of the clock tower back in the autumn of 2003 was the biggest event to hit town since the "Frank The W*nk can walk!" furore of the early 1980's. Amid civil unrest, police scoured the entire region in a search for the lost timepiece, only to draw blanks. Since that fateful Thursday, the townsfolk have simply 'lost track of time' as days and hours blurred together into one seamless eternal day.
Thankfully, after much debate, a competition was launched to design a new centerpiece for the High Street, and the entries literally trickled in. Finally, last week, following heated arguments among the judges, the winning design was unveiled to the massed ranks of press and media bods. There was barely a dry seat in the house as head judge David Arsefelt talked us through the shortlist.
The original clock tower
Speaking about Keynsham Town Council's proposed design, he told us: "They were very keen to keep the continuity, but their budget was very low due to all those expensive Christmas lights they provide each year, so they went for a reduced version of the original tower. The judges were impressed with their resourcefulness, but in the end it just wasn't a big enough statement. Overall, a bit namby-pamby."
Highlighting the BANES entry, he commented: "BANES took a completely different approach, almost an American one. They opted for 'more is more' and, as they had spare cash hanging around due to not fixing the roads, they went for two replicas of the old clock. Once again, the judges were moved, but ultimately voted the design out as it could easily be interpreted as 'these townfolk are two-faced'."
Presenting his winning design, Dr Heath Cadbury - the project's architect - told us: "I was aiming for angularity. I was looking for durability. I was only interested in abstract notions. The clock tower I have presented is all of these and more. It is sheer audacity and boldness. It's inspiration comes from both the old and the past alike. It will also provide a suitable place for wildlife."
Dr Cadbury dismissed widespread claims that his clock tower looked just like the old one, and that he'd merely repatriated the old tower from Mars
, telling us: "What utter poppycock! That is an absurd claim. Now goodbye, I must leave now. No pictures..."
With building work set to commence this month, it looks as if Keynsham will finally be clock-wise once more. It's just a pity that we couldn't use this event as a way of moving forward to newer, better things, but, after all - this is
Keynsham don't forget! Spelt G-R-O-U-N-D-H-O-G!