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As time goes by

by on October 15, 2012

It occurred to me yesterday, when thinking about how some automata function by clockwork, to look at a clock. I suddenly realised that we call the front of a clock a ‘face’, and the parts ticking inside are its ‘hands’. How strange that we personify the objects. It did make me consider how a more lifelike piece of work could come from this. We even have a ‘Grandfather’ clock!

In Gaby Wood’s “Edison’s Eve”, she writes, “behind each of these inventions is a single notion: that life can be simulated by art or science or magic.” Our lives are controlled by time, and without clocks there would be no order to our day. I look at the time at least thirty times a day, or more.

Watches and clocks have become more than just a necessity, though: they are a fashion item. Who owns the most sparkly, most expensive, exquisitely designed watch? I have a necklace with a locket on the chain, and it opens to reveal a miniature clock.

I remember as a child I used to watch a television series called “Bernard’s Watch”. When Bernard pressed a button on his special watch, everything and everyone around him froze: he had stopped time. I became fascinated by the power he had to stop time, but still be able to move around freely himself, and I wished to own a special watch like it myself.

Then there were playground games: “What’s the time Mr Wolf?” for example, where you move as many steps towards the ‘Wolf’ as is the time (three steps for three o’clock, four steps for four o’clock).

There’s ‘playtime’, ‘teatime’, there’s even ‘Timepiece’ the nightclub in town – anyone?..


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