What is the big deal? What is the fascination with fireworks? Every year they are the same rockets, just a different order. No matter how much money they spend, the same outcome occurs. Standing around, freezing cold, staring at the sky as deafening blasts hit that uncomfortable pitch in your ears, the one which makes you wince a little before your face is illuminated by coloured lights.
But perhaps the fascination is more for the atmosphere of the event than the event itself. The mist rises from your mouth, peering over the edge of your tightly wound scarf to mingle with the smoke drifting lazily through the black, curling away from the mountain of flames devouring Guy’s doll. Then it clears to show the children staring wide-eyed at the sky, mouth’s encircling their wonder. Sliding lights shimmer across their irises as their pupils widen, occasionally breaking their reverie to tug on the sleeve of their parent, urging them to ‘Look! Look!’ and you can’t help but feel your inner child stirring from her slumber.
Of course, not every child is as enthralled by the symphonic explosions ringing through the night, but something hazy settles over you so that even their shrill shrieks of misplaced fear sounds distant and muffled. You tug your coat to envelope you closer, just as the numerous couples envelope each other, pressed tightly like penguins in the face of a blizzard. The old dear raises her crinkled smile as the youngsters revel, their parents cushioned in a moment of peace. The last sizzle fades as applause rises, the unspoken thank you to the organisers of your event.
This is the fairground’s cue, whirring back to life to entice visitors to spin, drop, twirl, twist, soar and scream. Synthesized music pierces your eardrums once more, following a moment’s respite from the fireworks. The fairground workers, travelling men with stern eyes set in boredom, repeatedly hit the buttons to fire a booming voice over the people, calling for your ‘ATTENTION!’ in an accent that may or may not be French (who knows why?), and then ‘ARE-A-A-ARRRREEEE YOU READYYYY!!’ Well, are you?
A trail of sweet scents tease your nostrils, tantalizing aromas of doughnuts and crepes that smell even better than they look, with candy-floss disintegrating as the warmth of tongues dissolve the texture you can’t quite grasp. Once you eventually collect together the assortment of coins to buy these pleasures, you always realise that they definitely look better than they taste. The overkill of sugar and carbs tingle your mouth a little as you pass various lights and delights. Wandering the dusty path, adding your imprint to the many before yours, you find yourself perusing the stalls of stacked cans and polka-dotted dart boards. Your eyebrow is raised as challengers step up, lifting gun to shoulder or dart to eye line in order to win the lion with a distorted face which has swung from the rafters for weeks now. Who knows how many people have been conned on these travelling stalls, and you know that the probabilities are not in your favour, and yet you can’t help wanting to see if you will be champion today.
You’ve probably lost feeling in your fingertips by now, so you drag yourself away from temptation to find your friends, but they are lost in the sea of knitted hats and dark coats gliding by each other. Drifting into the slipstream, the current carries you deeper into the belly of the fair, spitting you out by the dodgems who’s music tramples over the rival rides own melodies. Your friends zip around the temporary arena in a flurry of blinking lights and collisions that make you wince, all except the one friend loaded like a packhorse on the side-lines, who you sidle up to with a smile. They murmur something about feeling nauseous after the last ride, their deely-boppers flashing while they munch on the pick-a-mix sweets which lure children into hyperactivity. You stuff your hands deeper into your pockets, settled in serene silence despite the crescendo of activity around you, and realise that maybe, this is what the big deal is.
Copyright belongs to the original artist