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Author Topic: Is Steampunk Becoming Too Mainstream?  (Read 46879 times)
AviatrixXaverineVictoire
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« Reply #200 on: August 06, 2008, 05:21:28 pm »

What is mainstream?
Is the goth culture mainstream? I think most people would say yes. There are many dedicated Goth shops/club/bars, companies making money from Goth merchandise, Goth TV and Radio stations. Goth is a multi-million (if not billion) pound/dollar industry. It is tangible and well known. 

But is it mainstream?

Me I say No. Ford don't make Goth cars, male politicians/bank managers don't wear black eyeliner (not that I've see... or not in pubic). If you grabbed 1000 random people from across the country, how many would be Goth or even have Goth tendencies?

Some parts of the Goth culture have washed into the mainstream, I can buy black clothes with tribal marking from Asda/WalMart. But thats a trickle down from last years (or more) high fashon.

The Goth culture, like punk, rock, wiccan, grunge and others are a socially accepted niches. It is only natural that people will want to make a living from what they enjoy. And it is inevitable that large companies will see an opportunity to make money.

So will I be able to buy cog print clothes from Asda next year? Maybe. Will my cog print tshirt be Steampunk? Well thats entirely up to me. If I wear it, combined with whatever other clothes I feel make me steampunk, then it is. If I've just brought it because I like the colour, or because its cheap, then its not.

When I was "Goth", it was because I felt an affinity with the culture. From what I've read I've been lucky with the Goth friends I had, I was never an outsider even if my Goth clothes were some shredded old jeans, brown hiking boats and a faded black t-shirt. I'm not a great fan of Sister of Mercy and prefer the 92 remix of Temple of Love.

I was never considered a Poser, in fact that concept was never a part of my Goth experience. And at the moment there is no concept of a Steampunk Poser. An I hope it stays like that.


i think after reading the different posts, it's safe to say that there are different levels to the mainstream.  steampunk is and it isn't mainstream.  the fact that they made that horrendous steampunk iphone (there are posts about this in the forum, but here's a link: http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2008/08/04/lamest-steampunk-iph.html ) is proof of that.  but i don't think that it will get so far as something like wearing blue jeans.  if i make the connection of wearing blue jeans (mainstream) in an everyday way, with wearing brass goggles (which i would consider the steampunk mainstream equivalent), then you see that this is highly unlikely.  children may wear their brass goggles once a year for halloween along with their blue jeans, but then they would wear those same blue jeans year round.

as for poseurs, i've found that this community has been nothing but welcoming and mature.  however, i find that same steampunk iphone to be, well, i'll say it again, horrendous, and along with its $1,500 buy it now price, ostentatious.  that some poor sucker will buy it and PROUDLY show it off as steampunk will, make me turn in my grave, but perhaps, that will in turn make someone want to learn about steampunk, and then they'll see that it is so much more. 
« Last Edit: August 06, 2008, 06:12:48 pm by AviatrixXaverineVictoire » Logged
flywheel
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« Reply #201 on: August 06, 2008, 11:20:30 pm »

a movement that is orchestrated by traditional power structures (the mainstream).

the mainstream has never created anything on its own. 

Makes sense to me, although "the mainstream" is as nebulous a term as you would care to find. Perhaps by "mainstream" you mean mainstream infotainment media? Plug that in and your post draws some fairly reasonable conclusions. "Traditional power structures" is another nebulous term that I would like to see you elaborate upon.

To my mind, it is the suppression of anything and everything associated with 19th century "power structures", a suppression implemented by the aforementioned infotainment media, that has occluded the re-appearance of everything Victorian, whether it be the clothing, social mores, style of industrial corporate structure, etc. To be sure, as we look to the past, there are parts of 19th century that do not belong in the 21st century, i.e. slavery, restrictions on women's civil rights, etc., but generally speaking, one of the drives behind revisiting the past is the wisdom that to cull the good from the bad is one of progress' hallmarks. Sometimes people are apt to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Regardless, the "mainstream" media "power structure" is being assaulted by the forces of individualism as never before.

