Hundreds of people are discovering the wonders of steampunk, and next week’s Steampunk NZ Festival in Oamaru will celebrate the weirdness and wonder of the movement. We asked Oamaru Mail reporter Tyson Young to discover his inner steampunk.
Steampunk is now something that is widely celebrated throughout the wider Oamaru community.
And, since its humble beginnings in 2009, the Steampunk NZ Festival has developed into a thriving event that steampunkers from far and wide have marked on their calendars.
But what about those of us who have never dipped our toes into the world of steampunk?
What does it feel like to get all dressed up in one of those crazy costumes?
From a young age, the steampunk concept – being taken to the wildest parts of your imagination – has fascinated me.
Yet, oddly, I had not realised the steampunk scene was so strong in Oamaru.
So, last Sunday, I went for a closer look at one of the many workshops run by the League of Victorian Imagineers.
The first thing I see after walking through the front door of the workshop is a group of steampunkers huddling around a futuristic gauntlet.
Their faces are a mix of astonishment, excitement and awe – you can tell they are more excited than children in a candy shop.
Everywhere I look, there are things happening. Someone is doing research on a computer for the latest brainwave, and others are making a costume. There is never a dull moment.
The highlight of the session for me comes when I am given the opportunity to dress up as a steampunker.
I am given various pieces of bizarre clothing and encouraged to find a look that works.
Finally, after putting on an old overcoat, I am no longer looking at Tyson Young in the mirror – I am staring into the eyes of Air Vice-Marshal Archibald Carmichael III from the city of Aetherium.
Some people may view steampunk as crazy, outlandish or absurd.
But those are the exact descriptions that draw steampunkers to the movement.
If you haven’t dived into the steampunk scene, my challenge to you is to leave your comfort zone, give the festival a try, and let your imagination take you to the wild places.