SPM Once Again Available Through Vagrants

Just a quick note to let you all know that our UK, Europe and otherwise non-Americas purveyor of SteamPunk Magazine, Vagrants Among Ruins, has just taken delivery of fresh copies of the magazine.

These can once again be purchased through the mail order page of the Vagrants website.

Steampunk Contests, Ahoy!

For you artsy types: Spoonflower, which is a custom fabric-printing website, is hosting a contest to design a steampunk fabric. The deadline is next Monday, Feb. 15th.. Here’s the entries already submitted.

For you less-artsy types: Voyages Extraordinaries is having a month for Japanese steampunk, and are kicking it off with a drawing for the Steamboy Director’s Cut DVD. The winner will be chosen on Feb. 27th. There’s also some pretty cool posts up already about Japanese Scientific Romances and the Miyazaki Museum, if you’re interested!

(Side note: I’m thinking of making a sort of weekly round-up post a regular feature. Would this be interesting and helpful, or annoying and redundant?)

Mid-Week Steampunk Roundup

Goodness, I know I’ve been neglecting my feed reader when there are 30 unread steampunk posts. Passing along some of the best for your enjoyment!

Steampunk Scholar has a review of Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan, which I’ve wanted to read for a while. Anyone read it yet? Thoughts?

Ever adorable, The Steampunk Home has some cool pictures of maps as wallpaper for a fun steampunk decorating idea. Also, more recently, she has some links for where to buy skeletons, in case you were wondering.

Steampunk Fashion posted a link to some lovely fashion photography, most of which is not very steampunk, but some of which features penny farthings, which is enough in my book to earn it a mention. (If you don’t already follow it, Steampunk Fashion is a pretty good resource for folks in the United States looking for events to go to, as well.)

Beyond Victoriana, who we’ve mentioned here before, have an interview with the creators of the awesome-looking upcoming webcomic The Seven.

Did I miss any awesome blogs? Feel free to leave links in the comments!

Write to us!

We are, even as we speak, working away feverishly behind the scenes to put together the next issue of Steampunk Magazine, which will be coming to a website near you (well, this one, anyway) some time at the end of March.

However, the past few months have seen a bit of a drought in emails that we can include in our ‘Correspondence’ section, which is why I am here talking to you now!

Have you read the last issue? (Or any of the other issues, for that matter)

Is there an article that you liked? Didn’t like? That made you think? That didn’t?

Do you wonder where we get the lovely little cogs that we put on the front covers from?

Do you have any interesting thoughts/feelings/ideas/cheese sandwiches to share with us?

Or any questions that you want to ask?

Now is your chance! Do not delay!

Email collective [at] steampunkmagazine [dot] com this instant. If we like you, we shall immortalise your words in print for all eternity.

Or something.

(PS – if we are sounding more unhinged than normal, please see the first sentence of this message for an explanation)

News from the London Steampunk Spectacular


The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing
From left to right: Marc Burrows (bass), Ben Dawson (drums), Andy Heintz (vocal/saw), Andrew McNeill (vocal/guitar)

Despite half of the tube system shutting down for the weekend (and despite the fact that we managed to get ourselves completely lost in the separate time-zone that is King’s Cross St Pancras station), this last weekend we (albeit eventually) managed to find our way to the Cross Kings pub for the London Steampunk Spectacular.

The Cross Kings could probably best be described as an ‘intimate’ setting for the three bands, various traders and two hundred steampunks that were crammed into it, but that certainly didn’t hurt the atmosphere or dampen anyone’s spirits.

In attendance were both Ghostfire and The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing — two bands that have been making big names for themselves in the developing British steampunk scene over the last year. But then we also had Savile Row, a band that no one seemed to know anything about, and who hadn’t played together in ten years. We were also fortunate enough to have the wonderful Robert Rankin as the master of ceremonies (and who duly entertained us with a mixture of wit, singing in the style of Dick Van Dyke, and the poetry of Aleister Crowley), not to mention Lady Raygun, whose steel drum performances are quickly becoming a staple at UK steampunk events.

Savile Row were first to take to the stage, and despite having split up ten years ago, they proved to be a genuinely pleasant surprise. Not only were they incredibly tight for a band that had only rehearsed two or three times in the last decade, but do you know what else? They were also really good. In fact, if anything they were even better than the ten-year-old recorded material on their MySpace page suggested. Hopefully the gig gave them a taste for playing together again and we shall be seeing more of them in the near future.

