Sunday, 4 November 2007

Whizz! Bang!

I love fireworks, I really do. When I die, I want my ashes mixed with gunpowder and used to make a whole fireworks display (not just one like Hunter S Thompson, I mean a pinch of ashes in each rocket) which all my friends and family will attend and, more importantly, enjoy. I wouldn't want a depressing funeral. The fireworks should be orchestrated to something over-the-top upbeat, like Celebrate by Kool and the Gang. Ideally they would be shot off the pier in my hometown, but that might be difficult to sort out with the local council, so a garden will do if necessary. I've been telling people this for ages in the hope that someone will (a) take me seriously (because I am very serious), and (b) remember to do this. I do intend to put it in my will when I make one. I don't believe I will be looking down on the funeral enjoying it, but it would give me great pleasure if I was, if you know what I mean. At least I hope everyone will tell me they're going to do it, on my deathbed.

Why? Because of the colours, and the light, and the noise, and the chemistry. Who wouldn't want to be shot into space in a riot of colour and noise, making the crowd go "Ooooh"?

Given I'm also a cold weather type, I really look forward to Guy Fawkes' Night, or at least the relevant weekend even if not 5 November itself, for fireworks out in the chilly darkness. This weekend I managed to spend both Friday and Saturday nights out watching fireworks, surrounded by good friends, wrapped up warm with wine and sparklers. What could be better?

On Friday night we (me, the boyfriend and a good dozen of various friends) headed up Primrose Hill in north London to watch the various displays taking place over the city skyline. This is something of a tradition - I've done this every year since I came to London, which will make this the ninth time. We took plenty of alcohol and a picnic (mainly cheese admittedly). The most fun part of this is trying to work out where all the fireworks are coming from, armed only with our imprecise sense of direction and knowledge of obscure parts of south London in the dark, and a copy of the paper listing the various displays. This inevitably leads to arguments along the lines of, "No, that can't be Clapham, they're not close enough," and, "But I thought Kingston was south east!" It is strange and beautiful to see fireworks so small and silent in the distance, without the expected bangs, which just don't carry across the city. Normally this is made all the more exciting by gangs of youths setting fireworks off at each other on the lower slopes of the hill, but there was a zero-tolerance policy this year, and police were patrolling to send them packing. Two very nice policemen on bikes did come and investigate our party to make sure we weren't intending to stay there all night. They were terribly professional in refusing our offer of Choco Liebniz biscuits.

Saturday involved knitting and cherry beer in the afternoon at the Dove with the lovely ladies, where I continued to motor along with my colleague's football beanie (deadline of Friday in time for next Man U home game on Sunday). We then made a flying visit to Gail's new flat, which is really nice and much bigger than the photos suggested. Fuelled by pink champagne and chocolate cake from Adrienne, we hot-footed it to Victoria Park for some fireworks up close and personal. All I can say is: Best. Fireworks. Ever. They went on and on, they just would not die, as big, loud and relentless as you could wish for. Best of all were the hilarious, surreal, giant blazing outlines, hoisted by two cranes, one of a terribly camp skeleton in a hat waving to the crowd, and the other of Big Ben (as the tourists know it) with fins taking off like a rocket with a giant catherine wheel for a clock face. Inspired. And free! A poor photo is below from my cameraphone as I forgot to take my camera that can actually cope with fireworks. Finding a pub with even standing room afterwards was a mission but we even found a table in one in the end, for more red wine and great company. Oh, I was thankful for a lie-in this morning! Sigh, such a long wait for next year, although roll on next weekend for the Lord Mayor's Show fireworks!

P.S. I quite forgot... the words to "Dorset is Beautiful" can be found here (scroll down) - there is some variation compared to what I was singing but that's to be expected with a folk song. I'd forgotten there were other verses but we did sing these at school too, despite the obvious entendres. Do not attempt without the proper accent...

1 comment:

Gail said...

I've worked out who the skeleton was modelled on - not Guy Fawkes, it was Quentin Crisp.
And your singing voice is just too lovely - we couldn't possibly get the accent right though if we tried to carry on with Dorset is Beautiful!