A Steampunk Telescope for Stromlo

It’s interesting to see where Steampunk pops up as it gains popularity and presence in more people’s minds. While it is hardly surprising that Steampunk should be embraced by a scientific community, it is rather amazing to put their knowledge of the subculture to work in the creation of a modern telescope.

In 1911, a beautiful and at the time, high tech telescope called the Oddie was brought to the brand spanking new Australian Capital Territory and Mount Stromlo Observatory. In 2003, however, a fire destroyed the telescope.

Enter, then, Steampunk and the restoration efforts of Dr. Tim Wetherell, a Steampunk, scientist and sculptor. He decided to craft a modern version of the Oddie with a nod to it’s ancestor’s aesthetics, and this is was the result:

This month, Mount Stromlo Observatory is celebrating its centenary with the installation of Dr. Wetherell’s gorgeous new piece. To read more about it and see additional pictures, check out the original article here.

The Chap

Each summer in London, the Chap Olympiad is held to celebrate “athletic ineptitude and immaculate trouser creases.” That isn’t the only thing they are up to, however, and retro-punks of all walks of life will likely love reading the bi-monthly releases of Chap Magazine, but I’m writing this with my dearest Dieselpunk readers in mind.

Are you a gentlemen of refined taste and dapper sensibilities? Do you love wearing tweed and never go out in public without your hat? Perhaps the Chap is your sort of read. Their Manifesto just scratches the surface of their retrofuturistic mindset. Rather than bringing about revolution by bomb-throwing or violence, “Chappists”  aim to change society by dressing with panache, drinking fine beverages and behaving with courtesy.

Here’s what they had to say about themselves on their website:

The Chap takes a wry look at the modern world through the steamed-up monocle of a more refined age, occasionally getting its sock suspenders into a twist at the unspeakable vulgarity of the twenty-first century.
Since 1999, the Chap has been championing the rights of that increasingly marginalised and discredited species of Englishman – the gentleman. The Chap believes that a society without courteous behaviour and proper headwear is a society on the brink of moral and sartorial collapse, and it seeks to reinstate such outmoded but indispensable gestures as hat doffing, giving up one’s seat to a lady and regularly using a trouser press.

Unfortunately for the majority of my readers, The Chap is printed in the UK, so shipping will be a bit of a pain, but this seems something that might be worth the investment if your looking to cultivate your gentlemanly panache. Go here to subscribe and start bringing dapper back.

Frenchy and the Punk’s BIG Music Project Kickstarter

One of my favorite bands to be embraced by the subculture, Frenchy and the Punk have launched a Kickstarter campaign for their latest musical undertaking, two full length CDs! But the need your help to make it a reality!

Unfortunately, WordPress and Kickstarter don’t always get along with regards to embedding videos, so you’re going to have to go toFrenchy and the Punk’s Kickstarter to see the video and hear their appeals for your help.

For those of you unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it is a website that allows you to become a patron for creative works that would otherwise go unfunded and as a possible result, uncreated. Kickstarter gives you the power to support the arts in ways that used to only be viable to foundations, corporations, and wealthy families by pooling your contributions with the support of others who love the arts and giving the artists the means to create.

Here’s the catch about Kickstarter, though. If the project you have backed does not reach its minimum goal, the project flops. The pledges don’t come through and the artist doesn’t get any of the money that was promised. So, its very important that if you are interested in seeing a concept become reality, that you consider contributing. Every dollar counts towards meeting the goal and the project going underway.

Let’s help Scott and Samantha make something amazing with this Kickstarter! Check it out and contribute if you can!

Industrial Decay

One of my favorite visual subjects is abandoned spaces. If you’ve never seen the work of the photographic community on Live Journal Abandoned Places, you absolutely must go check it out. Go ahead, I’ll be here whenever you can tear yourself away from it to finish this post.

Welcome back!

For just a little bit more amazing photography, writer Mark Fenger posted the entry Monday Inspiration: Industrial Decay earlier this week that has some great photographs sure to inspire both Steam and Dieselpunks alike. Check out the first picture in the post:

If that doesn’t inspire something in you, I don’t know what will. There’s a story waiting to be told here, I can just feel it.

Be sure to check out the entire blog post for more fantastic photographs, and to keep up with all of Mark’s activities.

Posted in Art

London’s Secret River

Quick, what’s the name of London’s major rivers? Yes, of course the Thames, but what about that other one?

What other one, you might ask?

It turns out that there is a there is a whole network of rivers that flow beneath London, but their subterranean nature has caused it to be forgotten by much of history and popular knowledge. This mysterious river, known as Fleet River, is London’s largest subterranean river has a long history and was a major river during Roman times.

One of your fellow readers sent me a link from Environmental Graffiti a little while back featuring a series of recently snapped photographs of the river. The photo-essay, Exploring the Secret River Flowing Beneath London, gives a fascinating glimpse into Fleet River and successfully uncovered yet another intriguing layer of the world beneath the streets of London.

Here’s the first photo in the series:

Check out the full essay here!

Railroad!

I’m going to go ahead and assume that if you’ve continued to read past my first few posts that bring you to the site off a search engine, for example, that you, my loyal and daily readers probably have a few things in common:

  1. You like Steampunk
  2. You think I’m not full of shit
  3. You like to read

Those three assumptions is kind of what keeps me posting every day: you like reading the Steampunk things that I write.

Another project that fulfills two of the three criteria (reading and Steampunk, but not written by me) is a Steampunk story entitled Railroad! written by Tonia Brown and edited by Stephanie Gianopoulos. Each Monday, they post a new chapter in their ongoing saga.

Here’s the summary of their tale:

Join us as we follow the strange stand-alone train known as the Sleipnir (pronounced Schlipnear); eight cars of free traveling steam powered might. Able to lay her own tracks, as well as pick them up again, the train is a marvelous feat of engineering, and as an unbound entity she can travel anywhere her master desires. The only trouble is the trouble she attracts. Her owner and creator, one Professor Hieronymus J. Dittmeyer, can’t seem to help but catch the attention of all manner of unwanted and odd characters. From run of the mill outlaws to world-class super villains, the crew of the Sleipnir needs protecting and they need it fast!

Enter Rodger Dodger, dead-eye marksman and all around vexed soul. Dodger finds he is inexplicably drawn to the Sleipnir and her crazy crew, though he is reluctant to return to the work of a gunslinger after a dreadful history of bloodshed and violence. At the request of a restless spirit, Dodger takes on the work, straps on the biggest guns this side of the Mississippi and soon finds his life will never be the same again. (Which is just fine with him because he didn’t like the one he had anyways.)

On a train that can go anywhere, anything is bound to happen!

If this sounds like just your sort of thing, head on over to Railroad! and start with Chapter One. Happy reading!

Bartitsu: The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes

Steampunk has an interesting way of encouraging people to look back to the past and find old, forgotten things that still spark their modern interest and sensibilities. Back in the Victorian times, there was a martial art known as Bartitsu that employed the use of canes and parasols as part of a larger form of self-defense. Though it was largely forgotten since the Victorian era, the interest in Steampunk has also fueled an interest in this once dormant martial art form.

If you happen to be interested in this history of this unique and decidedly Victorian martial art form, you can get a basic history of Bartitsu by checking out this documentary: Bartitsu: The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes.

A little pricy, but it seems to be an interesting piece. All my readers with an interest in history will almost certainly enjoy this piece, and perhaps it’ll encourage a few of you to look more into Bartitsu. Hope you enjoy it!