Iain Plays
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Shenzhen Sojourn Ⅰ

Lights, burning, holy water, turning, in sighs out. Breathe in, sighs out. #

Have you ever tried spraying supplemental magnesium into your skin, only for it to turn to fire on contact. A fire totally unlike Deep Heat.

As your subdermal gremlins desperately inhale through turgid slabs of fat, bisected with strung tendons,clinging to sedentary meat, and layers pale, grey skin. Crying out for nourishment; traces and slivers of precious metals.

The top layer of your skin is putrefying from the radioactive buzz. It soon turns to plasticine. Sucking and scorching deeper; dry now, your muscles sizzle into nothing, like fake, water-injected sausages, leaving a bleached and aching skeletal mass, and limply curled tendon-ends fastening tortured bones.

I am Warning You Now #


Toxic Waste Melted ‘Robocop’ Baddie

There are some people who feel this same sensational progression clawing at their eyeballs…upon seeing artificial lights with different colour temperatures. Competing to illuminate a liminal space, the narcissism of small differences is ignited and given life, repugnant and disharmonious.

Light ‘em up! #

LED technology and affordability has come a long way in the last 10 years. Hell, the last 2 years. Being able to tune the strength and mix of red, green, and blue for £<10 per standard B22 bulb.

Or how about slim, flicker-free squircular panels casting 36W of daylight in a dim room for <£25?

And these two examples are just based on my own Amazon purchases, before even dipping a freshly-washed toe into the murky homogeneous swamp of AliExpress.

I won't let the sun go down on me #

Light and shade. You can get the frequency and temperature just right, but you dare to exhibit a naked bulb? An ugly bulbous bauble, out of sync with every other item in your room, except perhaps the fruit bowl.

Though symmetrical, the B22 silhouette is fugly. A narrow, chafed neck screams against the severity and violence of the arcing bulbous protrusion hanging below. There’s no girthsome muscle or strength upstream of the electric fire. No gravity-simulated gradient, or natural scrotal resemblance. Just a bulky collar that looks as out of place as a fat Windsor knot on a skinny man’s spread-collar.

Samson’s lion sports a lustrous mane. And a mane to a lion is as a shade is to a bulb. Lionesses are of course exempt. Do you have any lioness bulbs? Ha, of course not. So don't go fucking trying any of that shit with me, you hear? Come a cropper counter with me on this? No. Simmer down. We're appreciating light, not metaphorical bullshit.

Rice, rice, baby #

Look yonder to the stoicism of artisanal Japan: Whole lives dedicated to mastery of creating a tiny part of a perfect reality: Specialising in the creation of a single piece, whether that be a samurai sword, a clay pot, or, in Isamu Noguchi’s case: paper lamps.

Shenzhen Sojourn Ⅰ: Orange Isamu Noguchi Akari paper lamp #

Akari paper lamps command an eye-scorching price of £300+. Beautiful sculptures, yes, but at what cost (markup)?

Enter the homage world of replicas to make a more democratically priced Akari lamp, at say a range of £6 to £30 (depending on your colour preference). This is the promise of AliExpress, and much like last year’s Shenzhen Safari, now the mission of Shenzhen Sojourn.

Now, sadly, I don’t have a “genuine” paper lamp for comparison, but this effort, while a bit fiddly to construct, seems robust on the desk, and is equipped with a multi-mode corn cob LED luminaire.

Offering cool, warm, and mixed colour temperatures. A reassuringly well-glanded and thick black cord runs from the base to the plug (requiring an adapter to fit UK sockets).

It gives a lovely warm light, especially diffused through my favourite orange shade.

Quite the steal. So go on,: get your Akari paper lamp now

Sayonara, Wild Heart #

Until next time,
Night night,
Sleep tight,
Don't let thoughts of the coming rapture or bed bugs bite.

Lights out!

Shenzhen Sojourn

Thanks for reading Shenzhen Sojourn of .

Every second month throughout 2024, I review a choice piece of AliExpress’ hardware, carefully appraising each gift horse’s mouth, teeth, mane, and muscles.

  1. Shenzhen Sojourn : Akari Paper Lamp
  2. Shenzhen Sojourn : Grimace’s Unofficial Birthday (GBC) & Tetris Faux-Nugget