The advent of the so-called "new media", blogosphere, internet weavings, etc.(etcetera is one of my favorite words, obviously, along with antidisestablishmentarianism, but I digress) corresponds with the increased strength of seminal micro-movements, which are practically anchored(DIY steampunk community), yet in the midst of developing a philosophical underpinnings. I propose that it is no co-incidence that the nearly unfettered rise of "new media" has accompanied the strengthening of grassroots communities like steampunk ethic. It is my belief that as "new media" eclipses old, the "mainstreaming" effect of old media upon general culture will wane, and micro-cultures will begin to be judged on their merits, instead of being drowned out in the signal noise generated by the operators of established old media.

Humbly submitted for your approval. 
« Last Edit: August 06, 2008, 11:25:24 pm by flywheel » Logged

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AviatrixXaverineVictoire
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« Reply #202 on: August 07, 2008, 07:03:22 am »

a movement that is orchestrated by traditional power structures (the mainstream).

the mainstream has never created anything on its own. 

Makes sense to me, although "the mainstream" is as nebulous a term as you would care to find. Perhaps by "mainstream" you mean mainstream infotainment media? Plug that in and your post draws some fairly reasonable conclusions. "Traditional power structures" is another nebulous term that I would like to see you elaborate upon.

To my mind, it is the suppression of anything and everything associated with 19th century "power structures", a suppression implemented by the aforementioned infotainment media, that has occluded the re-appearance of everything Victorian, whether it be the clothing, social mores, style of industrial corporate structure, etc. To be sure, as we look to the past, there are parts of 19th century that do not belong in the 21st century, i.e. slavery, restrictions on women's civil rights, etc., but generally speaking, one of the drives behind revisiting the past is the wisdom that to cull the good from the bad is one of progress' hallmarks. Sometimes people are apt to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Regardless, the "mainstream" media "power structure" is being assaulted by the forces of individualism as never before.

The advent of the so-called "new media", blogosphere, internet weavings, etc.(etcetera is one of my favorite words, obviously, along with antidisestablishmentarianism, but I digress) corresponds with the increased strength of seminal micro-movements, which are practically anchored(DIY steampunk community), yet in the midst of developing a philosophical underpinnings. I propose that it is no coincidence that the nearly unfettered rise of "new media" has accompanied the strengthening of grassroots communities like steampunk ethic. It is my belief that as "new media" eclipses old, the "mainstreaming" effect of old media upon general culture will wane, and agricultures will begin to be judged on their merits, instead of being drowned out in the signal noise generated by the operators of established old media.

Humbly submitted for your approval. 

generally speaking, mainstream is the present consciousness of the majority. this is manifested most readily in the arts (i.e., music, literature, and performance). something that is mainstream is identifiable as being: the ordinary or usual, familiar to the masses, available to the general public, and that has ties to corporate or commercial entities (my meaning of traditional power structures).  these elements also describe our pop culture as disseminated by the mass media (your interpretation of infotainment media?).  in contrast to mainstream are the subcultures, countercultures, cult followings, underground cultures, etc, etc, etc  Wink .

yet one cannot exist without the other.  it is this dialectic that holds my fascination on many levels.  steampunk holds the contradiction between two conflicting forces (past vs future, mainstream vs subculture, pure fashion vs pure science, etc.), and it is through this continuous interaction that its present state is determined.  the mainstream will popularize it as a novelty, then it will eventually fade like so many of our old favorite saturday morning cartoons.  but that is the beauty of being defined a subculture; it holds true loyalties.  while steampunk may make its big splash like a debutante in her first season, there are those devotees who will stand by her, even if she's decided to "go slumming". 

i love your correlation of 19th century power structures as although different, very similar to those in place today;  all we need do is replace "slavery, restrictions on women's civil rights, etc" with "third world countries".

