Guy Fawkes Day!! Fireworks Day!!

Remember!! Remember!! The 5th of November!!

When I were a lad we didn’t have any of these American practices, like Halloween – no Trick or Treat or dressing up. The first time I heard of Trick or Treat was when I was fourteen years old in a Chuck Berry song on Chuck Berry On Stage. I didn’t know what he was singing about. ‘Trick or Treat Baby and that means a kiss. Trick or Treat on a night like this.’

How things change. What happens in America comes right over here – good or bad! It seems we are a proxy State.

No, back when I was a boy we had Guy Fawkes Day and firework night!

We used to get some old clothes, stuff them with paper, Draw a face on paper and sellotape it round a ball of paper and make it into a head. Put a hat on it. Make some hair out of unravelled string. Tie it together with string. Put it in a pushchair and take it down the town centre where we’d hassle people for ‘Penny for the Guy, mister/mrs’. With our ill-gotten gains we’d buy penny bangers to mess about with.

There was no dressing up. It cost us precisely nothing.

All the kids from the area would scavenge the whole vicinity for anything that would burn. They’d gather all the old waste wood (and sometimes wood that wasn’t quite waste – some people would later find bits of fence missing) and create a massive bonfire. In the weeks up to November the 5th these bonfires grew massive.

On November 5th, in the evening, we’d put our guy on top, douse it all with petrol and set fire to it. We’d all stand round the blaze chucking bangers at each other, chasing the girls, letting off rockets and having a great time.

In the late evening, when it had died down, we’d put potatoes in the embers and cook them. Nothing ever tasted as good.

It was all in celebration of the gunpowder plot where Guy Fawkes, and a group of Catholic revolutionaries, planned to blow up Parliament with the King in it. They included Thomas Percy, who was an old boy of my school! He was supposedly the brains behind the operation!

The plot failed.

They were all tortured and killed as traitors.

I was never absolutely sure whether we were celebrating the fact that the plot had been subverted or the fact that at least someone had tried!!

In this day and age, under health and safety, we are not allowed those riotous unsupervised bonfires or to even throw bangers at each other! What a shame!! I mean what’s wrong with losing the odd hand or eye, or two? Or burning the odd house down?

They’ve taken all the fun out of it!!

But at least we are still burning effigies!! This year it seems that Boris Johnson (blamed for sending us into the madness of Brexit) and Donald Trump (just deemed an obnoxious hate figure) are the most popular effigies.

They’ll go up in flames this November 5th!! Good riddance!! We’ll dance round while they burn!!!

Sadly it seems that Guy Fawkes day has been displaced by Halloween with all its commercialism. There’s more money to be made out of Halloween and nobody gets blow up!!

What a shame!! I don’t like this commercial, sanitised age!! Give me the danger and fun!! The madness and mayhem!!

4 thoughts on “Guy Fawkes Day!! Fireworks Day!!

  1. Strange how much individual memories may differ.
    We always had Halloween and got dressed up in all sorts. We didn’t have that Trick or Treat business and still don’t actually and that’s an American thing. Our children don’t do that here and it’s still the tradition to go around the neighbours and sing a song at their doorways for some sweets and things.
    We have at least four big bonfires in our town just south of Leeds, and none have any effigies of either Boris or Trump, but two have big fat Merkel’s on them already. One has the Pope, but they have him every year, the last remaining remains a surprise.

      1. You appear to be subjected to some kind of Americanisation of the Halloween tradition. You’ve been B-movie’d and Hollywood’d.
        Do I really have to remind you how the Brexit vote swung here? Take a drive around to where the other half live and see for yourself.

      2. Alison – I have no illusions as to the origins of Halloween. I have a regret that we have reimported it from the USA with all the commercial frills and silliness.
        As for the burning of Angela Merkel’s effigy around Leeds I would have to be shown the evidence. I know the stupidity of the Brexit vote very well and we’ll all be living with the consequences for a long time to come.

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