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Bonfire Processions

On 2 Nov 2011 at 4:26pm bonbon wrote:
Does anyone now why when the societies are marching they insist on dropping bangers in the gutters at the feet of the crowds? I get they might enjoy them but wouldnt it be safer if they chucked them at each others feet rather than innocent onlookers sometimes with kids?? I saw one person get hit in the face by an exploding banger which was dropped in the gutter last year.
Before anyone jumps on this I love bonfire but hate bangers, exactly why I would rather watching safely from the sidelines and contribute by chucking money in the collection buckets!
On 2 Nov 2011 at 4:31pm bonfire hater wrote:
"because we can, so get over it" was the delightful reply i once got from a Cliffe member.
It's the one reason i don't go into town on the 5th. Watching middle aged tw@s throw bangers at people whilst wearing this stupid fixed grin...i'd just end up getting into too many rucks.
On 2 Nov 2011 at 4:33pm The Greek wrote:
The policy of most societies, well ours anyway as we don't like to get out of favour with the Lewes society that invites us!, is no rookies chucked forwards and drop them into the middle of ranks. It can't be helped if they roll into the gutter.. but hey it's all part of bonfire!
Since the 1800s there has been documentation of "squibs" being thrown in processions. Hence the expression "useless as a damp squib".
And please.. rookies, not bangers.
On 2 Nov 2011 at 4:47pm bonbon wrote:
I appreciate that its bonfire and some societies try their hardest to ensure that they dont affect the crowds but these were blatantly being dropped at the feet of onlookers and then laughing when they explode.
We were standing at the bottom of town last year by the Halifax so maybe we will stand further up the town this year to avoid a repeat. On a different note, what time do the fireworks start usually? I know it varies between societies but roughly?
On 2 Nov 2011 at 5:20pm dilligaf wrote:
Buy some programmes and really surport the bonfire societies.
On 2 Nov 2011 at 5:23pm Mr Forks wrote:
Or don't come into town at all thereby pleasing all the societies!
On 2 Nov 2011 at 6:22pm Southover Queen wrote:
I hate the rookies* too, which is why I always lay in a supply of ear plugs for everyone in my house. It is all part of bonfire and I find the earplugs completely transform the spectator experience!

