back to article Blighty’s beloved Big Ben bell ends, may break Brexit bargain

Big Ben, the bell in the iconic clock tower on the north end of the Palace of Westminster, will fall silent for four years – and as a result the UK may not leave the European Union until 2021, if a government statement is to be trusted. The famous bongs, known around the world as an auditory symbol of Britain in general and …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not to worry

    Nigel Farage is on standby with a hammer to make sure the bell bongs at midnight wherever it happens to be being stored.

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Re: Not to worry

      Thought he had been using his face

    2. John Lilburne

      Re: Not to worry

      Rather Farage is to be tied upside down inside the bell so that his head can be used as the hammer.

      1. Uffish

        Re: Farage at Midnight

        24 hour timekeeping anyone?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Farage at Midnight

          Future historians: "Nobody knew or cared who he was, but the face rings a bell..."

    3. Daniel von Asmuth
      Big Brother

      Re: Not to worry

      Brussels is braced for Brexit. Before the year is out Bellgium will cast a new Bell called Große Gerda/Grande Gertrude/Grote Gribus which may chime over Westminster if Big Ben be indisposed.

  2. hatti

    A point in fact.

    Big Ben is the name of the bell and not, as some tend to think the actual clock which is called clocky McClockface.

    Mr. P. Idiot

    junction 12 - M25 (Chertsey exit)

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Re: A point in fact.

      Have an Upvote McUpvoteface

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: A point in fact.

        Is the marmite laser a device for destroying marmite - or a laser powered by the evil stuff? Enquiring minds wish to know...

    2. Mongrel

      Re: A point in fact.

      I work in Chertsey, it's Junction 11.

      Junction 12 is the M3 crossover

      1. hatti

        Re: A point in fact.

        Thank you very much for correcting my mistake, my decision now is whether to move or reprint stationery.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A point in fact.

          I wouldn't bother with the stationary, it never goes far anyway.

      2. PNGuinn
        IT Angle

        Re: A point in fact.

        "I work in Chertsey, it's Junction 11.

        Junction 12 is the M3 crossover"

        Smarty McSmartpants.

        1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

          Re: A point in fact.

          Dicky McDickhead

    3. PNGuinn
      Holmes

      Re: A point in fact.

      While the bell is called Benny McBenface, or Biggie McBenface, or Bennie McBigface ... or if they drop it in the river during the refurb - Boaty McBellface, Belly McBoatface, Bennie Mc ...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If it's in former porn baron Dickie Desmond's rag then it must be true.

    I'm touching cloth and have run out of loo roll, anyone a copy of the Daily Express I can use ?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      According to Private Eye (for the purposes of journalistic research only, I'm sure), Desmond's Television X has produced a blockbuster film. Hard BreXXXit, starring Jizza Cwoarbyn and the SNP leader Knickerless Virgin...

      If you can't shoehorn a joke about the bongs in there, what about the dongs?

      1. JimboSmith Silver badge

        According to Private Eye (for the purposes of journalistic research only, I'm sure), Desmond's Television X

        Would this be the same Television X that's broadcast nightly unencrypted on UK DVB-T COM4? The one OFCOM didn't think was an issue being broadcast unencrypted. The one showing stuff that the government are trying to ban online without an age check? Talk about double standards.

    2. macjules Silver badge

      The Daily Mail has now countered this story to the effect that Big Ben is only be silenced because migrant labour is being used to renovate the bell. Katie Hopkins is calling for all immigrants to be banned from handling bell ends.

      Nigel Farage's bell end is unavailable for comment.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        That would inconvenience Nasty Nige, given that his wife is German.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "That would inconvenience Nasty Nige, given that his wife is German."

          According to his wife, they have been living separate lives for a while. Can't say I blame her. It's not clear why she ever fancied him in the first place. I suppose he was a 'rich ticket' before revealing his hateful racist buffoon persona.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          >That would inconvenience Nasty Nige, given that his wife is German.

          And his mistress is French

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Nigel Farage's bell end is unavailable for comment.

