Edwardian croquet-game in the ruined shell of a Packard plant in Detroit

Michael Doyle and his pals in Detroit decided to stage a post-apocalyptic Edwardianpunk croquet match, so they snuck into the ruins of the old Packard factory and had an afternoon's match while dressed in Edwardian finery. Croquet Social (via Beyond the Beyond)


  1. The vickies always do look classier, the setting and light is not gritty enough though, maybe monochrome brown would help. Too bad everyone is blurred, maybe that was intended.

  2. you know what I’m going to start my own movement, I’ll wear em ……animal skins and make em ……..menhirs and call it something-punk. Got it! I’ll call it paleopunk (no you can’t use it, it’s mine)

    Seriously, just dressing up, a movement doesn’t make. Just ask all the yellow waiscoated Young Werther-ites, ahh oh you can’t they’re all dead.

  3. Fun fun! The world would be a better place if more people just went out and had a good time (like this, or any number of other non-violent less than expensive pursuits).

    Every time I see an example of people who have a social circle that includes really fun interesting themes, I wonder where such people exist in my area. I know they have to be out there!

  4. Wow. Every single commenter who poo-pooed this for some lame reason such as the picture being blurry is just jealous they didn’t think of it first.

    If you don’t think this sort of thing is at least a *little* cool, why are you reading BB?

    This is awesome. If you had been invited you would have gone, and you know it.

  5. The idea of playing croquet in an abandoned factory is pretty cool, but why, why, why, does it have to be ______punk?

  6. ACK! it’s “sneaked” not “snuck” (!)

    how did snuck sneak into our language so much that even boingboing authors (normally so spot-on) get this wrong?


    *gurgle gurgle*


  7. “Snuck” is in the dictionary as a past-tense of sneak, right alongside “sneaked”. I question why this makes you sputter. Unless that was a joke I’m missing…

  8. You can get a better sepia tone in Photoshop using Image-Adjustments-Variations, then selecting ‘More Red’ and ‘More Yellow’. Just a helpful hint.

  9. For the record, it wasn’t intended to be anything-punk. This is just what we do to amuse ourselves. We wanted to add another dimension to urban exploring and figured if we were going to play a nice game of Sunday morning croquet in an abandoned Edwardian era factory, we had better damn well dress the part.

  10. Looks like a fun group of people. Too bad the photographer has my crappy camera skills. Looks exactly like something I would shoot.

  11. And who says Detroit’s a mess? How do you play croquet on cement floor? Doesn’t the ball go about half a mile?

  12. This guy showed up at my apt. one time with his girlfriend. They totally cyber-punked all over my internets and I caught them sleep-punking on my couch. I’m not sure but I think they may have even gone all sandwich-punk at the bodega downstairs. It was all pretty effin punk in a lot of ways.

  13. #5: Come now, you don’t really expect Paleopunk to not already have been created. Not only is it a fictional event in the stone age with quasi-modern technology (Hanna-Barbera beat you to it), but it’s also a conservative punk movement OR a synonym for protopunk (which does not involve dressing up like microbes, just MC-5). You must also not claim:

    SandalPunk – Egyptian, Proto-South American, Early East Indian (Flying Machines and Nukes)
    SailPunk – High Seas Adventure!
    DieselPunk (My Kind of thing) – Time period around WWII, anywhere really.

    There’s even ArthurianPunk for god sakes!

  14. @ 18

    Detroit is a mess. Have you driven around down there? After 6 months in little Mexico (a scant 1 or 2 miles south-west of the down-town stadium complexes), I can say without reservation that Detroit is crumbling into dirty little ghetto pieces. It’s the most depressing city I’ve ever visited, and it is downright frightening that any major city in the USA could suffer such an epic collapse.

    You can find pockets of rich flourishing suburbia, but don’t drive/walk/bike more than a mile in any direction or you’ll be in a hellish crack-house ridden dead zone.

  15. @21 –

    I lived in Detroit for 4.5 years (2002-2006) and absolutely loved it. Is it dirty and full of crime, yes, but also good people and vibrant small communities ranging from largely gentrified enclaves like Corktown and Woodbridge to the close-knit neighborhoods of the east side. There are even (dare to consider) _affluent_ areas like Indian Village, and although Kwame’s scandal has put some development and expansion on hold (or that my just be Kwame scandal-or-no putting things on hold), downtown is always a good time.

    And if you’re warning people away from “dead zones” I think you might be admonishing the wrong crowd. Detroit is largely abandoned and that makes for great urban exploration!

    Detroit: Don’t be afraid, it probably won’t hurt you!

  16. @9-

    The photos are blurry and badly taken and that hurts their appeal. No sour grapes here, as I DID do this first (at least before these people did it). not the edwardian or croquet thing, but enjoying abandoned factories with a creatively themed group, yes. Besides the photo quality, I agree, this is awesome

  17. I liked the gay guys that dressed up as superheroes and did a photo shoot in an abandoned Detroit factory – strangers were spying on the shoot and photographed it with complete bewilderment. That was fun stuff. And I dare you to “-punk” it.

    Detroit *is* a pit. That is why Detroiters are more creative, more interesting and far more noteworthy than 99% of all of you navel gazers in “cooler” communities.

  18. For your entertainment: From my fellow cacophony travelers in Portland, an annual event:


    I missed it this year… stupid job, anyway… (kicks can).

