It's over a decade ago. I'm sitting with a friend of mine, A, and we're looking through her calendar of Newcastle photos.
'What's a carillon?'
'No idea. Why?'
'Apparently the Newcastle Civic Centre's the only one in England to have one.'
I never found out what one was until recently (sometimes I think that I am terminally uncurious; not the best trait for a writer to have). Largely because I couldn't remember what it was Newcastle Civic had that was so unique. But in the end some judicious googling paid off (doesn't it always?) and I now know what a carillon is. It's kind of like an automated bell tower.
I used to hate the Civic Centre. I still think it's a strange, strange building. You wouldn't think that the building in this picture was the same as this, but it is. (Hopefully my pics in this post will help you work out how it all fits together; shout if not. The second one I just linked is of the courtyard inside the four sides of the building.)
But I'm a lot more fond of it than I used to be.
What I want now is a shot of the Civic at dusk from the top of the town moor. I'm working on it.
Underneath is a little video of the Civic, so you can hear the carillon playing. It's not great quality, but stick with it; it gets clearer halfway through. I'm quite excited that I managed it!