Monday 17 May 2010

Big Ben

"On Sunday nothing opens late. The clock across the river chimes. Towers above the bridge we crossed were bound for better times ..." Nick Drake's At The Chime of the City Clock is one of the songs most often suggested for inclusion in this project. It's referenced in Roddy Frame's Big Ben, one of the highlights of the great man's Surf set. "At my best I believe in love. I can't conceive there's only sky above ..." I love those lines. It's a gloriously sentimental song. Speaking of which Big Ben is a sort of symbol for London, and so it's the perfect imagery for Vera Lynn to use when singing When You Hear Big Ben, You're Home Again. The great bell of the clock tower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster is, of course, known all over the world just like Vera Lynn, the forces' sweetheart from East Ham. Less well known is the fact that visits to the clock tower are free for UK citizens and can be arranged through the local MP. It's your democratic right but there'll be a waiting list ...

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