By John Garnham of Cherry Tree Road, Marton
ON August 30, 2006 the Gazette published a major article entitled Wanted: A Vision for the Lights.
This was largely a call from Coun Eddie Collett, then deputy council leader, who made the point that cutting edge technology needs to be brought to the lights as seen at many rock concerts, a key line being ‘we must raise our game spectacularly’.
Similar rhetoric was also used by council leader Peter Callow in his party’s 2007 manifesto. “The Illuminations need bringing up to date and the Conservatives will re-introduce the magic with a programme of annual improvements. Displays must be at the cutting edge of technology.” It came to nothing.
Well having taken a ride with my partner through the lights this week we both agreed they have gone further downhill. The new lights at The Tower top were very good, but as for the Promenade Illuminations, it was only the high density purple and silver section in front of The Tower that had any ‘wow factor’.
The tableaux at Bispham were uninspiring, bland, poorly lit, no lasers, not much movement, hardly interesting to kids. As for the grand finale ... yet again, a tired out, dimly lit teddy bears’ picnic, a mere 20 or so years-old. We used to have a new feature nearly every year at the very end. Llewelyn Bowen’s latest effort, standing part hidden by a new tram stop at South Pier, was also a damp squib, pretend theatre boxes and people on the front hardly visible in the darkness, a big shed and not much ‘zap’.
Noticeably there was a section between Talbot Square and the Metropole without any Illuminations. Perhaps a tour by all councillors would bring home how poor these lights are today, and the need for someone with vision to revive them – urgently.
I and others think the Illuminated trams are the best feature of the Lights, yet there has been no new feature tram since the early 60s.....really rather pathetic.
It would be interesting to know how many have used the general “Illumination tour” trams and also feature trams over the last 20 years.
I strongly suspect a continual decline – without reinvestment. We have lost the Mississippi River Boat, The Rocket and Hovertram, and with the council moving all trams to size-restricted Starr Gate, it doesn’t appear any new feature tram will ever appear. Blackpool has been famous for its Lights and historic trams, but I no longer feel proud to take visitors around the Lights.