Tag Archives: steampunk

Frankenstein Clothing

I hate throwing anything away – not if there’s any possible use it can be put to. Where I can, clothing that no longer works for me gets sent to charity shops. However, worn out, damaged, stained items have no re-sale value. So, finding re-uses for dead clothing is an ongoing issue, answered by rag rugs, rag baskets, and the like – these are traditional solutions to squeezing the last bit of mileage out of fabric.

I got in to Frankenstein clothing in my teens. I can sort-of sew – I don’t like sewing machines. But, my ability to think in 3D is lousy. Clothes making from scratch requires things I don’t have – flat space where you can cut cloth without being compromised by a cat would be useful, and I’ve not had that in a very long time. Working on the floor in the living room isn’t viable – I’ve tried. There aren’t patterns for the kinds of clothes I really, really want, and new bought fabric can be pricey.

What I’ve done for much of my life is to either pick up cheap second hand clothes, or up-cycle my own dead clothes to create something new, and weird, of my own imagining. Frankenstein clothes are often made of the dead remnants of other items – hence my name for it. It’s cheaper than making from scratch, I feel safer about mistakes if what I was using was on the way out anyway. I’ve got the shape of the existing garment to help me.

Over the weekend I did over a pair of trousers. I’ve lost a fair amount of weight, so they didn’t fit very well, and the cat had pulled threads on one thigh. I took off the old waistband and made a new one, shortening the waist. I turned the garment inside out – hiding the cat damage, and cut the seams and re-sewed them to enable the reversal. Then, with assistance, I took the legs off just below the knees. I’ve elasticated the new hem, and added broiderie angalise (black).

What this gives me is something evocative of the Victorian knickerbockers. An echo of the kind of garment women swimming and cycling in an era where it wasn’t acceptable to uncover, tended to wear. This is a look I can use for steampunk escapades, but it’s also a garment I will wear for other activities. I don’t have the space to keep a steampunk wardrobe, it all has to be wearable in the rest of my life. I’ve always liked trousers that stop below the knee, and I’ve no qualms about going out in attire other people will find weird, ridiculous or bemusing.

Every piece of clothing I can Frankenstein into a second life reduces my need to buy and consume. I keep usable things out of landfill, I get to play, and I get to wear outrageous things of my own imagining despite not having the technical skills to make my own clothes from scratch.


All Ages Communities

Being in the school system tends to culture us into associating with people who are within a year of our own age. For a lot of people, this habit continues through life, creating generation gaps and a lack of social cohesion. There are assumptions about what different ages and life stages mean. As a consequence, most social activity is either child free, or revolves around amusing the kids. Teenagers are expected to go off and do their own thing. Older people aren’t even present, much of the time.

Some events and locations will try to get round this by providing crèches and amusements for the younger folk, freeing up their parents to do the things. This of course still means dividing people by age.

All of this is very much on my mind because I’ve just come back from Lincoln’s Asylum – the biggest steampunk gathering in the country. It’s an all ages activity, in the sense that people of all ages can actively participate (some of the evening things are 18+ but given how many things are totally  accessible to younger folk, this isn’t a problem).  Kids really get into it, with costumes, and enthusiasm for many of the events.

What really affected me, was talking to older women who were not steampunks, but who were eyeing up attendees at the event. One woman said to me, “This is amazing, I’m 60 and there are people here who are older than me, and they’re dressed up and clearly having a fantastic time.” Of course Victorian based attire looks great on older folk in a way that modern clothing doesn’t. The assumptions about what older people can and should wear, in all other contexts, are both dull and restrictive, but steampunk elders can be as punked, glamorous, outrageous, playful and innovative as anybody else.

In most contexts for women, there’s a lot of pressure to appear young (while not falling into the ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ trap). We’re supposed to be sexy if we look young enough, and to cover up if we don’t. But not too sexy, so as to avoid the ‘slut’ trap. When we are older, we are to hide sags, wrinkles, grey hair etc as best we can. We are not to celebrate our aging. I love that in steampunk spaces none of this applies. The results are varied, wild, unpredictable and deeply inclusive of all kinds of ways of being female. There’s also an abundance of space to play with gender representation and identity as well, which is incredibly liberating.