as for the "new media" eclipsing the "old media", eventually yes, but then that will become the mainstream, which will in turn be replaced by a "new media" . exciting to think of what the next level of mass communication will be.  (hmmmm...gutenberg, radio, tv, internet ... continuous streams of data?)....

thank you for your intelligent response....
« Last Edit: August 07, 2008, 08:08:57 am by AviatrixXaverineVictoire » Logged
flywheel
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« Reply #203 on: August 07, 2008, 07:27:07 am »


generally speaking, mainstream is the present consciousness of the majority. this is manifested most readily in the arts (i.e., music, literature, and performance)...in contrast to mainstream are the subcultures, countercultures, cult followings, underground cultures, etc...it is this dialectic that holds my fascination on many levels.  steampunk holds the contradiction between two conflicting forces (past vs future, mainstream vs subculture, pure fashion vs pure science, etc.)...


It makes even more sense to me now. You fleshed that out beautifully, and with an internal logic that was consistent to boot. Capital!
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Dr cornelius quack
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« Reply #204 on: August 12, 2008, 10:20:26 pm »

The buggers will never be able to pin us down as long as we keep sub-quoting the quotations that have been quoted in someones reference to a quotation quoted previously.

Dr. Q.

p.s. Perhaps we need quotas?

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« Reply #205 on: August 12, 2008, 10:30:06 pm »

The buggers will never be able to pin us down as long as we keep sub-quoting the quotations that have been quoted in someones reference to a quotation quoted previously.

Dr. Q.

p.s. Perhaps we need quotas?



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« Reply #206 on: August 12, 2008, 10:50:23 pm »

Can I quote you on that?
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« Reply #207 on: August 12, 2008, 11:04:52 pm »

Can I quote you on that?
You're over quota
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« Reply #208 on: August 13, 2008, 12:41:53 am »

The buggers will never be able to pin us down as long as we keep sub-quoting the quotations that have been quoted in someones reference to a quotation quoted previously.

Dr. Q.

p.s. Perhaps we need quotas?



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Quotas on quotes? How ... quixotic ...
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« Reply #209 on: August 28, 2008, 06:30:42 pm »

Once again, this assumption that Steampunk revolves around the DIY Makers community is somewhat disheartening. To be fair that circle is the most vocal and easiest for the media to access, but their are so many other aspects to the genre that seem to get tossed by the wayside whenever Steampunk comes up in a discussion.

This is an old fight, going all the way back to a big nasty punk with a love for performace art, bicycles and welding. That said, yes this is a jewel with many fasets that many people covert in their own way. To find joy in a faset does not cheapen the jewel, it only leads to greater joys once that jewel is turned.

People turn the jewel in their own time, and cannot be forced to do so. Some never turn it, forever believing that they have seen and know all, when in fact they have hardly viewed a fraction. Or simply finding a faset all they need to fulfill themselves.

These are not things that should be disheartening. One might as well be disheartened by someone walking fast instead of strolling. 
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Warwolt
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« Reply #210 on: August 28, 2008, 09:43:24 pm »

Once again, this assumption that Steampunk revolves around the DIY Makers community is somewhat disheartening. To be fair that circle is the most vocal and easiest for the media to access, but their are so many other aspects to the genre that seem to get tossed by the wayside whenever Steampunk comes up in a discussion.

This is an old fight, going all the way back to a big nasty punk with a love for performace art, bicycles and welding. That said, yes this is a jewel with many fasets that many people covert in their own way. To find joy in a faset does not cheapen the jewel, it only leads to greater joys once that jewel is turned.

People turn the jewel in their own time, and cannot be forced to do so. Some never turn it, forever believing that they have seen and know all, when in fact they have hardly viewed a fraction. Or simply finding a faset all they need to fulfill themselves.

These are not things that should be disheartening. One might as well be disheartened by someone walking fast instead of strolling. 

