Basically, there's two ways you can get onto the internet: the main entrance and the gloryhole. The gloryhole's way too popular, and I'm scared of germs, so it's the main entrance for me. But those shining white columns stretch for miles into the sky, and the spread before me is vast, limitless even! Sometimes my head's so empty, I just need a guide, someone to tell me where to go.
Last week, I sent the following email to the entire WFMU staff: "Say, does anyone have an air raid siren I can borrow?" With no idea what to expect, I got a delightful response in under 5 minutes. It was new guy Andy Ortmann, who said "I've got one, and it is fucking loud." Sold! Several hours later, Andy entered Castle Wüfmü with an air raid siren under his arm. Not only did I now have something to play with, I also had someplace to go on the internet!
A new world of beautiful pictures opens up to the person who performs a Google image search on the words "air raid siren". That's what I did. Look at that little lovely up top by the title of this post! You must click on it and view it large -- 2 men testing a siren with their hands over their ears as the US Capitol building looms in the background. Gorgeous! Most of the very attractive photos I found were, as you might expect, British in origin. Here's a sweet number with a crank. The model Andy loaned me is electric. It's got a power supply and you stick 2 wires coming off the siren onto the nodes of the power supply. Switch on the power supply, and yeeeeaaarroooooowwwwww!!!!!!!!!
Or perhaps that sound is better illustrated by actual sound. Here's a real doozy! (link to small .wav download) That came from a guy in Jacksonville FL who purchased a fire truck in order to start a party business. Yes sir, Fun Time Fire Department. He's also got many wonderful photos of nuclear air raid sirens on this site. Would you like to see a nuclear air raid siren that is massive and belt-driven? Look at this thing, wow!! (to your left) Here's a page with some more pretty pictures and some detailed info on the sirens used in London during WWII.
Naturally all this dabbling in sirens is bound to lead to the hard stuff -- jump the flip for stuff about air raid shelters! And more sounds and more links...
Here's a boatload of pics of UK air raid shelters, then and now. And if you look over this way, you'll discover some of my favorite images of entire families living in the London Underground until the bombers depart.
Also, here's a very exciting collection of short Quicktime movies, one of which teaches you how to build your own air raid shelter.
Chatting with my pal Patrick this week, he revealed one of the not-great parts of growing up in Nebraska: the air-raid siren right next to the schoolhouse which was tested everyday at noon. I would imagine that didn't sound nearly as great as that Black Sabbath song. (realaudio link)
One of the many Golden Rules of the dub dub dub states that wherever you start, you are on a Journey, and will surely end up in a place you had not intended. This rule not only articulates the principle behind some of your favorite WFMU radio shows, it also explains why this post ends with me way over there, watching Psychic TV perform live in the 1980s (Realvideo stream), and R Kern's video for Sonic Youth's "Death Valley '69" (Quicktime mov) with Lung Leg goin' all feral; and yes, it explains why after spending all day looking at pics of WWII era UK air raid shelters, I'm cuddled up with a little shirtless '77 era Dennis DeYoung & co, and we're "heading for THE SKIIIEESS" (Quicktime mov)...