millionreasons: (london)
Like being a cat person or a dog person, you're either Hallowe'en or Bonfire Night. Of course, some people are both, but most have a preference for one or the other. Hallowe'enies are extraverts who like dressing up, or those who are still nurturing their inner trick or treater, or goths, or people who love Druidical myths ("It's actually the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain..." Guy Fawkesies are those who are more interested in actual history and like pretty colours in the sky and still feel a childhood thrill of danger about going back to a lit firework*. I am of the latter camp. Saturday, we went to our local display on Wanstead Flats. We have been to it in previous years but this was the first time as a Newham council tax payer so I wanted to get my £133 a month's worth. It was a good 'un: cherry cola trails, a disintegrating phoenix, electrical weeping willow tree, all to a dystopic soundtrack of the music from War of The Worlds, Armageddon and um, Frozen.

Sunday, we went to Victoria Park. Victoria Park's used to be stupendous, with burning skeleton and robots roaming the crowds, then it ceased and now it's come back smaller, less crowded, but still cool. The theme was the Great Fire Of London and accordingly, there was a fiery tableau of 17th century London, accompanied by cannons of fire, set to a macabre spoken word soundtrack including "Ring a ring of roses, a city full of smoke, four and twenty people, all begin to choke", as well as Burning Down The House and instead of Fire Starter, another Big Beat anthem, Right Here! Right Now! It's a terrible shame that no display ever uses the little-remembered Sleeper song Pyrotechnician (I think I love you). On the other hand, Fireworks Night must be to Katy Perry as Christmas is to Shane Macgowan.



* I suppose if you examine it more closely, Guy Fawkes night is about religious intolerance, so let's draw a discreet veil over that.
millionreasons: (Default)
I was hoping that the Victoria Park fireworks were going to rubbish and recessional; I didn't think anything would out-do last year's robots in space theme and I felt that another great display would just lead to too high expectations for Nov 2010. Happily, I was wrong.

This year's theme is !Fire! and the display starts suddenly - no Lazengentlemenboyzngirls announcements - with a bang and a whoosh from the flame throwers and then a Tower Hamlets logo is set alight as a '50s song starts doo-wopping and the pyrotechnics fizz upwards with the chorus. The brilliance of the display is the way the songs coalesce with the fireworks and then, wonderfully, the fireworks start to match the songs; gunpowder explodes into rings during Ring of Fire, and heart-shapes when Peggy sings about Romeo & Juliet and Anthony & Clepatra. And of course Great Balls of Fire is a fire display, (no 'works) with great gushes of flames from the oil burners. Another romatic song just features white lights, white heat. Pure pyro-artistry.



Even if Elton John and Liberace were to throw a joint Bonfire Night party, it wouldn't be half as good as this. Thanks, Tower Hamlets council tax payers! Hope your streets remain swept and your bins still get emptied.

Chinese lanterns float above the park.




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