Also, its possible that it feels like the other aspects are tossesed aside simply because one aspect gets more attention.
Like how an older sibling might feel left out when the parents turn most of the attention to the new born.
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« Reply #211 on: August 29, 2008, 12:26:45 am »

Also, its possible that it feels like the other aspects are tossesed aside simply because one aspect gets more attention.
Like how an older sibling might feel left out when the parents turn most of the attention to the new born.

Well yes and no. Can't force people now can you? You can suggest. If people aren't interested  then they're not interested. We all have to accept the fact that some people will walk away with the wrong impression based on a one facet assumption. Question is, how fervently you sprint after them with the fond intention of putting them straight?
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professordevlin
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« Reply #212 on: August 29, 2008, 03:30:53 pm »

If this is what some people call mainstream, then I'd hate to see what they think is popular.

Steampunk is a fringe thing, that only a few people are really into. Given the fact that most people in the world are too unimaginative, or lazy to take the mundane and turn it into something unusual, says a lot about the people involved with Steampunk oriented things. I find it funny that I live in a country where they talk about all this individuality nonsense, and yet when you are unique, you get strange looks, or a lot of questions. My favorite, is "Isn't it early for Halloween?"

Halloween yes, but too late for you to say something witty to impress me.

Most people are morons. This is why I hope Steampunk stays on the fringe for the simple fact that some clod will invariably make it popular, and make it accessible for every idiot out there, thus dumbing it down to digestible erata for the average troglodyte to consume.

Let us all hope that it does NOT become mainstream.
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Clym Angus
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« Reply #213 on: August 29, 2008, 05:41:06 pm »

Let us all hope that it does NOT become mainstream.

I would love it if people actively shunned the football match got in the back garden and made something for a change. If people started reinventing the world (or the little bit they have control over) with a sence of fun, rather than let a miriad of bend over and take it designers, infect their reality with their bottom line watching, mass produced, bowel extruded, designed to detonate like a granade 2 days after the warrantee expires, "must have" crap.

I would love it if men took an interest in looking dapper rather than kappa.

I would love it if people generally actively took an interest in improving them selves instead of wallowing in consumer culture induced inadequacy.

I would love it if people woke up with an "I can and I should" attitude instead of "I'll wait for someone else to do it" one. 

I'm not holding my breath, mainly because even if Satchai and Satchai picked up steampunk and sold it for all it's worth, the bitter pill of senerity, hard work and ethics clashing against popular cultures gold fish like attention span would doom it all to failure.

Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
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« Reply #214 on: August 29, 2008, 06:03:32 pm »

You know, a wise man once said to me, "If more people stopped focusing on the rest of the world, which they have little hope of changing, and focused more on the one thing they have complete control over, themselves, we would all live in a much nicer world."

Change is the one thing that we can all count on being static, and popular culture has a way of finding itself into every little thing some way or another. There was a time when punks and goths etc. all thought themselves and their scene to be on the fringe as well, now there are pop bands and stores in the mall centered on them. People are desperate for a sense of individuality in a world that tends to strip us of identity and give us numbers to replace our names. We should really worry less about this all becoming popular and worry more about how we are going to build that steam powered sprinkler system for the back garden...I think we'll all be much happier in the end.
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« Reply #215 on: August 29, 2008, 06:25:39 pm »

If this is what some people call mainstream, then I'd hate to see what they think is popular.

Steampunk is a fringe thing, that only a few people are really into. Given the fact that most people in the world are too unimaginative, or lazy to take the mundane and turn it into something unusual, says a lot about the people involved with Steampunk oriented things. I find it funny that I live in a country where they talk about all this individuality nonsense, and yet when you are unique, you get strange looks, or a lot of questions. My favorite, is "Isn't it early for Halloween?"

Halloween yes, but too late for you to say something witty to impress me.

