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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Foley Lane, Hockley

We've just received a message from Olive Linge, the creator of a major installation in Hockley, Essex: "Thanks for showing our house, as we need all the help we can get as we raise money for Little Havens Childrens Hospice. Last year we raised over £7,000 and would like to top that this year".

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bright lights in the Black Country

Many thanks to Sarah who e-mailed to tell us about Leonard Road in Stourbridge, where the whole street is lit up for charity, and where blingers have been raising £30,000+ per year for local charities. See for more info. Also see this page from the Stourbridge Bus Information site, which tells you which buses to catch to see them. So who's going to send some pictures from Leonard Road?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Houseblinger design tips

We've been asked by a few journos if we can provide some design tips for good housebling. Unfortunately,'s design skills don't reach far beyond the virtual world, so we went to a world-famous architect who, oddly, prefers to remain anonymous.

We asked him, "How should you light a house?"

"Well, there are good principles that should be applied in every area of visual design, such as: express structural form (eg. show the shape and structure of your house -- and trees, if any); use a restrained set of colours; create contrast in form/shapes and colour. In short, look for order, simplicity and contrast. You'll get a classy result."

"Okay, it may be classy, but will it be bling?"

"Hmm. Perhaps a more appropriate rule is: just chuck everything you've got at it until the kids are impressed -- and the tasteful classes are scandalised."


"Actually, the highly effective blingers may be those who instinctively start with a formal design structure -- and then throw all they've got at it!"

And then, really getting into the groove, he added:

"If it don't zing, it ain't bling, baby!"

Even more air-time

We were very excited to be Radio 2's Website of the Day on Wednesday. Glad lots of you who heard the show visited the site to check it out. Keep the submissions coming.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Carson Williams does it again

The amazing, rocking housebling we posted on the main site was created, according to reports on the Web, by Carson Williams, an electrical engineer from Mason, Ohio. However, it appears that he has had to switch the show off as it's caused too much traffic congestion locally. See more here.

But that's not all: we've tracked down another movie of his lights (thanks to Matt), this time synched to a Barabara Streisand version of "Jingle Bells". Could this be housebling at its wittiest so far? Here it is.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Seen the light

This recently-received comment made us chuckle:

"I've always found this kind of thing tasteless and over the top, but after realising how much it annoys so-called 'environmentalists and busy-bodies', I have seen the light (pun not intended, initially). And charity donations, too. Keep it up."

More air-time: BBC Northampton

Interviewed yesterday on BBC Radio Northampton by Jonathan Vernon-Smith. They were asking listeners whether housebling was 'festive' or 'tacky'. I believe festive won. Hope all you listeners will respond with plenty of pictures!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Houseblinger gets air-time in the Midlands

We had a short interview today on Trish Adudu's show on BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire. Thank you BBC people for taking an interest in This was an opportunity for us to tell Midlands people to get snapping their housebling and show the country what they're capable of. Let's see those entries!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Responding to "disgusted"

In the previous post, you'll see some of the environmental concerns people have about housebling.

We do share some of these concerns, and that is precisely why we are urging houseblingers to move to LEDs and renewable energy. If every housebling were LED-based and supplied by renewable energy, the impact on the environment could be negligible. Short of festive lighting being made illegal, we don't see any other workable solution.

Of course, there are many more, persistent and culturally embedded environmental violations that need to be addressed as urgently. Thousands of heritage sites are bathed every night in gigawatts of floodlight; millions of Brits jet abroad every year; we continually build more roads for smart cars to zoom up and down. None of this is really necessary.

Houseblinging, however, is such an easy target. Could it be that, amongst certain classes, the use of environmental indignation is the convenient way to express contempt for the ordinary urban Joe who's having a bit of seasonal fun? Does the cultured, frequent air traveller to Italy or Nepal, for example, draw the same vitriol?

