Mock priests at the recent Lewes Bonfire celebrations. Photo by Andy Letcher. More photos and commentary on his provocative blog here.
From Andy’s blogpost:
Then, in a truly carnivalesque moment, mock priests delivered mock prayers and mock sermons from a raised platform, replete with burning crosses, to the bonfire boys gathered below. The congregation responded with a hail of bangers and squibs. The priests shrugged off this barrage with a nonchalant sang-froid, an extraordinary image. And then the fireworks went off all around them.
The display was fantastic, perhaps the best I’ve seen, and was remarkable for its proximity. At times we were right underneath the rockets. Shock waves pummeled me in the chest. Burning debris fell all around.
In the end, I think that what makes Lewes so wonderful is that for just one night, the ordinary quotidian is shattered. Businesses board up their windows. People down tools, take to the streets and, work-be-buggered, have a party. Most municipal firework displays no longer happen on November 5th but on the nearest Saturday, as if a ‘holy day’ can simply be shunted out the way in the name of profit. Lewes reminds us that we have our priorities wrong. The agelasts want safety and order and things in their place. But we need somewhere to express our unruly selves lest they erupt unbidden. We forget this at our peril.