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May 2, 2006

The Feeste of Kalamazoo
Posted by Teresa at 08:06 PM *

Posted upon the occasion of the annual gathering in Kalamazoo, Galfridus Chauceres Lyns of Picke-Vppe: the only set of pick-up lines I’ve ever seen that would have made a positive impression on me, back when I was yong and ful of ragerye:

Yf thou were a latyn tretise ich wolde putte thee in the vernacular.

Ich loved thy papere, but yt wolde looke much better yscattred across the floore of myn rentede dorme roome at dawne.

Thou lookst so mvch lyk an aungel that the friares haue lefte the roome yn terror!

Woldstow haue me shyfte thyne voweles?

Were thou yn my seisin, ich wolde nevir escheat on thee.

The preeste telleth me that we aren more than VII degrees of consanguinitee. Game on!

Let vs breake oure mornyng faste togedir tomorrowe. Shal ich sende a page wyth a message for thee, or shal ich wake thee wyth an aubade composid ex tempore?

Ich haue the tale of Lancelot yn myn roome. Woldstow rede of yt wyth me?

Woldstow be myn Gaveston?

If ich sayde that thou hadde a bele chose, woldstow holde it ayeinst me?

And the ever-popular

Makstow a pilgrymage heere often?

Comments on The Feeste of Kalamazoo:
#1 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2006, 09:17 PM:

Woldstow haue me shyfte thyne voweles?

Oooh, baby.

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2006, 09:21 PM:

Tell me it wouldn't have piqued your interest, back when you were young and footloose.

#3 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2006, 09:28 PM:

Tell me it wouldn't have piqued your interest, back when you were young and footloose.

All these would still pique mine now.

#4 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2006, 09:33 PM:

TNH: You would have found 'Woldstow be my Gaveston' an attractive come-on? Methinketh that thou art nat of the lyking of Edward II, ne of his likerie, ne of his gendre.

#5 ::: sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2006, 09:36 PM:

Kalamazoo is my hometown!

My mom was a professor and she used to date an academic from Germany who came to Kalamazoo once a year for the gathering.

#6 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2006, 09:42 PM:

*blink*

ok, these are getting printed out for the van trip to k'zoo tomorrow morning. I think they'll be well recieved, along with the British Folk Ballads thread.

I know that if a reasonably attractive young man came up to me with a few of these, it would certainly make me consider the prospect seriously. *grins*

#7 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2006, 09:58 PM:

Fragano, I'm no one's Piers Gaveston; but hey, equal opportunity for all.

Sisuile, you might want to also print out Syr Agricoli. It's amusing, and a proven courting device.

Sean, what's it like to have your town suddenly overrun by academic medievalists?

#8 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2006, 09:59 PM:

TNH: I take your point!!

#9 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2006, 10:57 PM:

Okay, but why Gaveston, of all people? (You should have seen the discussion on soc.genealogy.medieval about Amy Gaveston and her parentage, a year or two back. Many many posts, some quite ... well, you wouldn't want to walk unarmored down an alley with some of the people involved. I'm not entirely sure it was ever actually settled, but it would seem that her mother is unknnown.)

#10 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2006, 11:09 PM:

Is there a better-known catamite?

#11 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2006, 11:13 PM:

From that period? Not that I can think of.

#12 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2006, 12:02 AM:

Hey, was Gaveston the catamite? I thought Ed2 was Gaveston's catamite, hence their choice of torture-murder methods...

I bet everyone here already knew that 'catamite' is derived from 'Ganymede', didn't they?

Thought so.

#13 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2006, 12:58 AM:

TNH- thanks! I'm expecting an interesting time in a van full of medievalists...I need to be able to add to the laughter.

#14 ::: Nikki ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2006, 01:55 AM:

There's a good poem by Michael Drayton about Piers Gaveston, which calls him Ganymede. It used to be available free online, but I haven't been able to find it now. I think it's written from Edward's point of view.

#15 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2006, 02:08 AM:

"Game on?" How'd that creep in there?

