Steampunk Hair Styles

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Choosing Colours

blue steam punk hairThere’s no right or wrong when it comes to picking a colour for a Steampunk inspired hair do, the Victorian era didn’t have much in the way of hair dye so your natural hair colour will work just fine. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go crazy and dye your hair any colour you like, bright red hair is very popular and so is purple, but less obvious colours like green can look stunning too.

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Achieving really vibrant colours can be tricky, so it may be worth getting a professional opinion or maybe some help, I asked a friend who has particularly bright blue hair at the moment and she told me that Manic Panic hair dye is the stuff you want to use.

Styles

Steampunk hair has two core elements; the “up do” and loose curls. We’re not talking tight, heavily treated curls, just natural looking curls that can be achieved relatively easily with a heated curling tong as that was more or less the only styling implement there was in Victorian times.

The up do can in be braided or done with clips but try not to make it too tight and structured and leave at least a few loose bits to soften the look.

Accessories

steampunkGirls4This is where you get to go nuts, there are a million and one steampunk hair accessories out there, goggles are popular and you can use them to help hold your hair in place too.

Top hats are a real statement, you’ll want one in a dark brown if you’re confident enough to pull off the look. If you don’t want to go the whole hog and wear a top hat, you could opt for a fascinator; a tiny hat shape or something more traditionally Victorian will work a treat.

Steampunk Sherlock Holmes is an Epic Fail

Readers of Militant Ginger might remember me waxing lyrical about Guy Ritchie’s epic re-imagining of the world’s greatest consulting detective; Sherlock Holmes.

 

sherlock_largeYou might also remember me mentioning the low-budget knock-off Asylum Films were producing, the ‘other’ Sherlock Holmes. Well, I got my mitts on a copy; and it was epic in an entirely different way.

Sherlock Holmes stars Gareth David-Lloyd and Dominic Keating. Anybody who’s not a fan of Star Trek or Doctor Who might be scratching their heads as to exactly who these so-called ‘stars’ are; others (like me) will be salivating at the thought of seeing their favorite c-list sci-fi celebrities back in the saddle.

Gareth David-Lloyd, the ill-fated Ianto in BBC’s Torchwood, stars as the inimitable Doctor Watson, opposite Ben Syder as Sherlock Holmes.

If you haven’t heard of Ben Syder before, don’t be dismayed. Until this point, the biggest feather in his acting cap was doing the voiceover of a Gaz de France employee safety video; but despite being completely wrong for the part (short, undistinguished, with a slight Welsh burr) you can’t really knock the fellow’s acting chops and he gets stuck into the part enthusiastically enough.holmes008

Together, David-Lloyd and Syder end up with a Holmes/Watson partnership that’s far more in keeping with the old Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce portrayal than the more equitable relationship in Guy Ritchie’s movie.

This slightly uneven Holmes and Watson duo are called into action to solve the mystery of a sunken treasury ship; and soon find themselves following some rather large footprints through the middle of London (or as close to Victorian London as Lllyenbumblewood, Wales, can approximate.)

holmes006And while this film is inferior to Guy Ritchie’s big-budget Sherlock Holmes movie in just about every respect, it does feature one thing the Hollywood version was lacking… dinosaurs!

Yes, our dynamic crime-fighting duo soon find themselves on the trail of a pint-sized Tyrannosaurus Rex roaming the streets of Whitechapel (one of the more outlandish ‘Jack the Ripper’ theories, but by no means the least believable) which in turn leads them to the striking daughter of one of Doctor Watson’s patients.

While this lithe lovely (who bears a passing resemblance to my blogging friend and actress Pandora Blake) gets her flirt on with Doctor Watson, Holmes continues hot on the trail of our naughty dinosaur; which running rampant through London and getting up to all sorts of mischief in the process (like eating this hapless gentleman.)

holmes004Eventually, the trail leads to the underground lair of a steel-uniformed madman; the infamous ‘Spring-Heeled Jack’ of Victorian myth. He proceeds to put the beat-down on Holmes and Watson before revealing himself to be none other than…

…Sherlock Holme’s long-lost brother, Thorpe; played by British actor Dominic Keating. You might know him better as Lt. Malcom Reed from Star Trek: Enterprise.

