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All the Lego’s gone up the Dyson

January 30, 2008


I’ll freely admit that a good number of my posts on this blog are just extended annotations to things that I’ve sung about. Either that, or the posts prove to be the germ of a song. But sometimes little bits of information are fed back to me from the real world, making me realise that what I’m singing about has a semblance of contemporary relevance, which I might otherwise have been unaware of.

Anyway, I make no apologies for blogging such extensive footnotes. If you’re going to be a self-made artist, god knows you have to also put a lot of work into inventing a critical context for yourself (no-one else is going to do it for you).

So, my forthcoming song Treat Me Like A Fairy is for the most part a period song — to be precise it’s set in 1917, and involves the Bradfordian electro-folklore tale of the Cottingley Fairies. The incomparable Anne Marie Varrella sings most of the song, but in “my” part, in the middle, I insert a little anachronism:

“All the Lego’s gone up the Dyson —
Hey ho! Little men!
My friends are in the television
Messing about again.”

Actually, “all the Lego’s gone up the Dyson” was something I overheard (overread?) my cousin telling my other cousin on Facebook. The phrase caught my eye because effortlessly it name-checked two brands (which seem to share a similar aesthetic, in terms of colour and design) in one taut sentence. God knows what my cousin meant by this sentence, but to me it conjured images of primary-coloured technology gone mad against itself, and therefore proved an anachronistic complement to the song’s main subject of cultural havoc wreaked through through a child’s abuse of technology.


Anyway, apparently this month marked the 50th birthday of the Lego brick. I had loads of Lego as a child. Playing with Lego didn’t turn me into a builder, an architect, or anything involving much hands-on design. But I wonder whether Lego — let’s say Lego aesthetics — have influenced the way we create stuff in a more subtle way. For example, my music is recorded using Apple Garageband program. Below is a sample picture from Apple of a Garageband screen — am I right to detect an influence from Lego on the way in which sound design has been visualised (via the scores of composers like Stockhausen, also below) as building blocks of sound?


And if we’re going to play cultural history, then Lego is surely somewhere between the Bauhaus and nu-rave, as well as forming a fruitful early connection between technology and near-idiocy.

So, for Lego’s 50th birthday, here’s a Lego questionnaire. Answer as many of the following as you like:

How much Lego did you have, really?

What was the biggest thing you ever made from Lego?

What was the rudest thing you ever made?

Could a fairy be made from Lego?

Did your Lego ever go up the Hoover / Dyson / any other type of vacuum cleaner and if so, how did you react?

I once got the arm of a Lego man (thankfully, not the one pictured below) stuck up my nose, and had to go to hospital. What on earth was I trying to do? Did this ever happen to you?



10 Comments leave one →
  1. January 31, 2008 1:58 pm

    How much Lego did you have, really?

    A lot more than the average girl, and certainly never the girl-focused kits. I liked the spaceships. ZOOOOOOOM! I also had a Lego robot kit I bought I first year that I’d let run around my room (for exercise). Little did I know that, in third year, Lego robotics would be part of my required course work.

    What was the biggest thing you ever made from Lego?

    A mess.

    What was the rudest thing you ever made?

    A spaceship. Those things are inherently phallic. And awesome.

    Could a fairy be made from Lego?

    Of course not! Fairies can only be made from papier-mache. Everyone knows that.

    Did your Lego ever go up the Hoover / Dyson / any other type of vacuum cleaner and if so, how did you react?

    I was too obsessively tidy a child to let that happen. That should explain a lot about how I am now.

    I once got the arm of a Lego man (thankfully, not the one pictured below) stuck up my nose, and had to go to hospital. What on earth was I trying to do? Did this ever happen to you?

    Presumably, you were sending the Lego man on a Magic School Bus-type odyssey into the great beyond that is your GI system. I’ve never had to use a Lego man for that–I had to pleasure of doctors threading a nasogastric tube up my nose instead. Less fun, but far more effective.

  2. Matthew Blouin permalink
    June 2, 2008 7:44 pm

    I Was Playing With My K’nex You Know The Bilding Set I Pick Ever One Up Than I Missed One Than My Mom Started To Vacuum And One Of Them Got Stuck Inside The Hose Thank God It Did Not Go In The Bag Instead It Fell Out On It;s Own.

  3. Craig permalink
    July 8, 2008 7:46 am

    My best friend in 6th grade and I used to make Lego cars (usually about 5 inches across and a foot or so long) and then play smash-up derby on his freshly paved driveway. Many hours were spent devising the strongest possible frame & shapes for the cars. A LOT of our wheel bricks were broken before we started building the cars with the wheels fully enclosed to protect them. Ended up with something like a Tron light-cycle. A big steam roller wheel on a 12 pin length rod in the front (supported on either end by Technic hole bricks) and 1 wheel in each rear corner (all 100% surrounded by bricks to protect em…).

    No idea how many bricks we destroyed or lost in the flower garden etc.

    At the time, I traded most of my white and blue bricks for his red and yellow to make it easier to sort the post-crash rubble piles back to the correct owner after each collision. Still a little bit short on white & blue bricks to this day.

    I’ll be 40 in about 2 weeks (late July). For Christmas this year, my best gift was a $250 Lego gift card that everyone in the family (mother, sisters, etc…) chipped in on for me. 😉 4 Technic sets later, and the card is gone but now I have a large tow truck in the living room and 3 other sets I haven’t built yet.

    As to Lego going into vacuum cleaners, I’m sure that many, Many, MANY small parts were sacrificed to the god of the venturi effect over the years… ;(

    The only place Lego got stuck on me was in the bottom of my foot when I wasn’t careful enough cleaning up my room. as a kid (Ouch!).

  4. mike permalink
    November 8, 2008 3:49 am

    well i dont know how to get the lego system legos and

  5. June 22, 2009 6:04 pm

    How much lego do I have???

    I just broke 700 lbs of lego. 706 to be exact. I’ll get to 1000 before the year is out. That leave me six months. I could do it faster but my wife tends to get nervous if I buy more than 100 or so lbs per month.

  6. anne permalink
    October 20, 2009 2:23 pm

    i had a lot of lego as a kid the pink girly Bellville sets and that with the little dolls and they had hundreds of small parts that went up the hoover including a tiny fairy and a lego childs teddy bear ushally i got my mom to take them out again when she emptied the bag also my kid brother still looses his lego up the hoover and when i hooverd sitting room last week i sucked up 2 of his tiny Dragonball figures oops lol

  7. March 18, 2010 3:58 am

    im a girl and i love legos and im 13 i have lodes and still buy more and more
    how many? umm? :/
    biggest a 3 ft tall 4 ft long space ship with 7 wheels for portable perpaces (took me 2months)
    rudest that space ship it made nioces mom hated it so i turned it off
    fairy not a way i tryed hard but couldnt get the wings too work

    new lego lover /fanatic
    whitney 🙂

  8. October 31, 2010 7:33 am

    vacuum cleaners with very powerful motors are the ones that we always buy, they are a bit expensive but definitely better *

  9. March 5, 2011 8:04 am

    The scary maze game will be the funnest game I obtain! Lol I actually managed to get passed level 3.


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