Monday, November 05, 2007

Remember, remember

As I write this the sound of gunfire clatters in the street outside. Huge explosions rock the glass in my window. Orange haze stains the night sky as distant fires rage.

A smoky mist lingers in the crisp November air.

No, England hasn't been invaded. Marauding rioters aren't destroying the town. And I haven't taken a day trip to Iraq.

It's just that time of year again where we decide to celebrate the fact that 402 years ago a Catholic tried (and failed) to blow up the Houses of Parliament. So now, to show our solidarity in this traditional religious intolerance, we feel the need to purchase illegal industrial fireworks and set them off in our own back yards.

Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoy Bonfire Night. In fact on Saturday I wended my merry way down to Tesco and took advantage of their "buy 1 get 1 free" offer on fireworks, and later that evening we set them off (and we were only slightly drunk).

But these were "garden fireworks". Actually sold for use in people's gardens. And, if I have to be honest, some of them weren't that good (in fact, some of them were really quite crap). But we all had a good time nevertheless.

These aren't garden fireworks going off outside.

I'll try and describe what I can see from my window now. If you've ever been to an organised fireworks display you'll know that those fireworks are considerably louder, faster and bigger than what you can buy over the counter at your local supermarket. Imagine those types of fireworks being set off from at least one house per street as far as I can see. I can see maybe twenty streets from here.

All around rockets are screaming into the sky, erupting into a shower of sparks. It is really impressive looking actually, and I admit there is a tinge of jealousy that their fireworks are better than the ones I bought on Saturday.

But imagine this. You jab a rocket a little too far into the ground and light it. What happens? It goes nowhere and makes a big bang. Imagine doing that with one of the industrial fireworks I'm looking at right now. The outcome of that would spoil any body's night.

I can't remember a Bonfire Night being this noisy. How come people are spending this much money on their own personal fireworks displays? Is it just petty competitiveness that makes people do it?

I'll be sticking with my legal garden fireworks, thank you.

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