Galway pt 3 / Bonfire Night

Its only bloomin’ Guy Fawkes night tonight and I will be sadly having to view most of it from a plane window. I’m not sure if this will be brilliant or hugely terrifying, with thoughts that my the last thing I ever see is a banger heading into the left propeller wing with a dazzling array of colours and a scream that matches that of the passengers. I doubt it very much, but I am sad not to be on the ground in as many layers as possible, eating a baked potato and trying my best not to give away that I still get a bit excited by fireworks. I will harp on time and time again about how its the same old ones every year: the big screamy ones that go ‘boom’ and then shower the sky, the ones the shoot streams into the sky and they slowly flutter down, the large plooms of different coloured flames and those mostly quiet ones that just sort of fart about while everyone gets the good ones ready. I consistently say how I can’t wait for technology to create the sort of fireworks like in Lord of the Rings where Gandalf’s magic explosions create huge roaring dragons, when in fact, I am quite content with things as they are. I was recently wowed by the brilliant display at this year’s Bestival and I’ll never forget – whether it was sheer coincidence, my own warped imagination or planned – the fireworks that exploded in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s face and ears at DisneyWorld when I was 8 years old. But I won’t get any of that this evening. Not just because I’ll be on a plane, but also because my local fireworks display, the best one in London as far as I was concerned – Alexandra Palace fireworks – has been cancelled this year due to lack of funding. Yes, in this current recession its probably best not to spend final pennies on things that are going to just get exploded anyway, but I’d also state that if anything people need some bloody god fireworks displays now more than ever to cheer them up.

I’m contemplating taking the mantle myself and marching up the hill with a bucket of gunpowder and a lot of enthusiasm. I don’t really know how fireworks work fire in the way they do, but I assume it cant be that hard. Knowing my luck I’ll just get accused of terrorism. Which is essentially what Guy Fawkes has been classed as anyway. That is my main problem with the whole event, if I have any at all. Its one of the few British events that is still based on historical events, which is great. However, what we are essentially doing is celebrating a man’s failure by showing him how to actually blow things up. Its mockery in its highest form. If there is some sort of afterlife, every year Guy Fawkes in ghostly form has to witness everyone from the elderly to kids waving around sparklers as if to say ‘its that easy, you were total shit.’ It would be similar to us having a day in 100 years from now where we set fire to a load of printer cartridges. Not only that, but British fables and legends often glamourise and praise those who fought against the hierarchy Robin Hood, William Tell, Dick Turpin – yet here we are celebrating how Guy Fawkes failed to destroy parliament. I can’t help but feel that if he’d tried now we’d be a lot more disappointed that the barrels didn’t go off.

It’s my last day in Galway today and with no gig to worry about, I’m going to brave the rain, walk along the promenade and actually indulge in a nice stroll around town. Its such a pretty place with cobbled streets and the canal running through it, yet every now and then throws you off with a huge terrifying statue of what looks like the female version of Han Solo in carbonite leaping out to get you. Odd. It feels like one of those places full of secret corners and things to discover. Last night, after having a lovely 50 min set at the University, supported by the excellent Foil, Arms and Hog, a group of us headed over the the Roisin Dubh for further late night drinking. Choosing the upstairs bar we joked as the band that were playing took well over an hour to set up their incredibly elaborate kit. And then they played, and it was amazing. Tucked away in this small wooden panelled bar, with a crammed crowd of about 40 people huddled round the listen, there was a wave of amazing post-rock Sigur Ros-esque music. They are called Halves and I couldn’t recommend them enough. I think that fulfills the magic quota for these few days away quite nicely. If I can’t have the joy of visual fireworks, I’ll feel content I heard some aural ones. Galway, you’ve been a bloody delight. Expect me back very soon.

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