Lampposts Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything


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A lamppost is a long, usually metal cylinder with a light on top. It is often used to shed light on streets in urban areas. Lampposts can greatly effect the mood of any area. A well-shaped lamppost can give any place a romantic air, while a dull, grey lamppost can bring down any road's atmosphere. The strength of the light bulb in the lamp can also have an influence - on a quiet street, a strong light can make you feel safe, while a weak light or no light at all from a lamppost can make you feel endangered. The fact is, that where you go at night and how you feel about those places is directly related to the number of lampposts there are, and the amount of light they give out.

Life, Literature and the Lamppost

Lampposts have so far been mostly ignored by modern society, and their history is fairly short. In Britain, the first lampposts were simple bonfires on sticks, and were used successfully as a warning for when the Spanish Armada was sighted off the British coast during the reign of Elizabeth I. In Victorian times, lampposts were gas-powered, and someone was employed to light the lamps each day. Since then, lampposts have had two moments of glory, one in CS Lewis's 'The Chronicles of Narnia'1, but more recently for being the centre of attention in the Madness2 song Lovestruck.

The Unexplained

People assume that lampposts are inanimate objects that light up public streets, but this is not quite true. Lampposts are much more than that. Although not strictly living, they do display life-like tendencies, an example of which is their habit of going out when people are under them - which cannot logically be explained, but yet happens nonetheless.

1In this fictional series of books a lamppost marks the spot where it is possible to get from the fantastical world of Narnia back into our world.2A British Ska group who were popular in the '80s.

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