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Rookies & BBC coverage

On 4 Oct 2012 at 11:21am Southover Queen wrote:
Just picking up on Someone Else's comments about the BBC coverage of Bonfire and the use of rookies: I completely agree with you. I thought the coverage was really poor and could easily result in confusion about what to expect this year. Why, for instance, was no-one interviewed who actually knows about what is and isn't allowed? Such as a Bonfire Society safety officer or marshall?

In fact, I'd suggest that someone from the Bonfire Council gets in touch with BBC South East news room and ask them to do a follow-up report. Set out the agenda yourselves and offer them informed interviewees, rather than people they found in the bloody precinct on the day. The police should also contribute.

The footage they had was quite clearly grabbed from random amateur stuff on YouTube or similar, and they'd thrown the report together in a couple of hours.

I'd be more than happy to help put a press release together to plonk on the editor's desk. I think the report was so poor as to be potentially dangerous because visitors could be seriously misled. There is certainly time for this to be followed up, so make a fuss!
On 4 Oct 2012 at 12:01pm someone else wrote:
Nice idea, SQ, but . . .

In all the dealings I've had with local media, I've found that you have sod all chance of 'directing' what they produce, no matter how well you prepare.

In the case of Bonfire, I think the rule is 'no publicity is good publicity'.
On 4 Oct 2012 at 12:20pm Southover Queen wrote:
Fair enough. You know best!

I still think it's worth writing to the editor and pointing out the errors and omissions though. It was really sloppy journalism and they should be ashamed.
On 4 Oct 2012 at 12:27pm teaboy wrote:
SQ, I'd imagine the interview would go something like:
Reporter: Why do you allow the illegal use of explosives in the streets by your members?
Bonfire Rep: Erm....
The public in general don't understand, or want to understand what happens in Bonfire. They don't care about the differences between blue, red, white or egg rookies, Spanish 4s, Chinese crackers, etc. The media don't want to explain it, as ultimately it only matters to those involved in Bonfire. It's the same with pretty much every part of the event. How many times have you been asked 'when's the procession?' by someone?
I'd agree that no publicity is good publicity.
On 4 Oct 2012 at 2:06pm Annoyed By Idiots wrote:
I'll be watching. If anyone throws a banger near me, whether in procession or crowd, I will march into the procession and punch them. Just so you know.
On 4 Oct 2012 at 2:33pm boots wrote:
@ Annoyed By Idiots, Why are you coming on the 5th. maybe you should go to Linfield.
On 4 Oct 2012 at 2:38pm Dougal wrote:
Loving this - there are those that see the 5th as a great opportunity for a bit of anarchy - they get to throw explosives into the crowd with impunity claiming it's their right and the crowds shouldn't be there anyway. Bollox - it's the crowd that pay for their travel, the food they eat in the local eateries, the drink they drink in the pubs and the displays they go to later on in the evening. Without the crowds it'd be unlikely to survive so why let a few tw@ts spoil it for the rest? Bonfire is part of Lewes's heritage but I can see that a few more burns and lost eyes could see it banned. This sort of behaviour might have been accepatable in the 1970s but we're a bit more grown up now - H&S exists for a reason and life no longer is 'cheap'.
So please, stamp out the out-of-control idiots and retain bonfire as the family friendly tradition it should be.
I, too, will happily seek retribution from any idiot who attempts to injure me or mine by, if nothing else, putting in a formal complaint to a nearby policeman.

Check it out here »
On 4 Oct 2012 at 2:56pm Irrelevant Steve wrote:
Blatant advertisement alert:
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On 4 Oct 2012 at 3:08pm someone else wrote:
Dougal - please identify one single post anywhere in any thread on this forum where anyone condones 'throwing explosives into a crowd'? Stop inventing straw men.

The debate has only ever been about the risks to the public associated with throwing rooks down, underfoot, within the procession. And, as has been clearly stated, blues have been banned this year to mitigate this risk. In my Society it's very simple: ranks of three, throw either under your own feet or towards the middle, and don't walk in the middle unless you're prepared to deal with the risks.

