I have spent recent night shifts grumbling and stumbling around in the dark after losing my trusty old silver Maglight LED torch. Finally coming to terms with the grim fact that I'm unlikely to get it back because paramedics are like magpies when it comes to finding useful pieces of kit, the shinier the better, I concluded that I needed a replacement.
The type of torch that is currently der riggur for front line emergency personnel is called a tactical flashlight. I've no idea why they're tactical, because they're pretty titchy. In my books, a tactical flashlight would be four feet long with built in crossbow and grenade functions. I also don't know why they are called flashlights instead of torches. Maybe two syllables sounds like you're getting more for your money. In that case they should give them an even longer name like Photon Throwing Devices or Visible Spectrum Electromagnetic Radiation Emission Implements.
Dutifully, I researched current torch trends and was amazed at how much you can spend on the damn things. Hundreds of Great British quids in some cases! If I spent two hundred pounds on a torch I would expect not only light but a stream of Bollinger and caviar vol-au-vents as well.
In the end, I settled for a compromise. One that was not too expensive (although still the priciest torch I've ever bought) yet still had a good reputation. In fact I noted a lot of my colleagues already had the same sort. I placed my order and, a few days later, received my new Lenser P7 Photon Throwing Device through the post.
It's aesthetically pleasing, small enough to fit into the hand and feels quite rugged.There's a sort of air of competence about it, but I couldn't really get away from the fact that the bit at the front, the bit the light comes out of, seemed quite . . . well . . . small.
And then I switched it on.
It has something called a Cree LED in it, which is similar to the traditional torch LED but instead of a light emitting diode the manufacturers appear to have opened up a small wormhole into the fiery heart of the sun.
Honestly, you press the on button at the base and, after the briefest roar, photons spill out of the end like a funnelled nuclear explosion.
It is so bright that, even at twelve noon on the hottest day of the year, light levels across the country went up three hundred percent.
Moles, four feet underground, moved deeper.
Clouds shifted in turmoil, like Jupiter's bands after a comet strike when I pointed it at the sky.
The ambulance broke down, but rather than wait for the tow truck I simply shone the torch out of the window, pointing it backwards, and the sheer power of it's beam thrust us forward, occasionally reaching speeds of two hundred miles per hour.
It is a Jedi light club.
It’s like that red-eyed feller off of X-Men who shines red beams of red light out of his red eyes when he takes his red sunglasses off, only brighter. And less red.
It’s like staring into the back end of a Delta V Heavy Lift Rocket as it takes off..
I’m worried about crossing the beams with another one.
Now, I am one hundred and ten percent against exaggeration, and incredibly amazingly against hyperbole but I want to give you an idea of just what this torch is capable of. For this reason I took some before, during and after shots of me turning the torch on and shining it at my works Zafira:
|A quick flash|
|The unadulterated result|
It’s quite bright, is what I’m getting at.
Illuminating, isn’t it?