Thursday, 10 October 2013

10 fifth

Bonfire Night -  the Dads build the bonfire, light it and poke it about. The Mums have organised the buying of the fireworks and the Dads set them up and set them off, remembering to find empty milk bottles for the rockets and a hammer and nail to fix the Catherine Wheels to the wall or a tree. We've chanted the song over and over, we've had the lesson at school as usual, we've drawn men in funny hats with big round black bombs, we've been titillated by the hints of Guy Fawkes unpleasant end. I'm drawn by things that frighten me. I have a love hate relationship with the fireworks because they terrify me and they  thrill me. I worry about my little cat. I worry about the house catching fire. I worry about getting burned or losing my eye. I worry about my Dad getting his hand blown off by exploding Roman Candles. There are sparklers. I really hate the sparklers although I want not to, I want to be like the other kids and hold my sparkler in my unmitted hand and wave it about and write letters in the black night air with it. Uncle Ron brings me a sparkler and tries to make me take it but I scream and burst into tears. He is upset that I am upset and tries to comfort me. Luckily, even at this tender age, I can be comforted by food. A jacket potato, cooked in foil at the bottom of the bonfire, all charry and black and dripping with warm melting butter, can put my small world to rights. And after, I love the smell of woodsmoke, of spent bangers, of onions and soup. And the next day I love to see all the dead fireworks on pavements and garden paths, damp squids every one. 

page  31 word fifth
Tom Wolfe

Which I only bought  - in a charity shop - because of my fascination with the book about the film adaptation of a better known book by the same writer, more of which on day 20. Meanwhile, this first collection of Wolfe's observational essays which heralded a 'new journalism' one lives up to its glorious title. 

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