Bells rang out across the UK to celebrate the opening day of the Olympics and surprisingly, Big Ben was in the mix. Part of an art project known as “All the Bells” by Martin Creed, the goal of All the Bells is to have every bell in London ring for three minutes at 8:12 am – exactly 12 hours before the official Opening Ceremony at 20:12.
The idea might not seem too grand or glorious but the last time the bell inside Big Ben rang outside its regular schedule was on February 15th 1952, when it rung 56 times for the funeral of King George VI.
Along with a few hundred other people, Hector and I met up on Westminster to capture these three minutes of history from Westminster Bridge and be part of an experience as infrequent as the London Olympics.
On one side of the Thames, tourists excited to be close to Ben Big, on the other, camera crews lining the street with tripods in place and mics ready to capture the chimes and rings. With a Japanese camera crew stationed directly behind me, Hector and I made camp with the camera crews and prepared for moment.
The result: three minutes of cow bells, hand bells, bicycle bells and mobile phone apps that mirror the sound of a bell.
It wasn’t the pretty sounding experiment, but it was embraced by tourists visiting London, schoolchildren, street vendors at Borough Market and thousands of miles away by scientists at the British Antarctic Expedition. It was a moment of unity for Olympic supports and members of the art community – a group that many times plays second fiddle at sporting events.
For our reputations and the reporter’s journalistic integrity, let’s just say that Hector was persuaded by his patriotic upbringing to share his best Mexican football chant and I discussed my appreciation for the Mexican culture and their enthusiasm for sports and life – a statement the reporter agreed with.
Leave it to Hector to find not only a Mexican report in London but quite possibly the most attractive Mexican reporter in London.
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