It seems mad to me that we so often have so much age-based segregation within our societies. Communities gain breadth, depth and long term stability when they can accommodate people at all life stages. It’s a very different thing being in a space you know will always have room for you, rather than being conscious of an obligation to grow out of it at some point. It’s good to be in a space that genuinely makes everyone who wants to be there welcome, so long as they uphold the one rule – be splendid. I love what happens when the default is inclusion, and look forward to the scope for getting older disgracefully.

I suspect that no matter how old I get, I will always be a filthy urchin at heart, so I‘m going to need the spaces that won’t try and shoehorn me into a twin set and a sensible haircut.


My Druidry. My Steampunk

Recently at a Steampunk event, a very fine chap (Paul Adams) spoke about how just because something isn’t ‘his’ steampunk, doesn’t make it invalid. Like Druidry, steampunk has breadth and depth, and every so often someone tries to explain why some other set of people are doing it all wrong. This is a subject I’ve poked before, but new things have occurred to me.

When it comes to communities and interests, we should all have the right to choose how we identify and what we do. In any given community, there’s likely to be a critical mass forming a centre somewhere, and also people pushing the edges. To me, this seems intrinsic to a lively community. Enough definition, and enough challenge makes for something alive, able to change and not too controlling. The more people push at the edges, the more the people in the middle may feel they need to say ‘our bit is the true bit’ and reduce the size of the project to make it more ‘real’. They will vocalise the fear of being too diluted, too vague. It doesn’t mean anything anymore, we must get back to the core principles.

This way can lie fundamentalism, with all its nasty habits. However, if the centre has limited power, or ideally no real power at all, it can only make noise. Having people passionate about the centre is a good thing. It creates stability and gives the people on the edges something to rebel against. Yes, sometimes people can get so far outside a thing that they become something else entirely. This is also fine, so long as they don’t have the power to make everyone else do it their way. This is how we get new things, evolution, adaptation and learning.

There should be a little bit of natural tension between people who are part of the centre and people who push edges. We shouldn’t be afraid of that tension – it’s what’s holding the overall shape of the thing.

And let’s face it, if these processes of holding and testing had not already been part of Druidry, we’d still be wearing fake beards and white robes. We’d be a small, probably cultish thing centred around a few big names. Without our long, healthy history of people saying ‘sod that’ and going off to try their own thing, we could be a narrow and maladaptive little thing able to do only what its first few founders in the modern era were ok with.

If, ultimately, so many people moved to the edges that the centre collapsed, this would also be fine. It would happen if the centre no longer related to lived experience and social change. I’m passionate about Druidry, but if so many people ran off in different directions as to make it unviable as a community, I’d be fine with that. I would still do whatever it made sense to me to do, on my own terms. We don’t actually need the validation of other people doing it our way.

However great we think our practices are, they are never great enough to make people hang onto them when they want to be doing something else. I hold that this is true of all religions, all communities, all traditions and all cultures. If you aren’t driven by love of them, and working with other people of the same persuasion, what you’ve got is already dead.


Favourite things – Steampunk Women

I’ve never heard a story about a woman being harassed, assaulted or otherwise abused at a Steampunk event. No doubt it happens from time to time, but compared to the treatment women can expect in many places, Steampunk is friendly. Women at events dress as they please – from the most outrageous of burlesque-style costumes, through to a full-on emulation of Victorian prudery, and all places in between. It’s all fine. With corsets worn on the outside of clothing, cut off crinolines, knickerbockers, and all kinds of padding, a person can emphasise and de-emphasise as the fancy takes them, and play with ideas of sexuality in clothing.

As artists and authors, clothes creators, models and musicians, poets and peacocks (really, literally as a peacock), as organisers and facilitators and innovators, women are active participants at all levels. On one hand I feel bloody stupid writing this, because it should be obvious, and how the world is, and not worthy of comment, but there are still a great many places where this just isn’t true.

A community is what you make it – it is nothing more than the sum and total of the people involved. One of the few rules of the Steampunk community is good manners. It’s amazing how quickly the various forms of sexism generally manifest in the world can be wiped out by this one simple thing. It’s rude to make negative comments about other people’s clothes and appearance. It’s rude to treat another human being as an object for sexual entertainment. It’s rude to assume another person is obliged to pay you attention. Any assumption of entitlement, is basically rude.

