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Author Topic: Alexei Sayle likens Hovercraft to Steampunk...  (Read 1205 times)
SteamBlast Mary
Zeppelin Admiral
United Kingdom United Kingdom


A spanner in the works

« on: October 01, 2013, 10:22:34 pm »

Snipped from his column in the Telegraph Motoring supplement... whatd'ya think? Agree with him or nay?

"... Taking the hovercraft was like traversing the Channel in a demented wind farm, the noise from the engines was phenomenal and even on the calmest of days the ride was so bumpy that you arrived in Calais just a few moments before you threw up.
... However, though I fervently hoped that the hovercraft would succeed there was always a sneaking suspicion that it was simply too odd and eccentric to last, which proved to be the case.

While thinking about this extraordinary machine, with its flailing propellers, huge rubber inflatable skirt and stewardesses dressed in bright orange dresses worn with a sort of squashed top hat, it suddenly occurred to me that the SRN 4 hovercraft Princess Anne and Princess Margaret were like a real world example of what is now called Steampunk.

If you're not familiar with it, Steampunk is a type of science fiction found in books, movies and comic books that mixes Victorian technology, vaguely Art Nouveau aesthetics with real modern technology so that you might get something like steam-powered radar in a Jules Verne-style ocean going submarine, a rapid-firing electric crossbow or clockwork computers on the bridge of an intercontinental airship. You can see many examples of Steampunk in films such as Hellboy, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Wild Wild West and Van Helsing.
Then it struck me that this might be a way to bring back the hovercraft, and possibly other British manufacturing. After all, while our technology has always been somewhat behind the times we lead the world in comic books, video games and street fashion so maybe they could bring the cross-Channel hovercraft back if it just accepted its steampunk-ness.

I think if you got one of those SRN 4s out of storage, re-named it something like The Black Falcon, dressed the captain in a uniform covered in gold braid and hung with a sword, attired the stewards and stewardesses in leather catsuits with rubber helmets and goggles, then for the UK's more than two and a half million Goths, EMOs and Alan Moore fans it would be the only way to get to France."

Link here:

He hasn't got the imagery quite spot-on but the principal's sound, I feel.

'I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night’
Lady Chrystal
Master Tinkerer
Wales Wales

Lady Adventurer, Chronicler

« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2013, 10:32:06 pm »

I agree, he's got the basic idea, although he's gone for populist imagery.

Interesting idea that they should try catering more for Goths and Steampunks. Could be fun!

"The Chrystal? Ah, now - that would be telling."
A clanger waiting to be dropped......
Board Moderator
Rogue Ætherlord
United Kingdom United Kingdom

« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2013, 10:52:21 pm »

Hmm, perhaps if the stewards were to be attired in the uniforms of 'archetypal' cruise ship stewards (as in double breasted white tunics with brass buttons). Although I'm all for the Captain and senior crew to be attired in uniforms dripping with gold braid.

I made a note in my diary on the way over here. Simply says; "Bugger!"

Mr Peter Harrow, Esq
Zeppelin Overlord
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Fellow of the Victorian Steampunk Society

« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2013, 12:34:04 am »

This is the Telegraph, Mr Sayle is expounding upon examples the readership might be familiar with.

It is interesting quite a few British comedians are familiar with steampunk (Mr Jupitus, Mr Bailey, Mr O'Neill), perhaps they are attracted to the sense of humour?

Proudly giving the entire Asylum The Finger!
United Kingdom United Kingdom

« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2013, 08:06:00 pm »

Sayle, Jupitus, Bailey all came from the "Alternative" comedy scene which has a common ancestry with the Goths, Emos and even Steampunks so its not surprising they are familiar with it

And a good thing too.
Never mind the Cogs
Snr. Officer
England England

Chin Chin !

« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2013, 12:15:03 am »

I want to be Captain of the Black Falcon   Smiley

In the past i have done the Dover - Calais hovercraft return trip (never though about the Steampunk potential), and it was very bumpy when the channel was not flat, if the vessels where painted brass and copper, as opposed to red and white we would be  half way there...

If it wasn't for the last minute, nothing at all would ever get done!
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