I know the Steampunk community seems to be constantly talking about the use of the word "Punk" in Steampunk. I've seen some propose dumping Steampunk to alternative terms, such as Gaslight Romance and so forth. Audelia Flint, who writes the excellent blog Trial by Steam recently wrote what I think is an excellent post on the subject. I highly recommend the article. "Why Steam Needs Punk."
After sharing some real life experiences with some really volcanic people, I came to a different point of view about the punk part of our aesthetic movement. It is inspired to the story of the punk kicking the trash and the non-punk doing the same.
When you dress dieselpunk, manifest your retrofuturist preferences or adopt ethics or manners considered long dead, and you do this in public, among "normal" people, you are experiencing the "punk" aspect of it. Wich means that the punk part is promising yourself to never submit to those magistres elegantiae who have the ability to impose their trends on most people. When I meet somebody in a good X-punk outfit, I don't appreciate only the technical and aesthetic aspect of it; I appreciate the spirit of a person who follows his/her inner daemon.
I'll explain this with two real-world examples I experienced
A) A big, hairy guy gets out of a mall he visited with his friends.
"Will I look like a fa***t (sic) with this pink, close fitting T-Shirt?"
And his friends, with simpathy
"Hey, don't worry, everibody is doing it. It is the latest trend and girls are gonna love it"
In this case, the Big guy chooses to reject his inner self who is warning him of how ridiculous he would look, choosing instead of submitting to the current trend. People will say him things like "I'm cool - you're cool".
B) A dieselpunk meets another who he's never seen before, wearing a different style (piecraftian vs ottensian). They quickly discover that they had a lot of similar experiences of being ridiculized and pointed at, often being alone in this, as, unlike other subcultures, there is no real network of people backing you up in your choices and telling "don't worry, you're cool because you're like me". You want to be true for yourself, and you've hardened your face to the scorn. Sometimes poeple like your ways, sometimes they invent names for you and somethimes your unusual bearing creates fun moments of misunderstanding... but in the end, what matters is how your inner self feels, not how people react.
Thanks Doc. For those interested I'm captain of a Steampunk Airship: the Airship La Marianne. Ms Flint, whose article started this whole thread, was the original Captain and I was the Quartermaster, when we launched the Airship. She's now moved on to Seattle and the crew elected me as the current Captain. To make a long story short ("Too late!") the purpose of mentioning this is to direct you to our site with our Mission Statement, which she and I worked quite hard to hammer out. I think you'll see where it ties into the conversation:
Someone kill me now, please.
Argus Fairbrass said:
Aaaggghhh! I was just about to go to bed!
"Someone kill me now, please".
Haha! I don't think it warrants quite such drastic action Larry. I am feeling a bit sorry for Ian from Skin N Hydez though. If his last Brass Goggles post was anything to go buy, he's taking some flak from certain quarters over this. It's no doubt being percieved that he's sold something to the wrong client. Trouble is, given the price of some of this stuff, it's often only the 'wrong clients' that can afford them.
This is to do with a promo vid for a song that's on the soundtrack to 'Arthur Christmas', a new movie about to be released. So it'll come and go in the blink of an eye (and no I don't think it indicates young Bieber has gone Steampunk) But still I'd hate to see a situation arise where talented makers and designers are getting turned on for what is essentially their success, just because of some naive perceptions about the movement they are involved with. No doubt if it had been featured on Dr Who or some equivalent, everyone would be applauding, But it's all still the entertainment industry (something a lot of propmakers aspire to work in) just doing it's thing as usual.
It is however a classic example of how Sp can be, well....not very Punk at all really.