For my first post, I really wanted to do something upbeat, positive and a bit geeky…but on a serious note first, I’ll tell you how it came about. You see, for a while now (mostly since I joined the land of social media), I’ve been seeing a lot of silly in-fighting, bitching and complaints between various alternative communities, and it really does sadden me, after all, we’re all a bit weird, we’re meant to be sicking together.
It’s a small thing, but I’ve seen a lot of “fifteen annoying/stupid people you meet in (insert subculture here)” and I’m not going to name names or point fingers, as I’m sure their intent wasn’t really that malicious, but I saw one about steampunk not long ago which insisted on roasting pretty much everyone who did anything in the community. I’m sure you’re not meant to take it seriously, but I’m really not a fan of this mean spirited sense of humour at other, real people’s expense…especially when they work super hard at what they do.
Now I come from the West Midlands Steampunk Assembly, which HAS to be the most accepting, friendly, and chilled out steampunk community in the world (especially my little local section), so I realise I must be super lucky if some of the alternative communities out there can be so catty and elitist. In fact, when I tell people about my steampunk group, I always say that first and foremost, we are friends, who just so happen to have met through a common passion for Victoriana.
SO, without further delay, I have retaliated in the most positive way I could think of. And if you take nothing else away from this post, let it be this: we’re all weirdos together, so be good to each other. Everyone is in the same boat.
The Fifteen AWESOME People You’ll Meet in Steampunk! (inspired by my local branch of the WMSA!)
1. The Leader– This is the one that has his or her top-hatted head screwed on (or in our case, bowler, but never mind)! The Leader is awesome, because they are usually responsible for many of the brilliant steampunk outings you go on, whether it be picnics, big events or museum exhibitions. This person has the gift of being able to organise the group, the trip, the lifts and even the afternoon tea, and don’t expect anything in return but a smile and maybe a thanks once in a while. The Leader isn’t usually an ‘in charge’ figure as much, but an unsung hero, so make sure to show them some love every so often for everything they do!
2. The Maker– This person knows their stuff, and usually has a new prop, accessory or other creation to show off at every meet! The Maker has a talent in one or more creative discipline, whether it’s nerf modding, prop making, or jewellery designing, and often knows how to solve your prop malfunction with ease and style…not to mention looking epic themselves! They are also usually the best place to find the most unique steampunk items, as many of them sell their work. Having a maker in your group is awesome, and they’ll always be a font of information and ready for a great creative discussion.
3. The Dressmaker– This is one that ups the group’s fabulous factor! The Dressmaker is usually the most stylish member at any event, swooping in with a dramatic dress or a well tailored suit straight out of any glossy steampunk book. They know their stuff, and you can bet they’ll be first to the scene of a costume malfunction with a sewing kit, some hot glue and a handbag full of safety pins! They may also have a nose for sniffing out steampunk in the old charity shop/vintage fair trawls, so they are well worth having as your partner is fashion crime!
4. The Writer– Often the quiet one (but not always!), the Writer is off with the fairies, but can always tell a good story, and recommend you the hottest new reads in steampunk fiction. They’re fantastic to talk to, and have a vivid imagination…get them talking about their story or one they love and you’ll be there for ages! The Writer might sometimes be insecure about their work, but having one in your group is fantastic for any reader or creative! You’ll never be bored with this one around.
5. The Photographer– We all love the Photographer…because they make the rest of us look incredible! This person is usually at the head of any outing, scouting the best shots to show off your steamy ensemble, and the first one online when you get home, with some beautifully framed memories of the day. The Photographer is super talented, and we don’t know where we’d be without them!
6. The Mental-Case– This one is the life of the party! The Mental-Case can be loud and boisterous, but we love them for it. They tell the best jokes, and keep the group in a positive spirit, even if you’ve got no idea what they’re talking about! This person is super fun to be around, and sees the funny side of everything, even if you turn up to the punknic drenched in rain, with a costume malfunction and significant lack of tea, you’ll still laugh about it by then end with The Mental-Case as a friend!
7. The Talker– The Talker is the one that makes you wonder ‘where did those last three hours go?’, but you wouldn’t have it any other way. This person has the gift of engaging conversation, and before you know it, you’ve had a ton of ideas for your next project, planned the next eight events and discussed the entire last series of Doctor Who in such depth you could swear you now know gallifreyan. This person is fantastic to have in the group, and can be super fun from the moment you get them chatting!
