RICK JACKSON: Our las total eclipse was typically British – cloudy

Rick Jackson believes Big Ben's bongs should not be silenced
Rick Jackson believes Big Ben's bongs should not be silenced
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We would hardly have noticed it here on Monday evening at 7.40pm, but in certain parts of America the total eclipse was stunning.

Even more so were photos from the International Space Station showing dark patches over the northern hemisphere as the moon slowly made its way in front of the sun.

It’s one of those little wonders that reminds us that we are simply a tiny ball spinning around in something far more vast.

The Americans celebrated this total eclipse the only way they know how – by going over the top.

Even Bonnie Tyler was flown to the Caribbean, where she boarded a cruise ship and sang her 1983 hit Total Eclipse Of The Heart.

Do you remember the total eclipse here in the UK?

It was August 11, 1999. I was hosting the breakfast show on what was Power FM at the time.

Each summer we threw a free one-day festival on Southampton Common called Power in the Park.

On August 11, 1999, we decided to do something similar, but on Southsea Common, which we called Power in the Dark – see what we did there?

Remember all the warnings we received about not looking directly at the sun?

Even newspapers were handing out free sunglasses adapted to allow wearers to look safely at the eclipse.

As for the event itself, even though I hosted the free concert, I can only remember one act, they were the girl group The Honeyz. But I remember the eclipse, that will stay with me forever.

In true typical British style, it was a cloudy day and we only caught occasional glimpses of the sun as the clouds flew by.

I do remember though, at around 11.11am, how dark it got and that the temperature really did fall.

I also remember how quiet it went. The wind dropped and birds stopped singing.

I’m so glad I did something special on that day, as for many of us, we won’t see another. The next is September 23, 2090.

I don’t think The Honeyz will be available for a reunion!


This Bank Holiday weekend, if the weather is good, 75 per cent of all barbecues will be tended to by men.

Some of these men will never cook a meal in the kitchen.

But, for some reason, they think they should be the ones cooking chicken thoroughly and feeding the guests.

Why do men feel the need to pick up the tongs and not leave it to the cook in the family?

Is it simply because women don’t want to be sprayed with fat or covered in thick smoke, causing their hair and clothes to smell?

I watched my wife at a recent barbecue.

She had no interest in cooking the meat, she was more than happy sorting out the prosecco for everyone.



Ireally am dead against Big Ben being silenced for more than four years while repair work is carried out to the Elizabeth Tower and all the mechanical workings are looked at.

Around £29m is being spent on our national treasure.

She really is the symbol of the UK – like the Eiffel Tower is for France and the Statue of Liberty is a powerful symbol for the US.

Even two world wars couldn’t silence her.

That sound represents our stability, our continuity, our democracy and our way of life.

Like Big Ben, you can depend on the British. Maybe we could give the workmen a pair of those Bose noise-cancelling headphones?

They would be listening to their favourite tunes oblivious to her 118-decibel clang.