Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Hell's bells

 Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images Europe
Well hullo everybody, I have been neglecting this blog of late, haven't I? Time for some updating.

Conceptual artist Martin Creed's project for the London 2012 Festival, www.allthebells.com,
has been ruffling campanologist feathers.

The project is called Work No.1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes, and will take place at 8am on Friday 27 July 2012 - the first day of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The artwork has been specially commissioned for the Festival, and will form the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad.

The project website encourages the ringing of 'hand bells, door bells, bicycle bells, church bells, town hall bells, sleigh bells, cow bells, school bells, last orders bells, dinner bells....where there is a bell, we need someone to ring it!'

However, the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers has objected to the project via their president Kate Flavell, who wrote (slightly tersely) on her blog:
  • We are not able to work closely with this project as we believe it is misconceived and we were invited to become involved in its design too late to be able to help make it more workable for ringers.
  • We think 8 am is not the right time for ringing in very many towers and for very many ringers, although it is an improvement on the 4 am time they originally suggested, to mark the flame arriving in the UK.
  • We do not believe ringing for three minutes nor ringing as fast as possible is really suitable for church bell ringers.
To read the full blog entry, visit: http://www.cccbr.org.uk/council/blog/

What a shame that the CCCBR are pooh-poohing such an exciting, celebratory and inclusive project. Ok from a campanology point of view it might not be technically the right way of ringing bells, but so what?! Can't they just go with it and let themselves go crazy just this once?

There is a fantastically awkward video of the artist talking about the project here:

Hope everyone else will get ringing - visit www.allthebells.com if you want to take part.

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