So, lesson learned the hard way: fireworks festivals are, ahem… loud. Most important accessory #1: ear plugs! Second lesson learned the hard way: photographers crouching low to the curb and looking through their lenses rather than vigilantly watching firecracker-throwing parade participants make for fun M-80 targets, apparently. Despite getting by pelted by M-80s and nearly having my ear blown off, the Lewes Bonfire Night was an awesome spectacle: eerie and sinisterly gorgeous in a way that one can barely believe is allowed to happen in the health and safety culture of Britain.
One of the first questions I asked about the Guy Fawkes celebration in Britain is whether the event aimed to celebrate the revolutionary spirit of Guy Fawkes’ attempt to blow up Parliament or whether it aimed to celebrate the fact that Fawkes’ plan had been foiled and the power structure had remained intact. The answer is the latter, of course. As we watched the Southover bonfire flames climbing higher and higher, it took little stretch of the imagination to see a condemned man atop them and my companion put it this way: the events of Guy Fawkes Day are a reminder of what happens to those who challenge authority. For some insight into the terrible and fascinating history of the whole thing, see here.
To see my full set of photos from the night, click here.