#16 ::: Nikki ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2006, 02:11 AM:

I found it!

extracts from Drayton's Piers Gaveston

It's not actually the whole poem, and it's more from Gaveston's view. I don't know how I misremembered that!

#17 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2006, 08:33 AM:

Linkmeister, "Game on!" is Chaucer-the-blogger's own phrasing.

Sisuile: I love Syr Agricoli not least for its skillful use of line-padding formulaic phrases. It had me giggling as of:

I sey the sooth and wol nat lie
Also may God him spede.
... In romance as we rede.

#18 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2006, 09:42 AM:

Sean, what's it like to have your town suddenly overrun by academic medievalists?

I grew up in a community of academics, so all that stuff was just seemed like weird parental habits. When I was 17, my mother observed, "You know, Sean, since your father left, I've only dated men with Ph.Ds."

Naturally, being a typical rebellious child, I ignored my mother's attempts to teach me piano, classical music, gourmet cooking, German language, and opted instead for very bad habits that it took a stint in rehab to rid me of.

Now that I'm pushing 40 I regret not realizing how lucky I was to have such goofy, intellectual adults all around me who cared about such interesting things. That said, for a teenager the decision between smoking a joint behind the high school and another lecture on Medieval land reform is a no brainer. Pun intended.

#19 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2006, 10:17 AM:

No brainer indeed. Medieval land reform, of course!

#20 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2006, 11:02 AM:

Y'know, just because Teresa recently turned fifty doesn't mean there aren't still guys out there that would cut off their right arm with a canopener for an effective pickup line with her.

(Just for the record: I gave up on the idea of Teresa, me, and a hot tub filled with mayonnaise a lonnnnnggggggg time ago.)

#21 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2006, 12:12 PM:

Bruce: yeah, because all that oil clogs the drains.

The other great thing about Kalamazoo is the dealers' room. It's just exactly like the dealers' room at every other con you've ever been too--only it's ALL worth blowing your paycheck on. Wax reproductions of seals, t-shirts featuring Mary the Egyptian, Pope Joan, and the Amazons (illustrations from the Heidelberg Chronicles), and books. OMG the books. The WMU medieval grad students always make terrific con shirts, too, with period illustrations and amusing captions.

Man, I gotta go back there.

#22 ::: Sugar ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2006, 12:43 PM:

"Yf thou were a latyn tretise ich wolde putte thee in the vernacular."

Thanks, but I don't date anyone who's been dead more than a century.

#23 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2006, 02:07 PM:

If you're willing to date someone who'w been dead (say) half a century, drawing the line at 100 seems awfully arbitrary.

TexAnne, that sounds like a huckster room that could pick my pockets clean in ten minutes flat.

#24 ::: Patrick Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2006, 02:38 PM:

The other great thing about Kalamazoo is the dealers' room. It's just exactly like the dealers' room at every other con you've ever been too--only it's ALL worth blowing your paycheck on. Wax reproductions of seals, t-shirts featuring Mary the Egyptian, Pope Joan, and the Amazons (illustrations from the Heidelberg Chronicles), and books. OMG the books. The WMU medieval grad students always make terrific con shirts, too, with period illustrations and amusing captions.

I've been thinking about going for years, but never quite made it. For that, it just became justified. Now to fit it into my cost/time schedule in the next couple years.

#25 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2006, 02:50 PM:

The other great thing about Kalamazoo is the dealers' room. It's just exactly like the dealers' room at every other con you've ever been too--only it's ALL worth blowing your paycheck on. Wax reproductions of seals, t-shirts featuring Mary the Egyptian, Pope Joan, and the Amazons (illustrations from the Heidelberg Chronicles), and books. OMG the books. The WMU medieval grad students always make terrific con shirts, too, with period illustrations and amusing captions.

No, simple, weak paycheck of mine! Don't go off to Kalamazoo without me!

(Do they sell the T-shirts online? NO DON'T ANSWER!)

#26 ::: Avery ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2006, 03:17 PM:

I keep steering clear of K'zoo for exactly Chryss' reasons.

I have been known to hand a couple hundred the high end book sellers at Pennsic. Last thing I need is a room full of them.

