Monday, October 19, 2009

It’s That Time Of Year Again

I’ve ranted about this before.

But like a poo that just won’t flush away it keeps coming back.


I’m not trying to ban them. I’m not trying to make them Public Enemy no. 1. But I would, if I’m honest, like to see them more strictly controlled.

Now, I’m not a fun-puritan or a celebration-Nazi but it seems bizarre to me that a shop needs a license to sell fireworks but any idiot with a debit card or the cash can buy them.

Absolutely any idiot. Any idiot at all.

And they do. In droves. (Actually what is the collective noun for idiots? A pranite? A trough? A smear?)

We’re only half way through October but already we’ve had our evenings disturbed by the war in Afghanistan being reenacted outside and this nightly barrage will continue well into November as the shops who greedily stockpiled their weapons of mass disruption continue to offload them onto pyromaniacal youths with expensive Nike’s and cheap cigarette lighters in order to recoup their initial expenditure.

Where do these youths get the money from to buy all this gunpowder? I’m not talking about the odd bang every hour (hey – sounds like a great night in) but a whole orchestra of explosions and aerial eruptions. A veritable symphony of aural fire and destruction. And I’m not talking about little fizzes and popping noises either; I’m talking about the kind of detonations that could dissolve kidney stones if the sufferer was standing close enough.

The windows shake. The cable TV connection twitches. Pacemakers pause (literally) for a heartbeat.

The kids are disturbed. I’m disturbed. The TV is disturbed. And animals... well, animals just become disturbed.

And for what? Some pretty coloured lights in the sky. And that’s before we get onto the subject of burns, accidents, malicious damage (great name for a record company) and the number of deaths caused by unregulated firework usage in the UK alone.

I have personally witnessed youths launching fireworks horizontally down the middle of the road in a bid to prove how dumb and dumberer (great name for a film) they really are. Or worse still, throwing them – ignited – across a road. And then you read about the ones that launch fireworks through people’s letterboxes or light them inside a house or tie them to the tail of someone’s pet... on and on it goes. People who can’t be trusted with a bottle of Clearasil are being allowed to play with gunpowder at night on our own streets! It’s positively insane!

In my opinion it’s criminal.

So. I’m not saying “let’s ban fireworks”.

I’m saying let’s ban the sale of fireworks to individuals. Let’s have properly organized displays only. They’re safer. They’re more cost effective. They’re more entertaining. And, even better, they’re confined to a single night of the year.


So am I making sense? Or am I just an older banger with a short fuse?

Answers on a rocket to the usual address please...



They really seem to be behaving themselves this year in Cardiff (touch wood!)the only time I did hear them was Saturday and so it could have been for Diwali and that does go on for 5 days.

Steve said...

Ally: that's a good point but I'm bloodyminded enough to stick to my argument. Fireworks are evil! They should be burnt at the stake! No wait... that's what they do anyway... oh poo!

Gina said...

I haven't heard any yet but then I am not the world's most alert person. My house is so noisy anyway! But yes, I do kind of agree - much as I dislike over-regulation and the spoiling of fun generally - and I think it would be better if people had to purchase a licence of some type to buy many fireworks.

My youngest used to be petrified of them and would never sleep alone for weeks around 5 Nov. Thankfully he has grown out of that now but it was not a lot of fun at the time for any of us.

Steve said...

Gina: poor kid. That can't have been fun at all. I don't think it's any fun for the elderly at this time of year either... and certainly not for pets. I'm all for having fun - but not when there's a cost involved. And a cost that someone else has to pay.

KeyReed said...

Steve I am with you 100% on this.

Steve said...

Tenon_Saw: I am glad I am not alone.

The Sagittarian said...

Over here the sale of fireworks is limited to a short period of time before 5 November, something like only a week before then that they can go on sale. Doesn't seem to make much difference but people do have to prove they are over 18 to buy them (like there are no idiots over 18!)
Our rabbits and cats aren't keen on fireworks and I have to say I only like the pretty ones!
I'm probably about 95% with you on this one.

skatey katie said...

hey, old banger.
i remember the daze when ya nearly blew yer fingers off trying to hold a whole string of double happies.
bring it X

Steve said...

Amanda: 95% would be a great exam result so I'm happy to have you on board with your 5% of doubts. Just remember the poor little bunnykins!

The Joined up Cook said...

It does seem a bit quieter this year and I haven't so aware of them in the shops either.....yet.

I do think people get competetive with them though.

I look around the houses nearby and you can bet your bottom dollar thgat those with the great big 'fuck me' warrior vehicles and the like in their drives will have some kind of ballistic missile system to let off on the night.

The bike shed said...

And can you remember those ridiculous sparklers you had as a kid? I never understood those; you stand round twirling a stick and watch it burn down to a glowing, skin charring amber glow, then toss it away. Always a disappointment somehow.

Steve said...

Katie: what are double happies? They sound like a utility belt of hand grenades...!

