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!!