I was wrong about fireworks

Sometimes you experience things when little that put you off for life. For me firework displays have always conjured up memories of cold damp evenings on the recreation ground. Bickering families, pushchairs, wet grass and never being allowed to realise the delicious smells wafting from the burger van. The display, never more than a poxy few hundred quid’s worth, was always run by a bunch of bearded blokes from the PTA. Setting them off one by one: The Catherine wheels that only occasionally wheeled, Roman Candles (Why?). The highlight of the evening was the flares attached to parachutes, falling slowly from the sky, blown from side to side in the wind. Apart from that, the shitty village firework display is just another chapter in the myth that is rural living.

My lifelong miserable attitude to fireworks ended last night in Brockwell Park SE24: Short grass, space, good public transport, no young farmers, Carling Black Label, Tandori chicken.

The fireworks are a complete generation away from the uncoordinated, 2 dimensional, manually lit rockets of twenty years ago. Now the whole display is a laptop (must be better) controlled presentation of immense beauty and power. Sky filling explosions of colour, noise, cordite and excitement. Ground shaking devices fired invisibly from mortar tubes, detonating unpredictably in wonderment in exactly the right area of sky’s temporary stage.

I’m properly converted, and it was free too. Things weren’t always better in the old days.

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