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 The Scent That Captures That "1930s Moment"!

All material copyrighted to © 2014

or to the various credited sources © 2014



From Chinese acupuncture and homeopathic medicine which

Prescribe foods of specific colours for ailments of particular

Organs, chromatic diets, as illustrated by Kent Rush in his

Moon, Moon (1976); through the Hopi Indians, who spoke

Metaphorically of light entering the tops of their heads,

As anthropoligst Neil Daniels detailed in correspondences

With Mander on the subject of how light affects us;

To Bolivian Indians’ daily regimen of sitting on top of cliffs

Directly facing the sun, a routine they called “taking light”

(Similar to the Spanish phrase for childbirth –“giving light”) –

As Daniels put it: ‘If photobiologists are correct… then they may be

Onto the biological foundation for the fact that every culture and

Religion in history has placed light at the center of its cosmology.

‘Receive the Light’. ‘Seek Enlightenment’. ‘The mind of light’.

‘The luminescent soul” –as well as ‘Let there be Light’, ‘I am

The Light and the Way’, and so on… So, from Madame Blavatsky

To John Logie Baird, and the golden dawn of the cathode-ray,

It seems that light, especially violet light, is a numinous wave

Or spectra for which humans instinctively crave, and so they

Put this artificial violet-light at the centre of their living rooms –

As they once did fire– and worship it like a genie-bottled god,

An Idiot’s Lantern that distracts them and absorbs them in

Others’ projected fantasies and obsessions while their bodies

Absorb the light-waves; and provides them with appropriate

Mystification to keep them believing in enough otherness

To endure mundane reality –salvation in violet-light; for we’re

All novice Houdinis, at the end of the day: from the moment

We’re born, we are trying to escape –and so escapism is

The opium we each crave, constructing our lives around its

Acquisition, through whichever means are marketed; and it’s

A lucrative business, architecting more weird and wonderful

Ways to capture our attention and retard our discernment;

Keep us entertained –while undistracted thought is suspect,

Almost taboo, these days, and the more intellectually

Inclined, who seek their escape in pictureless books, or in

Preoccupied rooms of their own imaginations, instead

Of in electric pictures projected by others, tend to be

Perceived as pariahs, the enemies of television, outsiders

To all it projects, and consumes, its consumers included…



The slow but sure surfacing of television in Britain was

Inextricably linked with the British Broadcasting Corporation,

Affectionately abbreviated to ‘BBC’, or, even more

Familiarly, “Auntie Beeb” –the public’s first sample of this

Wonder to come came was in the pilot menu of closed-circuit

Test transmissions under Cecil Madden’s stewardship

Of the Radiolympia Exhibition, August 1936;

The BBC television service first broadcast that November

From Alexandra Palace, to only 300 receivers (viewers)…

The first capturing of sound and vision through electrical screens

Was facilitated in 1924 by Scotsman John Logie Baird –

The de facto ‘inventor of television’; the pictures were originally

Vague and blurry, and just the size of postcards –but with

Investments from speculative sources, Baird soon relocated

His laboratory from Soho to more salubrious Long Acre,

Covent Garden, where, by 1927, he was already

Experimenting with colour transmissions, albeit to more

Primitive definition than in black and white, which, by

This time, Baird had harnessed to sharper effect, so impressive

That some of the great and the good of the day splashed out on

Domestic receivers and sets, including the then-prime minister,

James Ramsay MacDonald –clearly a socialist of most up-to-date

Model adumbrating a future inheritor of his mantle,

Mog-like Harold Wilson, peke-faced prime minister purring

Away on his “white heat of technology”… The BBC

Took its time to take up this new-fangled means of broadcasting,

Sticking entirely to radio and announcing publicly

That television was still in its infancy, too experimental by

1929 to rely on commercially or justify makerting,

Yet simultaneously funding Baird’s continued experiments

Under the backroom instructions of the original Director-General

Sir John Reith, who bequeathed to Baird the use of a studio…

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