#27 ::: John Cosby ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2006, 03:32 PM:

Sean, what's it like to have your town suddenly overrun by academic medievalists?

As an unofficial representative of Kalamazoo, I would just like to say that anyone who rows a replica Viking ship on that tiny pond on Western's campus is welcome in my city. Or who spends 900 hours making a wooden cart. Or who has ever referred to themselves as "fanatically obsessed" about archaic spelling systems. Welcome, all, and know yourselves among friends.

#28 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2006, 05:39 PM:

We've got a con con con con con in Kalamazoo
The dealers' room's cool, you can act like a fool
In Kalamazoo-zoo-zoo-zoo-zoo


I'd write more, but my internal jukebox is shifting over to "In the Mood." (Blame my mom the Glenn Miller fan.)

#29 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 03, 2006, 08:33 PM:

The medievalists come and go, but some followers of archaic pleasure are there all year round; Kalamazoo College is one of the few places on this continent where you can ring changes on tower bells.

#30 ::: Sugar ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2006, 07:06 AM:

Well, I thought I'd let him down gently.

CHip, are you serious? Most churches in England ring their bells at least every Sunday morning.

#31 ::: JennR ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2006, 07:53 AM:

Sugar, there are very few churches in the US with the bells to ring changes on, especially once you get out of the big cities. Most US churches grew out of various and sundry Protestant splits, and those denominations don't have the change-ringing tradition, so when the churches were built there were no bell towers. Most churches (at least in the upper midwest) have one bell, sometimes with a tolling hammer. A large part of this is probably due to the sheer number of different churches in a town. F'rex, my hometown of under 1000 people has five distinct churches plus a couple of independent, and probably half the town doesn't go to any of those churches.

#32 ::: Bryan ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2006, 08:23 AM:

"If you're willing to date someone who'w been dead (say) half a century, drawing the line at 100 seems awfully arbitrary."

Well let us suppose that the undead have a similar dating morality to that which we have, among the living too great a disparity in the age of birth between those in a relationship is frowned on, among the dead too great a disparity on the date of death.

Thus one might be willing to date someone dead for 50 years because oneself has been dead for 50 years, but not anyone dead for 100 years because, OMG, he is a long time dead!! LOL!

This leads to the rather funny situation of people who died in their fifties that have been dead for 20 years being spurned by infants who have been dead for centuries as immature.

#33 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2006, 09:27 AM:

Seems perfectly rational to me, Bryan. Stop being so vitalist.

We can presume that the dead, having crossed over the bourne from which no traveller returns, regard it as little more than another border. So, from their point of view, the centuries-dead infant is centuries old, and the fifty-year-old who died in 1986 is seventy years old. So yes, squick (or undead equivalent) - the centuries-dead infant is cradle-snatching. Or, to use the presumed undead equivalent, slab-grabbing.

The dead would find it strange that we should think any differently. Think of an analogous example: Bob is forty-eight and moved to the USA two years ago. Alice is nineteen and was born in the USA.
We regard Bob as too old for Alice, and would think it strange if someone said "But Alice has been in the country for nineteen years, and Bob for only two!"
As the borders between countries are arbitrary for the living, so the bourne of death is irrelevant for the dead.

#34 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2006, 10:59 AM:

Sugar,

Washington National Cathedral is one of the VERY FEW churches in the USA where there is a bell tower and a bell ringing group.

In fact, Kalamazoo College's bell tower is only the second one I've heard of...

I suspect that in the US you will only find them in large Anglican or Episcopalian cathedrals. I'm betting someone here knows more about this topic?

On of my favorite memories is attending the placing of the final stone at Washington National Catherdral. As we walked up from the parking lot we chould hear the ringers doing changes on _Arkansas Traveller_ (more commonly known as _Turkey in the Straw_...)

#35 ::: Avery ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2006, 11:49 AM:

Ted Dostoyevsky has a story about being the new dead guy on the block. It's sort of a cross between something Lovecraft would write and your worst nightmare about people you'd be trapped on a long road trip with.

http://bobok.org/

or

http://www.kiosek.com/dostoevsky/library/bobok.txt

You'll see why I linked to two copies of it pretty quickly.

