vilakins: (fireworks)
Nico ([personal profile] vilakins) wrote2017-01-02 06:14 pm
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New year in Oamaru

Our neighbour Michael the Bookbinder invited us to a new year's party. He's the one who dresses in Victorian clothes every day...

... even when clearing the gutters on his house.


He invited us to a new year's party. Photos including Noisel the cat.


Noisel in the garden (he's often in ours too)


Guests' attire was Victorian, Scottish, generally eccentric, and something called Lolita which originated in Japan. The woman here dresses Lolita Sweet every day; there's also Lolita classic, punk, gothic, sailor, school - have a look. It was new to me. I wore a linen cotton trousers, a collarless shirt, and a boater because it was a warm night.


In the garden


It doesn't get dark till around 10pm in summer. This was about 8:30. The building to the right is the Bookbinder's Retreat where we stayed for two nights when we get here before our belongings. I have photos of that from our stay which I'll put up in the next post.


This Scot (a lot of Scots settled here originally) is outside a fair bit of Michael's home-brew beer. I took the photo to show the living room which still has the original Victorian wallpaper.


Michael's homage to Victoria. Not a good photo as it was at night and the lighting is authentically low. :-)

I discovered from all Michael's books on the Napoleonic wars that he's a wargamer with thousands of tiny hand-painted soldiers and equipment from the period; we spent some time looking at those and he was impressed with how much I knew. I used to wargame but my period was the WW2 North African campaign and I used boards and counters. I wish I still had them now.
mab_browne: Icon from a nineteen seventies Georgette Heyer book cover.  Text: Model of Decorum (Model of Decorum)

[personal profile] mab_browne 2017-01-02 06:01 am (UTC)(link)
I miss those longer southern nights. I can remember going for a walk in dull but full daylight at 10pm while visiting family down south. Being in a long skinny country definitely makes a difference to that latitude thing.

I don't wargame but I know a fair few blokes mixing in gaming circles. Those little figures are a labour of love in several ways.
feng_shui_house: me at my computer (Default)

[personal profile] feng_shui_house 2017-01-02 02:03 pm (UTC)(link)
Awesome photos! You have some great neighbors and a lovely neighborhood. :^)
watervole: (Default)

[personal profile] watervole 2017-01-02 06:24 pm (UTC)(link)
Fascinating set of photos. I love the everyday VIctorian attire. I wonder if he's authentic on the fabrics.
watervole: (Default)

[personal profile] watervole 2017-01-03 11:02 am (UTC)(link)
Beautiful! I have a real weakness for marbled endpapers. They make a book feel loved.
gwendraith: (Default)

[personal profile] gwendraith 2017-01-03 12:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Fabulous photos. What a marvellous neighbourhood you live in, people seem friendly and inclusive. Noisel the cat is gorgeous.
Happy New Year!
judo100: (Rough Water)

[personal profile] judo100 2017-01-03 10:40 pm (UTC)(link)
This looks like loads of fun, although I doubt I'd know how to dress up as a Victorian if I had to. (There are those who might say that my normal clothes are that old, but I'll ignore them.) How lovely to know someone called Michael the Bookbinder!

Happy new year!
kalypso: (Abby)

[personal profile] kalypso 2017-01-04 02:58 am (UTC)(link)
Very glad to see more of Oamaru and to know that you have interesting neighbours making you welcome!

[identity profile] imhilien.livejournal.com 2017-01-02 08:36 am (UTC)(link)
Love it. :D
ext_23799: (blake)

[identity profile] aralias.livejournal.com 2017-01-02 09:15 am (UTC)(link)
wow. life goals :D

hope it was a good party

[identity profile] vilakins.livejournal.com 2017-01-02 10:24 am (UTC)(link)
It was, and I met some interesting people like Donna Demente, local artist and personality.

[identity profile] jhall1.livejournal.com 2017-01-02 10:09 am (UTC)(link)
Excellent!

Given that it's summer in New Zealand, Michael must have been awfully hot in the outfit in the first photo.

[identity profile] vilakins.livejournal.com 2017-01-02 10:20 am (UTC)(link)
Ah, that one was taken a couple of months ago, but he still dresses like that on cold summer days (like today). He was in Scottish attire at the party, I suppose because of Hogmanay? I didn't get a photo of him or most of the guests.
Edited 2017-01-02 10:21 (UTC)

[identity profile] katriona-s.livejournal.com 2017-01-02 10:11 am (UTC)(link)
Happy New year!
I like your neighbour's attire... very nice!!

