pinterest Board: https://www.pinterest.com/gammagirl1906/steampunk-ghostbusters-charity-ball-2015/

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Filed under Alternative Subculture, Personal experience, Steampunk Ghostbusters Charity Ball 2015

Steampunk Cosplay at the Steampunk Ghostbusters Charity Ball 2015

Ocean-going Adventurers

Ocean-going Adventurers

Antlers

Antlers

Dressing in Steampunk outfits is known as cosplay,a portmanteau word constructed from the words ‘costume’ and ‘play’. Cosplay is the perfect descriptive noun, because ‘play’ infers ‘fun’. And we were all having tremendous fun at the Steampunk Charity Ball. As always, I was stunned by the creativity and craftsmanship of the ball gown and suits.

Kraken

Kraken

Steampunk Fairy Wings, photo by Catrin

Steampunk Fairy Wings, photo by Catrin

It takes a lot of imagination and a selection of different skills to be a cosplayer. I can’t sew with any confidence, but I manage to sew my own costume items. I’m not a great crafter, but I managed to dress a bear in Steampunk gear for our door prize. The loving details lavished on the ball outfits leaves me in awe.

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Filed under Alternative Subculture, Cosplay, Personal experience, Steampunk Cosplay, Steampunk Ghostbusters Charity Ball 2015