Saturday, 17 December 2016

Fire god

video

In last night's thick mist, the projector of this laser display looked better than the actual projection. It reminded me of one Christmas in Oxford Street, London, when instead of stringing up lights for the decorations, they had a series of laser beams set up at one end and steered right down to Marble Arch by strategically placed mirrors on the buildings.

I was lucky enough to see it during a fine drizzle rain, so the different coloured beams sparkled and glittered overhead. It would have been invisible in clean air, but they knew that it was bound to rain, snow or be foggy in December London. The lights in Oxford Street these days are just plain boring.

In the 1970s, I eagerly attended a 'lecture' on laser beams given by an American 'expert', here in Bath. He showed a few videos of lasers (including one of a bald man getting his brain boiled by using his head as a screen), then as a finale, pulled out a 10 inch tube containing a red laser, then switched it on. We gasped, etc. as we had never seen one before, but even then it seemed to me like the modern equivalent of a Wild West sideshow with an exotic but ultimately banale exhibit as the main feature. In order to add to the impression, he told us how much this little laser would cost in 1975 - £5000. More gasps.

These days you can buy one for £20 which will blind an airline pilot from three miles away and they are not - in themselves - so impressive without an application involving a computer. Computers were not so impressive in 1975 either.

I often imagine going back 5000 years with a cigarette lighter and impressing the shit out of the locals.

11 comments:

  1. You appearing, with or without the lighter, would impress the shit out of the locals.
    I remember being in the Griffith Observatory in LA many years ago watching a pink floyd laser show...great fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They wouldn't be as scared as I would be. Have you seen their teeth? Yes, Pink Floyd were in from the beginning.

      Delete
  2. A few people around here had those lazer projection things, with christmas scenes projected on the front of their houses!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How crass! That projection is against the walls of the most prestigious jewelers outside of London, but it's still crass!

      Delete
  3. I'm sorry, I prefer the stringing up of nice lights in the trees and over the streets. I seem to fit poorly into the 21th century, lighting my candles with matches and not switches...
    I'm sure a projection of you would fill the neighbours with pure christmas joy. And then have Jean Michel Jarre play Silent Night on the rays, maybe???
    Merry Christmas Tom, you have such interesting posts!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't get me wrong - so do I. These lights are the strands of projection for video-type imagery for our local jewelers, but I prefer the lasers to the crap lights of Oxford Street now.

      Delete
  4. This year's trendy Christmas decoration seems to be a garden lamp that shines ever changing lazer-light spots all over your house. I fear they might become over popular, and spotty houses will become ten a penny.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Always in the news for the wrong reasons. Only last week near us a police helicopter chasing some criminals had to turn back

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least the criminals are putting them to good use. The ones they use are described as 'military grade'. Why would a civilian need one? Why do civilians need assault rifles?

      Delete
  6. If you can spare the time and are not rained-in yet, I posted a picture of Christmas lights of the year 1944. Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete