Thomas Dolby Illuminates The Invisible Lighthouse

Thomas Dolby moves into filmmaking with the multimedia project, The Invisible Lighthouse.

What is The Invisible Lighthouse about? It’s about this lighthouse that was closed down this year, on Orford Ness, Suffolk, and it pulls together threads from my childhood and things from the local mythology, from the Rendlesham Forest UFO sightings through to the World War II invasion threat.

It sounds very nostalgic. It is, because the closing of the lighthouse has touched on a lot of childhood memories, and made me think about how we amplify and distort them. For example, I remember the beam of the lighthouse being blindingly powerful. It would sweep across the landscape and light up the clouds. But it was quite wimpy at the end and I thought maybe I just invented this thing.

Had you? It turns out that when I was a kid it was 30 times brighter than it was at the end.

You wrote, directed, shot, edited and appeared in the film – you must’ve known what you were doing… I’d never held a camera before, really, but I wrote and directed my early music videos and I love the editing process. And, actually, we’re working with software that has a lot in common with music software. At the same time, I’m not one to read a user manual – I just dived straight in. It was all shot within ten miles of where I live so if I screwed things up, I’d just go out the next day and do it over.

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