“ UFO design consists of hundreds of 30cm long optic fibres, each one carrying light from the halogen bulb to its tip. As no light is released along the length of the fibre, all you see is an ethereal, shifting veil of coloured pinpoints. As the lamp rotates, the colours change from red through green, orange, purple, pink and blue. „
If you were to visit my house in the middle of the night, you would think that nobody slept here. This is because I am very fond of the lighting that I have around the house, and tend to leave the odd lamp or two on at night. No, I'm not scared of the dark, nor am I doing it because I think my area is a high crime one, I choose to leave my lights on because they create such a lovely atmosphere. In my room alone I have a lamp in the shape of a light bulb encased in a see-through glass 'ice brick', a glitter style lava lamp and a retro wax lava lamp. I also have two desk lamps (one on my bedside table and one on my desk where my computer is) that have those flexi-necks and a silver spiral twisty base. On my ceiling I have one of those big fans but with three spotlights in the centre, pointing in different directions. You can imagine how big my electricity bill is, seeing as the rest of my house has just as much light in each room. A recent addition to my lighting collection was a fibre-optic lamp. I saw one on one of those 'better homes' programmes and even though the re-decorated room looked trashy, the feature that caught my eye was this lamp in the corner of the room. It looked very funky and jazzy and I thought that it would look nice along with my seventies style lava lamps. I went out on the following weekend and started fibre-optic lamp hunting. First of all I saw one in one of those bargain discount shops, you know, the sort that you tend to see near Markets, kind of like pound stores but a bit more upmarket. It was only £10.00 but it looked a little bit tacky so I gave it a miss. It didn't seem to have many of the fibre optic hairs coming out of it. Then I saw one in Superdrugs (this was around Christmas time), with a bright pink base. It was fairly small and not really the colour that I wanted, but it definitely seemed like a bargain priced at only £12.00. My budget was about £50, so I knew that I woul
d probably find something better in a proper lighting shop or something. I went to my local Harrison and Gibson's shop, which is kind of like a home department store that sells everything from duvets and rugs to coffee tables and ornaments. I went to the lighting section of the store and nearly purchased another lava lamp, before spotting a massive fibre optic section. They didn't just have the normal lamps with the bases and hairs spraying out of the base. Instead they had actual ornament style lamps. The one, which caught my eye, was a china vase with flowers coming out of it. It wasn't switched on; so one of the assistants turned it on to give me the full affect. I couldn't find an exact picture of the same lamp as this, but one, which is similar, can be viewed at: http://www.ohanagiftnjewelry.com/images/lamp3.JPG. I didn't even look at the price before knowing that I was going to get it. I suppose I just kept my fingers crossed that I would have enough cash on me. Seeing as my room is fairly modern and flowers in a vase isn't exactly my idea of modern, I was still contemplating whether it would look right. I finally had to choose between a large plain silver based lamp, which had little round lights around the base, or the vase one. I decided to go with the vase one in the end and was very pleased as it only cost me £40.00. The colours of the silk flowers were pinks, baby blues, darker blues and purples - ideal for my blue wallpapered room. The fibre optics around the edge of each flower, matched with the colour of the flower, i.e. the light blue flower lighted up with matching aqua coloured lights that changed to darker blue and purple. The pink flowers had magenta fibres which changed to an almost burgundy red and then faded back to a very light pink, before continuing with the sequence again. When I got it home, I thought that I would have to put it all together somehow, but luckily all I had to do was jus
t plug it into the wall. I was pleased that it was mains operated because the cheaper one that I had seen earlier took 4 double A batteries, which would of cost me fortunes to keep replacing those all the time. I thought that the box that it came in, would of said something about the manufacturer on it, but unfortunately it was just plain black and had nothing written on it at all, otherwise I could of informed you of the make. My mum said to me that back when she was in her late twenties, which would of been in the seventies, these fibre optic lamps were all the rage. She went on to tell me that her family had one which used to sit on the mantlepiece, and instead of watching TV, sometimes they would sit and read a book and watch the lamp's blue and white lights contradict the red and orange flames coming from the fireplace - sounds very cosy. My lamp now has pride of place on the corner of my desk, and is one of the first things that you see when you enter my room. It makes the room feel very warm and homely, seeing as before with all the wacky lava lamps and blue lighting, it had started to look a bit cold. I have had a lot of compliments about the lamp, because it seems so unusual but contemporary at the same time. Definitely money well spent.
Those that know me will realise I am a big fan of the 1970s. Those that don’t know me have just learnt something. Being born in 1969, my childhood was full of gay (in the old sense of the word) British sitcoms, Abba songs and flared trousers. In the corner of our front room, we had a fibre optic lamp, a mainstay of household accessories in those days. Being into nostalgia, I was thrilled to see them back at the height of fashion and vowed to have one. My in-laws have a large silver based UFO design one on top of their TV. Being poorer, ours is much smaller (Can we say less ostentatious?) but still just as good – well, pretty damn close. My other half bought me this for our anniversary present, so I don’t actually know how much it cost, but I guess I’ll get it out of him by the end of the opinion. He’ll just be glad to hear I’ve got this written, so we can throw away the box it came in. Yes, I take these opinions very seriously! So, what is my little treasure like? That’s the fibre optic lamp, not the other half. It is made by Illuminess and is one of the UFO designs with a frosted base. It is a vaguely see-through dome shape with loads of those silver-white stick things coming out from a hole on top of the base. (This is the lay-man’s description, I don’t know any technical terms!) The company make these UFO lamps with various coloured bases – orange, green, purple and (the one we’ve got) blue. Very pretty. The stringy things rotate when it is plugged in, changing colour as it moves, from pink to green to yellow to red to white… It comes in a box, but is very easy to put together. You basically shove all the stringy things into the hole, attach the power lead, plug it in and turn it on. Even I managed it, without ringing up my father-in-law for advice! If you get stuck though, it does come with a leaflet. (This leaflet al
so informs me the ‘stringy things’ are called ‘fibres’) It is very pretty, very relaxing to watch and quite atmospheric. Perfect for ‘chilling’ – lie down on a bed or settee, turn the main lights off, put on a mellow CD (David Gray, Pink Floyd, Craig David et al) and relax your cares away. Well worth the price it cost. Oh yes, got that out of my partner – to quote him “About a tenner”…
UFO design consists of hundreds of 30cm long optic fibres, each one carrying light from the halogen bulb to its tip. As no light is released along the length of the fibre, all you see is an ethereal, shifting veil of coloured pinpoints. As the lamp rotates, the colours change from red through green, orange, purple, pink and blue.