#36 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2006, 01:45 PM:

Bryan, speaking of undead, the vampire roleplaying game I was working on for a while (nothing came of it) had one clan that tended to make vampires in early (social, human) adulthood. Because that age has gone up over the years, the very oldest vampires of that clan had the most youthful appearances; so if one of them looks like he just walked out of his own bar mitzvah, you'd better bow!

#37 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2006, 02:52 PM:

St. Andrews Cathedral (Episcopal) in Honolulu has bells, but I'm not sure if there's a bell-ringing group, and its website doesn't reflect it. I do vaguely remember that its bells are rung on important days like Easter and Dec. 7.

#38 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2006, 03:11 PM:

It's so exciting to see Kalamazoo get all this mention here. My mom was a German Lit. prof at Kalamazoo College for over 30 years. She still rings the bells, in fact they rang a peal? Round? Change? When my son was born. I've been in the bell tower, but I wasn't allowed to pull on a rope, but I have watched the ringers do their thing. It's fun.

When I go back this July I'll post some pictures if anyone's interested.

#39 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2006, 04:03 PM:

The Methodist Church down the street from me has a full set of bells, but they're part of a carillon, and rather than having changes rung, they play hymns on them, although the lady who usually did this moved and they no longer do this every Sunday morning. Damage to the church in the 1998 tornado may be part of that; they had to rebuild the top part of the bell tower and there was no ringing at all until this was taken care of, because of stability issues. Nashville also has a carillon as part of the Bicentennial Mall (which is a park and not a shopping center), but I'm not sure how often that gets played either.

#40 ::: Sugar ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2006, 04:34 PM:

Thanks for correcting my ignorance, everyone. I suppose I should have guessed, actually - lots of younger churches over here don't have bells, but on the other hand there aren't too many younger churches anyway.

On the subject of centuries-dead infants, though, I'm not too sure. Have you ever seen a baby zombie? They always seem to be grown up. Where are they all? At home with their mummies?

#41 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2006, 04:57 PM:

At University of Kansas there is the Campanile, which gets played all the time and can be heard nearly everywhere on campus. The University Carillioneur and students training to play such an instrument play it regularly while school is in session, as well as at special times and for particular celebrations (weddings, graduation, etc.). I'm glad they're still playing it, it adds a nice layer to the atmosphere of campus.

And where I live now (Hyde Park, Kansas City, MO), some church (haven't figured out which one) plays bells at the hours during the week and on Sundays. It may be Notre Dame de Sion school, using its bells for signaling class change. I used to really like it when I was working at home and had windows open.

#42 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2006, 05:11 PM:

While carrillons are bell towers, they are played usually by one person -- the bells are connected to a keyboard. (Ohio State University has one too. It is played daily during the quarter at 11:45 am and 3:45 pm. It also rings the hours and quarters.)

In the type of bell tower Sean and Sugar mentioned, the bells have ropes hanging from them and each is rung by one person. Which means you have to have a group to 'ring changes.'

IIRC, there are specific peals which can be very complicated and the timing thereof is very tricky. What little I know of it was picked up from touring the National Cathedral and reading Connie Willis' _Doomsday Book_.

#43 ::: Shelly Rae ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2006, 06:05 PM:

Teresa,
Not only does the ICMS in Kalamazoo have the most amazing dealer's room ever but Saturday night always ends with a session by the astonishing scholars of the Pseudo Society--this year's schedule as follows...

Session title: Aweless among Ablative Absolutions

Sponsor: Societas Fontibus Historiae Medii Aevi
Inveniendis, vulgo dicta, “The Pseudo
Society”

Organizer: Richard R. Ring, Univ. of Kansas
Presider: Richard R. Ring

The Sentinel’s Tale: A Chaucerian Forgery by a Post-
Post-Chaucerian Forger
Phillip C. Adamo, Augsburg College

The Passions of Thomas Becket
John D. Hosler, Morgan State Univ.

