Boyfriend and I recently went to The Asylum, a steampunk event run by the Victorian Steampunk Society in Lincoln. Steampunk, if you don’t know, is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century, according to Wiki anyway. The Asylum website describes the event thusly:
“Weekend at the Asylum is the largest purely steampunk event in Europe and attracts participants from around the world. For three glorious days each year the historic streets of Lincoln are thronged with splendidly dressed steampunks enjoying a festival which strives to combine art, literature, music, fashion, comedy and simple good fun. ”
For my costume I made a jacket, shirt, skirt, camera case, bag, headband, a bustle, and ray gun. I wanted to make everything by hand and I did (apart from the ray gun which was a plastic toy gun that I painted). In hindsight I shouldn’t have bothered with the gun and holster as it just got annoying to carry around.
The event itself was a little disappointing. The schedule was released very late on by which time all the Saturday tickets had been snapped up. We got Sunday ones but it seemed clear that most of the interesting stuff had happened on the previous day. There was a disorganised feel to the proceedings which only served to exacerbate the feeling that this was aimed largely at an inner circle of Steampunkers who all knew each other.
There were some fun stuff though like the costumes people were wearing and the effort they had gone to. Also there was a display by the Minimum Altitude Display Team who wore jet-packs and ‘flew’ around the castle grounds. This was followed by ‘Wacky Races’ in which people raced their bikes and jet-packs (one small child was pushed in a little car). We got a good view of the first race (although I had no idea who had won as they each seemed to race a different distance) but the second race took place around the corner so we missed it. An example of how a fun event was spoiled by bad organising as people didn’t really know what was going on at the end of the races.
We felt that we were sitting around waiting for things to happen a lot so we left early as there was a big gap in the schedule at about 3pm. We did get yummy ice cream first though!