Most people are morons. This is why I hope Steampunk stays on the fringe for the simple fact that some clod will invariably make it popular, and make it accessible for every idiot out there, thus dumbing it down to digestible erata for the average troglodyte to consume.

Let us all hope that it does NOT become mainstream.

I totally agree. Steampunk should be fun and come naturally. Either you have the steam running in your veins, or you don't. Steampunk itself seems like the worst thing to mainstream. In this forum there is a radical amount of different types of people, each contributing to Steampunk in their own, prefered ways, which big or small, are all important. Attempting to mainstream it, and set down a specific style would bring in an influx of "bandwagoners" while simultaneously frightening away people who are a little different style of Steampunk. I think Steampunk is doing it the right way at the moment. Ignore popularity and focus on invention, imagination and having fun. People who are interested will find it eventually. We don't have to force them. Everybody has to love it for it to work.

Hope that made sense.
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« Reply #216 on: August 30, 2008, 09:02:42 pm »

What I like with steampunk right now is that there isn't really anything defining expect the "If Victorian Era Modernized" or "If Modern Era Victorianized" . Brass, Gears and Steam is probably the basic thing but not really necessary for steampunk. Though as a metal head I´d compare it to black, studs and long hair  Grin. Not necessary for it but is something most people associate with metal/steampunk
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Johannes von Koenigsbach
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« Reply #217 on: August 31, 2008, 04:52:53 am »

Steampunk is a fringe thing, that only a few people are really into. Given the fact that most people in the world are too unimaginative, or lazy to take the mundane and turn it into something unusual, says a lot about the people involved with Steampunk oriented things. I find it funny that I live in a country where they talk about all this individuality nonsense, and yet when you are unique, you get strange looks, or a lot of questions. My favorite, is "Isn't it early for Halloween?"

Halloween yes, but too late for you to say something witty to impress me.

Most people are morons. This is why I hope Steampunk stays on the fringe for the simple fact that some clod will invariably make it popular, and make it accessible for every idiot out there, thus dumbing it down to digestible erata for the average troglodyte to consume.

Let us all hope that it does NOT become mainstream.

My dear Professor,

I will agree with you on one vital point:  Most people are morons. 
That said, I am sufficiently comfortable in the knowledge that I am not a moron, that I don't feel I need to dress oddly in order to separate myself from them. 
If I dress in/decorate my home in a manner that reflects a steampunk aesthetic, it is because I think that this aesthetic is beautiful.   If only it were so that Steampunk were "mainstream"!  Then I could go into any clothing shop and purchase beautiful clothing.  In any furniture store and purchase beautiful decorations for my home.   Women dressed in steampunk attire are more beautiful -- men more dashing.  How wondrous it would be to walk down streets filled with people dressed in such lovely clothing.

If, indeed, the majority of the population is made up of troglodytes -- then they may as well be dapper troglodytes.   

Stop choosing steampunk as a way to be different from society, and rather choose it because it is BETTER than current society.  And then, if the glorious day should come where it is 'mainstream' then you haven't lost your individuality -- you've helped bring a bunch of  'morons' around to your way of thinking.

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Eric von Kohankie
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« Reply #218 on: August 31, 2008, 05:51:27 am »

Clym Angus, I hope all the items on your wish list come to pass.

Steampunk isn't limited to the in/out of trendiness as are the lesser children of Rock 'n' Roll.

Although makers, artists and tailors get quite a bit of our press, please observe your midwestern allies to be found among steam tractor and train enthusiasts, cowboy action shooters, and 19th Century reenactors.  This bunch is not likely to be swayed by the whims of big city fashion rags.

