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The First Frome Steampunk Extravaganza

FROME was descended upon by hundreds of splendidly dressed ladies and gentlemen in the finest Victorian garb on Saturday 18th May.  

Who were these finely dressed individuals and why were they here?

These were the steampunks here for Frome’s first Steampunk Extravaganza at the Cheese and Grain. What better location than that Victorian building?

The day began with the Market of Curiosities attended by over 1,000 steampunks, and locals, intrigued by the delights on offers ranging from Victorian style costumes to vintage furniture and  fine jewellery.

In the evening the Cheese and Grain played host to some of the UK’s best Steampunk musicians, BB Blackdog, Sunday Driver, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing and Professor Elemental. Frome’s own Muriel Lavender presided over the evening’s entertainment which also included burlesque from Dulcie Demure.

So what is steampunk? One definition of `SteamPunk’ (and there are several) is `Retrofuturism’ ie what the past might have been like (as opposed to Science Fiction which is what the future might be like). Another is a mix of mad scientist inventor in a Victorian setting with a healthy mix of Jules Verne and HG Wells.

Being a steampunk means do it yourself or pay someone handsomely to do it for you. It means be friendly, polite and respectful, it means supporting local crafts people, making things yourself, having a passion for the fantastic gadgets, steam powered or clockworks. Outlandish garb and generally being ‘Splendid!’  Tea helps.

Having been around for over 30 years it is now gaining some `mainstream’ interest. IBM announced earlier this year that steampunk is set to be the new big thing in fashion. Taking its inspiration from authors such as HG Wells and Jules Verne the “subculture” of steampunk uses Victorian styles mixed with an element of science fiction to create a unique and striking look.

In more recent years with the increase in steampunk novels the influence has seeped into mainstream cinema with films such as ‘Suckerpunch’, ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ and ‘The Golden Compass’ to name just a few.

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