Feb 022006

The Wyndham pocket-knife.A few years back, a bunch of us were playing Trivial Pursuit. Mark Slutsky (of Automatic Vaudeville fame) was reading out the answers at random, and one of the green science answers was “Slackwater.”

Our eyes locked.

“What a perfect name…”

“…for a youth subculture.”

We holed up for a week in Mark’s Montreal apartment and wrote this feature length script imagining what these aristocratic anarchists would be like — destitute but dignified, penniless but proper — and we had a lot of fun doing it. We’ve decided to release it under a Creative Commons licence, which allows anyone to make it into a movie. We’d be happy to see people run with it.

For download instructions and a taste of the script’s characters, keep reading!

Download: rtf | doc | txt | Plucker pdb


Meet the Slackwaters: A Subcultural Fable features the following characters…

The gadabout. The dedicated dilettante.

Search Jonah’s pockets and find these items:

  • A monogrammed handkerchief.
  • The “Wyndham” pocket-knife.
  • A Penguin copy of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal.
  • A ha’penny.
  • A leather pouch containing ten subway tokens.

The flaneur.

In Luis’ many pockets, among other things, are these items:

  • A ticket to the 1919 World’s Fair.
  • An unopened bottle of “Moxie” soda pop.
  • A ragged page of lyric verse.
  • A cheese sandwich, sliced lengthwise, in a ziplock bag.
  • A spying-glass.

The seeker of curiosities.

Anna carries the following things with her:

  • A book of the lives of the saints.
  • A silver thimble.
  • A crumpled print depicting St. Francis of Assisi among the birds.
  • A small bottle of smelling-salts.

The student. The artist.

Stefan’s shoulder-bag and pockets contain these items:

  • A university student card.
  • Ten paintbrushes, bound by an elastic band.
  • A can of silver spray-paint.
  • Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair.
  • A walkman.

The alchemist. The apothecarist.

Amelia carries with her:

  • Ten little bottles of brightly-colored fluids.
  • A receipt from Zellers.
  • A bundle of strange-looking twigs.
  • A tortoiseshell pocket-magnifier.


The images for this page were furnished by Harrod’s Stores 1895 Catalogue. Text written by Mark Slutsky.


  6 Responses to “A Neo-Victorian Subculture”

  1. This is about the greatest thing I ever read. I would love to make this movie someday! *sigh*

  2. I agree with Nyssa23. I only wished for it to be longer!
    And maybe for a drawing of the sets or characters?

  3. Very well written, love the characters, I especially feel a kind of kinship with Luis… seemed to just fade in and out whenever he wanted, mostly avoiding the “drama” and popping in to have a good laugh and a few drinks every now and then.

    Though, as much as I am taken with the whole style of the writings… I cannot help but see the “heroes” as jaded… It seems the whole problem in the story is thier world becoming discovered and (of course) imitated. So they just… gave up and started over somewhere else?

    I’ve been subject to the opposite side of this kind of miscommunication before… taking interest in something and doing it wrong is part of doing it right, is it not? I would rather have someone take me aside and teach me, rather than just let me keep doing it wrong.

    BUT, haha, It was an awesome piece of writing… definately should have been longer.

    sequel maybe? prequel perhaps?

  4. Marvelous! Oh, this was captivating, inspiring! I’m sure I’ll read it again and again. The ending gave me goosebumps!

  5. Having been involved with the world of steampunk (as a way of life, not just a fashion movement or literary genre) for some time now, I’ve watched it rise in popularity, develop a watered-down mainstream following, and finally begin to prune itself back to the same small group of people who actually really cared about it in the first place. Your script rang true with me on several levels (even though, as any steampunk will tell you, Neo-Victoriana and steampunk are not the same).

    I’ve encountered a great deal of amazing work and inspirational resources on this site over the past couple of days of archive-browsing, but this is my absolute favorite thing you’ve done. Since I already own many of the necessary items (clothing and significant objects alike), and I have recently had delusions of grandeur involving a summer filmmaking project, I am determined to create a no-budget version of this, to be released online under the same Creative Commons license for all to enjoy. Thanks for writing this, and thanks even more for making it available for others to read and get inspired.

  6. Please let us know if you do Hannah!

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