        There's a first time for everything.

    3. Chris G Silver badge

      I worked at the Daily Express before it was a tabloid, it was fairly shitty then.

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        It all went downhill when Dianna died.

    4. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Elf n safety gorn maad

      Workers on scaffolding around the tower face a significant risk to their hearing if the bells, including the quarter-hour and half-hour chimes, are allowed to continue.

      It'll be immigrant workers who are being pandered to like this, forcing the patriotic Great British bell to be silenced just for their lazy comfort. They'll be laughing all the way to the bank -- with our tax money!

      © Katie Hopkins

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Elf n safety gorn maad

        "Elf n safety gorn maad"

        Loosely connected to this story, I'm sure I remember one of the presenters of Blue Peter back in the late 70's early 80's helping to clean the clock face of big ben. I'm also certain that he did it on a classic 'bosuns chair'. Not strapped to anything, no safety net, hard hat or hi viz jacket. Not worried about bonging either I'll be bound. Yep, you could certainly respect kids TV presenters back then. Ah.

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Elf n safety gorn maad

          Ah-Ha - But being a Blue Peter presenter, he was probably already 'high'.

        2. Roj Blake Silver badge

          Re: Elf n safety gorn maad

          You're not thinking of John Noakes (minus Shep) climbing Nelson's Column to help clean it, are you?

          1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

            "It all went downhill when Dianna died."

            Nonsense. What would they have without the apotheosis of the princess. Die young and leave a beautiful corpse. Not to be taken literally, of course, when fast cars are involved. But at least we'll always have the photographs, unfortunately.

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: "It all went downhill when Dianna died."

              Die young and leave a beautiful corpse.

              Or, as Blondie put it: "Live fast, die young, stay pretty".

              I suspect they might have a *slightly* different view nowadays.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Elf n safety gorn maad

            "You're not thinking of John Noakes (minus Shep) climbing Nelson's Column to help clean it, are you?"

            Roj, I'm sure you remember the 70's very well. I was a big fan btw, and it was never the same when you left, and even worse when the Liberator rusted away or something. Glynis Barber was a minor plus point, but it still didn't make up for the crapulence of the story lines.

            Anyhoo!

            I've summoned up the energy to google this, and I am, not for the first time, correct. It was Peter Duncan, and it was deffo Big Ben. That's unless someone has subsequently uninstalled the clock faces on Nelson's Column.

        3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Elf n safety gorn maad

          Not strapped to anything, no safety net, hard hat or hi viz jacket

          I suspect that if you are falling from the height of the Elizabeth Tower clock face(s) then a hard hat or high-vis jacket isn't going to save you.

          Although, the high-vis might make clearing the resultant splash up slightly easier.

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

    6. John 110
      Coffee/keyboard

      "...have run out of loo roll, anyone a copy of the Daily Express..."

      I wouldn't, the ink comes off something dreadful.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        The Express and Mail

        {Yes there is a paper with both names in the title}

        have lousy print quality and IMHO is only good for picking up dog turds as the paper is slightly more eco friendly than plastic bags.

        1. Handle not found

          Re: The Express and Mail

          Every copy I've every seen has already been full of shit.

    7. Teiwaz Silver badge

      have run out of loo roll, anyone a copy of the Daily Express I can use ?

      - Nooo! It's too toxic, it'll give your c*ncer of the anus or something...I've some sandpaper, it's safer...

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        I've some sandpaper, it's safer.

        You might be able to find some unexpired Izal medicated loo paper in the cupboard. Does nothing other than act as some sort of scraper if you fold it correctly..

  4. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
    Happy

    An Excellent Wheeze!

    So the government promises to pay the 2017 class of its bonds on the bong of Big Ben at midnight on Dec 31st. Oh dear, no bong? No bucks. Sorry. No stress though, we'll pay you in four years.

    Of course it's a bit of a problem when SPECTER nick a couple of nukes and we have to bong Big Ben an extra time, in order to signal our acceptance of their terms. Could be embarrassing to have Birmingham blown up for lack of bongs...