8. The Musician– The Musician is amazing, and you’ll find they know how to get a party going! This person is awesome both on and off stage, usually outgoing and dead friendly, but also with the gift of serenading anyone who hears them at a show. Your group may even be thanking this person for a few of their events! The Musician will probably also be your source of new musical obsessions, and be the first to discover a new act and exclaim “OH! Have you heard this one yet?”
9. The History Fanatic– Steampunk attracts history geeks like moths to a flame, and why wouldn’t it? This person is amazing to have around, always a font of information. They’ll not only be able to help you decide which cravat to wear with your 1880’s dress suit, or date your antique binoculars, but have lengthy conversations and teach you all manner of interesting and useful tidbits of information. They’ll usually be the first one to freak out at an event because they’ve seen a brilliant historical easter egg than nobody else had noticed. The History Fanatic is the epitome of you learn something new every day, and that’s awesome!
10. The All-Rounder– This person is truly wonderful to be around. Like a true Victorian explorer, they’re always discovering something new. They tend to know a great many things in all areas, and are good at solving problems, as they see a way around it that nobody else has noticed yet! The All-Rounder will probably drag you into some wacky schemes, but they’re always fun and always great to have around.
11. The Steam Curious- This person probably considers themselves on the cusp of steampunk. Perhaps they haven’t been around for very long, perhaps they don’t dress up with the rest of us, but that’s hardly a barrier, because the Steam Curious is here for the conversation and the friendship! This person is also really great because they tend to be researching weird and wonderful ways the steampunk style can be adapted or know how to mix it to create something new. If not, they’re just super friendly and a great member of the community!
12. The Newly Corrupted– This person hasn’t been into steampunk very long, and still has that initial excitement at starting projects and going on outings. Their enthusiasm is fantastic for the group, and they’re usually really eager to make friends and do new things. The Newly Corrupted may need advice and guidance from the group’s experienced creatives, but that’s great too, because you might find yourself challenged! They often have a new way of seeing things that you’ve never even thought of. The Newly Corrupted may still be settling in, but they should always be appreciated for the enthusiasm and usually new friends they bring to the group.
13. The Tech Savvy- This one knows what’s happening, where it’s happening and exactly how you’re all going to be there. PLUS they know how to get that stupid app working on your phone, or recover the lost manuscript on your laptop. Yes, the Tech Savvy member of the group is plugged in with their friendface, twitter and instagram, so they usually know where the best gigs are and how to get tickets, and they can also bring their techy knowledge to steampunk projects. Animations, videos and and light-up-spinning-whadjamacallits are this person’s forte. We’d be nowhere without them!
14. The Full Timer-This is the most ballsy member of the group, the one who dons their finery all the time. They’re few and far between, but we love them for their confidence, you know you’ll never be the only one at an event in full gear if this person turns up! Not only will they usually be up for modelling, muggle scaring, and keeping the more self-conscious of the steamies in good company, but they also tend to have some great thrifting tips to help build your wardrobe. After all, this is what they do! If there’s a new vintage shop in town, or the local discount shop is selling brass keys and fur stoles, the Full Timer will be on the scene!
15. The Loot Bringer– The Loot Bringer is the one who just has a knack for happening upon useful things! They’ll turn up to a steampunk meet with a bag of swag and know exactly where to get that pesky little finishing for your steampunk nerf gun. This person is awesome and super generous, always seeing things with the first thought of ‘I know who would love this!‘. Even if they don’t throw around shinies all the time, you can still bet on them being willing to help you search for something obscure. This magpie is a brilliant partner in crime!
BONUS: The Friend– We steampunks, and all other alternative folk too, tend to come from all walks of life, and my one wish for you, if you find a community, is that you meet this one in all of them. the local WMSA lot and I have been really good friends for ages now, and it’s all down to being nice to each other, hanging out in or out of steampunk meets and attire, and just being laid back an having a laugh. The friend is the one that makes you love being in the steampunk community, and the best thing about it, which is why I had to add it to this list!
So you probably know people who are more than one of these archetypes. In fact I hope you do, because that makes them twice as brilliant! If anybody thinks I’ve missed one out or would like to see something like this again, do let me know! I’d definitely think about doing Fifteen awesome people you meet in goth, or fifteen more people you meet in steampunk or something like that.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed! Stay steamy, stay awesome, and be good to one another! Freaks together, freaks forever! 😉
Love and tea,
I. I. Laverick
(Photo from West Midland’s Steampunk Assembly outing- Marvelous Machines, Rowland Emmett Exhibition in Birmingham, UK. Photographer: A. T. B. Foster)