Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Undercover restorers fix Paris landmark's clock

I have to thank Eric Friesen of Radio 2 for bringing this story to my attention which I missed in yesterday's Guardian.

A team of guerrilla restorers have repaired the clock at the Paris Pantheon. It had been out of order since the sixties. They stayed in the building one night and found they could easily circumvent the security system. They installed a workshop under the dome and repaired the clock. It took a year. Then they had to decide whether or not to tell the authorities. After all, somebody was going to have to wind it regularly to keep it going.

The authorities were not amused, and the restorers were prosecuted but on Friday they were acquitted in a rare display of judicial common sense.

I have always liked the idea of random acts of kindness, and anonymous guerrilla activity to improve the place - like the secret gardeners who cultivate neglected public land. I cannot think of a better way of showing our "masters" what we think of them.

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