What is Steampunk?

Posted By on August 4, 2016

What is Steampunk?

This is our definition of ‘steampunk’: ‘steampunk’ refers to a fusion of steam-era aesthetics and/or principles with futuristic ideas about human existence in the space-time continuum, informed by the possibilities offered by ongoing scientific endeavour when joined to the imagination. Steampunk is brought to life by the power of dreamers with nostalgic notions, who are supported by a deep knowledge of past eras, deftly knitting together science-inspired visions of the future.

Image Credit: Thomas Veyrat

Let’s deconstruct it.

JW Keter by Photo by Gemnerd 2011

Steampunk is a neologism which (arguably) was coined in the 1980’s. It apparently arose from the mind of science fiction author KW Jeter who was searching for an accurate description of his works.

But this is an origin story and if you’re interested, you can read about it here[1]. It still does not flesh out the meaning of ‘steampunk’ as it exists now after the pummeling we culture vultures give it. Thanks to us makers and appreciators and cosplayers and consumers, ‘steampunk’ is now a richly contested term. Let’s contest it a little more!

Image Credit: Shanna Jones Photography Yatzer Truth Coffee Shop Cape Town. Used under Creative Commons 4.0

The term ‘steampunk’ is largely used as an adjective.

Steampunk is used to describe speculative worlds, environments, communities and the attributes of people and things that exist within these. Those who adopt steampunk inspired identities often adopt affectations from their favourite eras: manners, mannerisms, speech patterns and communication styles. It adds to the flavor and experience. In delightful ways, it cross-fertilises the past with the digital age.

Hot Music At The Height Of A Hot Summer— It’s The August Pilsner’s Picks!

Posted By on August 1, 2016

Hot music, plus a little vaudevillian hokum from Billy Murray and some good old-fashioned song-belting from Sophie Tucker. Also of interest are the two equally great but very different renditions of “China Boy” made twelve years apart, which really show how much the style of jazz had changed (or evolved) over that time. By the way, it’s just as well that they’re both instrumentals, because the lyrics of that tune would definitely fail any modern “political correctness” fest.

The August Picks are a day early, because the ol’ Panther is so swamped at work that he figured that he’d better get the playlist up today rather than trying to do it tomorrow when he’d probably be too exhausted to even change the Victrola needle, much less turn the crank. Enjoy!



Posted By on July 31, 2016

 Painted Ponies by William Manns

Want a classic coffee table book on carousel horses? We’ve got you covered! ‘Painted Ponies’ is a classic coffee table book published in 1986 featuring the story of antique carousel art. Marvel at the detail of carved carousel horses created by the most renowned carvers. Painted Ponies has over 650 colour photographs and is a window into a bygone world which is, slowly but surely, being revived by restorers and visitors right around the world.

What could be a more Steampunk travel experience than going back in time on a carousel ride? From California to Connecticut, you too can be transported to a gentler, nobler time. Indulge your nostalgia, a sense that time is a circle and ride a horse in slow motion. We’ve got the goods for you, no matter what side of the States you live on! And for all us overseas visitors, we’re going to have to travel to get there!

Children love carousels – often termed merry-go-rounds – even the mass produced dinky ones you see dotting the walkways of malls.

But what of authentic old carousels? Lovingly hand produced by master craftsmen, they continue to swirl…yet just remember… in the early 1900’s when carousel rides were at their zenith, their rotational speed of 15 miles per hour was faster than anything! Hang on!

We recently visited Westfield Topanga just 30 minutes northwest of downtown Los Angeles to attend my favourite twins’ 1st birthday party.  We were pleasantly surprised to find an unusual double decker carousel ride indoors, on the first floor in front of the Target store.

Topanga Westfield is at 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Canoga Park, California.  https://www.westfield.com/topanga

And just because babies are adorable…here are the twins (pic used with kind permission of their mom)!

By the way, the ‘smash cakes’ the girls are just about to plough into are from The French Confection Co. run by Mademoiselle Mallory in Burbank!