[identity profile] vilakins.livejournal.com 2017-01-02 10:22 am (UTC)(link)
He always looks good!

Have you heard of Lolita clothes? People are fond of Victorian and steampunk here, but Lolita was new to me.

[identity profile] katriona-s.livejournal.com 2017-01-03 02:41 am (UTC)(link)
Yes I have. I see it sometimes. When I go to the towncentre and crowded shopping area I may see 1 or 2 girls in Lolita clothes (maybe more in Tokyo), but it's not popular fashion, just for some girls with rather special liking. Most of them are young girls, and if woman over 30 wore Lolita ... well... of course it's OK, but she might be considered to be a bit eccentric.

[identity profile] vilakins.livejournal.com 2017-01-03 08:45 am (UTC)(link)
[grin] Oh, she's a lot eccentric, about other things too. But I like eccentrics.
lost_spook: (dw - oswin)

[personal profile] lost_spook 2017-01-02 01:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Happy New Year! And that's great. (Although I got distracted by the bookshelf from looking at everyone's costumes/clothes!)

[identity profile] vilakins.livejournal.com 2017-01-02 08:49 pm (UTC)(link)
Me too - it got me into a great discussion about wargaming and modeling.

[identity profile] vjezkova.livejournal.com 2017-01-02 09:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Now this is something I wish we had here too! Simply great, I liked your post greatly!
In that photo from a terrace, there is a girl who looks like Alice in Wonderland:-) and I love the Scottish costumes too.
I am glad you were there and enjoyed it!
Thank you for sharing the photos and of course, I look forward to seeing more.

[identity profile] vilakins.livejournal.com 2017-01-03 12:37 am (UTC)(link)
The girl who looks like Alice is the one who dresses in "Lolita Sweet" style. It's not something I'd heard of though it's obviously a Thing - look at the link I gave. She's tiny, only as tall as her young son, and that's her husband beside her in both photos of her.

[identity profile] jaxomsride.livejournal.com 2017-01-02 11:07 pm (UTC)(link)
They look a fun group of people to know. I love the old wooden mantelpiece too, beautiful! (How old is the house and has it always belonged to his family?)

[identity profile] vilakins.livejournal.com 2017-01-03 12:41 am (UTC)(link)
It dates back to 1860s, the original house anyway, though it's been added to since by him in very carefully authentic style. He's been there since 1994. This is his bookbinder website which also shows the Retreat under "Accommodation".

[identity profile] san-valentine.livejournal.com 2017-01-03 01:23 am (UTC)(link)
What luck to have such an interesting neighbour. It sounds like it was a good party.

[identity profile] vilakins.livejournal.com 2017-01-03 01:32 am (UTC)(link)
It was! There were lots of interesting people there; very cool.

[identity profile] zoefruitcake.livejournal.com 2017-01-03 12:28 pm (UTC)(link)
I admire a man who wears that for gutter clearing. Looks like lots of fun was had too

[identity profile] vilakins.livejournal.com 2017-01-03 08:22 pm (UTC)(link)
I've seen him gardening like that too. He's very committed to his lifestyle, though he does drive - he has to for his bookbinding and beer-brewing businesses.

[identity profile] snowgrouse.livejournal.com 2017-01-03 05:26 pm (UTC)(link)
I am in love with this guy already :3

[identity profile] vilakins.livejournal.com 2017-01-03 08:17 pm (UTC)(link)
You can dress any way you like here - one of the reasons I love the place! You'd fit right in with your wonderful outfits.

[identity profile] snowgrouse.livejournal.com 2017-01-03 08:41 pm (UTC)(link)
When my dad came over earlier today, I showed him some of these photos on my laptop and said "if I saw a guy like that here, I'd immediately ask him out on a date!" This is the kind of thing I miss about living in the UK, and I'm really glad British eccentricity was not something that was jettisoned by your ancestors as they settled in your part of the world!:)

Finland is very ugly and un-colourful and basically an impoverished, developing third world country when it comes to *anything* beautiful. So the few Romantics here suffer a terrible hunger for things like these. You have to be about three times crazier than an Anglo-Saxon to even have the guts to wear anything like that, especially blokes. I have been mistaken for a foreigner several times here and had racist crap thrown at me as a result. I have worn lace and velvet --sometimed exposing no cleavage or leg-- and heard cries of "we don't want your kind here." (Many young Russian women dress far more tartily than Westerners, so cleavage or even lace=Russian prostitute, and long velvet skirts are usually only ever seen on Romany women here.) If I'd been a guy wearing a cape and a top hat, I probably would've been beaten up. So that just makes me appreciate these kinds of things even more:)

