The first stage of the greatest expedition so far is done. The tickets for the trip to the realm of Akehito Tenno have arrived and my beloved wife, my friend Jiro-san and me shall leave Munich for Nagoya via Helsinki on March 21st 2008. I am well pleased, and I will even be more pleased when the Vikings get their money troubles sorted out again.
So, a week ago to the day my good friend Timo, my beloved wife Lila and me went to Augsburg to attend a concert by the most talented, beautiful and gifted lady Emilie Autumn and her ragtag band of fellow Asylum inmates called The Bloody Crumpets.
Apart from the excellent music I once more got to dress in my Steampunk Parade uniform: White Shirt (1900’s style), prussian-blue breeches, riding boots, vest and my beloved 1855 pocket watch and my goggles (the ones you see here).
The Rockfabrik Augsburg, where the marvelous event took place, has also turned into one of my favorite clubs. The interior is spacy, well ventilated, drinks are reasonably priced and the cuisine is excellent for a club catering tonthe needs of the Metal and Goth crowd.
But I digress…
The concert was one of the most memorable and excellent I ever attended. A laudanum-laced fantasy and tumble through the minds of the inmates of Emilie Autumns Asylum and, in best Victorian fashion, everything was served with tea and biscuits. So without further ado, some images taken at the event:
One glorious event for Metalheads, Goths and Steampunks alike (and never forget: There were quite a few Gothic Lolitas present).
Whenever I turn my eyes towards the US these days I feel a sudden urge to scream I guess it’s one of the things you have to cope with in a world where satellite communication and the internet in general make the world so small. The bad news does not crawl across the Atlantic towards the cradle of Western Civilization (i.e. Europe) but rather it beams there instantly.
Oh well, too bad the Steampunk Age actually never was, who knows if we had a banking desaster like the one that is still unfolding in the US and I also wonder if the US had a Governor as mentally, errh.. restricted as Gov. Palin (I refuse to use the first name in this context as it would blemish the name of one of my best friends). Oh well, next, something steampunk from youtube:
Something Steampunk followed by something important:
As you may have gathered already, I am pretty fond of Japan and Japanese culture, so it is quite fortunate Munich hosts the Japan Fest every year. My wife and me went with some friends and we really enjoyed it. I shall post some fotos I took with a semi-professional didgcam on a later date when I finally got round to download them onto my harddrive. The ones here were taken with my mobile phone cam.
Now, you can think that Steampunks are quite an odd lot, perhaps not quite as scary as goths in full gear but still a little odd… But:
I think cosplayers beat Steampunks in oddness.
In this case this only means: They deviate even further from mainstream-dresscode than we Steampunks do. It is basically like Live Action Role Playing in full gear without a role playing game going on and the people do not act like the characters they impersonate, and I apologize for misinterpretation and misrepresentations I have made here.
So here are two fotos taken that day, first one: Link from „Legend of Zelda“, the only character I actually recognized:
The lady in the wheelchair is my wife, just to inform you.
So here is another shot of a gaggle of cosplayers:
I have no idea whom they were impersonating but it sure was fun o hang around.
Something I wanted to put up here for quite a while now:
I am an admierer of Japan. I love the people, the culture, the cuisine. Fortunately for me, right across the street (10 m or so from my door) is the Kushiage Enn. In my humble opinion the best restaurant in the whole of Munich. The meals and the tea, both macha and ocha, are excellent and a culinary delight second to none.
Here is an image of a Kushi menue:
O-cha, rice, miso soup and seven Kushi. I especially enjoy the prawn (ebi), which is the Kushi in the middle.
My wife and me and the Matsubara family are close friends and we also stumbled into a TV documentary made about the restaurant and the Matsubara family by TV Asahi of Japan.
So yes, I am obviously doing some advertising here, by Jove why should I not? The Airkraken and Cthulhu shall devour everyone who complains. The Matsubara family are our friends, theirs is the best restaurant in Munich, of course I praise them in my blog. They also help me learn Japanese in preparation of our greatest expedition too date: The Exploration of Japan, scheduled for March ’09.
And before I forget, here’s another image:
Traditional sugar-cookies, served along with macha:
This concludes today’s entry.
Next entry will be: The Steampunk encounters the Cosplayers…
So vast a terrain that is none. So many places that do not „really exist“, whatever that means. The ætherweb, or internet as non-Steampunks would call it, is a magnificent place and there is so much to see.
Luckily, modern technology has enabled us to explore the reaches of this virtual cosm with ease. We are not even confined to our homes anymore, if we want to sojourn within the ætherial reaches of the internet. All it takes is a device for mobile Internet access, like my trusted notebook (I only wish it would look like the one pictured on the left) and a UMTS Flatrate and the steampunk explorer can hook up with his fellow steampunks wherever he likes. Exploring the web is likewise so easy and cheap. By Jove! The blessings of modern civilisation, undreamed of in the age of steam but none the less very welcome in deed!
