Birth of the Steampunk Socialist


 The Steampunk Socialist is an invented persona which I intend to use as a vehicle for a new album during 2018, as well as videos on my youtube channel, and hopefully for live performances.

I’ve been interested in the Steampunk subculture for quite a few years now, although that interest has been relatively shallow, involving little more than reading a few of the novels, and watching a few of the films, that are considered to be a major part of the Steampunk Canon. To those of you who are interested, I’d recommend The Steampunk Bible by Jeff Vandemeer as an excellent introduction to all things Steampunk, and also the collected volumes (1-9) of the very fine and now sadly defunct Steampunk Magazine.

My interest in all things Victorian was given a massive impetus by my research into my family tree circa 2013, and through this into work on the songs that eventually made up my 2017 album Origins. It is primarily songs from this album that have provided the soundtrack to my first videos to use the Steampunk Socialist imprint on my channel.

This research, writing and recording also hugely strengthened the critique of Steampunk that I had already formed, ie. that the lives, the stories and the struggles of ordinary working class people have been largely and sadly, absent from the invented Victoriana of Steampunk.

That is a state of affairs that I, in the guise of the Steampunk Socialist, intend to put right. I’ll keep some of the fashion elements of the genre, leaning towards an idealised version of nineteenth century working man’s attire, and I will allow myself to engage in speculation as to alternative realities rooted in the Victorian period, but there will certainly be no glorification of the Empire, nor of old Queen Vic’ herself. Mass strikes are much more likely to feature amongst my lyrical content than upper class Tea Parties. The Navvy, the factory worker, the uprooted agricultural labourer and the working class woman struggling against the odds to keep her family from the Workhouse will be the heroes and heroines of my new songs, not the Entrepreneur and the Gentleman Adventurer.

The central question concerning the position in society of fantastical technology will be the central question that it remains today, i.e. of who owns and controls it; of whose class interests does it serve?

Steampunk Socialism is an idea that is still very much in embryonic form. Watch this space. All I will say is that there will definitely be Airships. I’ve always loved Airships.

January 2018          

PS I have no idea what the songs on my Steampunk Socialist album will sound like, I never do until I have written and begun to record them; and there is no single, defining sound of Steampunk. But I have discovered some great music through my investigations of the genre as a whole. I’ll particularly mention here the Dark Cabaret style of bands such as the Dresden Dolls and Frenchy and the Punk as potential influences, as well as the political utopianism of H.U.M.A.N.W.I.N.E.