A lot has already been said on steampunk, and some of it quite eloquently. I wish not to invent hot water in a boiler tank (a Croatian proverb I find more than appropriate when it comes to this subject), but merely to add my own view. It’s been nearly three years since I’ve first stumbled upon steampunk, and recently I have too scarcely had the opportunity to indulge in the genre. Last week I was a part of a group of steampunks who made the local Museum Night more colorful, had lots of fun and I grew a bit nostalgic of my early days in the game. So here’s a short list of things which make me coming back to steampunk.
#1 Steampunk has the everything-diy feel even more than larp, and I’ve always been a diy-er. The tiny top hat at the top (never put a top hat anywhere else!) was made literally from scratch by myself and my co-alpha – I was the builder, she the decorator – and it cost us cents. You don’t have to be a diy-er to be a steampunk, but if you are, you might find yourself more than welcome in the genre.
#2 It focuses on details, beautiful details and beauty in details – which is something that I feel was lost after WW2, especially in mass produced everyday objects. I’ve owned only one silver spoon in my life, and it was quite simple, lacking the decorative details of the 19th century. Steampunk allows me to indulge in details as much as I like, especially in clothing and gadgets, but also posture and manners. When you embrace a living genre such as this, you can design everything about yourself.
#3 Well, and abundance of skirts. Also, gowns. And all that in a genre where genderplay is really, really welcome. Steampunk (and larp) is one of the rare occasions I still enjoy wearing trousers – it evokes my inner thug (or “baja”, as we locals could call it).
#4 It still feels new to me. Maybe because I’ve only scratched the surface with the dressing up in the shor few years, but most probably because it was not as widely spread when I was growing up. Many other subgenres were invented and made famous and/or notorious during the “golden age of sci-fi”, but steampunk has truly taken off in the last decade or so. It seems there’s always something still to discover in steampunk, be it a tiny bit of history or technology, or just a good genre novel. I’ve grown to appreciate that.
#5 Everyone’s got their own version, which makes it one of the most individually adjustable genres and styles I’ve seen so far. For example, you’ll never catch me wearing goggles, one of the “must-have” steampunk pieces of gear. I’ve got my own glasses – and double protective eye gear seems a bit of an overkill to me. There’s always the “which colors are allowed” debate, to which I only have this to say. Also, there’s the Steamer’s Trunk, which at one point inspired me to consider making a steampunk version of a Croatian folk dress. Who knows?
#6 It was one of the things that brought my girlfriend and me together. And I’ve met some of my dearest friends via a steampunk larp (which was also one of my first larps ever!). ‘Nuff said.