Climaticism, Dubiotics, and the Ecole de Miami:
Grundlagen for Prolegomena to Literary Studies
in the Twenty-First Century
William Calin, Univ. of Florida

After this session the obvious thing for Medievalists to do is Dance! The annual Dance at the 'zoo is always packed & loads of fun--plus there's drinking I speechifying in all sorts of non-modern languages. Methinks thou woudst be moste at home!
Anon

#44 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2006, 06:07 PM:

Lori Coulson -- IIRC, there are specific peals which can be very complicated and the timing thereof is very tricky. What little I know of it was picked up from touring the National Cathedral and reading Connie Willis' _Doomsday Book_.

You could also get some good fictional info from Dorothy Sayers' _The Nine Tailors_, and the DVD of it with Ian Carmichael has useful sounds. Also, some recordings of English cathedral choirs (I'm specifically thinking of a CD we bought when the York Minster choir came a-touring) begin or end with some changes.

#45 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2006, 07:54 PM:

A lot of churches use recordings of bells. In Fairfax County, VA, a neighborhood is fighting in city council to get a new church to keep the bell recordings off.

#46 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2006, 09:30 PM:

"A lot of churches use recordings of bells."

Which reminds me that the Army is short of buglers and thus has been using recordings of "Taps" where possible these days.

Having lived in Fairfax County when it was naught but a bedroom community for DC, it doesn't surprise me that some of its residents would be snippy about bells ringing.

#47 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2006, 09:43 PM:

The "exhibits" (dealers' room) at Kalamazoo are really really hard to resist. It helps, a little, that I traveled on the carryon only luggage plan, but still . . . And yes, those of us here who blog are quite pleased to see that Geoffrey Chaucer and TNH both mentioned us.

I also suspect that I'll hear about some of these lines being used at the "midnight" dance . . .

#48 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 04, 2006, 11:15 PM:

Sugar -- when I was an active change ringer (~20 years ago) there were said to be ~20 towers in North America. Five of these were around Boston, including a rural prep school and Perkins School for the Blind; two of the five were unusable due to noise complaints. There were also two in DC (Cathedral and post office), 2(?) in Chicago (1 at the university), 2 in Quebec (1 in a "library"), a couple more on the northeast coast, and the rest very scattered.

Note that having a bell or two to ring is very different from having a tuned set that swing in a full circle; change ringing tends to put a lot of stress on a tower and on the bell frames. Church of the Advent, where I learned, had a very sweet-going set but also had in its crew the country's only female professional bell hanger. And the bells are expensive to start; Advent's set weighed ~700-2100 pounds, with bell metal costing $5/pound (plus founding, which costs as much as the metal). A church needing a roof and without a vigorous ringing group might well sell off everything except the best-sounding bell -- and such groups aren't everywhere; the villagers of The Nine Taylors are growing fewer and less interested, and the geeks and College Youths want city life and the biggest rings possible.

From what I read then, many sets of change-ringing bells in England had fallen into disrepair or worse (from a change-ringer's view) rigged for "chiming" (hammering an unmoving bell, often on the outside where it's not designed to be hit) in such a way that the bells can't be swung for changes. Even eminent churches can have problems; I picked up York Minster's ringers' history pamphlet last summer and would call what happened ca 1850-1950 a comedy of errors.

#49 ::: Cassandra ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2006, 12:13 AM:

I am given to understand that there might be the correct kind of bell tower at Swarthmore College, in Pennsylvania.

A question for any change ringers here: are there any good books on the subject's history, as opposed to (say) novels?

I remember ringing the bell in the tower upon graduating from college--there was only one, but it was heavy enough, and you couldn't hear it from inside where the rope hung down. A wonderful, massive thing.

#50 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2006, 04:59 AM:

the very oldest vampires of that clan had the most youthful appearances; so if one of them looks like he just walked out of his own bar mitzvah, you'd better bow

You were designing a game based around a family of Jewish vampires?

"Thank you. I do not drink... Manischiewitz."

#51 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2006, 11:11 AM:

Personally, I'm looking forward to the session where we can make our own astrolabe. Really!

