The X-File (No. 34) - October 1998

After the excitement of compiling the "Top X" article for the Christmas issue, normal service is resumed with only one monthís worth of publications providing the raw material for this foray into hitherto uncharted method territory. Readers who also profess to being disciples of Godfather Campís Ringing-Chat e-mail forum will have been as shocked and stunned as Moldy was at the cutting criticisms levelled at the methods chosen for "Top X". The basic drift of the broadside from our beloved Gloucestershire-based assailant was that the method selection was unimaginative in choosing nine of the ten methods to be treble-dodging methods. Unfortunately the fact is that the overwhelming majority of new methods are treble-dodging, and that when new Plain or Alliance methods do appear they are too often disappointing. If only everything was as laudable as Brave New World. This month illustrates the point admirably with all 20 new methods published being Surprise or Delight, 18 of them Major. Perhaps it is time to break free from the shackles of treble-dominated methods altogether. New principles (particularly even-bell ones) are an even rarer sight than an England Ashes series win. Any offers?




Rung at On Conductor Page

Brick Lane





S Jenner





Imperial College


O Bailey


Old Spot





A R Peake







T Rousers







D D Smith





Sutton Courtenay


B F L Groves


Brick Lane Surprise Major : 3x56.4.56x5.236x4x5.4x4.7 lh 12

The mere mention of Brick Lane is enough to cause salivation for anyone acquainted with this curry Mecca of East London. This method is as pleasing to the senses as any "perfect" shami kebab one might find in the environs of The Pride of Spitalfields. Weíve come to expect interesting blue lines from Stan Jenner and this is no exception. The heart of the method is four-bell wrong hunting on the front with points as the treble leaves 5-6 which efficiently delivers 7 xx78ís and 5 87xx Ďs. The backwork is fairly unusual, starting with wrong-hunting to a double-dodge in 7-8 over places in 5-6. The falseness is slight and its incidence should allow the composer to capitalise on the methodís potential for music off the front.

Upminster Surprise Major : x5x4x56x36x34x45x4x5 lh 12

Moldy actually knows someone who was educated (up to a point) in Upminster, but he refuses to let that colour his judgement of this latest underground production. At first glance this method isnít exactly rocket science, being an f-group right-place Uxbridge(ish) above method, but itís a worthy enough variation on the theme despite the addition of K falseness.

Old Spot Surprise Major : x5x4.5x2.3x4x45x34x5 lh 12

Another method whose name will tickle the taste buds while its music tickles the ears. Old Spot the beer stands out as a welcome Gloucestershire export, and this method does the name proud. Despite having a spiky backwork (Zanussi style) and some wrong place work on the front (2nds and 4ths place bell perform a Stedman Doubles single on the front), this is a very neat, logically constructed method. The music is good, with the requisite music at the back and a coursing pair doing "bedspring" places over their other course bellsí triple dodge at the half-lead. Elegant, straightforward and musical.

Ruby Delight Major : x3x4x56x1x34x45x6x1 lh 12

Itís always nice when a method whose name in itself might attract repetition, is actually worthy of a repeat. Mr and Mrs Chiltern Turboís 40th wedding anniversary was the spur for this method and very nice it is too. The tenors meet on the front in six of the seven leads and again in 3-4 in two of them, and as a result deliver music across the whole course. The blue line is about as mobile as you are likely to find in a treble-dodging method without resorting to treble bob, and although not being overly challenging, its musical properties more than justify its existence.

Wroxall Surprise Major : 3x56.4x256x3.4x4.5.36x36.1 lh 12

This is really rather good if you can forgive 4ths and 7ths place bell doing a Stedman whole turn with each other in 5-6. One often hears it said that methods donít have to be difficult to be good. The truth is that difficult methods are very rarely good, Glasgow being a classic example. Wroxall however is tricky (more so than Glasgow according to MethodMaster), but musical too. The plain course boasts 5 xx78ís off the front and 5 5678ís and 3 6578ís at the back. The BE falseness is somewhat unwelcome and unfriendly, but this method is ideal for a practice night looking for a special method beyond the (highly overrated) standard eight.

Dartmoor Surprise Major : 56x5.4x5x36x2x5x6x1 lh 12

Our thanks to Graham John for writing to us with the background to this methodís conception. Graham explains that he has been wanting to produce a composition of 12-spliced using methods from the 12 groups a-m, with all 10 possible starts (first two changes, no 87ís). This goal highlighted a gap in the market for a d-group method starting 56x. Dartmoor was born. The method is somewhat unconventional with non-coursing pairs meeting at the back (anyone remember Superlative?), but delivers no fewer than 6 xx78ís off the front. The downside is the simply horrendous M falseness (which wipes out a conventional 3-part at a stroke). However, as Graham says, the fun of spliced is the variety of starts and lead end orders, so we eagerly await the heralded composition and hope that we get to see it before the ravenous clutches of the black hole have their wicked way.

Our thanks to all those who have sent compositions and information about new methods to us via e-mail. Please do continue to write to us either via The Ringing World or to Such communication wonít guarantee inclusion in a file, but it can only help to explain finer points that might otherwise pass us by.

This file is now closed.


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