Monday, December 11, 2006

Fire In My Belly

Perhaps all romance is like that; not a contract between equal parties but an explosion of dreams and desires that can have no outlet in everyday life. Only a drama will do and while the fireworks last the sky is a different colour.

- Jeannette Winterson
'The Passion'

You were the spice of life
The gin in my vermouth
And though the sparks would fly
I thought our love was fireproof
Sometimes we'd fight in public darling
With very little cause
But different kinds of sparks would fly
Behind closed doors

Indoor fireworks
Can still burn your fingers
Indoor fireworks
We swore we were safe as houses
They're not so spectacular
They don't burn up in the sky
But they can dazzle or delight
Or bring a tear
When the smoke gets in your eyes

- Elvis Costello
'Indoor Fireworks'

I love fireworks, and always have. When I was a child (and before my un-christening) I did believe that the Catherine Wheel (the pyrotechnic, not the torture device) was named in my honour. Cracker night, before some do-gooders banned it, was one of my favourite rituals of the year. The trip to ToyWorld to select our favourites. The bonfire with the potatoes wrapped in foil that never quite cooked through yet were all charred on the outside, my spoon scooping through increasingly hard flesh with big dollops of butter. My brothers and cousins and I in our parkas and beanies. Mothers keeping the kids out of harm's way while the fathers fiddled to strike matches to light the fuses. Writing my name in the dark with a sparkler. Then the moments of pure magic as the sky lit up and the whole world smelling of brimstone.

Lately I have had an urge to play with fire. Not merely metaphorically, as I seem to do much of the time, but literally too. Twirling fire is attractive, though I will need to do a LOT of practice with the pois before I set the things alight, but moreso is the idea of breathing it. Even if the Home of Poi tells me that it is The Most Dangerous of The Fire Arts. Have also recently developed a desire to keep bees. And learn clowning. I'm not sure what this all means. Smoke and stings, pyromania and playing the fool.

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