Firestarter: My first ever bonfire night

Going out on bonfire night had always felt way too dangerous for me – the prospect of getting shot at with fireworks or chased by an angry mob with torches didn’t seem all that appealing. This year however, I was joined by fellow new Mancunian Paul (the gentleman who brings you Manchester Daily Photo) to watch fireworks, drink mulled wine and dodge some rockets.

The arrival at Platt Fields Park was somewhat overwhelming (Flood lights and police at the entrance! Thousands of people! Bright lights and noisy sounds from the funfair! Mud everywhere!), but we soon managed to find a nice place to watch the fireworks display which started out mildly disappointing, but grew steadily into an extravaganza of pyrotechnical awesomeness.

The music choice for the fireworks quickly convinced us that someone must have typed “fire” in their iTunes and hit shuffle. A trashtastic Eurodisco song with a lady moaning about her being a pyromaniac was followed by The Prodigy’s Firestarter – and I was convinced I could see some scallies raving their trainers off to those “bangin choonz” somewhere in the muddy puddles of Platt Fields.

Having blown up half of Manchester city council’s annual budget, the celebrations for Platt Fields  Park’s 100 year anniversary continued with Manchester’s own Poet laureate Mike “God is a Mancunian” Garryreciting “The Gift”, a lovely poem for the park – an effort that was completely lost in the murmur* of thousands of visitors. This was followed by a Mancunian cowboy-country-folk song praising the park with the chorus “Platt Fields, Platt Fields, you make me feel so true”, accompanied by a beatboxer. Yes, a beatboxer. A beatboxer who, at some point, broke into a five minute freestyle grime beat with the singer aimlessly yodelling “Platt Fiiieeeiiieeeellldsss”, turning it into a 15 minute monster of a birthday song. That was the point when, once again, I simply surrendered to the craziness of Manchester.

Playing for time while the Chinese lanterns where being lit, the speaker then began to thank supporters of the park and the festivities – one by one, a never ending list of names, which prompted the gentleman standing next to me to shout “Shut up” at the stage. If there’s one thing in Manchester that you can rely on, it is this: the rowdy mob never disappoints.

* Shouting.

[Lovely fireworks photos by Paul Capewell at Manchester Daily Photo]