If you’re even vaguely into your Sherlock Holmes books, this is the point at which the DVD goes flying across the room. Mediocre actors and an inane plot involving robotic dinosaurs is one thing, but I really resent people messing about with the perfectly serviceable Sherlockian canon.

I think Paul Bales, the Hollywood hack who churns out scripts for Asylum Pictures like confetti, might not have even read a single Sherlock Holmes story before he penned Sherlock Holmes.

Why else bother with ‘Thorpe’? Especially when Holmes has an actual deviously brilliant brother to spar against; the inimitable Mycroft.

And if you are going to go down the route of inventing new members of the Holmes clan, please don’t add insult to injury by having le nouveau frere refer to Holmes as ‘Robert’ in another clever ‘twist’ on established canon (Sherlock’s real name is ‘Robert,’ apparently; a secret only his newly-invented brother knows.)

Anyway. After a stiff drink and about twenty minutes of cooling off, the stout of heart might just be brave enough to give this DVD a wipe and sling it back in the machine to watch the last twenty minutes.

Good luck to you if you do; it involves an aerial dogfight between Thorpe (in a steam-powered dragon) and Sherlock (in a hot air balloon) and, admittedly, some surprisingly adept computer graphics.

Meanwhile, the lovely lady from earlier in the plot scampers off with her own nefarious scheme to fulfill (I won’t spoil the surprise) and it’s up to Gareth David-Lloyd to save the day.

I’ll be honest. I was desperate to like this film. It was filmed in Wales on a minuscule budget (reminding me of some student films I was involved with back in my days in Wales) and featured some plucky old sci-fi stars I was really rather fond of. Throw in Sherlock Holmes and some robotic dinosaurs and it seemed like it had the potential to be wonderful fun.

But in the end, it was just plain rubbish.

Not even one of those ‘so bad it’s good films.’ Sherlock Holmes was just a disjointed, tedious, badly-written mess that insulted the intelligence of any unfortunate schlub foolish enough to rent it.

And it didn’t have to be this way.

Admittedly, with such a small budget there was no way this direct-to-DVD monstrosity was ever going to be able to compete with Guy Ritchie’s magnificent big-budget Holmes adventure; but there was so much that could have been done better.

A good thirty minutes could have been trimmed from the script to make the pacing at least slightly less sophomoric. The scriptwriter could have read a couple of Sherlock Holmes stories beforehand and created a plot that at least gave a nod to the institution which inspired it.

Ben Syder and Dominic Keating could even have swapped parts; and then we’d at least have a Sherlock Holmes who was slightly believable.

(Alternatively, this film might have been spared with some gratuitous nudity; but since it was aimed at a thoroughly PG audience there wasn’t even that saving grace to defend it.)

So instead, we’re left with an utterly pointless, tedious movie that’s really not worth the time spent watching it. I generally try and give everything I review the benefit of the doubt; but in this case, doubt was about the only definable thing about this disjointed mess.

So my final verdict? Even the most dedicated fans of awful science fiction are advised to steer well clear. Sherlock Holmes is an unmitigated disaster from beginning to end.

Steampunk Fashion

Charles Stross once described steampunk fashion as nothing more than what happens when Goths discover brown, I don’t think any of us take ourselves seriously enough to not find that funny but the creativity shown by some steampunk aficionados eclipses the work of many big names in high fashion.

Steampunk clothing is way more than just cogs and corsets, in fact IBM’s number crunchers are predicting that steampunk will be the biggest thing in fashion in the next few years according to Forbes.

A few great examples of what steampunk girls are wearing were in previous posts here and here, and the guys are no less creative, but men’s options are a bit more cliched unfortunately, it’s a real shame that every steampunk guy seems to think you have to wear a safari helmet and goggles.

I kind of hope that mainstream fashion gives steampunk a miss to be honest, the “maker” ethos is one of the things I love most about the scene and shop after shop full of mass produced, cut price, watered down steampunk fashion would kind of ruin that for me.

