Boom! Screech! Odd rustling noise!

Are just some of the noises you’ll be hearing tonight all over the country as we collectively do what a long-dead terrorist never could and blow the living shit out of anything even vaguely explosive.

Seriously though, what is with the rustling fireworks? Rockets? Yes. Roman candles? Take or leave but I see the point of them. Massive, oversized bomb with ridiculous name like ‘The Omnikill 5000’ masquerading as a source of family entertainment because its staggering blast is accompanied by a hint of fuchsia? Heck yes. But the ones that screech into the night sky only to fade out into a noise like a car skidding in gravel? Not for me.

I imagine that the spirit of Guy Fawkes would hope that we’d have stopped ridiculing him by now, given that it’s been 400 years and the British collective memory usually only goes as far back as last week’s X Factor. He’s out of luck though, because we fucking LOVE burning stuff, apparently.

I love and fear November 5th in equal measure. Love because I’m a man and as such have a strange urge to go out and buy as much sparkly gunpowder-based fun as I can carry at this time of year. Fear for the exact same reasons.

“Yes, but how loud is it? Will it deafen next door’s cat? Excellent. No, I’ll pay cash please.”

It’s like being drunk and waking up with a cone in your room. Across the land, men will suddenly come to at around 6 o’clock having lost the previous 6 hours and with enough firepower in the back garden to get them onto the terrorism watch list for the next fifty years.

This frightening arsenal will no doubt be set up in the most hilariously inappropriate way, usually a) in a bucket of sand or my all-time favourite b) in a gro-bag. Some even more reckless fools will attempt c) propped against a bush. It’s these folk who usually make it onto the safety adverts next year.

When it comes to showtime, usually about 8 when the adults are comfortably hammered, the lead male will position the spectators at most ten of the recommended two hundred feet away from the blast zone (children at the front, “So they can see”. Ha. Fools. They’re simply a protective barrier.) and then the group will bicker as to who gets to risk life and face going to light the worryingly short fuse of oblivion.

If everyone survives this admittedly tense display without losing an eye, the show generally goes off without a hitch. There are oohs, there are aahs, there’s always one child who bursts into inconsolable tears every year (why would you bring them?). Then comes the bonfire.

The bonfire is always the least rational part of the evening, in a night characterised by a stunning lack of rationality. Firstly, every household firework night always ends up with a bonfire, and the person in charge always forgets to have anything suitable for creating a bonfire i.e. firewood. Old furniture is always the first to go, even if you quite liked the teak dresser and it still has stuff in it; it’s a noble sacrifice. When your prized family heirlooms are spent there’s only one option left.

The fence.

November 6th must be like Christmas for fence companies. A statistic I just made up indicates that one in three fence panels are ritually burned on bonfire night as mob mentality truly takes hold and even the village priest is necking vodka and screaming “FUCKING BURN IT YOU C***!” It wouldn’t surprise me if fence salespeople go door to door the next day, scoping out houses which smell of smoke and regret and greeting the bewildered and formerly respectable homeowner with the line, “So, how many do you need this year?”

Jeff had perhaps let too much of the fence go this year.

In short then, November 5th can be categorised as dangerous, violent, destructive, tortuous to small children and animals and financially punishing.

AKA it’s epic.

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