Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Day Storke Tower Broke

I went to college at UCSB, the campus of which centers around Storke Tower, a 175-foot phallus erected in honor of Thomas Storke, who helped found the school. It’s not just mere penis worship: Storke was also the editor and publisher of the Santa Barbara News-Press, and during his tenure the paper published a series of editorials condemning the John Birch Society that ultimately won Storke a Pulitzer. It’s fitting, then, that the office of the college paper, my once-beloved Daily Nexus, sits beneath it, even though this should logically mean that its situated in the tower’s pubic forest or possibly the ball sac, if you’re extending the penis metaphor (and when are not?). The tower also houses a 61-bell carillon that spells out the university motto, “Let there be light,” at ten to the hour. It does this by striking a series of bells that are assigned to letters of the alphabet. In practice, it sounds amelodic, but spend enough time on campus and you get used to it. Besides, you just try and get the bells in your genitals to play anything symbolic every hour. Then you’ll see how hard it is.

Sometimes, however, the carillon breaks and that’s when it gets especially interesting. When the bells are just being struck at random, it lends the campus this strange, Hammer Horror atmosphere. Back when he still had reason to be on campus, Spencer recorded the bells sounding all creepy one day. And just now, I found the clip and figured I’d put it on YouTube. Brief though it might be, it gets the mood across fairly well.

May this me the most amelodic portion of your day. Onward toward more melodious tomorrows.

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