Steampunk women tend to have rejected the narrow, mainstream version of what it means to be female. Often in mainstream spaces, women are the ones who will pull other women down for not fitting in. The female author who complained that the first female bishop wasn’t wearing lipstick, is a case in point. Amongst Steampunk women I have found a more supportive culture. We are, collectively, more interested in lifting each other up than putting each other down.

The paying of compliments is a normal part of a Steampunk gathering. Out there in the rest of the world, compliments can be used as a veil for harassment – highly suggestive and sexualised compliments, statements designed to reduce and disempower the target. And if the target objects, she’s no fun, has no sense of humour, can’t take a compliment. She will be told she should be pleased that she’s getting this attention. Many women have learned to fear compliments. A Steampunk compliment is more likely to go ‘nice squid, did you make it yourself?’ It’s more likely to be about the wit and genius of your costume – things you as a person had a choice over. It means there is no gender aspect to who pays compliments to whom, no aspect of body shape or size.

At Steampunk gatherings I see women of all ages and shapes, and women from groups often considered to be marginalised. I see other women getting to enjoy how they look, getting to play with appearance and identity, and enjoy other people doing the same. As a middle aged women uncomfortable in their own skin, not always very easy with the whole ‘woman’ thing either, I feel safe in this space. No one is going to tell me that I’m fat or funny looking, or too old for what I’m wearing, or not sexy enough, or too sexual, or any of the other things I can and have fallen foul of in other places. People are nice to me. Usually it’s my hat that gets all the attention, and this is fine.

If we start from the premise that we owe each other courtesy, so many other things are better. We live in a culture that makes entertainment out of sneering at people on the telly, and that goes in for celebrity appearance shaming in magazines, relentlessly sells us sexualised images of women while at the same time condemning women for being sexualised. It would be easy to fix, we just have to stop thinking assholes are funny, and that ridicule is funny, and start being polite.


Favourite things – of Sloths and Men

It may be a bit of a cheat plugging something I’m heavily involved with as a favourite thing for Steampunk Hands Around the World, but bear with me. There’s considerable justification for me claiming Tom Brown as a favourite thing. Favourite to the point of marrying him. He’s also a significant percentage of how I came to Steampunk in the first place (the other percentage being attributable to Professor Elemental).

When I first met Tom, through a publishing house many years ago, he was writing and illustrating Hopeless Maine by himself. I was entirely smitten – it was strange, gothic, moody and a bit Victorian in look. Tom wandered more deliberately into Steampunk, having always been attracted to things Victorian, but not until recently, aware there’s a whole movement. I trotted along behind, and here we are. Of all the projects I’ve worked on since then, Hopeless Maine stands out as a favourite thing for me. Tom eventually persuaded me to write for him – I was reluctant because I’d never written comics and had no idea how to do it. A long period of close collaboration, and all the wider conversations around it, and we ended up with an emotional attachment that took me across the Atlantic to visit him, and later, him across the Atlantic to live with me. I owe a lot to Hopeless Maine.

Which brings me round to the important matter of Sloths. Sloth Comics have now gone public on their slog, with the news that they are picking up Hopeless Maine. We’ve known this was happening for a while, but there’s nothing like a big public declaration of intent to get things moving. When our relationship with the first publisher – Archaia – fell apart because they’d been bought out by bigger and more commercially orientated Boom Studios, we looked around for someone cool. We liked Sloth as soon as we saw them – they publish comics that aren’t obvious, and formulaic looking. They also make very high quality books, and we’re looking forward to seeing Hopeless with that much better page print quality.

We’re not Sloth’s first Steampunk project, either. Happily, this move puts us alongside Francesca Dare and her glorious Penny Blackfeather, http://www.pennyblackfeather.co.uk/ (this comic I really like, its funny and full of unexpected things) the link will take you to the webcomic. Another canny female lead with a slightly dappy male sidekick, we suspect Salamandra and Penny would get along fairly well. Sloth also have Steam Hammer – an alternate history with a Scottish hero and a Victorian Britain that’s been overrun by steam powered Americans. I haven’t read it, but it looks good. Then there’s The Ring of the Seven Worlds – steampunk and studio Ghibli influenced. There are other non-Steampunk titles too, and I have some reading to do to catch up. It’s great moving to a house and feeling excited about everything they do.

