Sippican Cottage

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Spanners

SPANNERS
by: Sippican Cottage

Sun’s beaming in the window,
There’s rumbling from the floor,
We’re swinging and we’re swaying
Boxes dancing out the door.

Oh how our muscles ripple,
We’re making twenty knots,
We’re alternating; current —
We’re glowing with the watts.

Pounding down the corridors,
With Bill of Lading piles;
Our output’s put the boss on ice
We’re blowing out the dials.

They count the beans but can’t keep up,
We’re cooking with the gas;
Our arms are made from tempered steel,
Our heart is made of brass.

That brass is rolled to make a tube,
The tube is bent just so;
And if we blow that trumpet, Jack,
The girls get all aglow.

The whistle blows at five o’clock,
It’s twenty-three skidoo;
The guys and gals that made that stuff,
Go out for dancing too.

They box the compass of the steps
Then swing from chandeliers;
They leave the clerks there in the lurch
Then kick it up a gear.

They pound the floor into the ground,
They swing and then they sway;
They’d drink to all their troubles,
But they’ve long since gone away.

They close the places late at night,
And walk home ‘neath the stars;
Arm in arm, exchanging charms
One’s Venus, one is Mars.

Mighty children spring from them,
To keep the flame alight;
They nurse them with acetylene,
And ultra-violet light.

They grow some whiskers when they’re old,
And sit down for a spell;
Their Ercoles will take their place,
And raise a little hell.

We’re All Jules Vernatics On This Bus

Honorary Borderline Sociopathic Boy of the Day goes to Greg Brotherton, who like any self-respecting hero or villain has an alter ego: Brotron

Not particularly Steampunk, now that you mention it. No brass. More Art Decomposition or Fritz Langostura, really.

All artists make things with what others throw away. Brotron is just a more obvious example of the phenomenon. More here.

Shake Ya Boogie

SPANNERS
by: Sippican Cottage

Sun’s beaming in the window,
There’s rumbling from the floor,
We’re swinging and we’re swaying
Boxes dancing out the door.

Oh how our muscles ripple,
We’re making twenty knots,
We’re alternating; current —
We’re glowing with the watts.

Pounding down the corridors,
With Bill of Lading piles;
Our output’s put the boss on ice
We’re blowing out the dials.

They count the beans but can’t keep up,
We’re cooking with the gas;
Our arms are made from tempered steel,
Our heart is made of brass.

That brass is rolled to make a tube,
The tube is bent just so;
And if we blow that trumpet, Jack,
The girls get all aglow.

The whistle blows at five o’clock,
It’s twenty-three skidoo;
The guys and gals that made that stuff,
Go out for dancing too.

They box the compass of the steps
Then swing from chandeliers;
They leave the clerks there in the lurch
Then kick it up a gear.

They pound the floor into the ground,
They swing and then they sway;
They’d drink to all their troubles,
But they’ve long since gone away.

They close the places late at night,
And walk home ‘neath the stars;
Arm in arm, exchanging charms
One’s Venus, one is Mars.

Mighty children spring from them,
To keep the flame alight;
They nurse them with acetylene,
And ultra-violet light.

They grow some whiskers when they’re old,
And sit down for a spell;
Their Ercoles will take their place,
And raise a little hell.

The Wood Butcher Likies

My job is subtle, besides the bashing and chopping and whatnot.

Furniture is like architecture. It’s not a totally utilitarian project, but it it better be, some, at least. And as anyone that’s sat on one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s chairs can tell you: art ain’t enough when your backside’s involved.

I use the three-legged stool example, taken from Vitruvius, to explain the constraints on what I’m doing. Furniture, like architecture, requires Commodity, Firmness, and Delight to succeed. Without any leg of the stool, you topple over. Very few items get all three right, as very few even try for all three, never mind succeed. In general, it’s wise not to get too outlandish until you know what you’re doing. Even then, beware. You don’t want any of the legs to be any shorter than the others, either.

Sometimes I get the urge for pure creation of some sort, like any pretentious jerk would. There is no time and I am not young and the children need shoes. If your gaze wanders up from the trench, you can see the sun sometimes. Some people are making interesting things to look at in this world.

The Brotron Gallery made me smile today. Mundane things made beautiful, edgy, and interesting. It’s as menacing as a chrome John Lee Hooker song, too.

It’s an interesting world. Let’s go places and make things!

Old-School Steampunk


We visited the Sandwich Heritage Museum on Sunday. It’s a great place to do nothing.

There’s no fun there. We had fun, but that’s a different matter. We were not subjected to the trials of fun. We brought some along with us and had it. That’s different. We very much subscribe to Yogi Berra’s dictum that places can be so crowded that no one goes there anymore.

They had an exhibit of pirate stuff. It was there last year too. It’s about as populated with things to look at as the Arctic Circle is with four-star restaurants. Like I said though, they just have to make an effort, and give us a little stuff to work with. My little boy dressed himself in a frock coat and a tricorne hat they had in a little chest and put himself in the jail there, and generally enjoyed himself. Little boys used to be captivated by pirates, and Indians, and gold rush adventurers, and Jules Verne explorations. That urge to live outside the mundane world seems to be generally supplanted by clubbing a hooker to get your money back, using your right thumb on the X button, now. The pirates were better, I think.

As I said before, I like the Steampunk kids for their flights of fancy and their visual panache. Real elegance. But Steampunk isn’t old school enough for me; let’s have Old School Steampunk. How about the lock on the inside of the pirate chest. Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about:


Click to embiggen the photo. My audience knows me, so they can sleep easy tonight knowing that, of course, I touched it.

Hey Steampunk Kids! I’ve Found Your New God

I love the Steampunk kids. There is an implicit understanding in their brass and iron fetishes that Victorians integrated all sorts of technological breakthroughs immediately into their lives with an enormous amount of panache — much more so than we’ve been managing it since. It’s easy to think we live in fast-moving times, but we’ve got nothing on the Victorians.

Many people always point to Apple as the modern version of sleek design, but I can’t help thinking it’s all just regurgitated West German appliance design from the 1960s. The Victorians made everything interesting to look at, right away, and kept on riffing.

Of course Jules Verne is the Steampunk Kids deity, but Hector Guimard needs to go in the Pantheon somewhere as a sort of latter day saint. Art Nouveau is more-or-less post-Victorian, but I really think it’s more like Victorian on steroids, acid, and speed. Wait a minute. That’s not elegant –“steroids, acid, and speed.” In keeping with the Victorian vibe, let’s change it to: laudanum, absinthe, coca, and roast beef.

Tag: steampunk

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