    But I'm sure Bond will sort out the blackmailing bastards, bypassing the bongs and banging the baddy's babe, before blowing up his base and beating a hasty retreat back to Blighty.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: An Excellent Wheeze!

      > Could be embarrassing to have Birmingham blown up for lack of bongs...

      There's always a !Bong! that could be sent as an Evil Mastermind Consultant.

    2. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: Could be embarrassing to have Birmingham blown up for lack of bongs...

      Would anyone notice?

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: An Excellent Wheeze!

      Could be embarrassing to have Birmingham blown up for lack of bongs

      s/Embarrassing/Amusing/* g

      (Hey - I was born there so I'm allowed to mock. Fortunately, we moved to pastures new[1] when I was still pre-school)

      [1] Norf Lonnun.

  5. Oh Homer
    Coat

    That's utterly bongers!

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Coat

      Congratulations. That pun was a right bellter...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        These puns are a bit clapped out and -frankly- not very apealing.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't we speed it up a bit with the extra 350m a week we will surely be saving?

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      4 years at 350m per week. That sounds about right for a govt contract to refurb their club house

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        It's not enough. I think a full refurb of the House of Commons is estimated to be something like £3bn. So you can stick a bit extra on that - and it's good enough for government work...

        Obviously it's going to cost more to do if they keep the MPs there - rather than chucking them out for a couple of years.

        One of the towers, I think the Elizabeth one, has dodgy foundations - and needs unerpinning before it falls over. The stonework all needs sorting out. Plus lots of ornate carving. The internal services are a mess - they've got a fibre network running through the remnants of an old steam boiler plant and it's various pipes and chimneys. The place is full of asbestos as well apparently. And it's a listed building and world heritage site - which I'm sure won't complicate matters at all...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          And it's a listed building and world heritage site

          Fuck knows why. Ugly, decrepit, poorly built Victorian Gothic nightmare, utterly unsuited to any purpose of government. At least it's such a mess that it detracts from the world class lack of imagination, talent and style that is Portcullis House next door.

          I'd demolish the vile monstrosity, build something stylish and fit for purpose, and have only the clock and bells reinstated. Then again, why pander to the arseholes of parliament? Sell the Palace of Westminster to a US megabucks hotel and casino group (should get at least ten billion quid for it), and make Parliament meet in converted warehouse in Smethwick. Or let the inmates out of a Victorian jail, and make them meet there (Strangeways, perhaps).

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Or have the MPs stay in their constituencies and meet/vote on skype.

            Then they can "appear to themselves on closed circuit TV to believe they're still real.."

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            >I'd demolish the vile monstrosity, build something stylish and fit for purpose, and have only the clock and bells reinstated. Then again, why pander to the arseholes of parliament? Sell the Palace of Westminster to a US megabucks hotel and casino group (should get at least ten billion quid for it), and make Parliament meet in converted warehouse in Smethwick. Or let the inmates out of a Victorian jail, and make them meet there (Strangeways, perhaps).

            Why not build a new purpose built Parliament building somewhere in the north Midlands, with car parking, transport links, accommodation and office space that doesn't need £44k shower room (looking at you Mr J Hunt), modern infrastructure and the rest of the stuff modern government needs.

            Perhaps this way the rest of the country will get a suitable level of investment in the future.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Why not build a new purpose built Parliament building somewhere in the north Midlands

              Because the bastards wouldn't stay there, they'd vote for a big fat budget to build a new gin palace somewhere expensive in London. Look at the GLC/GLA for the example.

              But I do like the idea of the vermin of parliament being consigned to some sh1t hole like Stoke, Derby, or Shittingham.

              1. PNGuinn
                Thumb Down

                Why not build a new purpose built Parliament building somewhere in the north Midlands

                "But I do like the idea of the vermin of parliament being consigned to some sh1t hole like Stoke, Derby, or Shittingham."