*I just hate really loud noises.
On 2 Nov 2011 at 7:04pm Clifford wrote:
Bonbon - why do the people who do it do it? Because they're bullies who feel brave when they're in a crowd.
On 2 Nov 2011 at 7:24pm For Fork's Sake wrote:
Its bonfire, if you don't like it, bugger off to Auntie's for the night, no one is forcing you to stand and watch.
On 2 Nov 2011 at 7:32pm Lord Ballantyne wrote:
Tradition. It was there before the crowds.
On 2 Nov 2011 at 7:37pm Clifford wrote:
Excellent post For Fork's Sake - made my point for me better than I could.
On 2 Nov 2011 at 7:57pm pod wrote:
Is not tradition to lob rookies at jo public! and its not bonfire! anyone brought up in bonfire knows how to use or should know how to use there rookies i was always told if im not willing to let them off by my own feet then i shouldnt let them off at all!
On 2 Nov 2011 at 8:28pm Boom! wrote:
Don't bring the 'kids' next time?
On 2 Nov 2011 at 9:04pm Pot kettle black wrote:
Clifford seems brave hiding behind a forum screen name! Man up goby and stop jumping on the band wagon.
On 2 Nov 2011 at 9:08pm The Greek wrote:
At the end of the day, they should be thrown in ranks and societies try their best to marshal it, but not everyone complies. Just enjoy it it's part of the beauty of bonfire!! Bring earplugs, I know people in the procession who wear them! You can get these ones now that cancel out loud sounds but you can still hear conversation. Personally I love my rookies and I don't think bonfire would be the same without them! At some outmeetings where the society has banned them, even the people who don't normally like rookies were moaning it was too quiet!
At the end of the day, if one goes off by your feet, s**t happens!
On 2 Nov 2011 at 10:10pm T wrote:
What a of tosh you people talk "its bonfire". Is that what you'll say when a chIld is blinded? And... these rookies are not squibs, they are not even bangers, they are agricultural bird scarers. InfInitely more powerful. Bonfire is a night for the wank3rs to excercise their inferiority complexes.
On 2 Nov 2011 at 10:33pm Decent Citizen wrote:
It is in fact, against the law to throw fireworks in the street or public place!! While I have no wish to be a "damp squid"I do wish this law was observed on Bonfire Night. The bangs have got bigger, and louder, over the years ,and yes, Bonfire is a fine tradition but,the manufacturing of these fireworks has progressed somewhat. A fine tradition could fall into the hands of those who oppose it, should, God forbid, there is a tragedy amongst the crowd. Save them for your wonderful displays at your fire sites.
On 2 Nov 2011 at 10:57pm Bonfire Boye wrote:
I believe that each Society - and indeed the Bonfire Council - make it very clear that there is an element of risk involved with attending Bonfire in Lewes (or indeed any other town in Sussex). You attend if you wish, but no-one is forcing anyone to attend. Bringing small children and positioning them right at the front of the crowd at ground level is obviously a strange idea - rather like those people who cross the road with a buggy pushed in front of them between parked cars, putting the buggy at far greater risk than themselves!
Rookies exploding in the gutter do of course pose a risk to those nearby, but no Society condones the throwing of them into the crowd on purpose. Most people know that there are plain-clothed police and Council spotters in the crowd, who will hopefully spot the few idiotic spectators who throw fireworks into the processions. But to conclude, I would say there is a far higher risk of personal injury if one was to spend 5 hours in say Hastings town centre on a Saturday night, than attending the 5th here!
On 2 Nov 2011 at 11:05pm Guy wrote:
Outlaw rookies. Simple.
On 2 Nov 2011 at 11:19pm Decent Citizen wrote:
I recall many,many, years of Bonfire,Bonfire Boye,MANY!Possibly, way before you were born! Never actually seen a spectator throw one,not to say is does not happen but!I have though, over recent years seen them thrown from the procession on many occasions!Thing is,we,and you,would prefer the crowds to be smaller,less incomers.Will not deter will it, if there is a yobbish element encouraging such behavior?
On 2 Nov 2011 at 11:42pm The Greek wrote:
"Non Fit Injura" That is all.
Well T, actually there has been a marked decline of imported foreign bangers (the evil ones) and an increase in agricultural bird scarers being used (not so loud, regulated by UK law, classed as explosives not fireworks etc etc). So get the facts right.
And I don't mean to sound harsh, but if the child is blinded, there's nothing you can do. Like bonfire..
On 3 Nov 2011 at 12:39am AYATOLLAH HOGMANNY wrote:
If you don't like big bangs, don't come to bonfire, Simples! Also it has never been the place for small children, but people want to come and do not care that their baby might be scared or the smoke from the torches might not be too good for them, just so long as they enjoy themselves, moaning about it before and after. Its like the woman who came one year and complained her coat smelt of smoke afters, and got a new one for it...she comes back every year with ever more expensive coats and always puts in a claim for compensation to the Bonfire Council, not that she gets anywhere with this now!!!! Why, Oh,Why does she not just stay at home.
On 3 Nov 2011 at 3:30pm T wrote:
The Greek said:
"if the child is blinded, there's nothing you can do. Like bonfire"

Yes there is. Don't throw rookies. The Lewes bonfire is, at least in part, an event for spectators. If no one watched, and no-one came to the bonfires but the members of each society, the event would soon dwindle. As it is an event that takes over Lewes (and greatly inconveniencing large numbers of the town's residents in many ways) the societies have to accept that crowds will attend. No crowd is not an option.

Throwing explosives into the crowd is plainly stupid. It only takes one drunken society member to slip with his rookie and it end up in someone's face. Alcohol, crowds and explosives do not mix.