Why Do We All Love Steampunk So Much?

Why do we all love steampunk so much? The costumes? The gadgets? The wonderful take on an alternative timeline? Well, there’s no doubt that sexy steampunk costumes have a lot to do with it; as demonstrated by these sexy steampunk girls. But is it just the aesthetics that are so alluring – the alabaster skin and bodices – or is it more? An erotic reinvention on the traditionally taciturn and restrained Victorian morality?

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Sexy Steampunk Sirens

One of the coolest things about the Steampunk subgenre is the fact that it’s not merely the domain of spotty, teenage boys. In fact, the blend of history, adventure, romance and technology makes it appealing to the best kind of women, too – smart ones.

Similar to the women who love Renaissance Faires, the sirens of steampunk seamlessly blend style, attitude and smarts into some seriously sexy costumed clobber. Allow me to demonstrate:
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A Few Good Steam Punkers

399px-Kyle-cassidy-steampunkSteampunk Generation is still in its infancy, so its time to look for inspiration at some other, longstanding Steampunk resources.

The first is Calista Taylor’s brilliant ‘A Steampunk Reverie,’ that combines romance and writing within the world of the Steampunk aesthetic we know so well. she also has a website dedicated to her ‘Steampunk Romance‘ writing.

The incredibly talented Datamancer has a unique website brimming with Steampunk-style ‘mods’ of everyday accessories – which earned him a job building props on SyFy’s exciting new TV show ‘Warehouse 13.’

Brass Goggles is a British website dedicated to everything Steampunk and they regularly update with an awesomely eclectic collection of pictures, articles and information.

And finally, the site I consider to be the ‘Bible’ of Steampunk is The Steampunk Workshop, maintained by the inimitable (and barely pronounceable) Hicronymus Isambard ’Jake’ VonSlatt. Much like the Datamancer, Von Slatt is a genius at turning everyday articles intoSteampunk works of art. Go and check out his work - immediatement!

Happy Birthday Jules

VerneToday is the birthday of the inimtable Jules Verne – spiritual father of Steampunk and one of the most influential and thought-provoking science fiction writers ever to put pen to paper.

I discovered Verne years ago, reading the newly re-translated edition of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I was amazed not just at the thrilling story, but the science and political philosophy that motivated the characters.

Captain Nemo – a vengeful Indian who declared war against the British Empire – is a far more fully-rendered character in the book than in James Mason’s cinematic rendition; and whether or not the reader supports his bloodthirsty crusade to scuttle the Royal Navy stems makes for a great philosophical discussion.

Of course, such things were Verne’s stock-in-trade. His less well-remembered novels, like Paris in the 20th Century, had similarly thought-provoking themes; like how Verne lamented that technology and business were eclipsing literature and culture (with obvious parallels to society today.)20000_squid_Nautilus_viewbay

Likewise, Dick Sand, a Captain at Fifteen was a condemnation of the slave trade which, uniquely, criticized the African nations that sold their countrymen in addition to the traditional white ‘bad guys’ who shipped them into subservience in colonies worldwide.

But more people remember Jules Verne because of the technology he envisioned; like the incredible submarine Nautilus, which preyed on shipping from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the cannon which would send explorers From the Earth to the Moon and his revolutionary hydrogen blimp that stayed aloft for Five Weeks in a Balloon.

Verne meticulously researched each of his inventions; and envisaged many technologies that would be adopted in real-life application decades later. Although many of this concepts would later be proven not to work (like his battery-powered hydrogen balloon) many others did – or inspired more practical applications of the same technology.

Paris11Final1Of course, Verne’s writing doesn’t always stand up well to politically-correct scrutiny – a scene in Five Weeks in a Balloon is particularly cringe-worthy from a modern perspective. It sees our heroes attacked by ‘natives’, who they slaughter with rifle fire – only to realize after examining the bodies that the ‘African tribesman’ were actually monkeys.

But that’s historical perspective for you; and in many ways, Jules Verne was as forward thinking about life and society as he was about technology. Today, we live in a world of electronic calculators and high-speed trains – the same world he envisioned in Paris in the 20th Century.