[identity profile] vilakins.livejournal.com 2017-01-03 11:12 pm (UTC)(link)
There are lots of people who dress up every day here, like one of the guests, Donna Demente, the artist and well-known local character. There's Ange who runs a steampunk clothing shop and dresses in awesome leather corsets, and lots of others - I saw three older guys dressed like Michael just chatting in the sun outside the Steam Cafe, and a woman dressed as a very colourful gypsy in the bank. A friend saw a steampunker with a raygun crossing the main street once and no one was bothered - in Auckland he'd have probably been arrested for being armed.

I used to be stared at for wearing flat caps, trilby, or fedora in Auckland, anything but a woolly hat, but people wouldn't look twice here. Yay, I can indulge my hat love!

[identity profile] snowgrouse.livejournal.com 2017-01-03 11:26 pm (UTC)(link)
So am I right in getting the impression that Oamaru is much more of a "culture" town with arty folks and the like? I'm really impressed that a place with such a small population isn't an ultraconservative hick town. Is it a San Francisco-type place that's been drawing a lot of hippies or something? I must confess I'd never heard of it until you guys moved there! But everything you've posted about it has been wonderful and even if I haven't been commenting much, it has made me really happy to see how happy you are in your new environment :3 Many hugs from me and "urr!" from Dolores.

[identity profile] vilakins.livejournal.com 2017-01-04 02:00 am (UTC)(link)
There are lots of arty people and artisans here, but I have to say, going by many locals' comments on the Oamaru Today Facebook page that a huge part of the population are indeed uneducated hicks. Their lack of grammar and ability to spell hurt my eyes. I'm keeping to my sort of people. That said, most people one meets are friendly and helpful; it's just best not to read anything they write!

The Victorian thing arises from the beautiful buildings from that era in town which are unique because they're made of Oamaru whitestone, and because they're still standing. So many towns and cities here demolished old buildings to make way for the new, but Oamaru happened to have a slump in the 20s so they didn't. The main street is also super-wide because it was made to allow bullock carts the ability to make U-turns; now its two lanes either way with a tree-lined parking strip down the middle.

So the Victorian buildings made people pick up on that, and the steampunk thing came from enthusiasts who liked the Victorian AU - then local farmers picked up on that and started making steampunk devices from old stuff lying around. We're now the steampunk capital of the country and maybe the world; there's a big festival in June.

The Guardian did an article on it back in August; not bad, though calling us a farming town gives the wrong impression. There are around 14,000 people living here.

[identity profile] vilakins.livejournal.com 2017-01-04 02:02 am (UTC)(link)
Oh and hugs to you and scritches to Dolores!

BTW I'm planning next year's Victorian costume which will feature the necklace and lacy gloves you sent me - perfect! The icon is of me in Roman gear in Auckland, but close to what I'll do. :-)

[identity profile] snowgrouse.livejournal.com 2017-01-04 02:35 am (UTC)(link)
Ah, it's a steampunk thing, I see! Well, that's interesting, even if it's not really my thing. But I'm glad it's an aesthetic haven for that sort of thing :)

And I'm glad the necklace is getting some use! And whenever you're using that icon I keep thinking of proper ancient portraits; the wig is so perfect it just transports you immediately to a different era.

[identity profile] vilakins.livejournal.com 2017-01-04 02:50 am (UTC)(link)
The steampunk and Victorian festivals and outfits are quite separate - Michael and his friends don't do steampunk at all. The steampunk festival is in June and the Victorian one is in November, and I'll have different outfits for both, my steampunk one being leather jacket, my pilot's helmet, pocket watch, compass, raygun etc. My new Victorian outfit will be female using a lot of stuff I already have, but I need to make a skirt, probably from a duvet cover I bought in the wrong size. My best friend here has loads of Victorian outfits so she can lend them to guests, and she uses second-hand curtains and duvet covers.

That wig is amazing; I can do so many things with it, it suits lots of eras, and it makes me look completely different which frees me to take on a whole other persona. I've been Roman and medieval so far in it in Auckland at parties and SCA things, and it will be wonderful for Victorian with one of my big straw sunhats on top decorated with flowers (I loathe bonnets).