Annoyed By Idiots: what is the point in this threat? If you've been watching Bonfire for any length of time you would know very well that any member of the public who marches into a procession and attempts assault would be pinned to the ground by as many marshalls of torches and ranks as is necessary, and held there until the police pitch up and arrest you.
On 4 Oct 2012 at 3:29pm Enoch wrote:
Dougal - your train fair does not go to a Bonfire Society neither does your food money or the money spent in the pub. These businesses are lucky enough to make a great deal of money off the back of Bonfire and on the whole do not donate a penny to Bonfire. The only way Societies will make some money is by you buying a ticket to one of the Societies sites which charge. Not all of them charge so for them it makes no difference whether you turn up or not! Oh, and the money collection within the processions goes entirely to Charity.
On 4 Oct 2012 at 3:37pm Little chef wrote:
@ SQ . Please feel free to write a press release and forward to the bonfire council . We don't need to add violence to this occasion , not sure why you are coming if you don't like what goes on ,and you do know don't you ABI , we can't justify the injuries which is why anybody involved is working towards a safer event , last year was a blip albeit a nasty one , we are just hoping this publicity makes every one aware and limits the idiots , be it supposed bonfire or crowd , we can coexist with a little common sense . How am I dong with the full stop v.c.
On 4 Oct 2012 at 4:53pm v.c. wrote:
You've eventually got it Little Chef!
On 4 Oct 2012 at 4:59pm Southover Queen wrote:
I can't really - I don't know who or what you'd want to publicise! I'd be more than happy to help someone else write something though and make sure it ends up on the right desk. Give me a link and I'll get in touch.
On 4 Oct 2012 at 8:44pm Bruciare il Papa wrote:
Unbelievable attitudes expressed by Dougal and ABI - such ignorance and intolerance. Rather akin to complaining about homosexuality in Pride events.
Bonfire IS Bonfire - if you want family friendly carnival, then choose to go to a carnival.
On 4 Oct 2012 at 9:48pm BANG BANG wrote:
It really does annoy me that the people in the procession get the blame for throwing Rookies INTO the crowds. Why oh why would they do that. I have never seen any one do it, and ive been marching for a fair few years. I have never, ever thrown a Rookie or other banger, i drop mine into the middle of the road, and never INTO the crowd. It seems that the Bonfire haters are pointing the fingers at the wrong people.
Lets hope the Blue ones are a thing of the past, like the spanish 3s and 4s.
But they were just loud.
On 5 Oct 2012 at 7:55am Tim wrote:
Bang Bang, if you are marching you only see what is going on around you. I am sure the majority do drop their rookies into the middle of the road, however there are some who take great delight in tossing them towards the feet of those lining the pavement.
On 5 Oct 2012 at 8:36am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
"Rather akin to complaining about homosexuality in Pride events." That is so true, Papa!

Such misunderstanding from people on here, but I'd like to straighten out this one. Tim: most processions are in ranks of 3, and spread out to take up the full width of the road. If they didn't, there'd be even more of a problem with spectators mingling with the procession which would increase the risk of injury.

The outer ranks are therefore at the edge of the pavement, and when dropping rookies at their own feet they will also be close to the feet of spectators at the front of the pavement. The camber of the road will often cause them to roll towards the gutter, too.

The public know there will be fireworks going off in the street. If they don't like them, why do they then push and shove to get as close to the street as they can? And why are so many reluctant to get back onto the bleeding pavement when asked to do so, come to that?

Anyone who has a problem with street fireworks, rookies or any other sort, should stand back or stay home.
On 5 Oct 2012 at 9:04am Pete wrote:
I've never seen anyone throw a rookie into the crowd either, they just throw them on the road near to where they are, and as ACT says, they may roll towards the curb, so as long as people stay off the road they should be OK.
On 5 Oct 2012 at 9:17am Southover Queen wrote:
Those points about rookies rolling into the gutter are very well made. I've never seen anyone in the procession throw one. The norm is for the marcher to drop them and then put his/her boot over it, although often they'll roll away before they can do that.

The problem here, surely, is the crowd. There are just too many people crowded into a small area and there's nowhere to retreat to if you're in the central part of town. I imagine many people find themselves being pushed and shoved so that they are in danger of getting in the way of the procession and also much closer than they intended to the source of the bangs!

Last year was really crazy. In an earlier thread, Sussex Jim was complaining that the town centre was closed at 5pm so he couldn't wander in. In fact what happened, I believe, was that the police prevented more people arriving when they thought that a safe maximum had been reached. The year before a friend of mine was crushed into the doorway of the Natwest Bank and had the bruises to prove it. The numbers are dangerous, and I think we all know it.

Personally I think the challenge is twofold. One is to prevent the use by anyone of blue rookies, and the other - much more difficult - is to restrict the numbers who can get into Lewes.
On 5 Oct 2012 at 9:56am someone else wrote:
Although there are too many people in Lewes when Bonfire falls on a Friday or Saturday and when the weather's fair, I have a problem with the general notion of 'closing Lewes'. Bonfire is, in essence, a libertarian celebration. Therefore depriving people of the right to be here just feels wrong.
I agree, however, that the police should be empowered to restrict certain areas at the point when it becomes dangerous.
This whole thing about rookies in the gutter - gah! If you've come here and you want to be at the front, you should be wearing stout shoes / boots. It's not as if people aren't warned. And if you're wearing sensible shoes, put your foot over the rookie yourself. It's really not that difficult an issue, is it?
Anyway, last year was a particularly manic one. Let's see what happens over the next couple of years before panicking.
On 5 Oct 2012 at 10:31am Southover Queen wrote:
I agree with you that Bonfire should be open to all and that the crowd problem is considerably exacerbated when the 5th falls on a Friday or Saturday. However the fact remains that a large contingent of the visitors are students and that many of them are too drunk to be safe. I'm willing to bet they won't be put off when Bonfire falls on a weekday!

