With a nation of idle hands – the hands of our clocks, that is – perhaps it is time for a tsar to step in and demand restorationPerhaps WH Auden is to blame. Stop all the clocks! he commands in the poem made famous in Four Weddings and a Funeral and, walking through most big towns, there’s a sense that this order has been too closely obeyed. Big Ben bongs on, but many others are stopped for good. From Newcastle upon Tyne to Salisbury and many points between, these symbols of a more communal age lie idling, or altogether idle. Their mechanisms are hard to get at and the cost of correction prohibitive, so they simply go on disconsolately telling the world it is, say, 10:15 when, except at two points in the day, it isn’t. Even worse are the clocks whose hands still revolve, but misleadingly. They tell a plausible story, but are either mildly slow or modestly fast. Where they’re fast they cause unnecessary alarm; where they are slow, they create a false sense of security, causing trains to be missed. What’s to be done? Nestlé keeps the Rowntree factory clock running for less with solar panels. One …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books