John Walsh: "I object to being forced by politicians to change the way I use light"

Tales of the City

Share
Related Topics

From a week today I shall be a marked man. An outlaw. A renegade, beyond the reach of polite society. Call me a dreamer but I believe there are others like me, out there on the hillsides, like wartime maquis or partisans, storing and stockpiling our precious supplies. I can't be sure. This could be a one-man crusade.

I've always considered myself a hyphenated sort of person, a go-ahead, onwards-and-upwards, into-the-future kinda guy, an early embracer of technologies. I was the first guy in my generation to go for the Sony Walkman-cum-roller-skates look, circa 1981. I didn't acquire it myself, obviously, but I was the first to acquire a girlfriend who had it. She was called Sue and soon Sue roller-skated into the embrace of someone called Jimmy, but the principle holds. Technology and progress, I'm your man. Even things which initially seemed foolish and badly-thought-out have had my blessing. Electric carving knife? Sinclair C5? Lava lamp? Bring 'em on.

Sometimes, though, you hit a wall. You bunch your fists, you grind your teeth and you refuse to be told what to do. You risk looking like an obstreperous six-year-old, but that's the price you pay for being a renegade. You risk sounding like Charlton Heston saying he won't give up his .44 Magnum until they prise it from his cold, dead hands, but you must banish all negative thoughts. You're going into battle against a repressive government and a fascist diktat from Europe, and taking this rebellious stance won't be easy. But it's something a man's gotta do. From next Tuesday.

Didn't I mention what it was? Sorry. It's light bulbs. As of 1 September, that's it for light bulbs. Finito. It's Goodnight Vienna for old-fashioned, Osram 40-watt or 60-watt, I've-just-had-a-good-idea light bulbs, the ones shaped like Philip Larkin's head. Also the incandescent 100-watt ones that floodlight your kitchen. They've all been banned by European law, and nobody will be allowed to make them, import them or sell them in British shops after next Tuesday – from which day I'll be stockpiling them like Fagin under the floorboards of my home, arranging secret "bulb drops" in Brockwell Park with the bloke from Herne Hill Electrical Goods Ltd and organising meetings in my draughty, lamplit cellar with similar suburban mavericks with whom I'll plan the backlash ...

The Brussels legislators want everyone henceforth to buy energy-saving bulbs, the harsh ones with fat filaments like tubular pasta. I could tell you that I think they're rubbish, and they don't light a room properly, but you'll think me a whinger. I could point out that, by 2012, we'll all be required to use compact fluorescent "green" light-bulbs from Chinese factories where many workers have been poisoned by their mercury content, but you'll think me alarmist. My main objection is that I cannot stand any longer being told what to do by manufacturers, governments and shops. When computers brought built-in obsolescence into the world, when Currys stopped selling camera film, when Sainsbury's stopped accepting cheques, when parts of Canary Wharf objected to people smoking in the open air, when Dixons stopped selling audio cassettes, I rode each blow and accepted it, telling myself to get with the digital thing and stop living in the past. But there's something about light bulbs that goes in deep. I object to being forced by politicians to change the way I use light, and the strength of the light I use, because it will supposedly have an effect on climate change. It's a simple objection, but a fundamental one. It's, literally, elemental.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Taking on Ukip requires a delicate balancing act for both main parties

Andrew Grice
Today is a bigger Shabbes than usual in the Jewish world because it has been chosen to launch the Shabbos Project  

Shabbes exerts a pull on all Jews, and today is bigger than ever

Howard Jacobson
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker