In Scotland, people regularly have fancy dress nights and go out to pubs. I suppose this happens in America as well, but as I left California when I was 21, I was never particularly privy to America’s drinking culture. It didn’t seem as prevalent there, in any case. Here, there’s pub golf, themed hen parties and stag dos, and fresher’s week is a good excuse for young men and women to wander around Scotland in September freezing their bits off in caveman outfits or whatever the theme of the night is.
Here in Aberdeen, there’s been a few themed club nights held by a group called Propaganda that have specific geek-themed fancy dress parties. I never go out to normal clubs, but this one is so open and accepting and I without fail have a wonderful time. Various themes: Alice in Wonderland (rabbits and caterpillars, queens and hearts), Half-Price Heroes (lame super heroes who aren’t quite the big-times), Medi-kill (crazed nurses and patients), Pixel Party (Katami and Sonic the Hedgehog, anyone?), A Space Oddity (This is Bowie to Bowie), Too Ghoul for School (zombie school), PropaGAGA (yes, Lady Gaga themed), and Zombiegeddon.
Last night was a A Clockwork Circus, or steampunk. As my current novel PANTOMIME happens to be set in a steampunkish circus, this was quite fun for me. There were crazed ringmasters, clowns, a snake lady, a strongman, animal trainers and animals, and plenty of people who didn’t feel like dressing up but came along for the fun. Crossdressing is actively encouraged, and it’s a safe place for people to dress and act as they will. I went as a trapeze artist/aerialist, as I knew a fair amount about the costumes from researching it for my novel. It’s probably lame beyond belief to cosplay as your own character, but ah well.
The night showed how much steampunk has grown. Though I suppose the themed night is primarily attended by goths and alternatives (though not all), a few years ago I’m not sure how many would have known the term steampunk off of the tops of their heads. It’s a fashion, but it’s rooted in literature. Quite a few of the themes have been based on books or trends of literature, and it’s such fun to dress up outwith a con. I wish there were more opportunities to do so.