Here’s The French Confection Co.’s awesome Instagram feed

And The French Confection Co.’s amazing Facebook page
We love them because not only are their era-inspired cakes works of art, they taste sensational!
But back to carousels…food is distracting! We’ve just discovered the MOST DIVINE carousel related place ever: The New England Carousel Museum! In Bushnell Park stands a 1914 vintage carousel. Made by Stein and Goldstein, the 24 sided pavilion houses 48 hand carved wooden horses and 2 lover’s chariots that rotate around a Wurlitzer organ belting out the tunes in its lovably strident fashion.
This carousel is one of only 3 remaining Stein and Goldstein Carousels left in the world. The flamboyant horses with their flared nostrils, big teeth and wild eyes are decorated in colourful cabbage roses. The restoration work on each piece has been lovingly accomplished with the support of donations.

The museum has great hours for summer – open 10 am – 5 pm, Wednesday to Sunday in July and August. GO, GO, GO!!!

Jazz Age on the Delaware – Saturday is the big day!

Posted By on July 29, 2016

Saturday is the big day!

Since I transitioned to live events, this festival is certainly one of the biggest I’ve ever produced.  I want to invite all dieselpunks and steampunks to come out and strut their stuff.

Jazz Age Style’s 1920s festival in Northeast Philadelphia will be on Saturday from 11:00am – 5:00pm. We’ve assembled a great show for everyone.

  • Hot swing, ragtime, and jazz bands playing live all day.
  • Two professional dance troupes will strut their stuff.
  • An antique car, motorcycle, and bike show.
  • Vintage vendors and clothes dealers.
  • 1920s dance lessons.
  • A 1920s fashion contest with over $400 in prizes available (“Most Fashionable Flapper” and “Most Dapper Gent”).
  • A pie contest.
  • Children’s dance time.
  • A men’s barber station for haircuts and straight razor shaves.
  • An upscale cigar and tobacco lounge.
  • An upscale VIP lounge with private bar and gourmet food.
  • Mansion tours.
  • Croquet, badminton, and other lawn games.
  • A photo station.
  • TV and News crews from PA, NJ, NYC, and DE.
  • Tons of food options from the best food trucks in the area…
  • All on 18 acres overlooking the Delaware river!

Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at http://jazzageonthedelaware.com

Use the coupon code JAZZAGESTYLE for 20% off!

Dressing in vintage-style garb is appreciated, but certainly not mandatory. We just want you to come out and have fun!

All proceeds for this non-profit fundraiser will go towards the construction of an outdoor play area for children at Glen Foerd that will focus on music, games, and movement. A prototype of the play area will be ready during the festival, and we’re asking for parents and kids to help us pick the best features to keep.

Check out this video from WHYY to see clips from last year’s Jazz Age on the Delaware > https://youtu.be/SeE0YpGlnJ8

Rocketeer getting a sequel, maybe?

Posted By on July 28, 2016

One of Disney’s most underrated films, The Rocketeer, is finally getting the respect it deserves. The Hollywood Reporter says the company is prepping a brand new sequel/reboot called The Rocketeers and the new hero is an African-American woman. Read more at io9.

If You’re Going to Firle…

Posted By on July 26, 2016

Firle Vintage Summer Fair is a small old-fashioned country-style fair set in the picturesque Sussex South Downs, beside the village of Firle and the manor house Firle place.

Taking place on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th August, Firle Vintage Summer Fair features traditional swing bands, Charleston dancing demos, original Victorian fairground rides, croquet games on the lawns, a vintage fashion parade in the Lost Bohemia Catwalk, stalls selling vintage linens, furniture and clothing, and a fleet of vintage cars on the lawn in front of the family seat of the Gage family, who have occupied Firle Place since the 15th century.

Chaps will enjoy the ambience at Firle, which is unique among other festivals in that the Gage family owns the entire village of Firle, and some say they even own the inhabitants – all of whom have to prove they earn a crust via arts or handicrafts. No IT consultants are allowed to live in this quaint Sussex village, which has a slightly peculiar “Wicker Man” flavour to it, helped by the eccentric and nattily dressed vicar Peter Owen-Jones leading the service every Sunday.

