Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Twitter Ye Not - Blackpool Lights

Twitter Ye Not - Blackpool Lights

A regular piece for the Daily Mail Weekend magazine about how figures in history might have twittered or tweeted or whatever, had they the chance, inclination and technology.

On the 18th September 1879, the Blackpool Illuminations were turned on the first time. The display consisted of just eight ar lights and preceded Thomas Edison's patenting of the lightbulb by 12 months. The light generated was called "artificial sunshine" and these were possibly the first electric street lights in the world. Here we imagine the Twitter feed that might have accompanied that exciting event.

On the light-hand side we have American inventor Thomas Edison. In illustration & animation an idea is usually represented by an electric lightbulb suddenly switching on - in Edison's case that literally WAS his idea! I have shown an accurate(-ish) portrayal of that first bulb.

Facing him on the right is Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson (called Alfred Lawn Tennis-on by James Joyce in 'Ulysses'!) who, apparently, invoked the muse and penned a poem on the occassion. I have shown the pen that did the penning in his outer breast pocket. Tennyson cut quite a dash sartorially, often sporting a cape, cavalier-style shirts and a broad-brimmed hat, which here I have given a cheeky sea-side air with the legend "Kiss Me Quick". Quick kissing is very much de rigeur on the English coast.

The Blackpool Tower (and Ballroom below), standing anachronistically between the two gentleman at the AD's behest, was opened to the public on 14 May 1894.

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