Monday, November 09, 2009

Firework Music

November the 5th: Guy Fawkes night, Bonfire night, Firework night. I like the last one the best, the idea of works in fire - earth works, water works, fire works...

I've always loved Firework night; when I was a child the comics (Beano, Dandy etc.) would be full of their characters lighting bonfires and watching impossibly exotic rockets and bangers and catherine wheels fizz and whistle and explode.

My family would always gather around a real garden bonfire and we would have roast potatoes in their jackets and watch as my father carefully placed the empty milk bottles as launch pads for skyrockets or lit the blue touch paper and retired (as the instructions quaintly put it) before the world became a mass of green or red or amber flames.

I loved everything about fireworks - I loved buying them, choosing them individually to amass a collection. I loved the fact that you could gaze at them, hold them, excitedly wondering exactly what experience they would bring, what colours and sparks and surprises they would give. I loved the poetry of their names, (Silver Rain, Traffic Lights, Versuvius, Crackling Cauldron, Wallop Wobbler), I loved their shapes and I loved their graphics. So much so, that my sister and I would explore the garden the following day looking for their burnt-out shells so we could collect them to remember the pleasure they had given. And I have just found a book (and related website) by Mark Fleming called 'Firework Art' which as the title suggests, is full of these nocturnal evocations and is a thing of beauty.

And this has reminded me (remember, remember) that one day I intend to make some Parallel Music pieces on the theme of Fire Works.

-all images from 'Firework Art' by Mark Fleming - the book costs £10.99 including 1st class postage (in the UK) and also contains 4 colour postcards of a Standard Firewoks ad. Excellent value and thoroughly recommended - a real labour of love.

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