Refreshments will include a champagne bar and local Firle ales. Nude dancing, ladies wearing only flowers and Swedish barmaids dubbed into English are not guaranteed but highly possible.

Firle Vintage Summer Fair
13th & 14th August 2016

All Aboard the Steampunk Express……..

Posted By on July 23, 2016

Experience the Golden Age of train travel! Get that steam train smell into your lungs, close your eyes and travel back in time.

What’s the experience like? Since 1962, trains from the Trainworks collection have gone on tour right around New South Wales (in Australia) and beyond. Sink back into vintage vinyl covered seats with individual tray tables in impeccably restored, wood panelled carriages.

The dining car has an excellent selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks with which to wash down some tasty morsels. Martini, anyone?

Ladies and Gentlemen, leaving Sydney stations throughout the year, we thoroughly recommend exploring the many stunning regions of New South Wales in a First Class lounger. What could be a more authentic travel experience for the Steampunk aficionado? There is no experience more authentic than this!
Book your tickets, buy your friends a Gift Voucher, pack a little portmanteau and dress up in your 19thcentury finery (but we know how you like to PUNK it UP a bit!)

Where could you go? You board at Sydney’s Central Station to go on a day trip, a luxury weekend adventure, have a moving dining experience, or go to one of many special events…be sure to check back in as we’ll cover some spiffy occasions in upcoming posts.  

Should you book a Day trip in the First Class Lounge, you may very well be treated to a delicious Devonshire Tea.  The sterling service is explained by the manner in which Heritage Express is run: many of those assisting on board are volunteers and are there because of their love of train travel.

From the First Class Lounge – and only from this rarified section – you may choose to access the Observation Deck. Those with new fangled photographical equipment will be thrilled with the views they will capture from the vantage points on offer.

We beheld one of the Heritage Express steam trains chuffing out of Katoomba Station in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, collecting visitors who had arrived earlier that day to attend the Winter Magic Festival – held in June around the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere every year.

We heard whispers that those who had booked a dining car experience en route to the Winter Magic Festival were served a superb breakfast and plied with copious cups of tea until arriving at their mountainous destination.

To get your very own vintage Yuletide table, you may also visit the Victory Theatre Antiques located in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains (west of Sydney) where Radical Brochante (Stallholder “FRE”) upstairs has all your tableware needs covered.

Runcible is almost here…

Posted By on July 20, 2016

Runcible is an elegant, powerful mobile device. Circular & palm sized. As powerful as a smartphone, but designed with a sense of quiet serenity and longevity. This anti-smartphone can do “smartphone things” like make calls, type, take pictures & video, explore the web and get directions. The rest of the time, Runcible is quiet, beautiful, and truly yours.


Peaky Blinders Competition

Posted By on July 19, 2016

Jonathan Cullen is modelling an outfit put together by Darcy Clothing based on the television series Peaky Blinders. Darcy Clothing supplied the shirts and collars for the first two series, helping to create the convincing flavour of 1920s Birmingham gangsters.

The Chap is offering, as a competition prize, the Darcy Clothing granddad shirt and separate collar, plus collar studs, as well as the Hudson boots. Simply send a photo of yourself dressed as a Peaky Blinder to chap@thechap.co.uk. The winner will be announced in the next edition. Here is a list of all the individual items in the photo:

Hat: City Sport Baker Boy cap in black and brown tweed, sold by Darcy Clothing, £40.00. Razor blades under peak: model’s own

Shirt: Buttonthrough white collarless tunic shirt with fine red and black stripe, £58.00

Collar: ‘Arundel’ separate starched collar, £10.00

Collar studs: Darcy Clothing box of ten swivel-head studs, £10.00

Trousers: Pure cotton striped black fishtail-back trousers

Waistcoat: Cotton rever waistcoat in striped black with lapels and four pockets

Pocket Watch: Half hunter reproduction fob watch from Darcy Clothing

Cufflinks: Mother-of-pearl and nickel chain cufflinks, from Darcy Clothing

Boots: Hudson Forge Black Boot www www.hudsonshoes.com

All the above items except the boots are available from www.darcyclothing.com

Another Triumphant Chap Olympiad

Posted By on July 17, 2016

Despite unfathomable weather conditions, malfunctioning trouser presses and a nation in political and emotional turmoil, the 12th Chap Olympiad made its mark on the fields of Bloomsbury on Saturday 16th July.

