27 February 2009

Helter skelter in an office building

I have seen pictures of indoor slides, including spiral slides, on the 'net (example on the left), and have wondered whether they were real, or concepts, or digital creations. Now the Mail Online is reporting that a British office building has installed a real one - three stories high at that!

It reportedly allows employees to travel from the third floor to the first floor (40 vertical feet) in seven seconds. The designers acknowledge that health and safety inspectors will have reservations about the passageway, but they decided to go ahead with it in order to "make a statement about risk-taking" (and to draw attention to their media-related business, no doubt).

TYWKIWDBI fully approves. For a two-story house I would love to have a fireman's pole available as a supplement to the regular stairs...

The other interesting aspect is the apparently exclusively British usage of "helter skelter" to define this structure. Per Wikipedia "A helter skelter is a funfair or amusement park ride with a slide built in a spiral around a high tower. Users climb up inside the tower and slide down the outside; usually on a mat." The term "helter skelter" was also used by Phil Collins in the Genesis song "Tonight tonight tonight":

Try to pick yourself up, carry that weight that you can't see,
Don't you know it's alright
Its like a helter skelter, going down and down, round and round
But just get it away from me - oh.

I never did understand those lyrics before. You learn something every day. I'm still unclear as to how the words "helter" and "skelter" came to define a spiral slide. That's for another day...


  1. Perhaps you are unaware of The Beatles' "Helter Skelter" off the 'White Album'?

    'When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide/ Where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride/ Till I get to the bottom and I see you again ..."

  2. On another note, you might like to think about the plethora of English expressions like 'helter skelter', many of which have the initial word starting with 'h'.

    harum scarum
    higgledy piggledy
    hooley dooley
    willy nilly
    nitty gritty
    hob nob
    topsy turvy
    hanky panky
    hubble bubble
    hurly burly
    mumbo jumbo
    hocus pocus
    raggle taggle
    razzle dazzle
    fuddy duddy
    boogie woogie

    ... there are more than these, but I can't bring them to mind at the moment ...

  3. "KING OF THE FLUMERS" as someone whois the uks no1 flumer,this is basically a dry version of the waterslides that one finds at pools and leisure centres up andown the country.

  4. The Beatles' song is important to American 20th century history.
    Because Charles Manson both thought that the Beatles were talking to him through the lyrics of the White Album and had no idea what 'helter skelter' means, he decided it referred to the forthcoming race war between black and white America, which the blacks would win and then he (having been in hiding with his followers) would come out and - since blacks weren't capable of organising the world - be their leader. That's why Vincent Bugliosi's book about the Manson killings was called Helter Skelter.

  5. I believe Google's headquarters has one of these...


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