Next up were the highly-lauded Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing. The Men are pretty much always and without fail the best steampunk band that you will ever see live, but on the night of the London Steampunk Spectacular they were on fire, and most definitely in full funny, sarcastic, angry, anti-imperialist voice. A little later on, we dragged the four of them upstairs by their grubby little collars to chat about their music, steampunk and the upcoming album, and you’ll be able to catch that interview (as well as a review of the aforementioned album) in the next issue of the magazine.

Ghostfire were our headline act, and as always turned out a consummate performance and worked their magic on the crowd. They also performed some new material including ‘The Last Steampunk Waltz’ (which will shortly be released as a single, although there was some argument amongst the band as to when exactly that will be!), and also a song that was described as Russian dance with added drinking.

The stalls were arranged by the Victorian Steampunk Society‘s Major Tinker and Lady Elsie, and while there was only (very!) limited space in the (very!) peculiar venue (which, granted, was a delightfully odd mixture of the period and the psychedelic, with some pretty awesome people working on the door and behind the bar), everyone made the best of it. As ever, it was wonderful to see such a fantastic selection of the handmade, handcrafted and handsewn on display.

All in all, a pretty damned fantastic night was had by all. As the UK’s steampunks slowly venture further away from their internet connections and start to form the beginnings of a community over here, we’re absolutely certain that we shall be having more nights like this one, too.

The Marionette Unit

Once in a while we get an email about an upcoming steampunk film, series, webisode etc, but rarely do we hear about anything with the potential to be as interesting as the one that’s currently in development by film-makers Azhur Saleem and James Boyle.

The Marionette Unit is a film set in a totalitarian Victorian state, and tells the story of a man trying to free a dancer from the clutches of a machine that controls her for the entertainment of the masses. Placed firmly in a world where all creativity is owned and controlled by the state, and with overtones of the struggle for independence and individuality, The Marionette Unit promises to be right up our ally.

The film is yet to go into production, and is by no means a dead-cert as yet. However, there is a short trailer up on the website along with lots of concept artwork and information about the film, and (so long as they can gather enough interest from the steampunk community) you can expect it to be on a screen near you some time soon.

Get over to http://www.themarionetteunit.com/ to show your support.

Fabrication

For any of you in the Leeds area, we’ve had word of a wonderful new venture called Fabrication which is offering up space to designers and costumers, and is also running a series of workshops over the next few months on everything from how to make a Regency dress, to vintage hair and makeup, to how to make Valentine’s candles and potions.

More information can be found at http://www.fabric-ation.co.uk/index.htm.

Sherlock Holmes

So I’ve recently seen the new Sherlock Holmes movie, and while it’s far too early in the morning to write a proper review I’m curious to hear how many of you have seen it/liked it/hated it/what have you. Vaguely steampunk, with all the pretty tech? Kind of silly?

Personally, I liked it, but what really caught my interest was the brief debate that came after…

The idea that Holmes and Watson might be gay is a pretty damn old idea, and the film definitely played with that a bit – the first thing you see in Watson’s office is several statues of naked men. However, when Robert Downey Jr. joked about it, the woman who owns the copyright to Sherlock Holmes in the United States threatened to not allow a sequel if they implied Holmes or Watson was gay.

(By the way…. does anyone know how she even owns the copyright?)

But, gay sequel or not, I really enjoyed it!

Wooden Cars of the Future

While we’re on an automobile kick, here’s something awesome from Make Magazine:

“Artist, traveller, & inventor Joost Conijn spent the better part of a year building his own very custom automobile – almost entirely from wood. And what more fitting way to power such a vehicle, than with an onboard wood-burning stove! You might assume such a novel machine wasn’t intended for any lengthy excursions, but in fact that was Conijn’s aim from the project’s onset.”

Mr. Conijn has been traveling around Europe in his very steampunk-able car. After Dylan’s post on the evils of the auto industry, a custom wooden car definitely sounds like a good idea to me!

Greenpunk

Well, it’s definitely 2010. Alternative energy solutions have become more important than ever, and the politically correct world we all live in is certainly a far cry from the belching smoke stacks of Victoria’s empire. One company, however, has managed to stick a foot into the best of both worlds. Why not use the awesome power of Steampunk to make the planet a better, greener place? VerdeGoh! is an electric car distributor dedicated to liberating the masses from the restraints of purely gas vehicles. In celebration of the 130th anniversary of Thomas Edison’s invention of the lightbulb, they’ve created a light board designed to emulate all the romance of early electronics while displaying their selection of ultra-modern, low imprint LED lights. Our little friends (Light Emitting Diodes for anyone who’s a true luddite) are cast together here with “archeological finds in the surrounding property of the community in which VerdeGoh! General Store sits.” Check out all the construction details on VerdeGoh!’s blog @ http://verdegoh.wordpress.com/