Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Modern Pelicans

Back in 1969, Pelican Crossings were introduced into the UK. They were shown incessantly on the telly by a well known public information film starring the voice of Deryck Guyler.

I didn't find the footage in the National Archives, but I did find a good Precis of it here. (You all come back now, you hear!)

Unfortunately, the brave new world of Pelican crossings are more high tech but low on usability. Take this one in Bradford which is probably a Hybrid Puffin...

It uses LEDs so is energy efficient, with a large-ish red circle instead of the normal WAIT words on the push button box. It has motion sensors at the top of the pole facing down and across the crossing so it can tell if you are still there. However, it doesn't beep any more and there aren't red/green men at the top of the pole where you are crossing to.

This one does have some sort of indicator at the top of the pole, but it is facing away from the road.

It isn't entirely clear what it is, as it happens, and... it is facing a car park it appears to serve no purpose whatsoever.

You can imagine it though, some Council jobsworth saying "The spec says 14 units and I can only count 13. I don't care if it isn't connected, there is meant to be an anunciator at the top of that pole."


Bill Haydon said...

Come on! "Learn your blinking pelican signals!" - The cast of Dad's army made two very cool PIfs about Pelican Crossings in the early 70s (1971 I think) which are worth a look -they're on the Charley Says compilation of PIFs.

Shades said...

Tin Drummer- are you going to admit to having bought a PIF compilation?

I thought my eclectic collection of strange records was bad enough.

"Charley Says", gosh there's a thread.

We could bring that up to the 21st Century, "Charley says- don't question the Government's Iraq dead figures", "Chaarley says- use doublethink: even the strangest suicides happened the way we said", "Charley says- don't stare at Muslims"...

Bill Haydon said...

Yes, Yes I am (it was research for an essay I wrote for an online magazine) - but a lot of them are very cool indeed. If you read my blog you will know I am slightly obsessed with the Protect and Survive PIFs which are among the darkest cultural items of the C20.

Charley Says is just the title. The best PIFs are PaS; the Dad's Army ones; Play safe - frisbee, which scared the willies out of the young drummer; and lonely water, which would have done had I seen it then.


(the end of Play Safe - Frisbee)

Shades said...

Protect & survive were indeed rather sinister. They are showing at Imperial War Museum North.

I rather enjoyed Raymond Briggs' "When the wind blows" that mocked P&S doctrine, although Parliament endorsed it at the time with the CND perspective.

Bill Haydon said...

Ah.. Protect and Survive...I could say so much...suffice it to say they're wholly cynical and are that in order to be partially effective. They're the best advice for saving the saveable portion of the population...