The Diary of Emma d May: No smoke without fire

Sunday 12.01am: Impromptu midnight bonfire party in Vikram's back garden. So far, have got a few twigs and three cardboard boxes, although Dylan has gone on scouting expedition to Winnie Mandela Park to bring back firewood. Hampered in fire-building mission by effects of obscenely large bag of superskunk and still feeling a bit strange after Friday night's pills ("pure MDMA", claimed Dylan), which turned out to be Ketamine, causing everybody to lose use of limbs and sit jibbering against club wall for seven hours, as if under wicked fairytale spell.

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!"

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<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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