                Ledswinger, as a shamefaced Londoner, I'll have you know that there are few more shitty places in the UK than the great sprawl of the metropolis, and Westminster is its excremental centre of gravity.

                1. JohnMurray

                  Re: Why not build a new purpose built Parliament building somewhere in the north Midlands

                  Noted the garden bridge is toast now....still no news who got the £48 million quid though...

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Why not build a new purpose built Parliament building somewhere in the north Midlands

                    the garden bridge is toast now....still no news who got the £48 million quid though...

                    https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/apr/28/garden-bridge-dead-38m-public-money-repaid-boris-johnson

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Why not build a new purpose built Parliament building somewhere in the north Midlands

                  I'll have you know that there are few more shitty places in the UK than the great sprawl of the metropolis, and Westminster is its excremental centre of gravity

                  But not as far as politicians and senior civil servants are concerned. Being sent to somewhere shitty, impoverished, ugly, crime infested and scruffy such as Nottingham is not the main part of the punishment, it is the remoteness and the fact that the chosen dump is not the epicentre of everything in the UK.

                  Another possible solution, although you'd have to move: Build a hundred foot high wall round the M25, and then overnight pour concrete in until you get a level top.

                  1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                    Re: Why not build a new purpose built Parliament building somewhere in the north Midlands

                    But not as far as politicians and senior civil servants are concerned. Being sent to somewhere shitty, impoverished, ugly, crime infested

                    So, you want to increase crime by sending politicians there?

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Why not build a new purpose built Parliament building somewhere in the north Midlands

                    The Midlands is by definition the most central location in the UK so not really remote at all, every other city in the UK is closer and more accessible than from London. All the same facilities are availible airports/trains/motorway etc but are less stressed than they are in the south.

                    however when you say remote I take it you mean to London and things therein, well that is a plus for the tax payer since everything for the government in London has their weighting cost on top, then consider the huge influx of cash availible from selling all that prime real estate, moving to the midlands would more than pay for itself.

                    When you really get down to it, London as the center of anything's time has passed and making central government mean what it says is long overdue.

          3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Ugly, decrepit, poorly built Victorian Gothic nightmare

            But a unique example of its kind. Which is the prime criteria for listing.. Mere practicality isn't.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "Ugly, decrepit, poorly built Victorian Gothic nightmare"...But a unique example of its kind. Which is the prime criteria for listing..

              All part of the British obsession with preserving old shit, quite a bit of which should be demolished, and a good chunk of which is preserved in a way that loses 99% of the very essence of the original building. The listing and "preservation" of Battersea power station is a particularly pointless example - all they've done is preserve four walls and four chimneys as a shell for rich twats London luxury flats and swanky offices for tax dodging US companies Meanwhile the National Trust operate a vast fleet of identikit listed country houses, there's some gems, but many are barely distinguisable from each other.

        2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

          The Leaning Tower Of Westminster

          One of the towers, I think the Elizabeth one, has dodgy foundations - and needs unerpinning before it falls over.

          The Elizabeth Tower has never been the same since they dug the Jubilee Line extension. Tons of cementy stuff (I forget the proper name for it) got pumped underneath to stabilise it after things started to get a bit wobbly. If you look carefully at the tower from certain angles, it does have a noticeable lean.

          1. H in The Hague Silver badge

            Re: The Leaning Tower Of Westminster

            "Tons of cementy stuff (I forget the proper name for it) got pumped underneath ..."

            Grout.

            (Jubilee Line extension: I seem to remember being v peripherally involved with a tiny aspect of that project - always enjoy traveling on the line because of that.)

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: The Leaning Tower Of Westminster

              Grout.

              I thought that was what you got from overindulgence[1] in port? Or am I thinking of lampreys?

              [1] Is this possible?

          2. JohnMurray

            Re: The Leaning Tower Of Westminster

            220mm out of vertical at the top...

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: The Leaning Tower Of Westminster

              So it's nearly a foot off kilter. I would call that enough to take a closer look. After all, you don't want to end up like Pisa, where they really had to scramble to stabilize their famous tower after it started to tip a little too much.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          >And it's a listed building and world heritage site - which I'm sure won't complicate matters at all...