There is a lot of pressure and public feeling against bonfire. There are those that wish to close it down or neuter it. It will only take one emotive accident (child blinded etc) for this opinion to be taken seriously. Each year the likelihood of such an accident happening grows as crowds swell, drunkenness increases and more and more rookies are thrown.

If the societies had any sense they would ban their members from throwing rookies (with threat of expulsion if they do). Banning the throwing of rookies will decrease the risk of accident, increase the chances of bonfire continuing in the same form it does today and vastly increase the pleasure that many residents get from it. It will also lessen the increasing anti-bonfire feeling in the town and ensure bonfire stays (becomes?) a celebration for all this town's residents, even young families.

The throwing of rookies is also illegal and provides a wonderful excuse for the powers-that-be to step in and control/neuter the whole event.

It's a no-brainer, the societies must ban the throwing of rookies (and indeed any fireworks) amongst their members. To do otherwise threatens their existence and that of the famous Lewes bonfire celebrations.

The Greek also said:
"rookies are... not so loud, regulated by UK law, classed as explosives not fireworks etc etc"

Yes rookies are regulated as 'explosives' (your word) for agricultural use. Rookies are not regulated as fireworks or for throwing around at bonfire processions! They are supposed to be used in fields... not in crowds... and no-one is supposed to be near them when they go off. They are LOUD to scare birds. In enclosed spaces they are LOUDER STILL.
On 3 Nov 2011 at 4:28pm J wrote:
Piss off T you shrivvled up ole moaner!
On 3 Nov 2011 at 5:23pm someone else wrote:
I think T's wrong. I work in construction heath and safety management on major projects and, at a guess, would say I've probably more experience in H&S and risk assessment than most others here.
I'm also a Bonfire Boy and I think there has to be an occasional place in our world for stuff which is a bit anarchic and a bit dangerous - provided that everyone involved consents. By turning up, you consent.
I've got 300 rookies in and I'm one of what - two or three thousand marching? So how many get let off every year and how many injuries to spectators are there in reality?
I've spoken to older Lewesians who marched in the 60s and 70s and talk about rookies being thrown around at head height. They were also more dangerous because standards of manufacture (and fuse lengths!) varied. I think the current balance is about right.
You could equally talk about banning torches, because of the likelihood of a child picking up a dead one from the gutter. But Bonfire without rookies and torches would be nothing more than a fancy dress parade and would soon die.
Keep it just the way it is - but make sure the societies police their members and everyone watching understands the risks.
On 3 Nov 2011 at 5:32pm Bonfire gal wrote:
I have been in Bonfire for many years. Everyone knows that rookies and street fireworks go off, its all part of tradition, and so i hate these people that keep moaning about rookies going off near their feet. DONT STAND NEAR THE FRONT IF YOU KNOW YOUR PUTTING YOURSELF AT RISK FOR GODS SAKE!
On 3 Nov 2011 at 5:55pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I have been hit by fireworks twice since I've been in bonfire, and once before, when I was at a firesite. Every time they came from spectators, not bonfire boys.
The year before last, a spectator by Argos, three or 4 feet back in the crowd, was throwing rookies into the procession. He couldn't even see where they were going, and was lobbing them into one of the bands (heinous crime in bonfire!). That same evening, by the Volly, a tuba player had a lit firework dropped into his tuba. Luckily, it was spotted by an alert marshal and shaken out before it went off.
Bonfire people tend to know what they're doing and appreciate the dangers of fireworks and while they may appear to be being reckless, it's probably far safer than it looks. When "firing up" the Cliffe cannon, for example, the cannon-pullers always give the warning shout so people can stand aside (although the late and much-missed Robin Lee did get his hat blown off one year).
A rookie may roll or be accidentally kicked into the gutter, but the element among bonfire boys who find it funny to throw them towards the public is tiny and very much frowned upon by the mainstream members. People who do this sort of thing are more than likely to find themselves up before the society's committee.
On 3 Nov 2011 at 6:36pm Clifford wrote:
ACT writes, 'A rookie may roll or be accidentally kicked into the gutter, but the element among bonfire boys who find it funny to throw them towards the public is tiny...'