AWB: I must admit I may have jumped the gun - I think Mother Of Many may be right and what I heard were Diwali celebrations 'cos it's been quieter since. However, my argument stands just because I'm a curmudgeon. And you're right: there is a keeping up if not exceeding the Jones's element to bonfire night. But I'm also amazed that it's sometimes the poorest families that waste the most money on fireworks. As a consumer product they really are a stupid buy. Why don't we all just throw £50 onto the bonfire and have done with it?

Mark: I agree. Sparklers were a waste of time. A poor consolation prize for not having a rocket that could dent the moon. You wave them about. Write your name with them. And are then left holding a strip of glowing metal that's hot enough to meld your gloves to your fingers. Why not just let kids play with hot pokers instead?

meva said...

When I was a kid fireworks were freely available in Australia. We used to gather around a bonfire. lock our dogs and cats up, and hope for the best.

Now they're regulated and I think that's a good thing. In the bad old days there were always reports of dogs/horses/unpeoples being stuck in the throat with sky rockets or disfigured with whirly-gigs and such-like.

Everyone likes a spectacle; but no-one needs a spectacle that involves pain/suffering/paramedics.


Owen said...

Anyone for bangers and mash ???

Well, there is no shortage of troughs full of idiots on this planet. If a few of them take themselves out by doing stupid things with fireworks, they are perhaps well deserving of the Darwin Award they probably won, or would have won if the Darwin Award people had heard of them. One story comes to mind, a guy got killed in the US somewhere a couple of years ago when one of his big mortar launched fireworks did not go off, and he was looking down the mortar tube to see what was wrong when it fired... playing with fire is dangerous, I think we all get that drilled into our little heads as children. But some folks seem to think they qualify for diplomatic immunity from the fireworks gods, or something like that. If they really want to play with some exciting fireworks, maybe they should head to Somalia and join the pirates... and learn how to set of some of those noisy, horizontally launched things called rocket propelled grenades... apparently those make quite a bang on the side of a ship's hull... I'm with you 99.9 percent on this one... (the other .1 percent is the little boy I was who used to set off M80s and cherry bombs to make a ruckus and blow up some of our toys... but we had figured out how to make time delay fuses out of cigarettes, so we were usually nowhere in the immediate vicinity when these things blew up... sometimes we were even in the house watching TV with the parents when the blast went off, and we listened to the parents griping about those bad kids out there...)

Now, I'm just off to finish my mash...

Steve said...

Meva: "Everyone likes a spectacle; but no-one needs a spectacle that involves pain/suffering/paramedics" - now that I want printed on a T-shirt or spread across posters 16ft wide on the sides of buildings. Absolutely.

Owen: I must admit the story of your timer delays implicating the 'rough kids up the road' while you sat innocently watching television had me in hysterics. And you're dead right. Anyone who likes blowing up things that much should either join the army or present Top Gear.

Savannah said...

Fireworks were banned in Australia years ago although people somehow still get hold of them. I remember when I was in High School, being terrified because kids were throwing firecrackers at everyone as they walked to school. I have always been scared of them so it was the happiest day of my life when they were banned. I know I'm a real kill joy but there are always the well organised displays on special occasions like New Years Eve for those who need their fix.

Nota Bene said...

Oh oh oh. I love fireworks. They are as natural as snow on Christmas day. As a thuggish youth I remember our shared house having a rocket battle with the house next door. How grown up were we? At school there was the apocryphal story of the lad who filled his pockets full of fireworks, only for them to explode.

The ones you buy in the shops simply go phut and fizzle a bit...but I can't quite come to agree to only allowing organised displays....and if they were banned, we'd miss out on this salutory lesson:

Steve said...

Gypsy: good to have you in the campaign tent - I've often thought Australia was very forward thinking and this confirms it! Three cheers for Oz!

Nota Bene: you 'ooligan! ;-)

Clippy Mat said...

formal fireworks displays definitely and a law against being a public nuisance and just chucking them about the streets willy nilly. when i stayed with my ma in law in the uk around bonfire night a few years ago, the kids on the estate were putting bangers in the wheelie bins and the place sounded like a war zone.
frightened the sh*te outta me!

Steve said...

Clippy Mat: bangers in the wheelie bins? Good grief. This proves my point and then some!

French Fancy... said...

One of the best things here at this time of year is that there is no November 5th. Of course the French do have fireworks at various fete days but they begin about 11pm and are over by 11.15. It really is a different world out here

Steve said...

FF: I'm sold. Viva la France!

Valerie said...

Fireworks are evil, and so are the people who use them. As a victim of burns I was in hospital when the victims of fireworks were brought in. It has been my oft quoted theory that it should be mandatory for all parents to visit a Burns Unit and see the horrors suffered by babies, toddlers, and adults. Even the smell of burnt flesh is enough to put anyone evening striking a match. I'm glad you posted this Steve, more needs to be said and done about the subject. Let's face it, it's really playing with fire... the explosive variety, and no-one is imune when flames lick their ankles.

Steve said...

Valerie: excellent points and ones that cannot be refuted by the "It's only a bit of fun" brigade. In my opinion even one injury is too high a price to pay. Let's make firworks safe by making them organized and properly licensed in their usage not just their sale.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

As per last year, I couldn't agree more. More noise abatement officers at once please!

Steve said...

Laura: and more firemen!