The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS -

‘‘It’s bet­ter to burn out than to fade away.’’

As Guy Fawkes Night came and went with lit­tle lus­tre, and the usual amount of grum­bles, I won­dered whether this well-worn Neil Young lyric should ap­ply for this once lu­mi­nous pas­time.

I’ve al­ways been an ad­vo­cate for light­ing the fuse on Novem­ber 5; I re­mem­ber Guy Fawkes Night be­ing as big as Christ­mas when I was a kid. It of­ten co­in­cided with the first bar­be­cue of the sum­mer, I was al­lowed to stay up late, and Dad had usu­ally amassed a mighty pile of grapevines and boxes for our Guy to burn from.

I’d love for my kids to have a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence, but so much seems to work against it: an im­prac­ti­cal sub­ur­ban back­yard; an over­priced, un­der-wow­ing avail­abil­ity of crack­ers; and a gen­eral air of am­biva­lence with most peo­ple al­ready brac­ing for the two-month en­durance cam­paign of Christ­mas.

Those nights of ‘‘ooohhs’’ and ‘‘aaahhs’’ when sky­rock­ets bloomed, seem long ago.


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