Thursday, 12 November 2009

The Importance of Coming Together

The days are getting shorter and darker. The air smells of fire. Everything is wet and brown. Nothing will really dry out now until the Spring although soon, it will freeze. The leaves that are left on the trees are hanging, limp. You can still hear the birds singing but there are fewer notes, more rests.

One of the highlights for me of this time of year has just passed: bonfire night. For the last couple of years we've let off our own - this year we went to a display. We were driving home through Bedale when we saw a massive pile of pallets topped with a guy in the field where they usually hold car boot sales. It was already late afternoon so we decided we'd go home, drop off our stuff, grab some hats and coats and come back.

Bedale is not a big place and it was amazing to see how when thousands of people descended on it the usual rules ceased to apply. People just parked where there was a space to park: the whole place bristled with parked cars. The atmosphere was great and the fireworks incredible. I don't know how long it went on for - I lost all sense of time. The combination of the charity shop LP box favourite, The Planets Suite (which I really like) played full blast and a sky full of spectacular fireworks was overwhelming. Communal, exciting, straightforward, emotional, like a football match with the competitive bit taken out. Somehow they worked the Dr Who theme into it as well (and that would make the hairs on the back of my neck if I had any stand up on end even if I heard it through the world's tinniest clock radio). Part of me (not the hedgehog and cat-lover though) wishes we did it every Saturday night, from when the clocks go back to when they go forward again. But it would pall. Oh well, roll on Christmas...

10 comments:

Rachel Fox said...

Sorry to lower the tone but when I saw your heading I thought you'd moved into the sex manual business...

x

Poet in Residence said...

Memo to self: remember to visit the Fox blog :)

Dominic, the Planet Suite is one of my favourites too - esp. Jupiter. Thanks for reminding me. I'll play it really loud later today when I'm alone.

the watercats said...

one thing I miss about england (about the only one), bonfire night. As a kid we would get together with neighbours, pool the fireworks, mums would make toffee apples and sandwhiches, us kids would go nuts and we'd go round before hand with our guy looking for pennies... it was great.. fireworks are illegal in Ireland, you have to buy them north of the border, where I hear there are clandestine firework shops set up just on the edges of it for southern punters... in some ways, I suppose that makes them all the more brilliant when you do see some going off... and yes! Christmas.. I love it!

Totalfeckineejit said...

Rachel beat me to it ! But that was a lovely evocative post Dominic.But how did they broadcast the music on radio?

Dominic Rivron said...

RF: Now there's a thought. The double entendre had passed me by.

PiR: If you're like me, it's one of those pieces that make you think wow when you listen but you don't think of sticking on unless you're reminded of it. At the risk of encouraging Rachel to comment again, my favourite movement is Uranus the Magician.

watercats: Illegal?? (On account of the troubles perhaps?) That's a shame. Is there no campaign to legalise them?

TFE: The music came out of a dirty great Tannoy. It was to hifi what deep fried mars bars are to haute cuisine - but it was great.

Poet in Residence said...

Dominic. I think the cds are in a worse state than the poetry books. Can't find the darned thing. I'm having to resort to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Khachaturian's Spartacus. Never mind, it's LOUD! And it's GOOD! It's something for your next fireworks evening. New Years' Eve, that'd be good. A change from Robbie Birns anyway...

The Weaver of Grass said...

Sorry we didn't join you for the fireworks evening - sounds fun. I had forgotten just how much you enjoy Bonfire Night - I find it a bit macabre that we still burn an effigy - but the idea of playing the Planets Suite at the same time sounds marvellous.

The Solitary Walker said...

I thought exactly the same as Rachel on reading your post title in my side-bar just now. And I'm afraid the leaves 'hanging limp' just made things worse!

Oh dear... Perhaps it's time to reassess the intellectual calibre of your blog readers, Dominic, and put us down as, well, just plain smutty from now on!

I vividly remember buying 'The Joy Of Sex' from a bookshop in Lichfield - bang on publication date. (Those cute, vaguely hippie illustrations caused a whole generation to believe that long hair and beards were completely de rigueur for a satisfying love life.)

Dominic Rivron said...

PiR: What a good idea! New Years Eve Fireworks with Planets. I've got a dirty great PA kicking about so I might just get round to it!

WG: Not half so macabre as burning the real thing!

SW: Lichfield of all places. Beards - for the men, presumably. The beard business itself predates TJOS. Check out the words to the Purcell drinking song, I gave her cakes and I gave her ale. Yes, well.

dick said...

For me, Guy Fawkes is still the only man who went to Parliament with the intention of keeping his promise. So I'm with the effigy on the top of the pile rather than the flames!

But I do like a bit of communal fire. We passed on the village display this year and did it all with a £10.00 box of old-fashioned fireworks from Wilkinson's. The kids loved it and it took me back to my childhood garden and the family standing by while, for a few minutes, the world went up in flames.