#52 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2006, 11:22 AM:

UC Berkeley has a campanile, but my memory is far too shaky to recall what (if anything) they played on it when I was there, starting in the TearGassic Era. Someone here must know more than the bare fact of its existence.

#53 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2006, 11:37 AM:

Here is more on change ringing:

http://www.nagcr.org/pamphlet.html

This is part of the North American Guild of Change Ringers website. There are 48 bell towers in North America, and this site lists them.

#54 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2006, 12:15 PM:

I believe you can find change ringing done on handbells these days. Smaller, cheaper (relatively speaking), and the neighbors won't be complaining. (Also you don't need as much mass to ring a handbell; even a 12-year-old can handle one.) There used to be an American Guild of English Handbell Ringers, with conventions where you could try change-ringing.

#55 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2006, 01:18 PM:

Faren Miller: UC Berkeley has a campanile, but my memory is far too shaky to recall what
(if anything) they played on it when I was there, starting in the TearGassic Era.

Someone here must know more than the bare fact of its existence.

The campanile at UC Berkeley
was the subject of a Siggraph 97 Electronic Theater presentation
featuring image-based modeling and rendering techniques
developed by Paul Debevec and others.

This page has more information.

On that page there is also a link
to a quicktime movie of that Electronic Theater presentation
( Sorenson compressor, 39.9MB, 320x240, 30fps, 150sec. )

The only audio for that piece is "Gavotte: La Badine"
performed by Jos D'Hollander.

This was a little hard to read off the final frame of the film,
but a google search turned up this Carillon CD Catalogue
by the Yale University Guild of Carillonneurs
(which cleared up the spelling for me).

I don't know if that piece was selected
because it was typical of what might be played
at the UC Berkeley campanile,
or (more likely) because it was available on CD
and about the right length for the presentation.

A link off the carillon catalogue page leads to a
page of carillon recordings available on CD
with:

     ALL HAIL BLUE & GOLD [Berkeley Historical Society 1394497]
     Ronald Barnes (one piece), Jeff Davis, David Hunsberger, and John Agraz
     playing the U.C. Berkeley carillon

at the top of the list.


#56 ::: Del ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2006, 03:47 PM:

The medievalists come and go,

talking of Boccaccio?

#57 ::: Sugar ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2006, 04:32 PM:

CHip: According to this site there are "over 5,000 rings of five or more bells hung for change ringing in the UK", and 40,000 ringers. That's not to argue with you - I'm sure lots have either fallen out of use or can't be used anymore. And I take your point about lack of funds, too. It's just that bellringing isn't so uncommon over here.

PJ Evans: Yes, during the War church bells couldn't be used, so change ringing was often done on handbells.

Shelly Rae: Do the dancers at Kalamazoo dance in antique style or do they just, you know, bop? I'd love it if they really danced. We used to do that at school and I've always missed it.

#58 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2006, 07:28 PM:

Having studied at Berkeley in the past decade, I can tell you that the campanile playlist is eclectic, to say the least. They have one guy who plays the bells, and he plays whatever he feels like, 3 times a day. I used to stop and listen whenever I was outside at noon. (IIRC, the three times were 8 AM, noon, and 5 or 6 PM).

I swear that he played "The Teddybear's Picnic" at least once while I was there.

#59 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2006, 07:53 PM:

Sydney University has a carillon in the tower of the Main Quad, inserted in the existing tower as a memorial for WWI (potted uni history). They have fairly regular concerts, and a recital is often part of any special day there. Long years ago I went on a guided tour of the building, including it, and the 'keyboard' was not at all like the usual ones you see. From fairly fuzzy memory, it was widely spaced rounded wooden sort of paddle-things, which were hit down with the player's fists.
I believe there are a few others around Australia, but the only one I know of is in Canberra, in a tower on the edge of Lake Burley Griffin. I've always imagined how lovely it would be at dusk or after, hearing the bells across the still lake waters.

Again, I believe there are a few chimes of bells in the English tradition, and a number of groups 'ringing the changes', scattered around the country. Every so often a special chime is attempted and gets in the news. One computer professional in Sydney I knew was a member of one group which came and rang the church bells at the wedding of a colleague, at St Phillip's near Wynyard, and we could see them from the body of the church. It was a lovely thing to have, and fascinating to see.

