Matthew Bell: Rant & Rave (20/11/11)

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The Independent Online


Whizz, bang, yawn. Am I alone in suffering from firework fatigue? Bonfire Night has come and gone, so why is the sky still ricocheting with rockets? It's not that I don't love the autumn thrill of Guy Fawkes, I do – the fizz of sparklers and the weee-pop as Uncle Bob sets off his latest Mega Mortar Boombox III. But that was more than a fortnight ago. It's time to move on.

Now, almost any gathering between October and January, including Christmas, is an excuse to light up the sky. There's been a year-on-year creep, which means you never know when a host might end the evening with the dreaded words: "Now, if you'll all head into the garden...." And then there's no knowing how long the display will last. No matter how dazzling the emerald fountain, or how spinny the Catherine wheel, there's only so many times you can express wonder and awe before your jaw sets into a rictus and the cricked neck sets in. Not to mention the lingering threat of head injury from those launch sticks hurtling back to the ground.

But wait, I do like fireworks really. It's just that, like Christmas and birthdays, they are for enjoying only once a year. Any more, and they're a bore.


The cat came back. I thought she was a goner, but nearly three months after disappearing, my mog popped over the garden wall and came home. The animal psychic had said she would.

At first, the cat didn't recognise me, and I couldn't be sure it was her, given how fat she looked. While I had spent weeks flyering the neighbourhood and plastering posters on lampposts and being told by friends how unsuited I was to keeping animals, the beast had been lolling back on some pensioner's divan, being fed plump titbits.

Truth be told, I gave up hope after visiting a Taoist temple, where the gods said it was a lost cause. I had prepared for the worst. But then, there it was. The psychic was right. And the strange thing is, she's staying this time. Until she finds a better source of titbits.