The X-File (No.16) - April 1997

Another low month at the X-File offices I'm afraid. Thirty-odd methods to choose from but only a handful worth writing home about. It could be that the efforts of the X-File to promote good methods so that they might be rung more frequently has been counter productive in that some composers may compromise standards for novelty simply to get something published. Of course it is recognised that some peal-ringing occasions fully merit the application of a new pattern in order to name a 'new name', but I reckon a fair few beg the big question: 'Why bother??'. Come on Chappies! Let's have something exciting to shout about in addition to variable cover Stedman.....




Rung at




Fazeley Junction





D G Hull







M B Davies





Burton Latimer


R E J Dennis







C B Dove







B G Warwick


Lone Star





D E Sibson


Marston Trussell





M A Coleman


Fazeley Junction Alliance Major : 34x34.1x2x3.4.5.6x1x5 lh18

Now THIS is what I mean by something innovative and should probably get the whole column to itself this month. I gather its conception owes something to the Coventry/Fazeley canal junction and really is very sexy indeed (er, the method that is...). Each half lead contains 15 changes so the half-lead itself has the unusual property of being at backstroke and then hand. [The treble dodges 1-2, dodges 3-4, point 8 and then 5ths at the half-lead - they had to get Pipe-Junior in for that one.] The plain course generates 8 5678s at the back and 6 8765s off the front (N.B. this can be bettered!). Therefore, all you have to do to generate 4-bell roll-ups at both ends of the change (24 at the back and 18 at the front) is to call 3 bobs 'home' on any set of 4. The truth isn't exactly God given in this scheme, but David Hull has found that it works brilliantly for this method and the composition shown is based on such a simple plan. Simple, but extremely elegant and great fun to ring, listen to, and write about. More! More! More!

5040 Fazeley Junction Alliance Major
Comp. David G Hull

2345678             5ths    
4567823   4ths.In         X
6782345   4ths.In     3
8234567   4ths.In     3
3456782   4ths.In         X
5678234   4ths.In         X
7823456   4ths.In     3
2345678   4ths.In     3   X

6ths place calls. X = 8ths.7ths.6ths. Calling refers to 8ths place bell at the previous part end. Contains 24 5678, 4567, 3456, 2345, 8765, 7654, 6543, 5432 at the back; 18 of each off the front.

Catherine Little Delight Maximus : x3x4x2x1x4x36 lh12

This little delight wins the maximus no-contest this month by virtue of being what is the first method in this method class. The treble treble-bobs to 6th place so the music off the front is somewhat limited, but with what is now rather cumbersomely known as a Warwickshire start (plain hunt to a double dodge), followed by a triple dodge over the half-lead, lots of roll-ups are possible above the treble.

Goondiwindi Surprise Major : x5x4.5x56.3.4x4.5.236x6.5 lh18

Bob Dennis will have to help me out with the origin of the name I'm afraid. Perhaps it's got something to do with the intellect and digestive behaviour of the band - who knows! Anyway, the method's pretty good: big dodges above the treble and wrong hunting below giving many **78 and 87** opportunities at the back and front. Consequently there is plenty of scope for an interesting composition that exploits some of the subtleties of the varied bells in the ** positions through the plain course.

Openshaw Surprise Major : x56x456x5x6x4x3. lh12

This has been rung in Spliced before but is probably worth a quick look pretending that it's new. Methods that are clean proof with the tenors together are always at an advantage and for this method this feature wins over all the ugly contiguous places that are made. The work is unusual both below and above the treble if not completely inspiring and the music hits you in a varied way throughout the course. Course bells meet in 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 and 7-8 at some point or other but you'll have to work very hard to generate many roll-ups although the e method group does allow for a fair distribution of calling positions to transfer between different courses.

Westmeadowbrook Surprise Royal : x3x45x56x36x4x3x6.34.7.258x34.9 lh12

Another token gesture: this time in the Royal department. Westmeadowbrook, to its credit, contains a grand total of 4 098765s off the front in the plain course, and 4 567890s at the back - but that's about it! The blue-line suffers from a certain lack of mobility though with many place-bells spending a significant proportion of each lead stuck in the same position. This one's a real classic for the 'Why Bother' award - or perhaps I'm missing something.

Lone Star Surprise Major : x5x4.5x5.6x4x345x4x7 lh12

Lone Star fills a neat little hole in the method collection. It's very similar to a whole host of methods that have previously been rung and it gains its cps gold star to boot. There are no prizes for spotting the Bristol-above work (with a 2nds place lead-end), and the right-place below work gets coursing pairs treble-bobbing around the half-lead to produce plenty of combinations on the front that will mirror those at the back. This is probably just as well since the a method group tends to cluster the calls around the course end (if you're keeping the tenors together) and doesn't allow as much flexibility to turn bells around mid-course to generate the same music at both ends of the change.

Marston Trussell Surprise Major : x56x456x5x36.4x4.5x4x1 lh18

This has the same work above the treble as Openshaw (see above) with an 8ths place lead end. Below it is pure Bristol in line but not in nature with 87623451 at the half-course. I rather like this feature of a familiar line but unfamiliar music (in the sense that it is not mirrored at the lead end) in the same way that Pudsey is related to Cambridge, say. The problem is that you normally have to use a few neat tricks to package the standard roll-ups into a sensible peal composition, but I don't expect this to have posed too great a challenge to Graham John's computer program in this case.

Fazeley Junction 673 for 4 dec., Rest of the World 78 all out!

This file is now closed.


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