Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Big Ben row - there's an easy solution or two.

From The Daily Mail:

The Prime Minister urged an 'urgent' review of the plans for renovating the Elizabeth Tower amid mounting anger... The Commons unveiled details of the renovation project on Monday, saying that health and safety concerns meant the bongs would not sound regularly again until 2021...

Speaking on a visit to the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier in Portsmouth after returning from holiday, Mrs May said: 'Of course we want to ensure people's safety at work but it can't be right for Big Ben to be silent for four years. And I hope that the Speaker, as the chairman of the House of Commons commission, will look into this urgently so that we can ensure that we can continue to hear Big Ben through those four years.'


I can imagine that construction workers don't want to be subjected to the sound of Big Ben every fifteen minutes for an entire shift for months or years, which is why they intend to disable the bell first, fair enough.

But to keep the traditionalists happy, why not just discreetly mount loud speakers somewhere on the tower away from people are working (shifting the loud speakers around as necessary) and play a recording? I assume the tower will be covered in scaffolding, so easy to mount and hide large loud speakers. Point them outwards, stick some decent sound proofing behind them, everybody's happy. Most people have only ever heard recordings of the bell so won't notice the difference.

My colleague at work had a slightly more radical suggestion - just employ construction workers who are deaf.

11 comments:

Dinero said...

Hi Mark
I noticed The bell that rings the fourth and twelfth note in the hour chime is broken . It sounds a discord of a B combined with C.
If, on a piano, middle C is played simultaneously with the adjacent B one note to the left it can be recognised immediately .

Mark Wadsworth said...

Din, fascinating, which is why I said play a recording ("of Big Ben" was implicit).

Bayard said...

"- just employ construction workers who are deaf."

Deaf workers are a safety nightmare on a construction site as they cannot be audibly warned of anything and it is very difficult to attract their attention to warn them by any other means.

pen seive said...

The powers that be could cut the unemployed list by having a large number of wacky batch users strapped to chairs in the tower, in front of microphones. At the appropriate time, an official could ask one, "What item do you use most in your drug taking?" They then switch the microphone on as the druggie says, "Bong." "I'm sorry, I didn't hear that. Say it again." "Bong." says the druggie. And so on. No doubt Simon Cowell will pinch my idea and make a reality show out of it, but don't forget, you read it here first (this is a joint production with MTG Entertainments).

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, which was also my response.

PS, sounds a bit cruel, but if it keeps them off the streets...

Sackerson said...

http://www.suffolkgazette.com/news/big-ben/

Sackerson said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bong

Graeme said...

Dinero, I think that's because the bell is cracked so you get a very messed-up set of overtones, some of which sound louder than others

Dinero said...

> Graeme

The chimes are the melody before the hour strikes. Its a particular bell of the melody bells, the B note bell. The chimes at Westminster go - ding dong ding KLAAAANG, ding dong ding dong , ding dong ding KLAAAANG, ding dong ding dong, then the strikes of the hour sound.

Physiocrat said...

We could have this instead. Might as well get people used to it now.

Allah u Akbar, Allah u Akbar
Ash-hadu al-la Ilaha ill Allah - Ash-hadu al-la Ilaha ill Allah
Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan Rasulullaah
Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan Rasulullaah.
Hayya la-s-saleah - Hayya la-s-saleah
Hayya la-l-faleah - Hayya la-l-faleah
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar
La Ilaha ill Allah

Mark Wadsworth said...

Ph, no that's for churches, not clocks.