          Ohh.. yes it will. Anon, just because..

          First rule of buying a listed property - don't buy a listed property. Looking after them is like yachting, but without the shower..

  7. wolfetone

    Think of how much quicker (and cheaper) the works could be done if those wankers vacated Parliament and went elsewhere for a time.

    But no. That's too much hassle for them isn't it?

    1. VinceH

      "Think of how much quicker (and cheaper) the works could be done if those wankers vacated Parliament and went elsewhere for a time."

      Is that Mars colony reality TV thing still going ahead?

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        RE: Mars Colony

        Sorry, all seats are taken with the Trump and Kardashian families.

      2. PNGuinn
        Thumb Up

        @ VinceH

        2 words.

        B Ark

    2. codejunky Silver badge

      @ wolfetone

      It would be funny to see them come to the uncivilised north. Unfortunately they would probably ruin wherever they go and turn in into the next london. And london could fall apart without the gov showering money on them.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      > if those wankers vacated Parliament and went elsewhere for a time.

      Provided they don't mind moving every few months they could utilise the purpose built facilities - partially funded by British taxpayers, located in Brussels and Strasbourg...

      Also it would be much more convenient for the on-going Brexit negotiations...

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Coat

        if those wankers vacated Parliament and went elsewhere for a time.

        Would anyone notice or even care?

        They can all stay at home and work from home and use some sort of conference facility.

        hmm, may be that is not a good idea - there'll be extravagant "home office" expense claims, but we could still save a mint by not subsidising all the food at drink at Westminster

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Joke

        Squat

        Send them all to Strasbourg and et them to squat there until the EU agrees to a favourable Brexit deal. The French would soon come round - it's either that or having 650 les rosbifs taking up semi-permanent residence at Strasbourg.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's be clear, nothing can silence the bell ends around Westminster.

  9. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    I think the Prime Minister, or his or her spokesperson, only meant to say that Big Ben is as dependable as the Bank of Scotland.

  10. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    It's 2017

    Couldn't they rig up a couple of loudspeakers & an MP3 player on a timeswitch, or something, as a stopgap?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: It's 2017

      Why not just pay someone to walk to the top of the tower every 15 minutes, and shout "bong!"

      1. PNGuinn
        Megaphone

        Re: It's 2017

        Nah - think of the cost.

        You'd need 3 choristers, not one. A perfect E BONG, a Ding and a Dong.

        Ok, I'll give you finding a suitable dong in the vicinity one could re purpose should be quite easy, but I'll he/she/it wouldn't come cheap.

        And they'd all need one of these. >>

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: It's 2017

      Given that it is due to 'elf 'n' safety red tape designed to stop construction workers going deaf, that would also apply to pre-recorded bongs if they were loud enough to be heard from the ground.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's 2017

        Given that it is due to 'elf 'n' safety red tape

        Is it really? I'd suggest that the airside oiks at Heathrow have to endure far louder and more continuous noise. But maybe that's because they use new fangled ear defender wotsits?

        1. JohnMurray

          Re: It's 2017

          The sound level within the bell tower is around 117 DBA....well into the permanent damage to hearing range...also into the "shakes your entire body quite badly" range.

          I think the clapper on the bell weighs around 200KG...

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: It's 2017

          "Is it really? I'd suggest that the airside oiks at Heathrow have to endure far louder and more continuous noise."

          Not really. The engines aren't that loud while at the terminal or taxiing, and when they're at full blast, taking off or landing, the natural tendency is there to be no one anywhere near the runways for multiple reasons. Furthermore, the sound of jet engines is more noisy (random) than a chime, which is more likely to cause resonance vibrations.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: It's 2017

            Positive discrimination - just advertise for deaf construction workers.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: It's 2017

              "Positive discrimination - just advertise for deaf construction workers."

              That close, that loud, you hit Brown Note territory. Even the deaf can FEEL a Brown Note.

