Sir F. Chook, Inventor of Leopard Oil

Likeness captured upon a daguerrotype machine in Japan, July 1891

Lettres

Wherein the Author reflects upon certain topical & personal issues of the Day.

Euchronia Wrapup

Penned upon the 2nd of January, 2009

Short summary: Australia’s first major steampunk event was a resounding success.

The full story: We arrived early to set up. Ms Merah wore a simple cotton shirtwaist and a skirt decorated with panels of vintage Japanese silks and floofy underskirts, all topped with cream-coloured roses in her hair. I wore a grey herringbone three-piece suit and a black silk cravat more than twice as long as I am tall, tied in a floppy bow. Ms Merah looked amazing and I daresay I looked perfectly presentable.

Now, when we arrived, we approached the Trades Hall from the side, and weren’t sure through which door to enter. The first we tried brought us to a tall tower, at the top of which there were two friendly and precocious little girls. They led us through a tiny hole in the wall, through which they could pass effortlessly but we had to duck, and we shortly emerged in the hall proper. (This is completely true, I swear. Thanks, girls!)

I never would have thought it, but the hall is perfect for a Victorian night. Despite serving every day as a commercial/drinking/meeting place, it cleans up very nicely with some curtains and some antique furniture, and the union banners and graffiti galleries serve to put the punk back in the steam. Between the bar, the drawing room where the League set up, the ballroom and the balcony, there was always someplace to be comfortable. The bar was set up in a sort of ‘hall’ arrangement – benches in a U around the dancefoor in front of the stage, so that people could sit in groups during the quieter acts, dance during the raucous ones, all the while leaving clearly-defined paths for foot traffic. Also, with the windows open, a pleasant breeze passed through the room – it was nice to sit on a chaise next to the window, looking out at the streetlamps, hearing people chatting happily on the balcony…

I don’t mind telling you that I was rather nervous before the League arrived – I’m not used to performing in person, not at all. I think I did alright, though, and everyone was very kind – we met some fascinating folks! The drawing room was decorated with candelabras, Japanese fans and parsols, ornate rugs, vintage photographs and timepieces, installation and sounscape art by Ms Zanchetta… suffice to say, it looked wonderful. I spoke on the subject of Australian Aestheticism – how surprisingly influential the Aesthetic movement was here in the colonies, and how important it proved in establishing Australian cultural independence in the century to come.

After that, the event proper began, and we could cloak my laptop, relax and enjoy it. My WORD what a show! Performances and entertainments were back-to-back across the three rooms, so there was truly never a dull moment. I’m far from unfamiliar with both clubbing and burlesque, but I swear, Euchronia was still able to surprise me – even down to the DJs playing excellent tracks I’d never heard on the dancefloor before. Rags Gothique were amazing, setting up a faux-silent film belly dance show; not to mention the scimitar… and when Tank the Muppet took a flame and burned her clothes off? That one is new by me.

The attendees’ interpretation of the dress code was wonderfully diverse – there were folks in formalwear, workwear, militarywear, underwear, even academic dress. The Gill-Chambers, who entranced the League with their readings of Swinburne and Flecker, looked straight out of Girl Genius on one of the Foglios’ best days (and Ms Gill-Chambers and I had a fascinating conversation about, among other things, the philosophy of beauty and the role of industrialisation in the spread of children’s toys.) There was one fellow in an aubergine stovepipe, and if those two words have ever been used together before, I’ll be mighty surprised. Another fellow had a set of spring-loaded stilts, the kind you might escape a pastry-obsessed supercomputer with – easily the most elaborate yet most practical gadget I’ve seen yet.

There’s so much more I could rave about – the portrait photography, Sforzando, the absinthe martini – but, entirely honestly, Euchronia left me more tired than I have ever been. ’twas the best New Year’s ever, hands down. If anyone has pictures from the night, I’d love to see them.

Postscript: The official Euchronia Gallery is filling up already!


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Commentary upon “Euchronia Wrapup”

  1. Nathan Cooper was heard to remark,

    Upon the 3rd of January, 2009 at 11:47 am,

    I… dunno what to say about all that, it’s so outside my experiences I don’t know where to begin.


  2. Sir Frederick Chook was heard to remark,

    Upon the 3rd of January, 2009 at 10:52 pm,

    Well, you could go to a burlesque show, and then it wouldn’t be outside your experience at all!


  3. Melanthios was heard to remark,

    Upon the 5th of January, 2009 at 5:51 pm,

    Someday I will have the means and the ability (or the friends) to overcome panic to attend such a gala. For now I can dream, for such galas are difficult to write at best, and impossible to make-believe.

    I feel selfish saying this, but I’m glad you’re back. I missed you, old whatnot.


  4. Sir Frederick Chook was heard to remark,

    Upon the 6th of January, 2009 at 6:27 pm,

    Selfish nothing; I’m glad to be back to chat with you too!


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