Glue Some Gears On It

9 Jul

The first time I was exposed to steampunk, I didn’t even recognize what was happening. I just remember thinking, “I would like a top hat.”

And that was the end of it. I literally believed that the definition of steampunk was the combination of top hats and goggles.

Pretty darn simple, really!

That’s why I’m so confused when I look at my desk and see my homemade steampunk goggles sitting there, doing nothing but daring me to try to explain why I made them.

I can’t, guys. I really can’t.

    “Are you talking to goggles?”

Oh, there you are, grown-up self. Now shut up.

Eventually, I went to all the trouble of looking “Steampunk” up on urbandictionary. Yeah, that’s right, this girl goes all out.

That particular well of information informed me:

Steampunk is a subgenre of speculative fiction, usually set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian alternate history setting. It could be described by the slogan “What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner.” It includes fiction with science fiction, fantasy or horror themes.

I would love an explanation of the goggles, but okay. I can handle this. Still though, this was an easy nerd topic to sweep under the rug.

The day it stopped being easy to ignore was a day I was hanging out with my dear friend and fellow blogger, the lovely Kire. She told me about a steampunk musical group. I blinked. Those words didn’t go together, did they? That was like describing a band as young adult dystopian fiction, wasn’t it? Regardless of my confusion, Kire let me know that the band she was introducing to me was called “Steam Powered Giraffe.”

If I was skeptical before, you can safely assume that I was mystified by now.

And then she told me, “The lead singers were trained as mimes.”

If anyone else had been telling me about this, right about now would be when I would overturn the table we were leaning on and run away in the midst of the confusion. But it was not. It was Kire. So I looked up a music video.

[Excuse me while I interrupt myself. How to describe Steam Powered Giraffe… Do you like music with hauntingly beautiful harmonies? Cheesy jokes and vaudevillian storytelling? Pantomime? Robots? Steampunk? How about feeling slightly creeped out? Then you are perfect for the SPG fanmily. Click here to love it with me.]

After this giraffe-flavored revelation was when I made the afore-mentioned goggles. Free time does weird things to me. But I still felt like I was pretending to understand something I did not.

Then I heard a lovely song called, “Just Glue Some Gears On It (And Call It Steampunk).”

I found a blog post that informed me that I’ve seen and enjoyed some steampunk films.

I saw a hilarious spread on Regretsy entitled “Things That Are Not Steampunk.”

So then, after far more research than I’d go through for any school project I’m actually supposed to do, I finally feel as though I get it. To quote “Just Glue Some Gears On It,”

“Steampunk refers to a type of science fiction about alternate pasts, not future prediction. Often set in Victorian Britain, but the history of technology has been rewritten… Retro-futuristic is a good explanation; blend antique reality with imagination.”

And now, now that I no longer feel like a poser when I like a steampunk pin on Pinterest, and now that I feel I could properly describe it to someone who is confused about it, now that I’ve accepted that steampunk music exists…

Even now.

I still don’t really know why the goggles are a thing.

But good heavens, they look dapper.

19 Responses to “Glue Some Gears On It”

  1. The Voyager July 9, 2013 at 10:37 am #

    This whole post. But, particularly:

    “…giraffe-flavored revelation…”

    I commend you on not wanting to be ignorant about this whole steampunk thing. Too many people are too ignorant about too many things. Like… I dunno. Tesla. Or… grammar. I don’t know. That was supposed to go somewhere and it just didn’t.

    P.S. I really like the word dapper.

    • Emory July 9, 2013 at 10:49 am #

      Hey thank you, dear Porcelain O’Reilly!
      The word dapper likes you too.

    • camrynforrest57 July 10, 2013 at 9:27 am #

      I also can’t explain how and why I like steampunk or “get it” or why I own (mumble mumble more than one) top hat.
      But there you have it.
      I don’t think I found steampunk, I think it found me.

      • Emory July 10, 2013 at 9:30 am #

        Right, that’s what I’m saying!
        I need to invest in a top hat, myself. And by “need” I mean something else entirely.

      • camrynforrest57 July 10, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

        I’m afraid you’re hooked. No escaping now.

  2. Merrilee Lewis July 9, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    For some reason, i think of the movie, Hugo, when I hear the word steampumk. All those gears and gadgets.

    • Emory July 9, 2013 at 11:10 am #

      Same here! So much clockwork!
      Gah, such a pretty movie.

    • camrynforrest57 July 10, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

      Hugo definitely had some steampunk elements in the set design. So did the recent Sherlock Holmes and the old Wild Wild West tv show.

  3. Kire July 9, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    Oh how perfect this is! And I am quite happy that you chose “Honeybee” to link to for Steam Powered Giraffe. Happy me! AND, funny thing is, I am going to a steampunk birthday this Saturday, for which I am making a pair of goggles! Oh, the dapperness of goggles…

    • Emory July 9, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

      Yay for happy Kire! 😀
      Have a blast at your exceedingly dapper party! Tell the birthday human I said happy birthday!

      • Kire July 9, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

        I most certainly will!

  4. thosecrazygilberts July 9, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    Thank you so much for linking to the Steampunk movies – Steamboy has always held a special place in my heart as well as so many of the Miazaki movies. Gears alone do not Steampunk make. I really *really* enjoyed this post!

    • Emory July 9, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

      Oh thank you so much for your sweet comment! I’m glad you enjoyed the post! 🙂

  5. chindividual July 10, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    Thanks for introducing Steam Powered Giraffe into my world. I knew something was missing…

    • Emory July 10, 2013 at 10:36 am #

      I’m unspeakably happy to be of service.

  6. Books Over Flowers July 17, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

    When I was first introduced to steampunk, I thought it was just a really cool fashion statement. I love how steampunk has the potential to be more than just gears and goggles, but something fans can really build on and breathe life into.

    In regards to Steam Powered Giraffe I have just two words: I’m impressed 😀

    • Emory July 18, 2013 at 10:49 am #

      Yeah, Steampunk is a fascinating genre once you get into it!
      And I had the same impression with Steam Powered Giraffe! 🙂 I feel like, even if it’s not your kind of music, you have to admit that it’s very inventive!

  7. JR July 27, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    Hey don’t forget Arties steampunk motife in warehouse 13!!


  1. Story of a journey into steampunk | Steampunk Journal - July 9, 2013

    […] Glue some gears on it at Freak of Fandom […]

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