    3. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: It's 2017

      I recall they decided to fall back on Radio 4. It normally broadcasts the chimes live but will now fall back to recordings in the meantime.

  11. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    So...

    Is Steve ¡Bong! now only going to be known as Steve ¡!?

    I hope มาลัย (which means "Garland of Flowers" in Thai) will be altering all of his personal stationery.

  12. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    I wonder why they can't find a nearby building willing to have a big speaker plugged in, playing a recording? It would cost practically bugger all, and maintain a tradition that tourists expect to hear.

    I suppose the question is how big would a speaker have to be to recreate the bongs?

    ( Edit: somebody else made the same point )

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Size is not everything

      you can have an array of smaller inexpensive speakers rather than a single one the size of jodrell bank....

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Size is not everything

        an array of smaller inexpensive speakers

        Hmm, the second criteron rules out John Bercow, then.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Size is not everything

        an array of smaller inexpensive speakers

        RAID? (Ringing Array of Inexpensive Dingers)

      3. PNGuinn
        Trollface

        Re: Size is not everything @AC

        Why does that place name seem somewhat appropriate in this context?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The only street in the vicinity with buildings capable of holding a bell end that big is downing street.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You could bluetooth it, so that anyone within range gets it through their phone.

  13. NonSSL-Login

    Headphones

    Time to invent some noise cancelling headphones that allow remote sounds and alarms to be played to them while also allowing users to communicate with each other too. Walkie talkie headphones that tick the health and safety box.

    Pretty sure something like this already exists.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: Headphones

      The RN use something pretty similar in engine spaces and on flight decks, so totally doable. However I as well as the hearing damage possibilities there's the sound wave from the bell itself which I suspect you can feel when you're that close to it. I don't know about you but I'm not sure I'd like that kind of surprise when I'm a few hundred feet above London.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Headphones

      And comes with a price tag appropriate to the risk assessment and liability insurance in creating them and ensuring they always operate if a building is burning the ground...

  14. Unep Eurobats
    Black Helicopters

    The truth is...

    ... that Bong Associates declined to renew the licence.

    I thought we hadn't heard from Steve for a while.

  15. Paul Herber Silver badge

    ... twiddles moustache ...

    ding-dong!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And yet....

    the uptime will still be better than some cloud services.

  17. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Slow news day?

    For The Express at least has given us all a laugh. Nice set of puns (from both sides of the the referendum argument).

  18. TRT Silver badge

    Repairing the damage...

    from when that Slitheen space ship clipped it during a crash landing.

  19. AceRimmer1980
    IT Angle

    Well at least they can put The Internet somewhere else, it's wireless.

  20. Haku

    We've got modern technology now, how about an official bong app?

    One in which the loudness is directly proportional to the proximity of the real bell.

    Although, once the real bell starts working again, everyone's bell ends.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: We've got modern technology now, how about an official bong app?

      > official bong app

      It already has its own twitter account, that tweets BONG

      1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

        Re: We've got modern technology now, how about an official bong app?

        Isn't there a bell end that keeps tweeting already?

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: We've got modern technology now, how about an official bong app?

        It still has an official radio station: Radio 4. It'll just play recordings on cue until renovation is complete.

    2. Citizen99

      Re: We've got modern technology now, how about an official bong app?

      Did the team at El Reg have a sweepstake on how many reactions there would be to this theme ?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a lot of people know this but the reason the bell end is larger than the shaft is so you don't smack yourself in the forehead.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They've said that the bells willbe re-enabled for "significant" events with midnight at New year and 11am on Nov 11 being given as examples .... I'm sure they'll extend this for the EU exit celebrations

    1. Uffish

      EU exit celebrations (with bongs).

      I thought the brexiteers were on something much stronger, but perhaps it is all due to their genetics.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I seem to remember Professor Balthazar fixing Big Ben in a jiffy?

    How hard can it be?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: I seem to remember Professor Balthazar fixing Big Ben in a jiffy?

