Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A sort of grandfather clock to the nation


My brother was intrigued by the news that Big Ben (the bell inside the clocktower at the Houses of Parliament) was silenced for an hour on Friday, supposedly due to the hot weather (temperatures in London reached 90 degrees Fahrenheit). He said that in the Bond film Thunderball manipulation of the chimes of Big Ben represented communication between the British government and a worldwide criminal organisation threatening to explode nuclear devices in western cities. Tom Jones sang the theme song to the famous opening sequence of Thunderball, and apparently passed out in the recording studio while doing so.

Big Ben is such a familiar landmark that people don't really see it properly. It is actually quite an odd tower (in terms of bulk and silhouette) seemingly tacked onto the Palace of Westminster. Over the years it has assumed an iconic place in the popular imagination as a sort of grandfather clock to the nation.

I took this photograph years ago. It was one of the first photographs I ever took, using an SLR camera and 35mm Agfa film. Typical grey-blue London sky.

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