Saturday, November 04, 2006
Face it, a good firework display rocks.
The noise of masses of fireworks going off, rather like the noise of a jumbo jet taking off, is one of the most life-enhancing sounds on earth. Which is why I make a point of attending a firework display every year.
Unfortunately, there are a number of displays at which some twat has decided that we prefer to hear the soundtrack of frigging War Of The Worlds booming out in its entirety instead of fireworks. That's what you get for allowing members of the Round Table to organise events though.
This time of year always draws me back to memories of early childhood: the return to school after the summer break; various nature projects which featured primary school teachers' endless fixation with the colours of autumn leaves; the clocks going back; Hallowe'en night; the flourescent armbands we were bullied into purchasing for "fifty-new-pence" every year so that WE COULD AVOID BEING RUN OVER CROSSING THE ROAD ON THE DARK, MURKY MORNINGS AND EVENINGS.
NO, SERIOUSLY, YOU WILL DIE HORRIBLY UNDER THE WHEELS OF AN AUSTIN MAXI IF YOU DON'T WEAR A FLOURESCENT ARMBAND. REALLY.
There was also a list of terrifying Firework Code rules that we were expected to memorise and adhere to, most of which revolved around NEVER RETURNING TO A LIT FIREWORK. "KEEP PETS INDOORS ... NEVER RETURN TO A LIT FIREWORK" was a droning mantra third only to learning my times tables and the Lord's Prayer in the League Of Droning Mantras You Have To Learn At Primary School.
As my parents were too poor to let me attend an organised firework display I had to make do with seeing half a dozen crap fireworks lit, but not returned to, in our back garden. Because it wasn't very well lit out there it was a bit like stepping out into a primordial swamp, especially if there was a fog caused by the collective bonfires in the gardens of surrounding homes. The "display" used to last twenty minutes, tops.
Then, one year in the 1990's, I returned to the homestead with Geoff on Bonfire Night and we decided to go out into the garden just to watch the fireworks going off around us.
Of course, it was extremely dark and foggy. You couldn't see the fireworks going off but you could hear them. Once again I was dragged back into the primordial swamp of childhood. It was a REALLY uncanny and disturbing experience, like being sucked into a vortex. I became disembodied - it was as if I'd travelled back to a pre-birth time and was just a handful of cells. Possibly how Mr Proust felt when he tucked into his bit of Madeleine cake and experienced some kind of epiphany, the big bloody ponce. Still, it only lasted for a few minutes, thankfully.
... ahem, anyway, I now make a point of going to a firework display every year, and it compensates for all the ones I missed in childhood. Have a nice Bonfire Night, and ...
What is it with teachers and leaves they are obsessed.
It's probably a good thing that there aren't all those bonfires now. I can remember they resulted in peasouper fogs that made me really wheezy. God knows what it was like for asthmatics.
Realdoc - outdoor fireworks weren't much better in those days. They all seemed to go off about a foot above the ground. My parents had banned me from having state of the art bangers and rockets because they claimed they were too dangerous.
Teachers and leaves - they probably think it's a good way to teach young kids about the life cylce in an easy to understand way. I suppose.
Richard - argg, Danson Park. We've been to a few of the displays, but probably won't again after last year's experience. We left at the wrong exit and ended up miles from nowhere, so had to get the bus back and it was full of demonic fourteen year old boys generally terrorising everyone. The bus driver - a five foot tall woman - raced them off the bus, shouting "fack off! I've facking 'ad enough of you! You've been driving me up the facking wall all facking day!" So of course they all trooped back on at the next stop ...
I think we should start a revival of mittens. Mittens with only one thumb. So you can't actually hold a sparkler. So, you actually freeze with fear because you know you are going to be set alight. Mittens that have elastic sewn onto them and up your arms and over your shoulders through your coat arms. 'Don't lose your mittens Betty!' One thumb? What was that all about.
Bobble hats. Now, they are great! Bobble hats and matching mittens. Revival I say.
The last line of this really made me laugh. What about that old lady in the zupermarket who left her purse on the top of her wickerbasketthingy and someone stole it, then the camera flew into her face and she screamed: 'MY PURSE!!!!'
Perhaps there should be a revival of those sheepskin mittens which reduce hand mobility by about ninety eight per cent. Ever tried opening an umbrella wearing them? Or looking for keys? Impossible.
The last line of the post is the beginning of my experiment with colour to, ahem, add colour to the words in the post.
Unfortunately, it won't work for people who are not yet on Broadband, as they're still in black and white. Colourblind people will also be confused.
can't you just go up in a tall building downtown, or up on your roof or something?
remember too that i live in contraband fireworks heaven-surrounded by reserves where firework sales are legal-and so on any given fireworks holiday i have only to step out into the back yard and be ready to run.
Mr P. like Smiffy gets everything wrong as he gave up his job on the 6th November last year after reading "Light one end and retire immediately".
I'm off to hide under a bed and feel sorry for the poor roasted hedgehogs.
But THE most expensive display I ever attended was in the village of Holmbury St Mary near Guildford. My sister was doing that law thing down there for the year, and I went down for the weekend. This display cost a lorra lorra lolly to get in, but it was awe inspiringly good.
Local celeb Mike Read/Reid/Reed (the DJ) did the honours in starting the whole thing off. There he was, on a dampish November night, in his white suit.
Ever since, firework night is spoiled for me because I know that rich people get better displays than we ordinary mortals do. Though to be fair, Milton Keynes always does a good 'un.
Murphmeister - you're absolutely right. The combination of firework smells and whiff of bonfire on a crisp autumn night is an annual thing. Another thing which is an annual event is the letter you always get in the papers advising you to check that there are no hedgehogs in your bonfire from the Tiggywinkles Home For Retired Hedgehogs, or whatever it's called.
Richard - the pyrotechnics are constantly improving, judging by the one we were at last night. All pretty tastefully done, but then it was terribly naice Blackheath.
Rob - you're probably right, but I think the one in Blackheath was extremely well done and lasted for around half an hour, so I can't grumble as it was all for free. No crappy local yokel DJ playing dedications for Kelly's mum at booming volume beforehand either.
Stitchwort - I think I'm going to have to do a serious investigation into whether mittens are still available in shops, especially those sheepskin ones.
Anyway - "Ooooooooooooooooooh! Aahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!" Or "Ooooooooooooooooooh! Aarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!" as your mates The Wurzels would say.
Mind you, he is a bit of alright, that I have to concede.
a) they had a crappy address system blasting over the noise of the fireworks - would I have noticed this if you hadn't pointed it out - hmmmm don't know but it annoyed me
b) I nipped in for a wee on a loo where my knees kept my ears warm so I stayed there for 5 minutes.
c) on the way there I passed 2 displays of autumn leaves - ahhhh!
d) I work in a primary school and we have never done a display of autumn leaves - the only person obsessed with them here is the caretaker who does a shoddy job of sweeping them up!
no wonder Ofsted weren't impressed - I shall mention the Autumn leaves thing to the Head at once.
Yeah, your school definitely needs to work on its autumn leaf profile. You certainly need a "how a leaf changes through the year" chart pinned up in the corridors at least.
Realdoc - I think Molly mentioned mittens on strings somewhere earlier. I wish the same principle could be applied to other things that come in pairs for those of us who are scatterbrained and prone to losing stuff - shoes on strings, socks on strings, earrings on strings etc.