There's also a medieval concert held maybe annually in the Great Hall at Sydney Uni. The original buildings around the Quadrangle were built in mid-Victorian Gothic Revival style, so the Great Hall is appropriate environs. Everyone is encouraged to dress up and enter into the spirit of the old days (minus witch-burning, etc.). It used to be a Festival, with a number of events, but I'm not sure if that is still extant — there are very many things I have not been keeping abreast of over the last few years.

#60 ::: Karl T. ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2006, 08:32 PM:

When I was at Berkeley (from 1985 to 1992), the carillonist/carilloneur used to quite regularly play bits from Bach's Suites for Solo Cello, which I recognised because I was working them up for bass trombone around the same time. I also heard the bit of Golliwog's Cakewalk or other more modern material. Good memories.

#61 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2006, 10:36 PM:

PJ Evans: I believe you can find change ringing done on handbells these days.

English handbells were \invented/ to teach change ringing; the double spring (one on each side of the clapper) simulates the "handstroke"/"backstroke" of a tower bell. Kalamazoo's site notes that they were doing long rings in hand well before the tower bells were hung; if you look at the Peals page under the above link, 4-6 September 1987 has far more than could be rung on the tower in the time available, because anyone who wasn't in the tower was ringing in hand. (That was the weekend of the NAGCR convention.)

Sugar: The Ringing World I knew was a bit promotional; 5,000 may be the total number of rings known, with many of them not in usable condition. (I'd be interested in seeing more detail.) Change ringing is, in any case, a peculiarly English notion (Cf Sayers on its absence on the continent); its binding to the established church was one of several reasons for it not to have spread when the mostly-dissenters came to the colonies. Both of the Boston churches with rings are Episcopalian (roughly, CofE after the Revolution), which is not a large denomination.

#62 ::: JennR ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2006, 12:04 AM:

The carillon at Michigan Tech was programmed (big surprise, eh) to play tunes to coordinate with the clock bells. It was also occasionally played live, and those days were very nice, although it was a bit disconcerting to have the Tech fight song ringing out across campus on a Saturday afternoon. The carilloneur also had affection for show tunes and classical piano pieces, so one never knew what he'd play. He also played the mighty Wurlitzer in the ice arena at graduation.

#63 ::: Kylni ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2006, 02:36 AM:

Having studied at Berkeley in the past decade, I can tell you that the campanile playlist is eclectic, to say the least.

Having studied at Berkeley in the past week, I can second that. They've played the Beatles' "When I'm 64" this semester, for sure.

One of my friends took the campanile playing class her freshman year. It was pretty cool.

I can tell you they play at noon at 6pm. You may be right about 8am, too, but in my three years here so far I believe I've managed to avoid ever being on campus that early.

#64 ::: Sugar ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2006, 07:31 AM:

CHip: A little googling provides me with the following data. (A disclaimer: I'm not and never have been a ringer, I don't know much about it, so if I'm talking nonsense please correct me. All I know is what I've found on the Internet.)

The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers claims there also claims there are 40,000 ringers in the UK; I assume they have good reason for thinking this. I think it's a fair bet there's more than a few thousand towers hung for change ringing.

Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers, which may be affiliated to the Council - though I doubt it - says there are 7063 towers with "sets of three or more bells hung for British style change-ringing" - this would be incompatible with being hung for chiming, I take it. As this is a guide for ringers, I think it's fair to say that most of them are probably useable, but it doesn't explicitly say that. You're right when you say they may be exaggerating, but there's still plenty to be getting on with.

Meanwhile, this mailing list archive - last paragraph of the penultimate post - also says there are over 5,000 towers in the UK, though this might just be the Ringing World's figure repeated by someone like me who know no better. This paragraph also claims there were 25 towers in North America in the 1980s, and that there were thirtysomething in 1998. According to Lori Coulson above, there are currently 48, so the numbers seem to be on the rise, unless this guy's misremembering.

#65 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2006, 03:27 PM:

"All I know is what I've found on the Internet."