      Parker managed to pick the lock of the Bank of England's vault with one of Lady Penelope's hatpins. So anything is possible...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I seem to remember Professor Balthazar fixing Big Ben in a jiffy?

      Did he use myrrh?

  24. TRT Silver badge

    Ah...

    I can hear the chimes now. I'll miss that.

  25. Frogfather

    Another breakdown

    It was also stopped for a year around 1975 when a brake failed on the striking train causing the mechanism to disintegrate fairly violently.

  26. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    There was an excellent article in the Grauniad's "Long Read" section a few months ago, which detailed the meticulous planning that goes into events for when the Queen (Gawd bless her) kicks the gilt-edged bucket. Big Ben plays a significant part in that. Given her advanced years and the lengthy timeframe for the repairs at Westminster, I can foresee the bell being unsilenced at some point to cope with the "London Bridge Is Down" scenario

  27. Mike Richards

    "Downing Street this afternoon confirmed the 24-month deadline for reaching a Brexit deal will expire 'when Big Ben bongs midnight' on the night of March 29-30, 2019."

    The Express then went on to say that Diana was killed just before she could announce a miracle cure for Alzheimers in time for that year's SIBERIAN BLAST BRINGS HAVOC TO ENGLAND!

    1. harmjschoonhoven

      No, no, no!

      Re: "Downing Street this afternoon confirmed the 24-month deadline for reaching a Brexit deal will expire 'when Big Ben bongs midnight' on the night of March 29-30, 2019."

      This must be surely be midnight Paris (Brussels?) time. Still time enough to negotiate about that ....

  28. MJI Silver badge
    Flame

    talk about a fall

    Many years ago Express was half decent, actually readable, then it got Desmonded.

    Now it is a xenophobic, racist, hate rag which is not even soft enough for bottom usage.

    It is no the Internet killing newspapers, it is turning them into hate rags like the Express.

    Best to use for lighting your fire.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Four years of maintenance?

    They could probably demo the tower and rebuild it from scratch in that time!

  30. B83
    Coat

    market-leading coverage of all Princess Diana-related issues

    Will Phil Collins be breaking his silence over this?

    A reference no-one outside the UK will get and I doubt anyone in the UK will get it either.

    Marc and Lard had a laugh over it

    (On reflection the story could have come from the Daily Mail)

  31. Les Matthew

    Bell ends

    Would that be the ones in the nearby Houses of Parliament?

  32. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    The Bells!

    I recall an incident some years past, in which Mrs Marmite and I were looking round Hallgrimmskirkja (Big and very impressive church in the outskirts of Reykjavik, Iceland). We had ventured up the tower and were admiring the view from just under the bells. Our timing was a little bit off (or perfect - depends on one's point of view), as we had arrived on the floor just as time was approaching the top of the hour.

    Now, Mrs Marmite is a seasoned bellringer but it still frit the shit out of her when the bloody big bell above her head gave its first godalmighty bong. A most impressive reaction ensued, in which both feet left the ground together

    One got a severe arsekicking for laughing one's head off.

    As a sidenote: Hallgrimmskirkja is a perfect example of how great a concrete building CAN look, as much as Coventry Cathedral isn't. The organ is pretty impressive too - looks like something off Star Wars. Must go again sometime

  33. Slx

    I'm surprised they haven't blamed a completely fictitious EU directive demanding the bongs be standardised to metric Eurobongs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is a point actually, does El Reg have a standard measure of sound?

  34. JohnMurray

    Talking about bell-ends...

    I note The Daily Bell End (mail) is leading with a "Health and Safety gone mad" headline...

    They want to take us back to empire days..deaf at 20 and with tinnitus...

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Another one

      Mail has always seemed a bit bonkers.

      I would love a paper which was fun to read but printed the truth and was reasonably politically independant.

      1. Swarthy
        Thumb Up

        Re: Another one

        Much akin to the one we're all reading?

  35. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    "The Victorian clock is maintained by a dedicated keeper."

    157 years? I should say that he is!

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