Global warming changes the timing of the seasons: certain flora in the ecosystem bloom earlier than they otherwise would. This might explain the unexpected sighting of the year’s first Christmas Shop on the high street, and if these are already blooming, can blinghouses be far behind?
Blinghouses may not necessarily be smart houses, but they are certainly very very excited ones. They emerge during the run-up to the Christmas season each year, as their owners channel their own festive enthusiasm through the medium of various massive neon and electrical lights which cover the house. As Houseblinger says, “some [are decorated] for charity, some for fun, or both”. Some are rigged up to rather fantastic music systems, some are just purty.
Criticisms of blinghouses often focus on environmental damage, tackiness (and class by association), or one dressed up as the other. For all of this, I am still hugely fond of them: I love the sheer disco exuberance of them, of using the entire structure of your house to create a massive Christmas ornament to send light out into the darkest winter*. The lack of functionality is also fascinating: even at its most overexcited and musical housebling is about being, not doing, in a completely personalised way. Blinghouses are the antithesis of smart homes, whose purpose and design centre on function and practice.
In the energy debate though, a different type of blinghouse is emerging though ‘eco-bling’. Like smart homes, these houses are meant to integrate technology and services through the home to improve quality of life. Technologies like roof-mounted wind-turbines and solar panels are designed generate electricty for each home, rather than relying on a centralised suppliers; in practice though, the Royal Academy of Engineering has described them as ‘eco-bling’ which let homeowners flaunt their green credentials without actually reducing carbon. Blinghouses at least have no pretense of trying to be useful in any way – they’re just all about the glitter.
*Admittedly this probably holds less true for Antipodean blinghouses.