Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...
As festivals go this one has got to be my favourite and the one I miss the most. To me it was the marker that the days were becoming colder and darker. I loved being all bundled up in my scarf and duffle coat and standing before that immense roaring orange monster, whose flames reached high into the sky, crackling and lunging upward. I loved the sparklers (although if truth be told, they scared me a little), and most of all I loved the fireworks. The whees and whizzes followed by a dandelion puff of colour that meandered back to the ground losing its shine. Even today I still love anything that involves fireworks, but it’s still not as special as Guy Fawkes Night.
The build up to Guy Fawkes was special too. Groups of shaven headed boys patrolling around town demanding: ‘Penny for the Guy’. And it always seemed to me, those who shouted loudest were the ones with the most poorly put together Guy. What the effigy lacked in stuffing was made up for in volume.
And then Guy Fawkes Night is one of the few things that is celebrated over the year that is curiously British. Maybe it’s my rebellious nature that loves the thought of something that is based in conspiracy and a fight for religious freedom. Maybe it’s the bonfire and fireworks. Maybe it’s jacket potatoes. Whatever it is Guido and the motley crew he worked for made an impression on me that has stuck. It has become part of my personal cultural identity.
Until I left
I sometimes get frustrated when people ask me what nationality I am and then ask me where I was born. Sometimes it’s just great to open my mouth and for someone to say: Oh you’re a Londoner and straight away there is a shared understanding.
It’s challenging and exciting to live outside my culture and in some ways I feel I understand it more now that I am outside of it. I am more able to criticise and be open-minded, to take the aspects I value and leave those I do not. I suppose I wouldn’t change anything; although it would be nice for my face to be licked by the heat of a bonfire tonight and for me to stare up open-mouthed at the fireworks.