I agree. And among that tiny minority are, to go by their posts above, Mr Forks, For Fork's Sake, Lord Ballantyne, Pot kettle black, J and Bonfire gal. Quite a crew.
On 3 Nov 2011 at 6:45pm Fork off wrote:
Unless they are all the same idiot of course.

The bonfire societies set the example for the crowd. The crowd would not be throwing rookies if the societies had not made it acceptable.
On 3 Nov 2011 at 7:47pm Mr Forks wrote:
Infamy, infamy they all have it in for me! I can assure I am but one man. Personally I wish their was no crowd on the Fith and then their would be no problems, without the crowds the night would run smoother and everyone involved would have far more of a good time.
On 3 Nov 2011 at 7:51pm Decent Citizen wrote:
My point exactly Fork off. I think ,before we get to the stage the anti bonfire brigade have the ammunition to bring about a slow slide towards a ban,that the individual societies need to set a good example. Police, if possible , need to nab the morons,and the societies need to instil in their members the need to refrain from enticing the riff raff to behave like morons. IF, a halt is not made now,those anti will, I am sure, push for the banning that has been lingering for a long,long time. From an old sage with bonfires best interests at heart.
On 3 Nov 2011 at 8:01pm T wrote:
And my point exactly too...

And if there was no crowd on the fifth Forks, who would the societies have to show off to? If would all become hollow and forlorn and inevitably lead to the decline of the event. No crowds, no money. Maybe the society members have deeper pockets than is obvious, but this does not seem likely.
On 3 Nov 2011 at 8:46pm Chuck wrote:
The best procession is the one at the end of the evening WHEN NO-ONE IS WATCHING!
On 3 Nov 2011 at 8:46pm Newcomer wrote:
Mr Forks sir, you truly are an idiot
On 3 Nov 2011 at 10:50pm Bonfire Boye wrote:
Bear in mind from your earlier post DC, that you will only have seen a tiny fraction of the action each time you've been to Bonfire. Our Society for one is very concerned about rookies being thrown into the procession, and spends a lot of time with our marshalls etc identifying the worst spots that this happens at. So I tend to believe them, not you, on this point.
Bonfire is not dangerous, but there are risks. Hence the warnings, and hence the need for a little bit of personal responsibility from spectators as to where they stand, what age of children they bring, etc etc.
On 3 Nov 2011 at 10:51pm dilligaf wrote:
No crowds at lewes bonfire fantastic what a an amazing night that would be. just so u no T we dont walk or show off for anyone we walk for ourselfs. and as for the money im sure all societies could raise what the tight spectators put in our buckets in one days fund rasing. long live lewes bonfire.
On 3 Nov 2011 at 11:03pm Firebrigade wrote:
I'd give it 5 years at the most.
On 3 Nov 2011 at 11:16pm IMEYOU wrote:
"Firebrigade" how many readies have you got ?
On 3 Nov 2011 at 11:18pm Firebrigade wrote:
On 3 Nov 2011 at 11:19pm stig of the dump wrote:
No one would give money to the societies if they were not welcome at the festivities.
On 3 Nov 2011 at 11:35pm Harold wrote:
Monies collected on the night go to charity not the societies.
On 3 Nov 2011 at 11:38pm Harold wrote:
I change my statement to : monies collected ( not including firesite fees)go to charity not the societies.
On 4 Nov 2011 at 12:07am Yogi wrote:
What charity is that then? I haven't heard or seen much charity on here in the posting of bonfire muppets in their sad bigoted world. Should be banned
On 4 Nov 2011 at 6:11am Timbo wrote:
The societies fund raise to finance their explosives.

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