The X-File (No.20) - August 1997

"Some mornings it hardly seems worth chewing through the straps of the strait-jacket". With five issues of The Ringing World in August, a flood of worthy methods competing for the prestige of inclusion in a file seemed likely. But a leakage of Yorkshire Water proportions of derivative and basically poor methods has reduced this potential torrent to a feeble trickle. Methods with the horrors of three blows behind, four contiguous places and mid-half-lead penultimate places all reared their unattractive countenances this month. No mercy was shown, here are the survivors.




Rung at






N(in) BOa2c(out)

South Croydon


D C Brown







G H Campling





Burton Latimer


D E Sibson


The Moon



Barrow Gurney


A J Cox







M S Turner


Oakfield Surprise Royal : 38x78.4.7x5.6.34x7.58.2x6.7.6.58x5 lh 12

Sources close to the North Circular have revealed that this method has taken since 1957 to reach fruition. An unusual recipe certainly, but hardly one worth waiting 40 years for. The blue line is full of interest and originality being unlike any existing method. Wrong double-dodging in various places is the theme of the method with bells in 7-8 making court places around each other below 4-pull wrong dodges at the back. The resulting music is not exactly orchestral, but is intriguing enough in a Superlative-esque sort of way. Queens is tantalisingly close in the plain course, but the highlights are probably the changes 2345067891 and 0987265431, more usually only heard in waywardly covered Grandsire Caters.

Sparrowhawk Delight Major : 5.36x4x256x18x2x5.4x2.5 lh 12

Mr Campling allegedly feels that his concoctions have been unfairly overlooked by X-file staff in the past. Well donít worry George, we quite like this one even though the false course heads do look like the cat has taken a walk across the keyboard. With such restrictive falseness, a musical peal is always going to be a forlorn hope but there is good frontwork music generated by wrong-dodging and fishtails in 3-4 above places in 1-2. The backwork is basically Cornwall, but starting with 58 instead of 56 means that the xx78 rollups are rather haphazardly distributed, leaving Sparrowhawk a little short of Premiership quality. Well, it was rung at Burnley.

Rottnest Surprise Major : 56x34.6.5x2.36x2x3.56x6.5 lh 18

Itís not the rottenest, but itís not the most trivial either. MethodMaster gives this blueline a slightly lower difficulty index than Belfast but itís almost certainly harder. Just as spikey but with more movement and a less familiar lead-end order. More friendly falseness than Belfast eases the composerís job too. All-in-all, a welcome new addition to the available "difficult" Surprise Major methods.

The Moon Surprise Major : x5x4.5x2.3.2x2.3x4x7 lh 18

Another thoroughbred from the Barrow Gurney stable this one. Great line, good music, and only a minor falseness obstacle to the composer. The backwork boasts Ariel-style big points to start and the frontwork has the useful feature that all the pieces of work are symmetrical in themselves which should lead to fewer trips. A welcome property of jx methods is that, unlike mx methods, consecutive calls in the same position cause the repetition of two leads allowing everyone to visit both ends of the change and generating music front and back. Existing favourites from the jx-class include methods like Queenborough, Jevington and Zinc, but this is possibly even better. Highly recommended.

Hywelbane Surprise Royal : x5x4x56x36x34x5x4x45x2x5 lh 12

This is fairly straightforward stuff and is in no danger of causing the fracture of any moulds, but itís pretty good nonetheless. Uxbridge backwork and good music-generating frontwork make this a well worthwhile diversion from the mediocrity of more popular Royal methods.

This file is now closed.


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