Sunday, October 21, 2007

Halloween vs. Guy Fawkes' Night.

The photo above is the Plume of Feathers pub in Greenwich; click on it for a bigger version. Last Monday I took Bob out for a day trip - we visited the National Maritime Museum and had an abortive trip to the observatory (it was full with school parties, so we left it for another time - I then decided that Bob needed a little more experience with English traditional pubs). I had the best steak sandwich I have ever eaten, washed down with a couple of pints of well served Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter - bliss. And no, the Aston Martin DB7 parked outside is not mine. As if.

Erith has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons again over the last few days. The Chavs who killed a local man whilst playing with his son at Erith Sports Centre have now been tried and sentenced. You can read about the story here. Two years inside seems pitifully short a sentence; the BBC News website has an online discussion about the subject here.

I have to report the untimely death of larger than life former Radio Caroline colleague and fisherman Dave "The Fish" Turner. You can read his official obituary here. There's not more that I can add - I don't know anyone who had a single bad word to say about him. I know for many people he will be sadly missed.

Ian Camfield of indie rock radio station XFM has seen my photos of last weeks' Rush gig at Wembley Arena, and Emailed a mutual friend with the message "The pics are amazing, they look like the kind of thing you'd see on the band's actual website."

Something that will shortly be upon us is Halloween. I have not got any quibbles with the original pagan and traditional origins of this ancient festival; what annoys me is the almost complete Americanisation of this event. Trick or Treating, dressing up in horror costumes and the like is a relatively recent part of the average British child's year. It can be traced back to 1983 and the UK release of the Steven Spielberg film "ET" where it was an integral part of the film's plot - this was the first real exposure that American Halloween culture and behaviour had been given outside of its' borders. As with so many things both good and bad (I am not a hater of the US by any means - quite the contrary, though like all of us they have their strengths and weaknesses) there is nothing wrong with kids dressing up and having some fun, but it does seem to have been at the expense of Guy Fawkes Night, as only a couple of weeks separate the two events. British kids (because of their parents) are slavishly copying a foreign tradition at the expense of something home grown. Let's take back our history and culture and make Fireworks Night something special again.

As for the verminous, slack jawed gits that let off fireworks for several weeks before and after the event, I think prosecution and sentencing should be stricter. One night a year is fine, but when my local area sounds like downtown Basra for night after night (and can act as a cover for gang related shootings) then something is wrong.

This weeks' video is a quick and simple method of preparing home made Naan Bread. You can leave an opinion by clicking on the comments link below.


  1. Totally agree with your comments about Halloween and Guy Fawkes' night, so called trick or treating is just an exccuse for begging and anti-social behaviour, and fire works produce a month or carnage and mayhem.

  2. "British kids...are slavishly copying a foreign tradition at the expense of something home grown. Let's take back our history and culture and make Fireworks Night something special again" - Hear hear! Can I suggest we try and celebrate Guy Fawkes original plan and make a nice big bonfire of Westminster?
    I must admit when I was a kid I was one to play with fireworks but I did it safely and in the pursuit of knowledge.
    Well that’s what I told the Judge!
    No seriously we used to take fireworks apart to see how they worked and to build our own. This was all done in the "safety" of our back alley. All I managed to do in 5 years or so of blowing things up (Action Men, can's, fake heads, plants etc) was take a friends eyebrows off and that was his fault anyway he bent over some flash powder with a lighter lit. Yes we probably annoyed someone but we were hardly throwing them about, too much noise or fuss and our parents would have found out what we were up too and then we'd be in trouble.

    As for the kids that killed that man in Erith I'm happy to hear they got sentenced.
    The park boarders Larner Road (tower blocks of "charm", I once just missed a TV being dropped from a 8 story by 5 min's when I was popping in to see a friend) and I can't say I'm surprised. I think the sentence should have been longer (8-10 years) and I seem to remember that the kids were reprimanded for causing havoc at the Court as well.
    It's down to bad parenting.
    Being a recent parent has really shown me that from the age of 2 or so kids are like a sponge and even the smallest comment is filed away and remembered. Parents want the best for their kids but acting like a disrespectful, thuggish c*nt means your kids will act the same. I'm friends with a lot of people who (I hate to say it) would be considered lower class and I don't want to sound patronising but 90% of the time they are the best parents. A lot of my more well off/better employed friends on the other hand spend nowhere near the time with their kids as their working or just too busy. I'm trying not to generalise but overall I would say it's kids from middle class families that seem to be the worse. Mind you there was a family I saw when I was setting up for a gig a couple of months ago and I got to say they were the worst parents ever. Drunk, swearing, shouting, talking extensively about sexual relations etc with about 5 kids who seemed cowered and quiet.
    Back to the rock throwing children the BBC discussion is sadly lacking in anything apart from ranting. I agree mostly but my 2p's worth is that under a certain age the parents should be included in the sentence.
    I'll hold my hand up and say that I was a vandal for abit as a kid because there was nothing to do apart from sit indoors and it was all the other kids were doing. I wreaked bowling greens, burnt woodland and a lot worse things that I'm not going into here but it could have caused me to have a criminal record BUT I out grew it. I knew it was wrong and rather than getting a thrill from it I felt sick.
    I knew my actions had consequences. That was down to my upbringing, I was taught right from wrong.
    To be honest I could have gone down the Dark Side but I think getting into a "21 and up" pub when I was 16 (funnily enough with Pewty!) stopped all my anti-social actions stone dead. I wasn't hanging about the parks or streets dabbling in drugs or whatever I was in the warm drinking warm beer and learning about pirate radio!

  3. The US style Halloween celebrations in Plumstead were remarkably well organised with proper trick or treating and parental involvement at least where I live (unlike sibonetics experience). This surprised me.

    Next year I think I'll even buy some treats.

    Re-importing through the medium of film something we, Europeans that is, exported to America through the medium of colonial migration only seems odd because we are alive when the "tradition" was re-imported.

    Its relative increase in importance could arise because of our neglect of the Guy Fawkes festivities - but equally it could arise because of our neglect of our own halloween observances. The balance has been readjusted maybe. The more winter festivals the better.

    I went to a great Guy Fawkes Night it must be said - low on fireworks high on Guy-burning and friendly bonfire-side chat with lovely people of all ages and a great view down the low end of Plumstead Hill.