The Innocence + Experience tour has inspired me to carry out a little home improvement project. Yup, that’s right—we’re talking about U2 DIY!
One of my best memories of the tour is from the concert’s first few minutes, when Bono invites the audience into his bedroom to sing and howl the opening chorus of “oh-oh-oh-ohs” from “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone),” all under the cover of a single oversized light bulb. In response, I built and hung a replica of that bulb in my small home office. It’s my meager attempt to channel one of my heroes, U2’s great stage and lighting designer Willie Williams, and to create a peaceful space which elicits at least a small portion of the tour’s opening joy.
This is an easy project; almost anyone can do it, even those with very little home improvement ability! If you want to give it a try, here are the things you’ll need from a trip to Home Depot, OSH or your local hardware store.
- A large, oversized 40- or 60-watt light bulb
- At least 8-10 feet of lamp cord
- This is electrical cord that can handle full current from an outlet, usually available in several different colors
- I you can’t find a package with a plug already attached, just buy a separate plug and wire it yourself
- A simple light bulb socket (make sure it’s one that can hang)
- an inline dimmer switch
- a can of white spray paint
- Either purchase or have the following tools/supplies available:
- electrical tape
- wire nuts
- Phillips screw drivers
- I took the gold light bulb socket and spray-painted it white so it would match the bulb.
- While the paint was drying, I drilled a small hole in my ceiling just large enough to shove the lamp cord through, yet small enough that it provided enough tension to keep the cord from slipping once the bulb was attached.
- After the paint had dried, I took the light bulb socket and attached the lamp cord to it. All I needed to do was strip a bit of insulation off of both leads of the cord (about 3/8 of an inch) and then screw each lead to one terminal on the socket using a Phillips screwdriver.
- Once the cord was secured to the socket, I threaded it up through the small hole I drilled in the ceiling. (If your cord already has a plug attached, you’ll have to feed it down from the attic, so the plug stays in the attic.)
- The next part required a trip up into the attic (which in my case is small, hot and stuffy, and requires access through a crawl hole), then I pulled the slack lamp cord from the office through the ceiling and into the attic. (You should wear all the necessary gear to protect you from the insulation in your attic.)
- I didn’t buy a cord with a plug already attached, so this is where I wired in my own. Again, I stripped the two leads of the lamp cord and then fastened each one to a terminal of the plug using a Phillips screwdriver.
- I plugged the cord into a tabletop dimmer switch and then plugged the dimmer into an outlet that I had previously installed in the attic. This gave me control of the light’s intensity. Another option is to tap into an existing electrical line (either switched or unswitched) for a power source. (Careful! Make sure you turn off the breaker for the circuit you will work on!)
- Finally, I came down out of my attic, restored the breaker and screwed in my bulb. Let there be light!
NOTE: if you don’t want to mess around with crawling in your attic, you could put the materials together in exactly the same way, but simply run the lamp cord down the wall to the nearest outlet. If that’s the case, make sure you buy enough lamp cord to make the run, or, use an extension cord.
Oh, yeah, there was one thing left to do. Turn on the stereo and cue up “The Miracle”—the most beautiful sound (and now sight!) I’ve ever heard.
DISCLAIMER: I am not an electrician and I do not offer this advice professionally. Make sure you understand the local codes in your area for electrical work. Though this project requires only basic wiring skills, you should use a professional if you are unsure of your own ability.