The greatest threat to Bonfire is not because of "bigotry" or anti-Catholic rhetoric or any of that stuff; the threat comes from someone being really seriously hurt or killed. If the perception is that the societies can't march safely without putting the "general public" at risk then we might well see restrictions being imposed without consultation. The BBC report shows clearly that most outsiders haven't got a clue how it all works. That does mean, I think, that Lewes residents and Bonfire societies have to pre-empt imposed changes by compromising and accepting small restrictions on numbers, for instance, so that "the authorities" don't get the excuse they're surely waiting for.
On 5 Oct 2012 at 12:36pm visiting stripes wrote:
I know just what you mean about the camber sending rookies where they were not intended. A few years back a red was dropped from a middle rank, it rolled and bounced on the cobbles to land right between the feet of a copper standing smartly to attention and went off in the usual way! A society marshal was heard to say ' I should really tell you off for that but it was the funniest thing I have seen in a procession for years!'
On 5 Oct 2012 at 2:31pm old school wrote:
if you are a true bonefire boy or girl you should know how to handle your banger in my day you would teach your chilren how they should be handled and there for they would learn the do,s and dont of bangers
On 5 Oct 2012 at 2:43pm insipid steve wrote:
banger in one hand, todger in the other
On 5 Oct 2012 at 6:58pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
And make sure you light the right one!
On 5 Oct 2012 at 11:05pm Bruciare il Papa wrote:
Surely any "responsible" adult accepts that if you go to a firework display (in East Sussex, London or anywhere), that there is a risk. Is society full of fools you fail to police their own exposure to risks?
On 6 Oct 2012 at 3:55am 17Xs wrote:
Don't like Bonfire? Don't go!
The risks are published very well I think! We appreciate the support of the public and certainly do not want them or anyone else to get hurt!
All Societies are working VERY hard to keep it a safe yet enjoyable night while remembering what it is we do it for! This part tends to get over looked in my view and I feel that is very sad! I never fail to get 'choked up' at the War Memorial!
Please let us continue to enjoy this great celebration and rememberance along with our traditions, what ever they may be!
Bonfire means a lot to me as it does to many others. Lets not let a selfish few or newcomers who did not do their homework ruin it! Remember the many MANY generations that have worked so hard to keep this unique tradition alive!
Press is press, we all know that! Like dogs they just need to sink their teeth in to something (sorry dogs)! Not us though ...... We WILL strive and work hard to keep this tradition alive!
As I said at the begining of this post, if you don't like it then don't come!
On 6 Oct 2012 at 4:00am 17Xs wrote:
As for coming in to a procession and punching someone?? I've seen people TRY that before! Generally a bad idea!!
On 6 Oct 2012 at 10:54am Southover Queen wrote:
The risks are well publicised if you look for advice. If however you're a student at Sussex or Brighton you'll just turn up because someone else in the year above told you about Lewes Bonfire. If you've heard about it from a friend of a friend you'll assume that it's like any other public event in the country nowadays: so controlled by police and H&S people as to be totally safe and consequently rather boring, and of course it isn't.

That's why poor and misleading coverage like the BBC's is damaging. Visitors to Bonfire will be safe if they understand how it works and what precautions to take, and they probably won't be if they don't. It's no good saying "well don't come then" because they will and they'll assume it's safe. And it's no good saying "this is all the fault of DFLs" because it isn't either. Being Lewes born and bred doesn't magically stop you behaving stupidly if you've had too much to drink...
On 6 Oct 2012 at 3:25pm Bruciare il Papa wrote:
That might have been an excuse 10+ years ago Southover Queen, but cetainly not valid in this day and age (the web, YouTube, networking etc)
Anyone worth their weight in salt has access to in-depth knowledge about the event. As I previously said, only fools fail to police their own exposure to risk.
On 7 Oct 2012 at 8:42pm Ed Can Do wrote:
10,000 people attended the Shakedown Festival in Stanmer park yesterday and early reports are of one stabbing. There are no minor injury or arrest figures available yet.

Bonfire Night is looking safer by the day!
On 9 Oct 2012 at 9:56am 'ere be monsters wrote:
The media and police describing rookies as hand grenades is a very cynical attempt to associate bonfire and the injuries caused last year, to the murder of two police officers in Manchester. That is always reported as a gun and HAND GRENADE attack. It is like claiming someone injured by a bicycle could have sustained the same injuries as being hit by a 40 tonne truck.

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