Thursday, 6 November 2008

Bonfire Night

As is our custom, Pat and I surrendered to our inner children and went to see the fireworks in Saltwell Park last night. There was a classically opaque sky with a light drizzle and the grass in the park had turned to a sea of mud, but we had a great time.

It was good to note this year that the novelty of camera phones seems to have passed and very few people there were intent on watching the fireworks through their phones so they'd have the pleasure of watching them again later through their phones.

Whenever I go to see fireworks, I try to give myself entirely to the experience, cutting out the sounds of those around me and losing myself in the audio-visual feast of light and explosions. This would be helped hugely if they'd get rid of the pounding music and inane deejay at the back of the park. Fireworks need no musical accompaniment. They have their own: crackles, pops, bangs, whistles and banshee wails are the perfect musique concrète.

There was a time when I thought that Bonfire Night should be allowed to wither away and be replaced by Halloween which has, of course, a much older pedigree. Last night, however, I came to the realisation that Bonfire Night has managed to remain mercifully resistant to commercialisation, while Halloween is now a travesty of rampant money-making, owing little to the American version and even less to the ancient festival of Samhain.

Back home, we settled down to plates of sausage and mash and endless reruns and examinations of the US Presidential election. Go Obama!


JafaBrit's Art said...

Oh I so miss Guy Fawkes, and I bet it was lovely in Saltwell Park. I so agree about Halloween :(

Anonymous said...

One of the things that I like most about Halloween, as I've noted elsewhere, is that in San Francisco the art house cinemas will sometimes run special seasonal programs. Some years back at the Castro, for example, they showed a handful of Ed Wood Jr. flicks. Those goofy movies looked very fine in crisp newly struck prints on the Castro's huge screen.


harrybell said...

For about two weeks either side of Halloween, some of our tv channels were showing horror movies just about every night. None of them old, unfortunately, and most of them terrible.