I’ve popped the new cover in this blog – it’s for the omnibus edition that will bring volumes one and two out in the same book, with some other things that haven’t been seen before, and then we head for book three. This is the first Hopeless Maine piece where Tom and I have collaborated on the art – he does the lines, I do the colours, he does the magic and the photoshoppy bits. I can’t claim it as a favourite thing – it was an absolutely terrifying thing, but likely means I’ll be more involved in the art for future books.


Favourite Things – Retro politics and unblamable men

The theme for this year’s Steampunk Hands around the World is ‘Favourite things’ so I’m going to use today’s blog to talk about why I love retro-politics, and The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing. They are, for those of you who are as yet uninitiated, four chaps with punk influences, guitars, drums, a musical saw, comedy genius and a great willingness to make a lot of noise.

I shuffled into the idea of retro politics quite by accident, while writing Intelligent Designing for Amateurs. It’s a simple enough idea – talking about the politics of the past in order to say something about the present. It’s something The Men are exceedingly good at. In this period of despicable austerity, talking about Victorian England is a really good way of illustrating how backward we’re being, while being funny, and creating enough emotional distance to make it bearable. You wouldn’t go out to listen to a band sing about the terrible air pollution in London, but somehow a song about Victorian smog does exactly the same job while being funny.

One of my favourite songs on this score is Doing it for the Whigs, which pauses at one point for Andrew O’Neill to shout ‘That’s right, votes for women! Fucking get over it.’ I could go off on a long, long rant about the modern men who think women should not be allowed to vote, but I’ll stick with Andrew’s line. It’s charmingly to the point. Their ‘Charlie’ song works in a similar way, reflecting Victorian fury with Darwin suggesting they were all descended from apes, and here we are, all this time later and we’ve still got people pedalling intelligent design. I could get very depressed at our failure to progress, but I won’t, I’ll go and listen to Margate Fhtagn (didn’t we have a lovely time the day we met Cthulhu).

Modern politics are, for the greater part, bloody depressing. Retro politics makes it possible to laugh. And The Men that Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing are a very entertaining outfit, and a fantastic live act. I saw them at Exeter last December. They talked from the stage about the importance of community and getting skills that have a real use. They talked about deliberately keeping their ticket prices and merchandise costs as low as they can ‘so you don‘t have to exploit someone else to be able to afford our shit’. My kind of people, my kind of philosophy. Get angry, and have a laugh and change everything.

“The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing come from a past which probably never happened via a present they didn’t want.” Read more about them here – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Men_That_Will_Not_Be_Blamed_for_Nothing

This is them on bandcamp – https://blamedfornothing.bandcamp.com/

More Steampunk Hands Around the World goodness here – https://airshipambassador.wordpress.com/2016/01/13/announce-hands-2016/


Steampunk Hands Around The World – Favourite Things

It’s February, the month of Steampunk Hands Around The World. The theme this year is ‘Favourite Things’ – cute little puppy dogs swimming in gin and all that. I’m going to use it as an opportunity to enthuse about some of my favourite Steampunk people, and to talk more broadly about things I love. Alongside this, there will be a fair amount of the usual blog mix as well.

Steampunk is something serious people find it hard to take seriously. It’s all about dressing up and messing about and pretending – not the proper business of reasonable adults. I’ve watched people sneer about Steampunk fiction whilst being perfectly willing to write one if they think there’s money in it. The thing is that Steampunk *is* incredibly and deliberately silly, and this is a big part of why I like it.

Life is hard for too many of us, too much of the time. The rest of the world can be terrifying, and we’re bombarded every day with more misery than we can hope to make sense of. The news is largely soul destroying. Our governments want us to work harder for less while they strip away the services we depend on. Tired people spend their leisure time resting if they can. That makes us socially isolated. It reduces our support networks and sucks the joy out of life.

We all need things that make us happy. I like Steampunk in no small part because it’s a way of people getting together and hanging out and having a laugh. You don’t have to be wealthy – some disposable income tends to help, but that’s pretty much always the case. You don’t have to spend a fortune on gear. If you can get something out of a skip and add it to something from a charity shop and something that used to belong to your Gran – you’re on the right lines.

At events there’s an emphasis on participation. You don’t go to a Steampunk gathering to be a passive consumer, and I think that’s really important.

