So Big Ben has stopped chiming for a bit while people carry out essential maintenance and this has caused all sorts of uproar and furore.
But mainly, it’s annoyed anyone who isn’t anywhere near London. And probably people who are in London as well. Because there has been so much coverage about it – first the shock that it was going to be silent for four years, then the demands that the stoppage be less than that, then the consideration of the length of the stoppage and then it will still stop for four years. So there we go. That’s happened.
Yes, it’s the longest time the bell has not chimed in the 157 year history of the clock.
But, hey ho, it’s just a bong at the end of the day. Sure it’s symbolic of Britain or some bollocks and it marks the start of news shows and how will we know when the New Year starts when a silent clock is televised at midnight on New Year’s Eve? Oh my god, the world might as well just end now.
And it can’t be a coincidence that it happened at the same time as an eclipse which plunged parts of America into a darkness similar to that in the heart of the President (and which, incidentally, Trump stared at for a bit without protective glasses on – something no other President has ever done, and he did it the best).
The thing is, though, you could just replace the sound of the bell with a recording of the sound of the bell. Rather than have the bell ringing above the heads of workers, making them vibrate hilariously like they do in the cartoons, just play something out of some speakers cunningly hidden around Westminster and no-one will be any the wiser.
But having said that, I’ve been to London loads of times and I have heard Big Ben chime once. And it didn’t move me in any sort of significant way. I remember thinking “oh, is that what time it is,” but then I just carried on getting some water from that Sainsbury’s Local across the road and bumbling on my way. At best, it saved me from having to look at my phone to find out the time. At worst, I might not have been paying attention when the chimes started so could have been several hours our for my plans.
Anyway, people of Britain, it’s done now.
Maybe, like the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, someone will come up with an idea where celebrities stand near to Big Ben and shout “Bong!” at the appropriate times.
Start with Brian Blessed…