There's a best-seller there, I think.

#66 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2006, 04:41 PM:

They've played the Beatles' "When I'm 64" this semester, for sure.

When I get older, losing my tone, many years from now,
Will you still be giving me a friendly ring, climb my tower, usual thing?
Count off the changes, hand me the toll, I don’t ask for more
In my September, will you remember, what a bell is for?

You’ll be older too . . . and if you oscillate, I will answer you.

I could give warning, sound the alarm, when the Jerries jump
(Hope you will forgive me, that was some time gone, years go by and one soldiers on)
Hey Quasimodo, give me a tug, I’ve still got the knack
If I start tolling, like thunder rolling, will you echo back?

Every summer I can watch a party on the churchyard green laid out at my feet
People step and glide
Down there I see the well . . . keep the cat inside!

Winchester calling, answer required, would you break me down?
If you go all silent and you don’t look back, my heart might develop a crack
Call Mr Hansen, set up a time, I can be recast,
Once more with feeling, things are appealing, when they’re made to last.

#67 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2006, 07:09 PM:

Dear heavens. Sitting in Kalamazoo, calling up Making Light and ...we're back in Kalamazoo. In answer to what it's like to be here during the conference, the answer is CROWDED. Nae a room at the inn. Last year the Yarn Harlot could hardly find a space to stay (ended up, thanks to Stephanie the Wonder Publicist, with the Executive Floor's handicapped suite.) This year the medieval studies conference overlaps the biennial Gilmore Keyboard Festival. Come next year, Teresa, and we'll hit the yarn shops.

#68 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2006, 11:31 AM:

Sugar: Many people don't ring continuously, so an average of 8 ringers might or might not be enough to keep a tower active. (Especially bearing in mind that large towers tend to accumulate ringers, leaving fewer for the smaller ones.) It depends on how interested they are in doing all the maintenance. It's even possible for a small number of ringers to keep more than one tower active if they're active enough about it; if I hadn't already gotten the word, I would have learned at a Glasgow garden show never to underestimate the ... vigor ... of a British enthusiast. (A carrot many feet long, coiled on a plate like Indiana Jones's bullwhip?!?). The ratio is probably higher here even with the number of towers doubling in the last ~20 years (I remember 15-20 people being associated with my home tower), but the equilibrium point is anyone's guess. (I've emailed RW, as I should have done days ago, to ask for more detail.)

Chiming doesn't \necessarily/ ruin bells for changeringing, but without some of the above-noted fanatics around a church is unlikely to get the sort of complicated chiming mechanism that can be moved out of the way of a swinging bell. And even that is no assurance; every so often RW would mention another tower being lost because the changeringers didn't clear the chiming mechanism before ringing up.

It would be interesting to know how many towers were able to override neighbors' noise complaints (unlike 2 of the 5 in greater Boston); I suspect you have some of the same type of people who move into a neighborhood based on a personal image rather than reality. (And some strange neighborhoods, too -- I was astounded last summer to see that Orkney is having a building boom.)

One cheerful note: bell prices don't seem to have kept up with inflation. Whitechapel is now quoting $15-16/# for bells that somebody guesstimated 20 years ago would run ~$10/#

late to Lori: I had words with Connie Willis about her portrayal of change ringers; she admitted that she used some of the worst stories of touring groups. But she did get the mechanics of ringing right where she spoke of them. (Sayers went into much more detail, but Sayers apparently got seriously hooked on ringing while writing The Nine Taylors, enough that she actually wrote some compositions.)

Mike: there ought to be a Making Light equivalent to "You had to ask!" (the Boskone musical's stock line after somebody has unwittingly given a song cue. I doubt Victor Hugo and the New Vaudeville Band have ever been juxtaposed before, but I'm missing the reference for Hansen (and will probably groan when you supply it).

#69 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2006, 03:20 PM:

CHip: Rob Hansen, at least the last time I looked, works for Whitechapel Bell Foundry. And you of all people are aware that song cues and myself are a serious quantum entanglement.

And the lyric should, of course, read "Ring Mr Hansen," but I thought it might have been a little too-too.

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