An unexpected heatwave seared through the capital, bringing with it, in equal measure, a burst of enthusiasm to test one’s mettle in Umbrella Jousting, Tea Pursuit and Bounder Hunt, as well as sartorial indecision. Would tweed invoke unnecessary perspiration, disquieting judges who are alert for any signs of athletic effort, or indeed any effort at all? Would linen clash with other linens? Would the dreaded short trousers have to be considered?

Luckily, all the participants took wise sartorial choices, and Bedford Square Gardens was awash with yet another display of period elegance, with outfits ranging from 18th century dandies to 1950s rockabilly ladies, and all points in between fully covered by an explosion of bright colour and quality fabrics, all illuminated by a fierce and unforgiving sun.

The highlight of the day was a real wedding between Mark and Lisa Glass, who tied the knot in the interval among strewn rubber masks of stags, chickens and Donald Trump, whose wig had been unceremoniously lifted by tossed luxury chocolates during Toupee Trumps. Entertainment was provided by Natty Bo and his Flames of Rhythm, who livened up a slightly wilting crowd with their syncopated 1930s Harlem swing.

Photo shows Stephen Myhill and Artemis Scarheart battling it out in Umbrella Jousting, photographed by Paul Starr.

Why Rush is the greatest thing to happen to humanity since Nick Tesla landed on Mars in his flying saucer

Posted By on July 15, 2016

Why Rush is the greatest thing to happen to humanity since Nick Tesla landed on Mars in his flying saucer


I was recently accused of being a ‘Hipster,’ because I worship the holy trinity of Neil Peart, Alex Lifeson, and Geddy Lee. For the uninitiated, they are respectively the lyricist and drummer, the guitarist, and the vocalist, bass player and organ player for the rock group RUSH. Think about that: Geddy Lee sings, plays a double base, AND plays organ. All at the same time, in the same songs. So tell me again how talented and creative Beyoncé is?

The accusation hurt. I am not a hipster. I was listening to Rush way before anyone else bro. Way before it was cool, and there isn’t a hint of irony in how I listen to them either. So take that you turtle-neck skinny pants hosers. I remember first hearing the song Roll The Bones while listening to my radio in the farm house where I grew up when I was 11. I was all like, holy Huckleberry Finn is this ever snazzy! That was the occasion of my first erection. So proof number 1: I do not listen to Rush ironically. I have loved them for most of my life. They accuser also referenced my lumberjack shirt, heavy beard, and satchel which he called a ‘man purse.’ I pointed out that I am Canadian, and could easily be a lumberjack, accounting for the shirt and beard. As for the satchel, it was an important battlefield accoutrement during WW1. Sappers used them to carry their explosives, to blow up Germans and save American lives. And Canadian and British too, probably. I can’t imagine a manlier bag. Where else am I going to carry my craft beer when I go to my next escape room?

Hats off to the Chap Olympiad

Posted By on July 15, 2016

Long-term millinery associates of The Chap, Laird London Hatters, have a brand-new range of summer hats perfect for swanning about in central London parks on July 16th, during the 12th Chap Olympiad.

Their topping titfers are also suitable for other summer occasions, as well as winter ones. Laird London supplied victorious headwear for previous winners of “Best Hat Award” at the Chap Olympiad, and their excellent ranges, from the sheerest of Panamas to the weightiest of “Peaky Blinders”-style baker boy tweed caps, come highly recommended by this publication particularly fussy about the contents of one’s chosen lids.

Laird London now have branches in Covent Garden and Soho, London, as well as in Cambridge, which doesn’t have a Soho yet.

Purchase their superlative titfers online at www.lairdlondon.co.uk