A coworker was telling me about this; the technical fuckup got more attention for Oban than any Bonfire night show.
Remember, remember, the 5th of November. I first heard about Guy Fawkes when I watched V for Vendetta for the first time. After watching that movie like 30 times now, I think the name stuck in my brain.
It is a little strange that they would celebrate in Scotland as I imagine that there are more than a few people who wouldn’t have minded that much if Fawkes had succeeded in blowing up the English Parliament.
I guess the attraction of having a bonfire or shooting off a few fireworks in your backyard explains that little disconnect. Scots love their fireworks.
Though far from being the only show in town, the main event was held in Meadowbank stadium on Friday night. I was definitely tempted to stay in and skip it as part of me thought everyone else would to on account of the rain. After 20 minutes walk, I felt soaked right through to the bone. I watched with Aarti from Salisbury Craigs by the ruins of the old abbey looking down over the duck pond – a fantastic spot to view the show as it looks right down on the stadium. Before the stadium show, there were hundreds of other fireworks being fired throughout the city. My eyes were darting all over the place: barely catching some of them out of the corner of my eye. A couple of them going off right behind our heads as a few people hauled some fireworks up the craigs. As the show got going, I almost forgot how soaked i felt.
It started with the same classical music that you’d expect. I could barely hear it coming from the stadium. As the show got going, you couldn’t hear the music at all. All you could hear was the popping, howling, screeching and explosions of the fireworks. As you might expect, this was not exactly a welcome noise to all the birds around. They were darting every which way and with the very low light all you could catch was a glimpse.
Not long after the show got going, you could see the cloud of smoke starting to build up and spread out.
There were times when you could not see the fireworks going off, let alone see them on their way up. All that was visible was the big black-grey cloud. You could still hear them going off but that was about it.
The cloud eventually made it over to the Craigs so we could all breath it in deep. There were probably about thirty of us watching from that particular spot, more on other parts of the old volcano.
In some ways I actually preferred this show over the fireworks that closed the Edinburgh Festival. The festival fireworks were beautifully coordinated and put to music. The Guy Fawkes fireworks had a more raw random feeling. It didn’t feel as planned and controlled.
A revolutionary like Fawkes probably would have appreciated it.