It is conditions like the ones we find today, where people can link via the internet, the omnipresent æthernet, that they are able to get organized along lines of interest, unhindered by geological or political borders, that enable a subculture such as ours can flourish. What a great blessing of technology in deed!
This could actually develop into a rant or an inflamatory speech.
So, what does it mean to be a steampunk?
For me it’s more of a question what does it mean to be a German steampunk. Most steampunks I know are from North America or the British Isles and thus draw their inpiration from the reign of Queen Victoria and the time of the Civil War onwards.
For Germans it’s a little bit more tricky, if only because some of us still think we were the bad guys of the 20th century. Take a look at what happened elswhere (Boer War, Trail of Tears, The Great Leap foreward, you get the picture). Everyone has some skelletons in the closet and it’s god damn 120 – 63 years ago. I was not around, my father wasn’t around why should I feel guilt? Of course I still could have chosen to base my steampunk persona, my look etc. on some British gentleman, I did not.
I am firmly rooted in early Imperial Germany, the Emperor of my choice is Friedrich III and I am not going to call him by his anglicized name in this blog. My skies are filled with Zeppelins, not airships, and Germans certainly are not Huns.
The particular time period offers so much from a German perspective: Graf Zeppelin invented the, well, Zeppelin, Germany industrialized quite heavily, there were so many inventions by Germans at the time and so many brilliant scientists. Why not add some weird, steampunk science to the picture?
I have chosen to modify the look and feel of Imperial Germany for my personal Steampunk Æsthetics. Why should I use British or American? Steampunk is partly based on the workes of Jules Verne and the protagonist of Journey to the Center of the Earth is German, so the grand old master obviously had no resentiments, why should I?
After all, my Germany, highly romanticized and very weird, very steampunk, will never go to war over some squabble in the Balkans, and why bother with colonies when there’s the æther waiting to be explored…
So I’m an officer of the Kaiserliches Zeppelinkorps. I love my country and I love adventure. With an advanced Zeppelin design, the world and the Æther is ripe for exploration!
Lang lebe der Kaiser!
So, two weeks ago my wife, my good friend Timo and me went to see the Tollwood. The weather was bad but the people were nice and the food was not too shabby either.
All of a sudden, through the heavy clouds, pregnant with rain there descendet a familiar sight. A boon to the eye of every steampunk. From the heavens descendet a Zeppelin, but not just any Zeppelin, it was the LZ-X1 Württemberg on another of its steampunk expeditions. Apparently it had drifted through a temporal vortex within the Æther in true steampunk fashion and ended up in Munich. The Württemberg headed for the pylon on top of the Olympiaturm and docked there, as can bee seen in this image:
Ahhhh… what a happy sight…
On the 28th of June we set out from Munich.
We went on an expedition to the borders of civilisation: Lower Franconia. We would set our base-camp in Würzburg and from there penetrate deeper into the blasphemic regions where the gene-pool is shallow and the minds are narrow. I grew up there, I should know, luckily, my family hails from other parts.
But, I was carrying my trusted goggles (the one true badge of the steampunk) and was wearing brass cuff-links, so no ill would befall us.
Arriving in Würzburg we found to our delight that the Great Airkraken had blessed us, which was a sure sign the goggles and cuff-links had worked their magic. Due to a shortage of the type of automobile I booked via the æthernet we were upgraded free of charge to the next bigger model.
After taking a trial cruise to get a feel for the automobile (a Nissan from the realm of Meiji Tenno) we set up our base-camp in the rooms above the Paperla Pub in Würzburg, where we found to our delight that they stocked over 150 different beers from all over the world, but I shall come back to this.
So, after taking our necessary gear and offering sacrifices to the Great Airkraken we set out to visit Wertheim. The trip deeper into Lower Franconia was luckily quite uneventful. Those parts of the family which hadn’t managed to leave this place of blasphemic abnormal life nested between the dark and forbidding hills of the Spessart and Odenwald were happy to see us and we were happy to see them having survived in such adverse conditions for so long.
But it wasn’t before long that a certain part of my family managed to go on a racist rant yet again and so we left this hamlet where creatures of dubious genetic heritage howl at a drooping moon at night and returned to Würzburg for an unforeseen but fortunate encounter with unexpected aspects of the Dark Continent.
While browsing the Paperla Pubs menu we found a stunning range of beverages of the beery occupation including many out of Africa.
So, in the end we tried two beers by Mongozo (which by the way means „Cheers“), another African beer and, to my surprise, a Palestinian Pils. All very good, especially the coconut and banana beers from the Mongozo brewery.
And here a picture taken that evening:
Mongozo Coconut is the Lord of the Jungle of all beers!
A true blessing to come out of Africa!