The Diary of Emma d May: No smoke without fire
Sunday 09 November 1997
1.30am: No sign of Dylan. All decide to go and look for him in park.
2.15am: Find roped-off council bonfire instead, awaiting Sunday lunchtime Guy Fawkes' funfair. Have argument with Vikram over whether it is morally wrong to steal wood from children. We are just walking away (empty-handed, having decided it was immoral) when hear strange whimpering from inside woodpile. "Help!" says a small, familiar voice. "In here." Drag Dylan out suffering from head injury. "I was looking for hedgehogs," he says, dazed and confused. "They go in there to sleep and then they get burned to death..."
2.30am: On hands and knees inside council bonfire on Animal Hospital mission to rescue innocent, sleeping hedgehogs, but can't actually find any.
2.45am: "Ouch!" yells Vikram. "Little fucker's stabbed me with its sodding prickles." "Don't hurt it!" shouts Dylan. "Where are you? I'm coming." Hear crashing. Start to feel nervous about wood overhead. What if we get trapped and the council light the bonfire and we end up Guy Fawkes casualties. Smell sickly sweet odour coming over the scent of damp bark and dogshit. "Dylan," Vikram shouts, suddenly. "Tell me you're not smoking a spliff." Loud coughing from Dylanish direction. "Dylan," says Vikram. "You really mustn't smoke a spliff in here because we are, after all, inside a bonfire and bonfires are designed to catch fire." More coughing. "Oh yeah," says Dylan. "Shit. Sorry."
4am: Back at Vikram's the mattress is burning a treat and wardrobe starting to catch. Sit smoking and watching flames in primeval trance. Anna has made a Guy Fawkes out of bin liners stuffed with compost which we decide to call Jack Straw, as feel have to keep with revolutionary Guy Fawkes blowing-up-Parliament tradition.
4.30am: "Hello," says Tinky Winky, who has just walked in, speaking so slowly it is a miracle he ever finishes the word. "What the fuck's the matter with you?" says Vikram. Tinky looks back blankly.
4.40am: Tinky manages to reply. "Pure... MDMA..." he sort of chokes in an accusing way at Dylan. It seems his brain wants to fight Dylan but his body is conscientiously objecting. Carry him upstairs to bed.
5am: Bonfire seems to be taking over garden. Time to burn Straw. Dylan chucks him on top and starts dancing around in worrying Lord of the Flies manner. The Home Secretary's plastic-bag face looks like it's crying. Feel a bit bad, but try to focus on images of squeegee merchants and homeless people.
9am-ish: Wake up next to bonfire embers. Jack Straw is no more. Vikram's landlord no longer has lawn, back fence is seriously blackened. Still, can't help feeling lucky to be alive. Send Dylan to buy celebratory breakfast.
9.30am: Dylan returns looking v excited. "Look at this!" he says, holding up "emergency" edition of local paper: "VANDALS BURN CHILDREN'S BONFIRE". "We ought to find them, there's a reward and everything for information." A few seconds silence. "What did you do with that spliff you were smoking in the park, Dylan?" Anna asks casually. "I chucked it down, when you said like don't smoke cos it's a bonfire," says Dylan. "Hedgehog murderer!"
And why are 'southern' ways of speaking spreading north?
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