Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Part 3: The Gig, How it went [great actually!]

Finally, to the gig itself! Having been unable to find any coaches that woiuld return us to Leicester at night after the gig we had to drive up, so I took the afternoon off work and did exactly that, we parked outside a friends house in Tottenham (I think I don't do navigation very well I just go where the wife tells me).

I had planned it so that we would have four hours or so to do things around London, go to Camden etc. before the gig. I had forgotten juts how long it can take getting across London. Our two hour teip up took nearly four hours and then the trip across London took about another hour. So we just hung around Kings Cross and had sushi at Wasabi and tried to spot arriving steampunks, before going out to queue outside La Scala.

While waiting outside I was reminded of the bad old days when smoking was allowed everywhere, stuck in a queue beside smokers is not pleasant! but the people seemed friendly and we got to looka t how other people were dressing for the event, apparently some of them just didn't bother, and some were goth with a few brass bits stuck on, and some others had made an effort. Each to their own.

We were briefly surprised when Abney Park wandered past and into the building, it was wierd seeing them on the pavement by daylight, yes they are real people, wow! I think I just grinned like a simpleton, lots.

Once inside there were some stalls which we looked at, but mainly we just got a drink each and headed into the main roooma nd found a place down at the front of the stage. The first performer on was Professor Elemental, brilliantly funny and a talented gentleman rapper of the finest ilk. Completley insane, of course, but great. I would have paid just to go and see him.

Next up was Sunday Driver, who I had heard a bit about, apparently other Steampunks like them. I listened, I watched, I wondered where exactly they fitted into steampunk. I reminded myself that one important aspect of Steampunk was not telling others how Steampunk they were not. They were good, tight, talented, with an interesting mix of western and Indian music, and I enjoyed it, but it didn't shout Steampunk at me. It was the first time I had heard them though so maybe I was missing something, I plan to try to listen to some more of their music in the future in case I have got the wrong end of the stick. I did like the Rat song a lot. At first I thought one problem might be the Indian lyrics which I didn't understand, but then I remembered I listen to Rammstein and I have no idea what they are on about either, so that shouldn't be an issue. I shall investigate further.

Then up came Abney Park. They were everything I had hoped for, again. The weird thing was the audience around us. Last Abney gig I went to everyone was dancing, having a hell of a time, this time down at the front lots of them just stood staring and filming, leaving no room for those of us who wanted to dance. I managed to jig up and down on the spot a bit. I don't know if it was just London or what, but a lot of the stationary masses actually looked bored. I hope the band didn't get the same feeling, they did their bit damned well and I can only suppose the walking dead had wandered in or people who didn't understand what you do at a gig. I don't know what it was like further back, as we were hemmed in by the motionless.

The band, however, rocked! they moved, they danced, they played like the devil, they sang with heart and soul and humour. One of the things I like about Abney Park is the movement on stage, its not the singer at the front while the rest stand motionless at the back like an afterthought, they all move back and forth changing places so everyone gets a shot at the front of the stage. Titus' violin is a very, very cool thing, like worn splintered wood in a skull shape, and had its own intro. We heard old favourites and intriguing new songs [as we had yet to purchase the lastest album 'Ancient World']. I don't think I could have asked more of the band themselves.

Afterwards we headed out to buy posters and CD and get things signed. I love the way they stay to talk to people, to sign things, and have a drink with fans. Last time I was too shy to say anything to them, this time myself and the wife sidled up to Kristina and actually chatted a bit, she is really nice and genuine and friendly. Apparently the warm weather caught them by suprise, they expected it cooler. Next time we shall try to expand our socialising to other members of the band. Seeing them at the end really helps round off the night, its not just they leave the stage and then you get kicked out onto the dark streets. It helps make it all work, thank you guys.

Overall a cracking good gig, just the weird element of the crow made me raise an eyebrow or two, not entirely sure why they were there. I hope the rest of us made up for it, and that they didn't upset the band. Now we start the wait to see them again...

Part 2: The Band. Why Abney Park Rocks!

