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I just heard that a relative is going to a Steam Punk get together this weekend and am I green with envy or what? 

Redhead asked me what the hang Steampunk was. I tried to explain. Needless to say, I didn't convince her that it was worthy of my enormous excitement...... and no doubt it seems unusual for a woman of my vintage to be so jealous of a pair of young ones heading off to such a gathering but perhaps, in these times of despair, it actually makes sense to want to escape to a world of fantastical inventions and where the only thing that limits you is your imagination. Just think of the early days of Inspector Poirot meeting up with a wild west movie and a large dose of Dr Who to round it off. 

It seems to me that it encompasses all of the good times when people did bold things, had fun, imagined greatness and then were free to follow through... without the constraints of being " offended " or " not allowed. " In short, it was when there was no red tape, green tape or black tape and if you dared, hell you could win. Or lose. 

I have long been a fan of Science Fiction. From the early days of reading HG Wells and later my love of the British Science Fiction Author, Peter F Hamilton, I have enjoyed a close bond with the realms of the past and the future. Ever since I was a teenager, I have been entranced by what our future holds and what our past can teach us. The good, the bad and the ugly, all tied up in a ribbon of horror, grandeur and spectacle. 

It was exciting. Machines, computers, engineering, all gone wild. It was a golden age of the human mind. When women and men met together and the humanity of us was raw and free of pronouns, laws and being offended. 

We lived in an era of creation where we dared to think. Not what should hold us back but why should we be held back?  

The inventive nature of the Victorian era with the steam engines, the great strides made with engineering and human capacity to problem solve. 

Steampunk combines elements of Victorian-era aesthetics, technology, and science fiction, all rolled into one amazing package. But there is also a great focus on something else I love: the old wild west culture of cowboys and mavericks who roamed the United States in an era when card sharps sat down in bawdy saloons and played poker, smoked cigars, drank whisky and shared the arm of a bevy of young ladies is scanty dresses, corsets and stockings. 

The term "steampunk" was first coined by science fiction author K.W. Jeter in the late 1980s, referring to a genre that combined Victorian-era aesthetics and technology with futuristic themes. However, the roots of steampunk can be traced back further to the works of authors like Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, who wrote about fantastical machines and inventions during the Victorian era.

Steampunk gained significant recognition with the release of several books written in the 1980's.

Notable examples include Tim Powers' "The Anubis Gates" (1983), James Blaylock's "Homunculus" (1986), and William Gibson and Bruce Sterling's "The Difference Engine" (1990). These novels established the foundations of the steampunk genre and helped popularise it.

Charles Babbage designed one of the first computers but never lived to see it built. Here's a demo of one of the two in the world that work. This one is at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, USA, and here they fire it up (well, crank it up) and explain a bit about it. It was known as " The Difference Machine. " 

Victorian-era clothing styles, such as corsets, waistcoats, top hats, and cravats, with futuristic and industrial elements. Gears, cogs, and intricate clockwork motifs are frequently incorporated into accessories, creating a distinct style that is not constrained by gender, age or geographic location. It is fancy dress on steroids and I must admit that if someone held a steampunk story hour at a library, I would probably be tempted to pop in myself.

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Redhead, Steampunk style

The influence of steampunk extends beyond literature, music, and fashion, reaching into the realm of architecture. Steampunk-inspired architecture combines elements of Victorian-era design with futuristic and fantastical concepts, creating visually striking structures. If I was brave enough, I would probably give it a go, but, in truth, I would probably end up with more of a cross between art nouveau and art deco. 

In steampunk architecture, you may encounter buildings adorned with ornate ironwork, brass fixtures, and intricate details reminiscent of the Victorian era. Clock towers, dirigible docking stations, and imaginative contraptions integrated into the structures just create a sense of wonder and adventure. 

Musically, bands such as Abney Park, The Cog is Dead, and Steam Powered Giraffe have become prominent figures in the steampunk music scene. Their music often incorporates thematic elements, such as lyrics about airships, automatons, and time travel, along with the use of traditional instruments used with electronic sounds. The result is a real experience that transports listeners to an alternate Victorian future.

 

 

I suppose I see Steampunk as the future that could have been, not what is. 

Exciting yet still nostalgic. 

Steampunk offers an escape to a bygone era while incorporating a touch of futurism, blending the allure of history with the excitement of what could have been. Yes, that is about it really. 

As people seek avenues for self-expression, connection, and hope, steampunk provides a platform that really hits home for a diverse range of individuals. A world where being different is not seen as a division but as a way to unify. And when the past was glorified for what it was and is. 

People who celebrate human ingenuity, inventiveness and progress without ignoring the glory of the people who made it possible. What a shame we are getting it so wrong. 

We should be taking what was brilliant from the past and fusing it with what is possible today to create a future of wondrous possibilities; not returning us to the dark ages of cold winters, dark nights and prisoners to hunger, deprivation and slavery - centuries of human creativity are being lost because of narrow minded activists who see innovation as the enemy.

I'll take Steampunk any day. 

 Out with the new and in with the old....... the days when the human mind soared and humanity was allowed to be genius. 

 

 

 

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