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Big Ben on Tour

send big ben bell on a national tour aka Big Ben Bong
  (+5, -1)
(+5, -1)
  [vote for,

Big Ben is having some renovation work that will take a few more years to complete. During this time the bells are out of action and won't be physically struck except on some very special occasions.

This presents the opportunity to send at least the biggest bell on a national tour. There may never again be the unique set of circumstances that enables this to occur. Weighing 13.5 tons it was at one time the largest bell in the UK and remains a cultural icon but one that very few people ever get to see and only hear in person when actually nearby its location in London.

The bell would be placed within a cut-down replica version of the top part of the famous Big Ben tower, with members of the public invited to come in one at a time and bash it with whatever they bring with them.

Some may choose to make a tiny sound by hitting the bell with a teaspoon; for others, only the giant blow of a large hammer will suffice. They would then receive a souvenir recording of the resulting sound. A small cost would raise funds, and for special donations, there will be the midnight hour to be struck 12 times.

xenzag, Dec 03 2020

Big Ben https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Ben
[xenzag, Dec 03 2020]

Bell metal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_metal
" ... typically, 78% copper, 22% tin by mass ... " [8th of 7, Dec 03 2020]


       How much will it cost to have you personally administer a Glasgow Kiss to it twelve times ?   

       Asking for a friend. Cash waiting.
8th of 7, Dec 03 2020

       I think the cost for that would be minimal, but the resulting post event medical intervention could be substantial. Can I watch?
xenzag, Dec 03 2020

       We will be delighted to show you the video which we intend to make of you head-butting a big lump of bronze*, if the medics ever manage to restore your sight.   

       *Actually "bell metal", a special sort of bronze-like alloy.
8th of 7, Dec 03 2020

       + Will the tour come to the US? we might want to shoot at it to see what the bullets sound like hitting that metal...
xandram, Dec 04 2020

       Of course, but it will be enclosed in a special armoured chamber that contains both the bell and the shooter. This chamber causes the bullets to ricochet around inside, and the shooter has to take their chances.
xenzag, Dec 04 2020

       Why stop at one? An international touring exhibition of the world's biggest and most famous bells would be quite something. Perhaps 15 or 20 the biggest and most famous could be selected and gathered together, from the Dhammazedi bell and the Uspensky Bell, to the Liberty Bell and St. Patrick's bell at the other extreme. They could all be mounted in an exhibition gallery. Specially commissioned performances would be held, from traditional demonstrations of their customary use to avant-garde percussion ensemble premieres. All we need is some sponsorship money and a bit of organisational and diplomatic support and we could get started it right now.
pocmloc, Dec 04 2020

       Ah yes. Good extension of the idea, but Big Ben is actually available for the next two years.
xenzag, Dec 04 2020

       //is actually available// Available as in on a low loader ready to drive to where you want? By that standard many of the bells I suggest are also "available".
pocmloc, Dec 04 2020

       "Available" as in not currently in constant use. This is a unique situation.
xenzag, Dec 04 2020

       I disagree; there are many bells in the world which are not in constant use.   

       In fact I don't believe there is a single bell in the entire world in constant use. Most of them are in intermittent regular use.   

       So let me rephrase myself. There are many bells in the world which are currently out of use for an extended period of time of at least two years.
pocmloc, Dec 04 2020

       I feel no motivation to engage in a debate over the availability of iconic bells. Big Ben is arguably the most famous bell in the entire world, and instead of being in constant daily use, it is now idle for an extended time period. This makes it the perfect candidate for its own feature tour.
xenzag, Dec 04 2020

       // I feel no motivation to engage in a debate over the availability of iconic bells //   

       You're no fun any more, do you know that ?
8th of 7, Dec 04 2020

       ^ Ask people "What's the name of the clock tower in London, and they know the answer.   

       Ask them "So there's a bell in Philadelphia ; what's it called ?" and you probably won't get anything, unless the responder is USian... and actually passed grade school history.   

       [+] but the idea should include Bells from all over, ie: what [pocmloc] said.
FlyingToaster, Dec 04 2020

       Correction - your idea can include the dinner bell if you want, but this is my idea, and it features Big Ben only, the most famous bell in the entire world! Mine, d'ya hear? BONG! BONG! BONG!
xenzag, Dec 04 2020

       Big Ben is famous for its location. The Liberty Bell is famous for its name and history. So asking by location isn't a fair test.
Voice, Dec 04 2020

       Where does it say that tests have to be fair ?   

       "Experience is the harshest teacher, because she* gives the test first and the lesson afterward"   

       // unless the British Isles are your entire world. //   

       Like having a "World Series" with only a couple of participants, you mean ?   

       *It is reasonable to conclude based on observation that in the case of any unfair test where the rules are not disclosed to the examinee, and indeed change continuously both during and after the exam, the examiner is almost certainly female.
8th of 7, Dec 04 2020

       //So there's a bell in Philadelphia //   

       Shoddy London workmanship, or maybe a "for export only" profit enhancer? Anyhow, I'm amazed the local colonials haven't come up with the idea of patching it with one of the larger packets of JB weld.
bs0u0155, Dec 04 2020

       Coincidentally, that's the last time scousers were allowed into the U.S. without a visa ....
8th of 7, Dec 04 2020

       //Ask people "What's the name of the clock tower in London, and they know the answer.// Correct, but they think that is the name of the tower, and they probably don't even know there is a bell inside it.   

