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Sequence

 

The probable sequence of events may be as follows and can be set to occur every quarter hour, every half hour, every hour or only when a button is pressed at the back. There will also be a switch to randomise the order (within limits) if a bit more excitement is required.

1. Clock Ring. Around the outside of the clock itself is a disc with pictures of the 12 books in the Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome, one book per clock digit. These books gave me great pleasure throughout my life. This ring of books will start to rotate like the seconds hand of a clock.

Clock ring featuring Arthur Ransome book covers.

2. LEM sequence. I have been a huge follower of all the Apollo missions and space flight in general and wanted the centre stage to reflect this. I was also a big fan of Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey”. With this in mind:

  • The music “Also Sprach Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss starts and builds to its first crescendo, anticipating something…..!

  • As the second section starts, the two doors at the bottom of the main tower gradually open and an internal light illuminates a diorama of the lunar landscape. At the back is a large jet-black monolith, as in the film.

  • The final section of the music then builds to its tumultuous climax as a detailed model of the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) gradually descends from above and touches down on the lunar surface.

 

Apollo 11 Lunar Excursion Module .

  • When the music has finished, an articulated astronaut appears from behind the monolith and “bunny-hops” all around the LEM as if in 1/6th gravity. The voice of Neil Armstrong is then heard to say “This is one small step for a man……. one giant leap for mankind”. The astronaut continues his circuits whilst the rest of the clock events continue.

 

You can hear the audio below.

 

Also Sprach Zarathustra - Richard Strauss
00:00 / 00:00
Neil Armstrong - NASA
00:00 / 00:00

Articulated Astronaut..

3. Sun and Synthesiser sequence: On the right of the original Guinness Clock was a pulpit covered by an umbrella. Above this pulpit was a sun with spinning rays. This would winch up the umbrella, and underneath, a model of the Guinness Zookeeper would rise, ring a hand bell and twist his head. This was later changed so the umbrella tilted back allowing the Zookeeper to emerge. I am keeping the sun and the tilting-back umbrella, but as I have no particular connection to zookeepers, I am replacing him with one of my heroes: Bob Moog, the inventor of the modular voltage-controlled synthesiser of the early 70’s. As you can see from the video, I have made the sun from a garden ornament and it very closely resembles the original version. 

Video of the rotating sun's rays.

After the LEM sequence described above, the following will then occur:

 

  • The sun’s rays start to rotate at the same speed as the original, about one revolution every two seconds.

  • After a few seconds, the umbrella will start to tilt back. Then, the music “Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir”, (We thank you, God, we thank you”) BWV 29 by J.S.Bach will start to play. This music was performed by Wendy Carlos on the Moog Synthesiser in 1968. Unfortunately I cannot give you a sample of this yet as she (or her manager) is unwilling to grant permission. However, I can generate my own synthesised version using my Tyros keyboard and it will sound very similar. An effigy of Bob Moog and a model of a synthesiser will start to rise up out of the pulpit. There will be many flashing lights on the synthesiser, just like the real thing.

  • When fully risen, the sun stops, and Bob’s head twists from side to side continuing while the rest of the clock’s events take place.

 

Bob Moog and synthesiser as anticipated in the pulpit.

Moog modular synthesiser.

4. Minaret: To the left of the main clock tower there stands a tall minaret in front of which is a short tub with tilted open top. The original minaret tower was angled slightly away from the clock, but I might rotate mine slightly towards the clock. The sequence of events for this is as follows:

  • The two doors at the top of the tower open and instead of the Mad Hatter leaning out with a fishing rod, as in the original, a model of me as a videographer emerges operating a video camera on a tripod. “I” lean out and start to film what is about to happen below.

  • Instead of four “Russian doll” fish rising up on the Mad Hatter’s fishing line, three birds rise up out of the depths of the tub, flapping their wings and spiralling as if on a thermal. Currently, I have absolutely no idea how to accomplish this, but no doubt after some hot relaxing baths I might find a solution. The birds continue to “fly” while the rest of the clock’s events take place.

