Lawlessly Yours - Remember the fifth of November – or else...

Bill Lawless
Bill Lawless
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Enjoy the fireworks? No, me neither. I think we should all go about sulking at the events of November 5, 1605, when Guido Fawkes and associates failed miserably to demolish Parliament and all within.

I have always felt that the wrong man was hung, slung and slaughtered. This fate should have been reserved for the spoilsport who grassed on the plotters.

If you ask me – and I admit nobody has – old Guy deserved no more than a right royal rollicking and ‘must try harder’ written on his end-of-term report.

Anyway, having dealt with the political background to my satisfaction if nobody else’s, I must ask why the celebrations become more muted every year?

The bangers in the average box of fireworks sound about as impressive as the farting of a flatulent flea.

And there are less and less snotty-nosed kids lighting the blue touch paper on penny bangers. These days the pyrotechnics are triggered by ‘elf and bleedin’ safety officials wearing full flame-proof garments including gauntlet gloves, goggles, ear protectors and no-one within 100 yards of the carefully controlled bonfire.

All concerned with the event will carry council-issued certificates authorising them to officiate.

This will entail a three-day residential course at a decent country hotel with plebs like us picking up the tab.

Baking spuds in the embers is strictly forbidden, naturally, unless special approved tongs are used. Training will be given in their use.

In my young day the Mighty Atom penny banger was reputedly developed at Los Alamos. This was immediately after the war, so residents of Hyde knew all about real explosions.

Even so, a couple of Mighty Atoms in a galvanised dustbin sent veterans of the Blitz diving fruitlessly into that part of the back garden that had once contained a Morrison bomb shelter.

Yes, we got a lot of bang for a buck (50p nowadays). And as for rip-raps, well... We let one off behind Softy Sedgwick who had never been the same since one day in Normandy in 1944.

He hit the deck like the Wermacht were still after him with machine guns. Aren’t kids cruel?

Catherine wheels despite their girly name were so powerful they sometimes uprooted the stakes to which they were fixed and the whole issue cartwheeled murderously along the ground in a shower of sparks which were vulgarly described as dragon’s snot.

There was one item of ordnance called Vesuvius and it produced more molten lava than its namesake when it pumiced-off Pompeii.

A few of these detonated simultaneously and it was like the recreation ground had been napalmed.

Finally we all went home, singed and sated, ears ringing with explosions, eyes still dazzled by pyrotechnics, en route to Hardwicks for meat pie and chips washed down with a bottle of dandelion and burdock pop.

Seventy years ago November 5 really was a night to remember. Since then it’s gone to the dogs. Bangs really ain’t what they used to be.