The chimes of Big Ben are to stop performing together, citing ‘irreconcilable musical differences’, according to a spokesperson for the bells. The chimes have been part of our lives for over 150 years, playing their part in Remembrance days, news broadcasts and New Years’ festivities, with such popular peals as 1 O’Clock, 10 O’Clock and Midnight. However, it’s now been revealed they haven’t effectively spoken to each other since 1976, and only work together to fulfil contractual obligations.
The much-loved band were taking a break from playing, ostensibly for ’renovations’ to take place in the Westminster clock tower, though sources close to the clock have claimed the hiatus to be part of an ever-growing rift between the chimes. Fans have commented that the chimes have in recent years lost their way, with Bong regularly ‘jumping in’ regardless of what Bing is doing, and even playing at totally different times in the hour. Frequently, Bing has been heard to complain he ‘didn’t like Bong’s tone’.
A message posted on their official web site reads: ‘As you have probably already heard, the chimes have tolled for the last time. Though no one knows what the future holds, we are united in saying it’s been an amazing 150-year ride, and we couldn’t have done it without you, the fans. Stay tuned, and stay awesome!’ An insider told us: ‘This has come as a blow to us, though it’s no surprise. At last year’s New Years’ celebrations, Bong refused to go past 5 and had to be coaxed by revellers into completing the year. Sometimes they seem to be in entirely different time zones. Bing has long been jealous over Bong’s celebrity as the major part of the News at Ten theme and additional royalties he receives for additional chimes required in late evenings.’
He added: ‘It’s well-known for years that Bing has wanted to break free and pursue other projects, such as completing his musical based on the early days of the Whitechapel Foundry and collaborating with Mike Oldfield in a follow-up to his Tubular Bells album.’
The news has been greeted with panic across London, with many locals unsure how they are going to know what time of day it is, while Radio 4 announcers are having to rely on when they feel ready for an afternoon snooze to know when to broadcast the first Archers of the day. Meanwhile, ITV’s News at Ten will be temporarily rebranded as News at Ten-ish. All future performances have been cancelled, with fans and tourists promised a full refund. However, rumours persist that they have both already secretly signed up for a lucrative comeback tour of greatest peals in 2020.