The popular (oh my, isn't the very word 'popular' an admission of guilt?) practice of decorating houses with festive lighting has been growing recently, but entirely without the help of (which is in operation for its first full season this year). It is our hope that the site's presence and simple advocacy for environmental concern will actually help rather than hinder progress towards sustainablilty

Worried, disgusted and horrified

Thanks to all of you who have emailed us to say how much you like the site. Thanks also to those who have taken the trouble to tell us how apalled they are with it. Some of these messages consisted entirely of what the BBC absurdly labels "strong language". A few others have been sensible, and we thought you might like to see them. The identities of the correspondents have not been included.


I find the whole concept of this tasteless illumination disgusting. Have these people never heard of light pollution, energy waste etc. Spare a thought for the people who have to live near these intrusive monstrosities.

One thing is certain the fabled star of Bethlehem would not even be visible in these days of excessive night time pollution.
How about a Let's See Stars for Christmas campaign and promote the true beauty of a natural night rather than this garish tat.


Your website was passed on to me by a colleague. My concern for the environment - despite your website advice to contributors - worries me deeply that we can be so profligate with precious energy when others are desperate even for firewood.

Alongside this, the light pollution prevents us seeing the stars - and though I might take the original Christmas story as being poetic, how will we ever discover its message without looking for the star?


I am horrified to see this kind of wastage being promoted, particularly when endorsed by charities. Whilst I am aware that Marie Curie is a charity for people with Cancer and their families (and not for the environment), surely they can't advocate this shameless waste of energy?

I appreciate that you have a page on this site talking about ways to reduce the environmental impact, but it still doesn't go nearly far enough. In a year when climate change is the biggest threat facing mankind, when we risk having no polar ice reforming at all this winter and when we should be doing all we can to conserve energy this shocks me.

Justifying wasting resources by saying it is raising money for charity is worse still. People should be being encouraged to raise money for those less fortunate than themselves in a selfless way, all year round and not in order to feel better about doing something which damages the environment.

These houses might give some people pleasure in the short term but in the long term this kind of wastage is causing a massive environmental problem.

What kind of message does this send to the next generation? That it's o.k. to waste energy as long as it's in the name of fun?

If we are to take action before it's too late people are going to have to make some sacrifices. Getting rid of most of your unnecessary Christmas lights seems to be quite a small sacrifice, particularly when people in the third world who are already suffering and in pain will be the ones hardest hit by the effects of climate change and who will be the least able to cope and rebuild.

Perhaps you should re-think the ways that you and others can help charities this Christmas by doing something really philanthropic rather than something that makes you feel good. I think helping charity isn't just about giving money, it's about making difficult decisions to commit to change your life and make sacrifices in order to lessen your impact on others and the environment - and it might not necessarily have any benefits in it for you.

Why don''t all these people save the money spent on lights and electricity and donate that to charity? Why don't they go carol singing to raise for Marie Curie? Why don't they do what hundreds of committed people do every day and stand on a freezing cold corner rattling a tin because they really care about the charity they're supporting?

Lastly, I'd like to say I love Christmas and have a very nice time with my family. However, we do this sustainably and try to achieve as little environmental impact as possible. I don't want to spoil the fun for anyone but I do want people to take action before it's too late and generations to come are left with a near uninhabitable planet.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Quality street

In the last few days, we've had some seriously good blings submitted. Thanks everyone. We want to make sure this site is good viewing for all, so keep up the quality! We hate to turn any entry down, but we do struggle with putting up pictures that don't really earn the title of bling.

County counsel, anyone?

Some of you have kindly pointed out that a few of our towns are shown located under old county names. Apologies to all those concerned. We're trying to rectify this now. Welsh and metrpoloitan counties we should be able to correct but, for other places, where new administrative responsibilities don't synch with traditional borders, the problem is more difficult. For instance, Romford doesn't have a London post code but, administratively speaking, it's not in Essex. So should we have 'Romford, London' or 'Romford, Essex'? We could drop the county names altogether as they're not used for mail direction any more. But then, how would we deal with the four Newports, for instance?