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Save the environment by making your bathroom look like the toilets in Doom 3

It should have been easy. Bulb burns out in the bathroom. Decide to do the right thing and put an energy saver in there instead of a cheap incandescent job. Buy energy saver. Put energy saver in bathroom. Earn the undying gratitude of polar bears. Easy!

Not easy. I bought a soft glow bulb labelled “60W equivalent” in Tesco for about a million jillion pounds,  I slapped it into the light fitting, and I switched it on. It made my bathroom look like something you’d expect dead bodies to be sawed up in. Bright doesn’t begin to describe it – it’s a vicious, bluey light that makes any room look like a pathology lab, or the toilets in Doom 3. Have you seen the film Sunshine? Remember the bit where the bloke opens up the blinds to let all the light in, and it all goes burny and scary and horrible? Or have you seen any film showing what happens when they drop an atom bomb on your shed? Turning on my bathroom light was pretty much like that. I’m scared to look in the mirror in case I’ve lost all my skin.

Maybe there are a few digits missing from the packaging and I’ve installed a 6000W bulb by mistake, or maybe it’s that energy saving bulbs are unnecessarily complicated and confusing. My money’s on the latter.

To be fair, energy saving bulbs are labelled so you know what you’re getting. Just compare the milliwatt figures and the number of lumens. If, like me, you neither know what millwatts and lumens mean in this context and can’t be arsed finding out, the labelling might as well tell you the bulb’s favourite pasta or the name of the manufacturer’s mother-in-law.

For what it’s worth, Philips Softone energy savers seem to do the job; everything else turns your house into a scene from Doom 3. It may be something to do with milliwatts and lumens, or it may be that Philips’ employees have superior taste in pasta.