 

"Me" filming flying birds from minaret.

5. Wedding: On top of the minaret is a chimney out of which used to rise the Guinness Ostrich having swallowed a pint glass of beer which got stuck in its throat. I, however, have decided to replace this with a scene from our wedding day. As it was a wet day, and to keep the rain out of the mechanism, it might have a small umbrella over the top!

  • A small model of a bride and groom (cake decoration) will rise out of the top of the chimney. In the background will be a 2-dimensional model of the tower of Bushey Church, where we were married.

  • The chimney will start to rotate, looking rather like the old sign from a Barber’s shop.

  • While this is happening, a piece of organ music I composed for our wedding will be heard.

  • Instead of confetti, I thought it would be great fun, especially for any children, to start a bubble machine hidden inside the top of the minaret. Copious amounts of bubbles will then shoot out over the top of the videographer’s head towards the audience. Incidentally, for this reason, when the random order operation is selected, the wedding sequence will be forced to occur after the Minaret sequence has started as the doors must be opened first!

  • After the music stops, the bubbles will stop and the chimney will stop rotating.

 

Penny & Peter's wedding

My cars on the carousel.

6. Carousel: On top of the main clock tower are the remaining two events. Above another, larger chimney, there will be a carousel comprising six arms all hanging down like the petals of a closed inverted flower.

  • The petals start to rise and open to a horizontal position. On the end of each arm hangs a 2-dimensional model of each of the vehicles I have owned:

o    A Lambretta 150cc model D scooter

o    An Austin/Morris 1100

o    A Morris Marina 1800 TC

o    A 1967 MGB GT

o    A 1972 MGB GT

o    A VW Polo 1.2

  •  When fully open, the carousel starts to rotate, continuing while the remaining event(s) take place.

  •  After 10 seconds or so, the final sequence starts.

 

 7. Yacht: I have been sailing on the Norfolk Broads more times than I can remember, and as a family, to date, we have been around six or seven times. I have decided to feature this as an additional event not represented in any way on the original Festival Clock.

  • Above the main clock tower and from behind the carousel chimney will emerge a model of a Broad’s yacht. I, Penny, Rebecca and Alex will be represented in the cockpit, albeit it rather small. This yacht will “sail” in a circle around the chimney, appearing to be sailing in a field, as the front of the top of the tower will be ordained with simulated reeds.

  • After this has continued for a short while, the various events will close down in a set order. 

 

The activity of the original clock lasted for about four and a half minutes. I think mine will take a little longer still, especially as there is an extra item in the sequence. Irrespective of the order of the above events, random or as described, the clock will begin to close down thus:

1.   Wedding:

  • The chimney stops rotating and the bubble machine stops.

  •  Peter and Penny descend back into the chimney.

2.  Minaret:

  • The three birds descend into tub and stop flapping wings and rotating.

  • Doors close as videographer retracts.

3.  LEM sequence:

  • The astronaut stops out of sight behind the black monolith behind the LEM.

  • After 4 seconds the Ascent stage rises out of sight leaving the Descent stage on the lunar surface.

  •  The main doors gradually close, automatically turning off the light.

4.  Carousel:

  • The Carousel stops rotating, then the petals lower to the closed position raising the cars inside in the process..

5.  Synthesiser sequence:

  • The Sun starts to rotate again.

  •  After 5 seconds Bob Moog’s head stops rotating and the synthesiser lights stop flashing.

  • Bob and Synthesiser descend back into the pulpit.

  • The Umbrella closes.

  •  The Sun stops rotating.

6.  Yacht:

  • The Yacht continues until it is behind the Carousel chimney and stops out of sight.

7.  LEM Reset:

  • Out of sight behind the now closed doors, the LEM Descent stage is then raised to join the Ascent stage behind the clock face ready for the next performance.

8.  Clock Ring:

  • If the clock is not set to perform every quarter of an hour the Clock Ring depicting the Arthur Ransome books then stops, otherwise it continues.

 

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