We at Bjournal have always made it our mission to bring to you, dear reader, the most disturbing, seamiest and salacious of Brighton-related tales. Learning of the disturbing, elitist and highly secretive steampunk cult, we made it our mission to track down one of their most notorious leaders – none other than Lady Trixibelle of their currently-defunct-but-shortly-to-be-extant-once-more headquarters, the Steampunk Bazaar. What she told us made us shudder…. The questions were posed by our resident time-traveller Sir Marmaduke Fulton-Hussey K.G, for who else could comprehend the answers?
The once and future proprietors of the Brighton fashion emporium Steampunk Bazaar are Lady Trixibelle and her beau Lord Lawson. It is only infrequently that we at Bjournal have the opportunity to interview gentlefolk of your standing. Lady Trixibelle, how did you acquire your titles and of what realm are you peers?
‘The titles which currently serve to adorn our otherwise bland names were bestowed upon our ancestors, who – due to our peculiar ability to transcend the usual barriers of time and space – are also our peers!’
….the only rule in steampunk is to stay splendid at all times….
The Steampunk Bazaar, alas, is no more. Fortunately and not unlike the fabled Arthur it is soon to rise again. Kindly inform our esteemed audience of your travails on the wheel of fortune.
‘Our cave of wonders will once again manifest in Brighton at the Open Market at the beginning of March.’
Until that day arrives where can your adherents obtain gramophones, exotic smoking jackets and those absolutely crucial jodhpur trousers?
‘We will be proudly exhibiting our wares at the Surrey Steampunk Convivial on 20-21st February in New Malden. We can also be found online at www.steampunkbazaar.co.uk‘
Steampunk fashion appears highly individual and eccentric. One gentleman wears a pith helmet and eighteenth century stockings. Another sports a guardsman’s jacket and kilt. Are these time travellers or inebriants? ‘In our vast experience it seems that all of the most adept time travellers are frequently inebriated. It helps to lubricate the mental machinery necessary for such feats!’
Some of the designs appear somewhat impractical, or is it that the purpose may be too arcane for the common mind? Take for instance the Hades Adler Boot, which features a six inch padded heel in addition to spikes, fur and multiple buckles. Was it designed with a specific purpose? Perhaps an Antarctic exploration by airship? ‘There are certain circles where one can only be identified by the particular style of their heel. They are both an entry requirement to such echelons of society and a practical necessity for towering over male companions. Whilst gadgets and gizmos may appear to be just for show, they are far from it.’
There are certain circles where one can only be identified by the particular style of their heel. They are both an entry requirement to such echelons of society and a practical necessity….
Your emporium contains articles for both ladies and gentlemen, and apparently appropriate for a range of social functions from evening dress to elephant hunting. What are the most commonly sought items? ‘As the passage of time is something that occupies the steampunk consciousness more than most, instrumentation for its measurement such as the pocket watch is highly prized. Corsets and a good pair of shoes are also highly sought after possessions.’
Do you ever have dealings with we polloi, or is your collection solely for the elite, secretive and ever so slightly sinister steampunk fraternity (and sorority)? ‘We cater for all and sundry. Whether you want to join us crazies and go full steampunk, or just add a touch of finesse to your normal attire or even to your wall or fireplace at home, then we have something for you.’
Of the many articles that have graced your shelves (and no doubt also your secret laboratory), which are your personal favourites, rated by practicality and appearance? ‘Lady Trixibelle, being of the female species, has an in-built affinity for shoes. Every time she sells a pair of Hades shoes she rewards her endeavours by keeping a pair herself… It’s not great business practice, but her shoe collection is looking deliciously steamy! Lord Lawson currently covets our collection of cravats.’
Rumour has it that you are a writer of uncommon genius. Where can we gain access to your writings, if indeed we could even decipher them? ‘Lady Trixibelle’s frantic scribblings will be unleashed upon the world in 2017. In the meantime, why not join us for a Sci Fi/Fantasy/Horror Writers Workshop that takes place at the steampunk pub, The Yellow Book, every Sunday.’
Steampunk comes from a literary tradition reimagining technology if it had gone down a seperate path…..
Noted giant and beard stroker Lord Lawson is described as a cryptozoologist. Has he had any luck in this field? Should we be on the lookout for any local beasties? We know about the shuck…. ‘It has been reported that on the first night after every full moon a blue-tinted barn owl the size of a bear holds court with a menagerie of other mystical entities in a corner of Preston Park. Besides being rather decent company and generous with the sharing of anecdotes, he (the owl) is said to have a stock of the finest sloe gin to be found on the southern shore.’
Lord Lawson is also reputed to be the perpetrator of music troupe Slap The Ripper. Is this a reference to Saucy Jack? Tell us everything. ‘Slap The Ripper is a selection of musings and extradordinary eyewitness accounts set to the melodic strumming of acoustic instruments appropriate to the current period. Lord Lawson is currently in the heartbreaking process of refining this material into a form that is presentable to the public at large, and will debut it live in due course.’
Steampunk could be a highly entertaining pastime for the discerning gentleman or lady. How does it rate as a sport compared to – for instance – seal clubbing? ‘There is currently a petition to the Olympic Commitee to include Tea Duelling at the 2020 games.’
Steampunk is an opportunity for escapism, an outlet for creativity and the learning of hands-on crafts
If one were to consider it a potentially amusing diversion, how would one go about becoming steampunk? ‘If you should be so inclined, we have plently of books in stock that will furnish the aspirant with relevant inspiration. Ultimately however steampunk is about being creative and having fun, so the best advice we can give is to just to turn up at a steampunk event and get involved. A list of events can be found on our website.’
What occurs at the gatherings of like minded steampeople? Is it – as rumoured – a Satanic orgy? If not, where can we find one of these? ‘The steampunk scene has a wonderful mix of eccentric captains, professors, lords and ladies transending all generational barriers to make it truly inclusive! You will find them tea duelling, ostritch racing, hat stacking, listening to chap-hop, reading their latest stories, playing battle croquet, having picnics, riding on steam trains and talking about how to create the latest steam powered blunderbuss. Steampunk has a give-it-a-go attitude where everyone is encouraged to participate and share their passions. Whether you want to perform on stage or sit quietly in the corner sipping gin and knitting a pet octopus, the only rule in steampunk is to stay splendid at all times.’
What inspired all this extraordinary creativity? ‘Steampunk comes from a literary tradition reimagining technology if it had gone down a seperate path. It seems that on one level steampunk is a cultural reaction to the alienation that a lot of people feel in their day-to-day lives. The modern world has seen the rapid erosion of basic practical skills with certain trades in danger of being lost to history. Steampunk is an opportunity for escapism, an outlet for creativity and the learning of hands-on crafts which many people are readily embracing.’
Transcribed by firstname.lastname@example.org