Only six weekends until Christmas – as if you needed reminding. While shopping in our local independent stores is a wonderful way of showing support for our community, it does not exclude taking a peek at the Christmas lights in town.
This year the lights on Regent Street are a triumph. I was there on Thursday evening when singer Paloma Faith did the honours and they will be twinkling away for some weeks to come. I think it is worth taking a look now while the streets are relatively calm and the weather fairly clement.
The largest lights installation in the capital, ‘The Spirit of Christmas’ is reimagined with new colours and additional touches to delight visitors and shoppers alike.
The installation harks back to first ever Central London Christmas lights display which took place in 1954 on Regent Street and featured traditional angels positioned as if playing trumpets . This year’s scheme is a dramatic and modern re-imagining of those original Christmas lights, featuring a fleet of impressively large-scale ‘spirits’ that soar along the length of the street. The image above is from 1955 but it gives an idea of the atmosphere.
The sparkling, majestic angels showcase of over 300,000 twinkling LED lights and were created by James Glancy Design in partnership with The Crown Estate. I think they look wonderful, really dramatic and elegant. Each of the sixteen individual spirits is a piece of masterful, three-dimensional sculpture, hand-crafted in London using cutting edge techniques. The spirits’ impressive 17-metre wing spans are lit from beneath by spotlights, and are studded with LED pea lights in varying shades of white, which are timed to twinkle in harmony to create a co-ordinated ripple effect along the street.
The angels have been individualised by placing the arms of each one in a different position. For me there is something of the universality of an Anthony Gormley sculpture in them.
And when you’ve had enough of Angels move on to peacocks in Bond Street,
via ‘Snowflakes’ on Oxford Street,
and for something a bit quirky try the roads around Carnaby Street – I am sure I spotted a huge red parrot in passing. Whatever you are doing this weekend, we wish you a happy one.