Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Saturday, 17 December 2016
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.