Tuesday, June 13, 2006
What’s Donne cannot be unDonne
I'm beginning to feel like an impostor and am wondering if I should change my handle - it’s a bit misleading. But ‘windsorwriter’ doesn't have quite the same aura. We haven’t forsaken the azure coast but have more important things going on here right now.
(If anyone wants to read about my favourite Riviera town, it should be in next month’s France Today - but check on the net before you buy.)
There’s a strange noise not being heard in London: Big Ben is not audibly marking the ¼ hours. The famous chimes are mute. Never send to know for whom the bell tolls. It doesn’t toll for anyone.
‘Essential maintenance’ they’re saying, but my sceptical side says ‘is this true - or is it part of some fiendish French plot aimed at attracting tourist dollars to France?' And, if it is true, what does it say about British workmanship? That they don’t make things as well as they used to, that's what. God, they’ve only tolled for 150 years – they're probably still be under warranty.
I hope they’ll take the opportunity to bring them up to date – a change would be in order in the light of technological progress since 1858. Like, chimes, OK – but with vibes, on slow motor. How about, say Milt Jackson doing Django, or Gary Burton with General Mojo’s Well-laid Plans? (You call that up-to-date? I hear my children say.)
But of course they – whoever ‘they’ are – won’t do anything of the kind. ‘We’ve got to consider the tourists’, King Ken will say. 'They like Big Ben - hours and quarters.'
Paris considers the tourists – considers them all the time – but it doesn’t stop them from building a pyramid-shaped greenhouse in the middle of the historic Louvre, gift-wrapping the Pont Neuf – or having a roving jazz band at a tennis tournament.