Saturday, 11 October 2014

bells and chimes thoughts

World Trade Centre at Beurs
Lately I caught a cold. I cough at night and don't sleep too well. The one good thing that came with it however was the strange dreams I've been having. Last night I was in a alternate dimension where the only life-forms are sentient buildings. These were houses and high-rise apartments that were conscious and could communicate with each other. They communicate through ringing metal bells. They sound like church bells. Every building also has a main bell that is hung in front of the entrance, it's the biggest bell and it's shaped like a silver nose. These buildings (mostly yellow in colour) are really chatty and the bells never stop ringing in the village. Ringing bells 24/7. The buildings don't ever sleep because they are buildings. It's a continuous long conversation.

I woke up in a cold sweat at 3 am. It wasn't scary, the imagery was just too cool. This other time last year I was walking outside in Rotterdam on a windy winter night and I thought of an act of terrorism where we could hang wind-chimes up on trees and lamp-posts before the winds come. The metallic chirps that never go away is going to drive all pedestrians insane. Wind-chime city 24/7, this is Batman villain stuff. Regular villains rob banks, but super-villains are fond of messing with your head with urban theatrics that are elaborate and symbolic. Last week I've read the Amazing Spider-Man event-arc Spider Island, where every person in the entire island of Manhattan was turned into a giant spider, and Spidey had to save everyone. That kind of scheme really only makes sense in cities. Take any super-villain mastermind out of cities and (s)he is a fish out of water.

Disregarding the villainy, wind-chimes can be my friends, I like to understand that they give the winds a difference voice. It's refreshing to hear the winds sing small tunes rather than the usual blatant howling or the uncalled-for whispering of your name (wait wait i'm not psycho i swear that's supposed to be funny in its melodrama!). Anyways if the city winds are to drive anyone insane they would do so with or without chimes.

Rotterdam city centre has several bell towers that ring loud without any winds. I can think of 3 main sets right now. There are bells at the Stadhuis (they play the Westminster chimes which I love), and there are bells at the Laurenskerk. There are bells at the World Trade Centre, when they ring they ring for a long time and their sounds have my favourite echo texture. When all these bell towers ring at the same time they speak to each other in a language only buildings know. I was in Taipei in the summer and in that city there's no tradition of the hourly striking bell tower, but the city has a lot of constructions going on, and wherever there's a construction site there is a constant metallic something-hitting-against-something-else. Gong, gong. It's also a language only buildings know, but maybe in a very different dialect.

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