Of course it’s not all perfect – nothing involving people is all perfect because some people are assholes and the assholes get everywhere. But on the whole, it’s a good, friendly space providing a wondrous antidote to the rest of life.

Working ourselves to death, activist martyrdom, tireless campaigning, endless fighting for rights, all out full on everything I do today has to be about saving the world… is not a sustainable way to live. Emotional collapse is inevitable. If all you do is fight, then it’s not long before you lose sight of what you were fighting for. It’s hard to keep fighting when all you do is fight against what’s wrong. It is necessary to have something to fight for.

This is why we need frivolity. We need playful spaces and community spaces, and the scope to be peacefully human with each other. We need opportunities to be happy, to be carefree, to forget all the awful stuff in the world. It’s very hard work fixing anything from a place of being broken yourself. If all we do is worthy and purposeful, we lose part of what it is to be alive, because it is human to play. We need music, and dance and stories and theatre, we need silly hats and clothes we enjoy and things that make us laugh. We need to stop trying to buy these from commercial producers and start trying to find them collectively. Having a good time without buying it off the peg is just as revolutionary as anything else you can commit to.

More about Steampunk Hands Around The World here – https://airshipambassador.wordpress.com/2016/01/13/announce-hands-2016/


Falling in love with musicians. More. Again.

I spent last Saturday at Exeter Yule Ball – a fantastic event Tom and I hadn’t been to before. It may take me some days to recover. With live music during the day and in the evening, it was a great opportunity to hear some new bands. I was deeply impressed by the sheer diversity of music.

I’ve been talking a lot about book industry issues in recent weeks, but things are no less tough in other creative industries. Music is given away online, the only way a performer can make a living is by touring (which is bloody hard work) and selling at gigs. It’s pretty much impossible to make a career by staying home and writing songs. Like most authors, most musicians will have a day job. If you love music, you need to support your musicians. Buy their albums, don’t just pick up youtube freebies.

New-to-me music I think you would like… links on the names for things you can check out. Gurdybird – folk electronica, hurdy-gurdy and pirate hat, great tunes, and also really good videos. Ideal for dancing to. The Wattingers – bass and harmonica. No, really. It shouldn’t work, and yet it does, but the bass (which you don’t get at all listening at home) is like a physical assault and I swear my bones will never be the same, having heard them. Totally startling, in a really good way. The Mysterious Freakshow – Fey Pink sings like every female goth vocalist I have ever loved with a bit of Kate Bush thrown in for good measure. Videos do no justice at all to her captivating stage presence, but go watch some anyway.

I’ve been following Miss Von Trapp online for some time now. She sings songs of murder and violence, or turns previously innocent songs into mayhem and blood baths. Accompanied by a cello. Really funny stuff. It turns out that in person she’s just as delightful, and has a truly amazing voice. You can check her out in this video in which she and Professor Elemental abuse a song and a reindeer… (I was there!)

The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing. Another group I’ve followed for years but had not seen live. Very much the punk side of Steampunk, lots of retro-politics that are all too relevant right now. An intense performance, brilliant songs, a mosh pit (from which I was absent) and my first proper encounter with a musical saw. This song is stuck in my head, and is one of my favourite things at the moment. Atheist issues with the supernatural. This house is not haunted – no god, no ghosts, no afterlife.

 

The end of the evening bought a set from Professor Elemental. I found him by accident, years ago when looking for an OBOD video on youtube, and have adored him ever since. Fantastic performance, not just funny, but an experience designed to lift people up, leaving us feeling better about ourselves and each other. A one man austerity antidote in a pith helmet. Part of the normal audience job is to look up in awe and be inspired to love the performer. I go to gigs expecting to love the performers. There are whole other levels to this for me with the good professor. Having worked with him to co-create a book, been a test reader for him, thrown works-in-progress of mine his way, introduced each other for nerdbong podcasts… he’s been important to me for a long time, both as his stage self and when not pithed-up. Seeing him over the weekend reminded me of just how much I love working with him, so I’m determined now to find some opportunity for a new collaboration.

And that previous joint project looks like this. Paperback and hardcover, with the lovely people at Snowbooks.

http://snowbooks.com/products/19647?variant=1278323201


What do you look like?

Ever since the first human, back in the mists of ancient history, wrapped a bit of dead animal, or a fig leaf of whatever it was around a damp or cold part of their anatomy, we’ve been wearing clothes. And I would bet you that somewhere after the first fig leaf, someone else looked upon it and thought ‘well, I see the utility here, but I want a bigger leaf!’