I first came across Abney Park a couple of years ago. I had always had an interest in Victoriana, airships, adventure, retro tech and such. It was only when my dear wife pointed me at Jake Von Slatt's amazing creations online that I learned there was a name for my area of interest, ''Steampunk'. Not long after, she pointed me at Abney Park as a friend of hers had reviewed them in his blog. So I checked them out and was wowed by them straight away. 'Airship Pirates' was the first song of theirs that I heard and it set it all in motion. Not being one who went to gigs I never guessed at that time that I might actually be able to go and see them live. I am a bit of a sad hermit to be honest.

Why do I love Abney Park? well the music is damned good, varied, includes instruments and styles from different countries and even different times. Their songs make me think there must be a better, or at least different, way to live, and they prod at my almost non-existant rebellious streak, fanning its tiny spark. It speaks to me about places and ideas and another way of doing things, of building things, creating things, of adventure and the lure of distant horizons, and throwing off the shackles of modern life for a more independant way. In some ways it has changed my life, or at least the way I think about life.

Their music also saved my wife's life, I firmly believe. If we had not been going to their gig at Oswestry at the end of 2011 I doubt she would be here now, she was in such a bad way. But their music, their sheer energy on stage and the power of that night lifted her out of a very, very dark place and showed her some light at the end of the tunnel, not once but twice because she relapsed later and it was the near constant replaying if their albums 'Aether Shanties' and 'End of Days' that brought her back to me. So if you are out there looking at this at any time, guys and gals of Abney Park, I owe you one I can never truly repay.

So that, in short is why, for myself, Abney Park rocks! I am not good at reviewing bands or music, I don't know much about that sort of thing, but this is my attempt to say something about what they do for me. Next, Part 3: The Gig, How it went [great actually!]

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Abney Park London Gig: Part 1 - Before The Gig

Myself and my good lady wife are going to see Abney Park play La Scala in London on Thursday night. We have been looking forwards to this for nearly a year. We saw them play in Wales about this time last year and they were great, and at a time when Trizia was possibly as low as she has been for a long time I seriously believe they saved her life. They are THAT good!
The path we have had to follow though, has had a few bumps. We originally booked to see them at the 'Journey into Steampunk' music festival in Wales, which was to be a weekend of several Steampunk bands, camping etc, with Abney Park playing as the headline. However the promoters had paid for everything EXCEPT the actual travel costs to get Abney Park from London to Wales. They were going to be over here in the UK [they are an American Band]playing a London gig as well. Now, Abney Park are not playing these gigs for profit, they are paying for it out of their own pocket and just hoping to recoup some of the travel costs, to my understanding. They have maxed their credit cards out, and now they can't get to Wales. Well, we were stunned, and to be honest, heartbroken at the news.
The promoters apparently were counting on more ticket sales to get the band there, but due to the ridiculously heavy rains the ticket sales [for a camping weekend] were predictably down. Okay, they couldn't forsee the rain, but personally I would have paid to have the headline band turn up first, THEN get the rest in place. They tried a kickstarter type affair when they realised Abney Park were not going to make it, but it was really too late. No headline band.
So, having paid eighty British pounds plus we found we couldn't get to see them in Wales, and couldn't get our money back due to the small print. Nice. They were our main priority, any other bands were just 'also playing'. But we were not to be foiled, and despite being unemployed and with very little money, we forked out £15 each for the tickets for the one night gig in London. We planned to go down on the coach and get a day or two in doing the sights, meeting up with my sister who is currently working there etc.
Then I got a job. Hurray! after nearly fours years of recession! except now I have had to take time off work to go see Abney Park play, as I am NOT missing them. But to minimise the time away while I am still in my probationary period at work I am now going to drive down in the afternoon I am taking off, then do the gig, and then drive back at about midnight from London to Leicester, to get a few hours sleep and then back to work for Friday. It is worth it, believe me, to see Captain Robert and the crew play.
Meanwhile my good lady wife, Trizia, also known as Euphemia Strange in the SP world, is sewing her little heart out on a coat for the gig, using a pattern that seems to have been translated through three different languages by an dyslexic seven year old. Poor stressed wifey, but she is doing so well at it despite the stress. However she has found a lovely corset online, but we may have to pay a courier to get it to us in time. Again, worth it. This is how much we love the band. Why, you may ask? well for that I shall attempt to write Part 2: The Band. Why Abney Park Rocks!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Yet Another New Fangled Plan

