“The first Paraffin Crusade starts here. We must banish the pernicious tyranny of the butane/propane canister.” (Text message from The Sergeant Matron, December 13th 2009).
It all started innocently enough with the procurement of a Tilley Stormlight. I’d seen my weird friend The Sergeant Matron tinkering about with one about a year ago and was impressed. Perfect for camping, I thought, ideal for winter trips to the middle of nowhere.
“It’s off-the-grid-tastic!” exclaimed The Matron, eyes wide and geeked out of his crazy mind with a flaming meths-soaked pre-burner in his hand. I pretended not to take too much notice - knowing how he tends to get carried away with such things - but inside I was bubbling with excitement. As the Tilley Lamp’s mantle ignited with an audible pop, paraffin - I quickly realised - could very well become the fuel of the future.
MIDGET PARAFFIN DALEK - THE TILLEY STORMLIGHT
All the signs of social collapse are evident. The banks are failing and the political solution has been to throw more money at them in the same delusional way that a dabbler in medicine might stick a band aid over a gunshot wound to the head. The media has also got in on the action by repeating the same rhetoric about spending our way out of recession. Personally I think that we’ll probably get through this year’s credit-funded Xmas before everything we’ve spent on seasonal junk is sucked into a financial black hole and gone forever.
Don’t waste what little cash you have on over-priced, over-packaged Xmas bullshit. Get yourself a rifle, stock up on the fuel of the future and find yourself some paraffinalia.
For years we had bleak visionaries like William Gibson telling us of a dystopian Cyberpunk future - a high tech, low life world which is pretty much happening all over the first world right now (only not quite as high tech and a little more leaning towards the low life). Then along came the delusional Steampunk movement with its laughable, watered down, gothic obsession for Victorian aesthetics - its devotees dressing up in gimpy Victorian garb and making modern technology seem more visually appealing by sticking the screen of a laptop inside a brass frame that used to house a sepia toned photo of your great grandmother.
Forget all that jibberish. It’s entirely useless I say.
The future is Paraffinpunk!
So impressed am I with paraffin that I’ve decided to start my own subculture, only unlike Steampunk, Paraffinpunk is actually useful and not at all based on fantasy and speculative fiction. Sure you can still wear crazy goggles if you want to, but not for any aesthetic purposes you must understand. When tinkering around with paraffin under pressure (and methylated spirits to prep a vaporiser), you’re maybe gonna want to wear goggles just in case of flame-out.
Paraffinpunk is not about fashion, ladies and gentlemen, it’s about survival. Sure, a lot of paraffinalia can be aesthetically pleasing, but it’s also bloody useful and nothing maintains that whole punk rock ethic more than when you switch off your electricity for good and fire up a Tilley Stormlight - flipping the bird in anarchistic defiance to the overpriced power supplying conglomerates.
Paraffin is still relatively cheap. Shop around, and if you buy in bulk, you might get it for as little as 60 pence a litre. But even if it is more expensive, it’s still worth it, for paraffin is bloody efficient. Take the Tilley Stormlight, for example. For a pint and a half of 'future fuel' (aka paraffin) you’ll get up to 12 hours of heat and light. That’s remarkable.
Shit, you can even run a diesel powered automobile on paraffin, and it turns out it’s actually better for the engine since it prevents winter waxing from occurring. The only difference between your summer grade diesel and winter grade diesel is that the latter has more paraffin in it. Fact.
BRASS UFO - THE OPTIMUS No. 96 CAMPING STOVE
Go onto Ebay and buy yourself a portable brass camping stove (there are various makes and models - click here for a complete breakdown). Now you can switch off your gas supply as well as your electricity and flip yet another bird to ‘The Man’. On a mere half pint of 'future fuel' you’ll get around three whole hours of burn time with the notch turned up to eleven. Try getting that from your butane/propane canister. Not only can you cook on one of these little babies, but it’s like having a portable fireplace and will heat the interior of any large tent or small howff in no time at all.
Yes folks, the Paraffin Revolution has began and if nobody joins me other than my crazy friend The Sergeant Matron, then don’t come running to us looking for fuel when the shit hits the fan.
So excited am I by paraffin that my next buy is one of these motherfuckers:
DROID MEETS PARAFFIN - THE ALADDIN BLUEFLAME HEATER
Be sure to stay tuned to media underground for more updates on the Paraffinpunk subgenre.