       //Shoddy London workmanship// I understand that the manufacturers (the Whitechapel Bell Foundry which only closed a few years ago) had a standing and continuous offer to replace it with a new one, but the owners never bothered to return it. Now the foundary is shut so it's too late to complain.
pocmloc, Dec 04 2020

       // "scousers?" //   

       A colloquialism for those originating from the city of Liverpool. As you would expect, it's derogatory.   

       Try to imagine an amoral, vicious kleptomaniac hominid with an impenetrable accent that sounds like someone trying to play the bagpipes while gargling with broken glass in tabasco sauce. Add an excess of arrogance and the mendacity of a journalist running for public office in a small town.   

       Got that image?   

       Now, try to imagine something much, much more unpleasant.
8th of 7, Dec 04 2020

       It was the mention of "on tour" ... for is it not Written in the Book of Words that "Yea, verily, for where Scousers have been, then there shall other people's property be not, not their alloy wheels, nor their car radios, nor any other of their portable items of value, now and forever" ?   

       If the Hungarian recipe for an omelette is "First, steal two eggs... " then the scouse version is "First, steal some eggs, the hens, the hen house, a frying pan and some butter, then take a chisel to the coin-operated gas meter... "   

       In short, "scouser" is a byword for "criminal". For very good reasons. i.e. they are. All of them.
8th of 7, Dec 05 2020

       Absolutely; after all, the Feegle are well known for scrupulously honouring written contracts, a trait they share with the Ferengi. You can trust a scouser about as far as you can spit a dead rat. They'd rob the pennies off a dead man's eyes, and boast about it afterwards.
8th of 7, Dec 05 2020

       OK lets get back to discussing this eminently excellent and sensible idea.   


       How does the bell come out of the tower? Is there a trapdoor to lower it through? If not, are the window openings big enough? If not then the only option might be to dismantle part of the roof and crane it up out of the top. That will add considerably to the amount of time and cost of the tower works.   

       Anyone who suggests breaking the bell up in situ and bring it out in small pieces has not really understood the point of the idea.
pocmloc, Dec 06 2020

       // How does the bell come out of the tower? //   


       // Is there a trapdoor to lower it through? //   

       No - at least, not yet.   

       // If not, are the window openings big enough? //   

       After the detonation, yes.   

       // If not then the only option might be to dismantle part of the roof and crane it up out of the top.//   

       See above.   

       // That will add considerably to the amount of time and cost of the tower works. //   

       GBP£100 for a box of blasting gelatin, a roll of det cord, a det and a couple of rolls of tape. An hour's work to set the charges. Drinks and a sandwich ... say £250 for the whole job.   

       On the other hand, it's blowing up the Houses of Parliament, albeit only a small part. With luck some of the denizens might get killed or at least injured ... so, call it £500. We'll pay up front for the opportunity.   

       // Anyone who suggests breaking the bell up in situ and bring it out in small pieces has not really understood the point of the idea. //   

       No, we get that. The bell wouldn't be damaged, apart from maybe some superficial scratches and stuff. It could be covered with some blast mats to protect its cosmetic appearance.
8th of 7, Dec 06 2020

       //It was originally winched up through a central shaft in the tower// That is exactly what I was asking. Since I have never been up the tower I didn't know that. There are towers where there is no central shaft like that, either because there never was one, or it has been blocked or otherwise rendered unusable, and then my second and third questions would have come into play.
pocmloc, Dec 06 2020

       If you sever/cut/explode the shaft the bell hangs from, I suspect it will find it's own way to the ground floor, in spectacular fashion.
neutrinos_shadow, Dec 06 2020

       Experience suggests that your suspicion in that regard is entirely justified and reasonable.   

       // these days the UK has something called ee-lek-triss-itty. //   


       Thanks to such innovators as Michael Faraday, England has Electrickery in copious amounts. However, other nations in the UK are not quite so blessed (how could they be ? They're not England).   

       The scotch are still using lamps fuelled by animal fat, and watching the kettle lid lifting in a thoughtful way; the paddys are preoccupied with rescuing the Moon from the village pond by means of nets, rakes and shovels; and the welsh are still trying to understand how mud works.   

       There are also some outlying islands; the Manx are too drunk to care (as usual), the Channel Islanders prefer to use candles so that they can use them to burn the ledgers quickly when the auditors show up; the Scilly isles are near the Equator so artificial light isn't really needed; the Isle of Wight is a dumping-ground for pensioners who dislike this new-fangled gaslight; and Anglesey is packed coast-to-coast with proto-taffs who were stranded there when the sea levels rose after the last Ice Age and are still puzzling over the idea of dirt, mud in their view being some sort of Divine revelation.
8th of 7, Dec 06 2020

       Very valid appraisals. You forgot that giant pile of baked animal dung that lies to the west on the other side of the Atlantic. Didn't we once try to stop them from growing their hair really long then eating it suitably garnished with toenail clippings? That didn't work out too well as they're still at it, only they call it KFC now. We did try though.
xenzag, Dec 06 2020

       First learn to crawl, THEN walk. When the English learn the difference between the plate and the stuff that is put onto plates then they can start to learn the difference between arbitrary body parts and food.
Voice, Dec 07 2020


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