If I’ve been looking a little wan and dusty lately, it’s because I’ve been holed up in the archives, digging out stories for a couple of new projects. I’ll be revealing more about these in a month or two. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this utterly chilling poem that I stumbled on today. It’s from the pages of The Electrical Age, a pioneering gadget magazine, produced from the early 1930s by the Electrical Association for Women.
Published in 1930, Electric Lullaby reveals an exuberant approach to amperes that is rarely matched today (mainly for reasons of health and safety).
I am now hastily preparing a musical version of Electric Lullaby to add to the Spacedog repertoire.
Update 21 January 2010: Electric Lullaby has been the inspiration for my new carillon (automatic bell rig), which we’ll be using along our theremin and vocals at the Electricity and Ghosts gig, Battersea Power Station, summer 2010 – date tbc. I’ll be previewing this carillon at the Kinetica Art Fair, London, 5-7 February 2010. Photos coming soon!
Electric Lullaby (1930)
Hushaby! baby. Mother is near,
Don’t you cry, precious, take an ampere,
Cuddle down, sweet, near the dynamo’s brush,
The current will put you to sleep with a rush.
Hushaby! lullaby. (where is that switch?)
Sleep through till morning, you dear little witch.
Hushaby! Nursie has gone for the night,
Mother will see that the contacts are right.
The voltage is measured, the wires are clear,
So shockaby into the land of dreams, dear.
Your crib’s insulated, the current’s direct,
Shut your eyes, baby, and note the effect.
Hushaby! ‘lectridy’, isn’t this great?
Baby drops off to sleep while you wait.
‘Lectrodes clamped on to one foot and one hand;
While the light burns she sleeps.
Oh! Isn’t this grand.
No more long hours of walking the floor,
Kilowatts do what papa did before.
- From Life
First published in The Electrical Age, Volume 1, 1930