I have experienced life on another planet. More of that later, but wanted to share a few thoughts about the above event, which took place at The Mansion House on Saturday 8th July.
I’m not a steamy, or steampunker or whatever the followers of Steampunk call themselves, but I do know what they look like. We went to a Victorian street market in Louth last year and they were there. If you imagine Sherlock Holmes with bright colours and goggles, you begin to get the idea. Familiar but strange at the same time. I knew this much, but didn’t quite know how strange it would feel to throw myself into a dedicated steampunk event.
Initial impressions were that this was just a craft fair with fancy dress. Closer inspection of the merchandise made me realise that I was a little out of my depth. There was jewellery made up of recycled watch parts, hoods and goggles made of handcrafted leather, top hats, trilby hats, exquisite jackets and bodices…
You had to be an insider to get it really and there were plenty of insiders strutting their stuff to make it worth the traders’ time. Very elegant they were, too.
I retired quickly to the tearoom and let the event wash over me. It occurred to me that The Mansion House was a perfect venue for this type of event. The chandeliers, pillars and bright colours provided a perfect background to the pure theatre of the enthusiasts.
It was a little like alternative dimensions and times clashing in perfect harmony , and it is no surprise that some of the jewellery for sale reflected concepts from Doctor Who, so there were TARDIS pendants and Dalek earrings (I think), but mostly they all did their own thing and did it well.
And then The Captain arrived… The Captain of The Lost Waves, that is.
Looking like a post apocalyptic Matthew Kelly he attacked the audience with the energy of a young Ian Andersen. Attacked is not quite right. He certainly exploded into our presence, but what he actually did was was seduce, or enchant the audience.
His set was essentially one song called “Another Planet”, with the chorus “I have experienced life on another planet”, but the set lasted a good half hour and the song evolved, twisted and turned, metamorphosed into something else but always coming back to the same steady drumbeat provided by Mr Phileas Cogg.
There were kazoos too, one notably wielded by a lady in the audience with a stuffed raven on her shoulder… I know.
By the end of the set we were all singing along with The Captain, who is a genuine, full-on star.
The whole event was unusual and hugely enjoyable. It was free too.
For that last half hour with The Captain of The Lost Waves though, Doncaster shared some of the creative energy of the Edinburgh Fringe, and we want more…