As far as elements of steampunk going mainstream...  why not?  The things we like seem to revolve around courtesy and the potential of the human mind.  I'd be delighted if those things went mainstream.
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professordevlin
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« Reply #219 on: August 31, 2008, 07:00:44 am »

Steampunk is a fringe thing, that only a few people are really into. Given the fact that most people in the world are too unimaginative, or lazy to take the mundane and turn it into something unusual, says a lot about the people involved with Steampunk oriented things. I find it funny that I live in a country where they talk about all this individuality nonsense, and yet when you are unique, you get strange looks, or a lot of questions. My favorite, is "Isn't it early for Halloween?"

Halloween yes, but too late for you to say something witty to impress me.

Most people are morons. This is why I hope Steampunk stays on the fringe for the simple fact that some clod will invariably make it popular, and make it accessible for every idiot out there, thus dumbing it down to digestible erata for the average troglodyte to consume.

Let us all hope that it does NOT become mainstream.

My dear Professor,

I will agree with you on one vital point:  Most people are morons. 
That said, I am sufficiently comfortable in the knowledge that I am not a moron, that I don't feel I need to dress oddly in order to separate myself from them. 
If I dress in/decorate my home in a manner that reflects a steampunk aesthetic, it is because I think that this aesthetic is beautiful.   If only it were so that Steampunk were "mainstream"!  Then I could go into any clothing shop and purchase beautiful clothing.  In any furniture store and purchase beautiful decorations for my home.   Women dressed in steampunk attire are more beautiful -- men more dashing.  How wondrous it would be to walk down streets filled with people dressed in such lovely clothing.

If, indeed, the majority of the population is made up of troglodytes -- then they may as well be dapper troglodytes.   

Stop choosing steampunk as a way to be different from society, and rather choose it because it is BETTER than current society.  And then, if the glorious day should come where it is 'mainstream' then you haven't lost your individuality -- you've helped bring a bunch of  'morons' around to your way of thinking.



So that you understand, I don't choose steampunk to differentiate myself from the rest of society. I am who I choose to be.

If something becomes mainstream, and in this case, if steampunk were to be the norm, it would be turned into what amounts to something the very dumbest can comprehend. Is that something you would want to be a part of, where just any moron can be just like you for the right amount of money?

I think not. Steampunk does not differentiate me from society. I am my own person, making my own choices, my own way without the feeling of obligated conformity. Do I want other people to be like me? No. I am unique. Would I like people to dress better, or act more refined? Perhaps. It's unfortunate though, that every trend or any great idea will suddenly become the fare of the lowest common denominator, and turned into something that is the diet cola version of itself.

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Eric von Kohankie
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« Reply #220 on: August 31, 2008, 07:23:37 am »

Proffesor Devlin

You assume the rational actor.  All we need to do is work steam into the culture to the point that it becomes part of the collective mind and the habit of the tribal actor.

Just how we do all that... umm... oh, dear...  just look at the time!
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« Reply #221 on: February 28, 2014, 01:37:12 pm »

Steampunk is mentioned on the cover of the latest New Scientist. That must be a milestone.
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« Reply #222 on: February 28, 2014, 04:29:48 pm »

Steampunk is mentioned on the cover of the latest New Scientist. That must be a milestone.


Wow, a 5 year thread resurrection.....

"It's Alive!!!"


Not that this is a bad thing, it was a good thread. So given the lifespan of usual spring to winter collections (and the inordinate amount of end of season stuff I managed to snag a number of years ago). I assume we are unfashionable again? Yet we appear to mostly be all here, none the worse for wear.

It would seem that that rolling wave of distraction that the ever flowing zest-guist leaves in it's wake has tossed us around for a bit and left us on the shore of "so last season". Our next best hope for a bit of press is for some nut job in a toppy to go gunning a whole load of people down. Mores the pity.

Popular, unpopular. Subjective terms at best. We can't be twiddling around with this, it's taking up good making/enjoyment time!
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« Reply #223 on: February 28, 2014, 10:12:02 pm »

There are lots of shoes and boots with studs and buckles in the sales.
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Clym Angus
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« Reply #224 on: February 28, 2014, 11:14:52 pm »

I smell a bargain!
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