On 17 Sep 2014 at 8:37am Music_chick wrote:
I'm thinking of joining the bonfire scocity, never done it. How safe is it?
On 17 Sep 2014 at 10:12am Historian wrote:
if youre a pyromaniac, its perfectly safe !!
On 17 Sep 2014 at 10:42am member wrote:
Depends who will let you in. CBS and CSBS won't. If you like fighting, join Borough. If you work in London and like chai latte, join Southover. If you have no friends, join South Street, and if your knuckles drag along the ground when you walk, join Waterloo.
On 17 Sep 2014 at 10:58am Gummy wrote:
For a more rational answer, it's very safe if you go by the rules and aren't silly. Nevill are looking for members at the moment and are a nice family society. CSBS were open for members last time I looked (which wasn't recently I admit) and are one of the largest societies. Borough and Waterloo are great but can be a bit snobby if you aren't Lewes born and bred. Southover is a friendly society but had a waiting list last I heard (they do have a lot of DFLs but also a lot of Lewes people who left other societies). Cliffe like to think of themselves as a bit different, but really they aren't anymore, but they are the hardest to join. South Street are small and friendly, like a mini Nevill. I'd say avoid the Phoenix walking group.
If I was looking to join a society now I'd go for Nevill if you have a family, or South Street. If I wanted to be part of a large society I'd go for CSBS, then Southover. You've left it late for this year as the gurnseys can take a few months to knit (and most societies that have other people to knit them will be booked up now so put your order in now for next year) and other costumes take time to make.
Give Nevill or South Street a go though, especially if you are worried about it being safe as they are very tame. You don't have to live in Nevill or South Street to join and once you've got used to it you can always join another society. The main thing all societies want is people who help. Too many members in all societies turn up on the 5th and don't even think about where the 5,000 torches (at least) per society are made and by whom (hint - it's members, normally just a handful, giving up their evenings and weekends), or how much organisation goes into it all.
On 17 Sep 2014 at 10:58am Slarty wrote:
It is safer in the procession than on the packed streets (IMHO).
On 17 Sep 2014 at 11:05am Gummy wrote:
ps. it's not "the" bonfire society you join, it's "a" bonfire society! Read up on the internet some of the history of Bonfire in Sussex and Lewes before you join one to get a good grounding in what it's all about and why we do it and why there are lots of different societies in Lewes. Most of the societies have a good history of themselves on their websites too.
On 17 Sep 2014 at 11:45am belladonna wrote:
Go for South Street - easy to get involved, they are pretty keen for new members. Nevill is great if you have kids and live up there. Commercial Square (CSBS) are full and closed to new members and you will never get into Cliffe. But you have to get involved and understand the roots of bonfire. It's not a festival or a parade put on for the benefit of an audience.
On 17 Sep 2014 at 1:09pm Cliffe Hanger wrote:
Come on folks, this is another 'wind up' post. His / her reference to "the" bonfire society was shurely a big clue? As was the fact that, having lit the touchpaper, he / she has retired to watch the drama unfold. I think responses have been pretty restrained so far!
On 17 Sep 2014 at 1:58pm 8 miles from home wrote:
You could join The Loyal Orange Institution.
On 17 Sep 2014 at 2:39pm Ed Can Do wrote:
It's not true that nobody can get into Cliffe. It's true though that the new membership application window is in May and June and you won't get in if you're not willing to help out behind the scenes...
Wind up thread or not, it is certainly true that being in the procession is much safer than watching it though.
On 22 Sep 2014 at 1:47pm Late to the party wrote:
Have lived in Lewes for 25 years, and enjoyed watching Bonfire most years, finally joined a society two years ago, and marched for first time last year.
Yes, definitely safer being in the processions, at least you have room to move and aren't jammed in like sardines among drunken idiots (who are in town primarily to get drunk, and Bonfire is simply their excuse).
Drop downs and rookies are no worse in the procession than they are for spectators in the crowd (even tho they were banned a few still got let off last year), but if you are worried then wear ear plugs and safety glasses.
The torches can be a source of concern - especially in strong winds, as flames can be long and/or the torches may shed/drop burning fragmnents if they are not well made, but again, a bit of common sense is all you need.
As others have said, if you want to join a society first try and understand what Bonfire is all about, it's not a "parade" for the spectators, its a serious commemoration that you may/or may not wish to be associated with, and try and see which society best fits your wishes. Each has its own character (and characters!).
If you do join then be prepared to get stuck in and do something to help the society/event, as members who just pitch up on 5th may be less welcome than they expect. Torchmaking is a good place to start - not too difficult to learn, and at my society its a great chance to meet existing members and make new friends among them.
One downside of taking part is that you will probably see less of the wider events of the evening - rather than seeing many societies pass you by, you may well spend the evening looking at the back of the same few heads ahead of you in the procession. But this is definitely outweighed by the fact that you feel a part of the event (and hopefully a loyalty to it) in a way you never will if you are only ever stood on the kerbside.
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