Body adornment is universal, although ideas of what is beautiful are not. Alongside what we wrap around our bodies, we modify our flesh with tattoos, scarification, stretching, cutting off. We hide some parts and reveal others. All of this is culturally constructed, with a heady balancing act of fitting in and standing out going on at the same time. We want to be noticed, but we don’t want to be so different that we are ‘other’, often.

One of the many reflections to come out of a weekend of Steampunkery is about how dreadfully banal modern attire is. I don’t always see it, because I’m used to seeing it. When you’ve had a weekend of extravagant hats, amazing dresses, fabulous waistcoats and the such, the average bod in the street looks very dull indeed.

Why is 21st century mainstream attire so incredibly bland, for the greater part?

Some, if not all of it, comes down to mass production. It is cheap and quick to mass produce clothing that is identical and near identical, and to have everyone wearing that. The more individual an item is, the more time, effort and therefore money has to go into it. Most people at a Steampunk weekend will either have lavished hours on their attire, or will have paid appropriately for someone else having lavished hours upon it. This isn’t cheap.

Cheap is a consideration if you are in a state of abject poverty (been there, had the t-shirts). However, we’ve been sold the idea that low cost, banal predictability is actually a good thing. We should want the cheap and the samey any time we can get it, such that if you go into a more expensive clothes retailer, you can still get the cheap and banal aesthetic. We don’t value difference or quality, and I wonder if we are the first period of human history where that’s been the case in terms of how we normally dress and adorn ourselves.

I enjoy difference. I enjoy variety, and the interest that comes when things are made with love and imagination. It’s as true of a lunch as it is of a dress. Of course that’s neither easy nor convenient, and we’ve also been sold the idea that easy and convenient are measures of ‘good’. Increasingly, I am questioning how we got here, and what it’s for, and how to do differently.


Steampunk Druid?

What is Steampunk? I’ve been asked that question a lot in recent days, mostly by people in the street who saw me in my hat, and were curious. So the first answer is that Steampunk is something that enables people to connect with each other. If I go out looking like everyone else, no one stops me in the street to ask me the significance of what I’m wearing, or where I got it, or to compliment me on it, and at a Steampunk event, this is all normal.

I realised, over this last weekend that one of the many ways in which Steampunk is like Druidry, is that it is bloody difficult to define, and any definition I come up with will fail to embrace the full diversity and significance it has for other people. I cannot, therefore, define Steampunk. I can only talk about my experience of it, and what it means to me.

  • It is a space to play. I can present as anyone or anything. My age, apparent gender, body shape, physical capabilities and limitations become less of an issue than how I wish to be seen, and the same is true for all participants. As a consequence it’s a very safe space for a lot of people who do not always get to feel as safe as they would like to.
  • Like Druidry, Steampunk draws on history but is not history. It takes the best bits (kit, manners, sense of adventure) and does what it can with the complicated bits. Let’s face it, the Victorian era was also a time of poverty, gender inequality, colonialism, environmental degradation, exploitation, racism, and theft on a grand scale. I’m not celebrating that – no one does – but by alluding to it, flagging it up we can also start to look at how those things are still with us. We can laugh at, undermine, subvert and recreate the things that should have been a lot better first time round, and there is definite power in that.
  • Like Druidry, Steampunk offers a space that nurtures creativity and creates opportunities for self expression. That happens through the display of amazing clothes, through the cunning creation of devices, art, literature, music, games, and entertainments. It’s a very creative space where everyone has the chance to shine and be recognised.
  • Druidry and Steampunk alike create spaces that trust to their own processes. In neither space do we tell people what to think or how to feel. We create experiences and opportunities and trust people to do what they will with that and find what they need in it. This is in huge contrast to much of life where we are constantly being told, by advertising, and the media, what it is that we ought to think and feel, what things mean, and what we are to do as a consequence. To be free of that instruction, free to interpret your experience on your own terms, free to make your own meaning, is incredibly important. And so both spaces offer room to be yourself, and to be inspired, and I think this is tremendously important in terms of how we function the rest of the time, when we don’t have the hat, or the robes, or whatever it was that helped us define and make sense of the space we were in.