    PS: To all the whiners and photog critics: To paraphrase what Frank Zappa once said during a live show, “the people who are standing up are going to have a lot more fun than the people who are sitting down!”

  19. Really neat idea…too bad a lot of the photos are blurry in a “my camera’s battery is going dead” way rather than an artistic, on-purpose looking way. But I bet they had a lot of fun, and now they’ve got stories to tell their grandkids. Or other people’s grandkids. Or other people. My point is, they have stories.

  20. @ 25 “Detroit *is* a pit. That is why Detroiters are more creative, more interesting and far more noteworthy than 99% of all of you navel gazers in “cooler” communities.”

    My perception was that the vast majority of the population wasn’t “interesting and… noteworthy” so much as scraping along at 80-100hours a week, desperately trying to feed and shelter their families. And rarely managing to do so, by and large. It’s a city on the verge of a mass exodus that will make Cleveland, Pittsburgh and New Orleans look mild.

    Economics aside, perhaps the remaining middle-class people really are wickedly creative in a way the rest of us can only dream of :) but don’t knock my “cooler” community of Cleveland! We may be suffering in a way that Detroit has yet to experience, and as such be qualified to be exceedingly creative (by your apparent qualification of living in misery)!

  21. Just a quick note – this wasn’t a formal photo project and that set was left up in it’s entirety,

      every single photo

    taken on that morning, completely unedited, so everyone involved could grab one or all for their own use. The good and the terribly terrible are all there. I know, a bunch suck and are blurry.

    I also left every one up intentionally as a record of the entire experience. Had I meant for a “gallery” exhibition I would have edited. It was about the act of what we did (and primarily, our own jollies), not a final pretty photo.

    I feel as if someone barged into a messy house for a dinner party, expecting filet mignon en croute and they got served up a cold can of Spam and dirty laundry. Next time I’ll leave out the lacy undies at least. Such is life on the interwebs I suppose. Sorry about that.

  22. Genre names and photog critiques aside, what this group did rates very high on my awesomeometer.

    Bully and Kudos for such admirable creativity.

  23. Nice idea! I would have liked to see the men pay a little more attention to their costuming however. Those Fedoras aren’t typical Edwardian-era hats and a gentleman would never appear in public wearing only a shirt, he’d wear at least a vest over it to avoid scandalizing the ladies. If you’re going to dress period, do it right!

  24. This is one of the few good things about living in a “rust belt” city– lots of opportunities for exploiting abandoned buildings.

  25. toybreaker313: No need to apologize man!

    I stand in awe of the creativity and gumption required to not only conceive of this idea but to actually implement it.

  26. #29 skarbreeze
    “but don’t knock my “cooler” community of Cleveland!”

    Hell no – I love Cleveland too. It’s had a kick ass music community as long as I can remember.

    People like to knock rough little rustbelt cities, and they are definitely tough. But the art and music and general culture in these towns is amazing. If they were in NYC or SF these folks would worry about how they would be perceived by the media and about getting big. But people in these depressed industrial towns are doing it because there is nothing else and they need to have *something*.

    The thing about these kinds of scenes is that they don’t always self promote – so you might visit Detroit, but never know half of the cool stuff going on simply because it’s all truly underground. And you’d leave thinking there is nothing worthwhile there…

  27. Edwardian Era: 1901 to 1910
    Fedora: 1891, gaining popularity in 1910.

    Looks alright to me. I’d hate to think that all those people were playing dress-up wrong.

  28. @Blackhat: I think this was a one-time event for everyone involved, and thus they probably didn’t want to put in so much effort into their clothing. This is certainly understandable. The point, as they have noted, was to have fun playing the game, and to some extent the ‘Edwardian’ part seems to have been emphasized more by those reporting on the event than those who went to the event.

    Of course, the gentleman do seem to have made a particularly half-hearted attempt with their clothes, and describing them as dressed in “Edwardian finery” is unfortunate. From left to right, one gentleman is wearing only a modern evening shirt, another has serious problems with his collar (is it a double collar that has been pulled up!?), the third is apparently just wearing an entirely modern outfit, and I can’t tell what the fourth is wearing, but he looks like he’s in mourning from the rather blurry pictures I’ve seen. All of the men’s outfits would be considered completely absurd and inappropriate during the era*, and even in some circles today (my family, for example).

    However, I think this is the reason for describing it as ‘Edwardianpunk’; after all, there does need to be some reason for the ‘punk’ addition.

    * This assumes, of course, that the rightmost gentleman isn’t in mourning. If he is, I apologize.

  29. My grandfather worked in that plant! I wonder what he would say about this (if he was still alive).

  30. This was three years ago and I almost forgot an important detail: given the unique site conditions, we were compelled to make up rules as the game proceeded, such as “anything you can build from objects found on the course is permissible.”

    This rule led to everything from simple bumper mechanisms, to more elaborate ramp structures for the purpose of jumping balls over piles of debris and toxic standing water hazards. The game evolved into a hybrid of croquet and DIY miniature golf.

  31. Detroit is a city of vampires. Some of them just suck as much as they can. Did I mention the mayor? His mother? His family and friends? Gawd they all suck!

  32. This is a great idea.
    Just be careful in abandoned buildings, any part of a structure could collapse or fail (like a fire escape).
    I miss Detroit. I moved away this summer after being out of work for Eleven months.
    Last weekend on NPR they stated the unemployment rate is 8.4% and maybe things will pick up around 2013.
    There are a lot of good bands in the area, most of them can be found on myspace.

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