It has been some time since my last post, and I have a few ideas... hopefully there will be more to come in the much nearer future than previously was the case...
Under consideration...
Books read
Programs watched, fictional and otherwise
Pictures found
Pictures taken, of me/us/friends
About steampunk meets gone to, and those coming up
Links to other SP related blogs
Music: Abney Park, more
Roleplaying: Airship Pirates or others
Possibly some puppet based podcasting.
Thats quite a lot really... I will see how I do.
Start with photos of our previous Steampunk outings.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

New Plan[s]

Very well, as my sister has broken up with her chap and I can no longer get access to the space to build my paddle boat I will have to put it on the back burner for the forseeable future. Instead I built a couple of small items for the Steampunk part of Whitby in October, just adapted a toy ray gun my wife had previously sprayed, by putting a stock on it, and some features. It would theoretically work too except I snagged some of the wires and failed at soldering them back on. I also got an old wooden volt meter from the second hand market and stuck some bits on it, along with a carry strap. It wasn't great work but it was a start. More to come in future. In the meantime I will try to post the pics of the gun and meter.
So my new plan is for the filming of steampunk-ish puppet films, which I hope to get on with soon, and making some more bits for upcoming Asylum and Whitby October 2011. Plus working on my outfits.
That is about it for now, at least there is some kind of post here.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Steam Launch

I have a plan. Most of the mods and builds I see through Brass Goggles in the UK are small, jewellery and ray guns and clothing. I have plan, one that may or may not see the light of day. I intend to build a Steam Launch! or rather a fake-looks-like-steam-launch. A small boat driven by steam [actually what ever motor I can get hold of], not a model boat either. Take one rowing boat, add motor, plus paddle wheels [more interesting than those new fangled 'propellors'] and bolt together with funky Steampunk add ons and styling.
It does rather depend on...
a) being able to find a suitable rowing boat
b) being able to afford said suitable rowing boat
c) obtaining an engine, steam plant or otherwise
d) manufacturing some detachable paddle wheels
e) having somewhere to store the boat and work on it
f) being able to obtain and tow a boat trailer with my small, old, car
g) not sinking

While I believe it would test me to the limit of my current skills, and teach me much, I do intend to try and give it a go. British SteamPunk needs to attempt bigger projects! If I do manage to get anywhere with this build then I intend to launch a challenge to others on Brass Goggles to do similar, either other big builds or more specifically 'build a steam launch' and then we can have a great steamboat race. Using paddle wheels I expect to lose to anyone who chooses to use a propellor!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Memory, memory, now where did I put it?

Good lord I had quite forgotten about this Journal and only stumbled upon it whilest looking for something else. Well it is a long time since I have written anything here so I shall endeavor to try again.
For some time now I have quite lost my steam, it has been at a low ebb and little has been able to stir it up again. I am currently trying to work out how I might accomplish a re-stoking of the boiler and the building up of a good head of steam, but not getting very far. If anyone has any suggestions please let mw know, thank you.
I briefly ran a roleplaying adventure based upon my conversion of 'Space 1889' but it did not get very far. I am afraid the conversion was rather incomplete and various other things got in the way and it ended before the adventure was finished. Still, it was a test and I realised the whilest it is quite do-able it does need more work and a good group.
I am writing a post apocalyptic steampunk story which was doing well at a thousand words a day until I fell ill for two weeks and now I am having problems re-starting. I shall do so though.
I feel I need more in the way of outfitting, and perhaps somewhere to go with other SteamPunks, but getting anything made (as I am not the best sewer and my dear wife is frequently not up to the task) is unlikely and all the days out I only seem to find out about too late. Oh well, must keep trying.
I made a leather and brass 'cyber' enhancement for the hand, supposedly to animate an otherwise necrotic hand, for Halloween. I shall try to place a picture up. I also intend to obtain one of the Maverick Nerf guns for conversion.
Well, that will do for now.