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Random thoughts about sound and vision.

For whom The Bell tolls

Another day, another legend gone. Alan Rickman - the man who was Hans Gruber, Marvin the Paranoid Android, the Sheriff of Nottingham and Professor Severus Snape - has passed away

All magnificent performances. But there's another, lesser known one. In 1992, Mike Oldfield brought out Tubular Bells II, a sorta-sequel to his '70s prog-rock masterpiece. It's bland, inoffensive and not terribly memorable...except for one track.

Coyly (and anonymously) billed in the sleeve notes as "A Strolling Player", Rickman takes over the Master Of Ceremonies duties from the original's Vivian Stanshall. As Oldfield piles them on one by one, Rickman drolly introduces each instrument as it appears in his own imitable manner. No one else could make the word "glockenspiel" sound like it was emanating from the heart of darkness itself. I have no idea what "the Venetian effect" is, but Rickman makes it sound so sinister and foreboding, it ought to be slapped with a public health warning.

There have been many tributes paid today but this one rang particularly true: