You may have heard the Olympic Games are being held in London later this year. They start, amid fanfare, on Friday 27th July. What has this to do with bell ringing? It seems artist Martin Creed, the person masterminding the London 2012 Festival, a UK-wide 12-week event of cultural events that includes various iconic heritage sites being transformed by art installations, wants mass bell ringing at 8.00am on that day for 3 minutes. Kate Flavell, the President of the Central Council, says Mr Creed may not realise the impracticality of doing this, as it's far too short a time with rising bells that aren't already up - and then ringing them down afterwards. Also, many ringers will possibly find the time clashes with going to work and the like on a week-day morning. The Council is suggesting some alterations to Mr Creed to try to make the idea more practical.
Kate may be right; Mr Creed may know nothing about English bell ringing and therefore may be completely unaware of what it takes to get bells rung. I've said publicly (on television as it happens!) that English bell ringing is as old as cricket and more 'English' than cricket, but the average English person hasn't a clue about English bell ringing. Anybody who's been involved with explaining our Art to non-ringing visitors will know this is the case. It's sad, but it's true...! We (ringers and ringing) probably ought to be involved in some way with this initiative, as it's a good PR exercise (Creed said a nationwide peal would be "a massive signal that something is happening"), but a more practical arrangement needs to be agreed. This subject will probably run and run up to the day before! Updates will no doubt be given, probably at the Central Council meeting at the beginning of June, and will be reported here.
Chris Povey (the other CCCBR Rep!)