Global Thoughts on ‘Guy Fawkes (Bonfire) Night’ and another Crouch Hill Scope

Keeping with the theme of ritual collective festivals of remembrance I made my way to ‘Scope again from Crouch Hill on November the 5th.

I love ‘Bonfire Night’  and usually make my way to a local large display and then the ritual has been to go to a neighbour’s for a smaller fire (+/- fireworks) on the Friday or Saturday night closest. I made work last year based around these festivals see this video in this post here.

This year I made my way to the bottom of Crouch Hill where the path from the main road leads up through the fields to the summit. It was very wet, slippery and getting dark .

I decided not to make the trek up the hill but to ‘Scope from just inside the gate and add a little geographical context to the  series.

This was quite a long Scope of 30 minutes but again I ran out of battery  and so this wasn’t saved to the video roll on my phone.


It was some time before I realised that this happens and sometimes I continue to misjudge the charge I have left…push it just a little too far…

I’d also taken some video and stills on my camera so I’ve just ( much later) stuck these together and will do something with them later…

Later that evening , about 7.15pm, I walked the short distance to the local Co-op at a time when I would usually have been at the very impressive Firework display a couple of miles away.

I walked back in the dark through a residential area of 1970’s housing, listening to the bangs in the distance from the show and people’s garden- based  celebrations and thought how these sounds would have an altogether different meaning if I lived in another part of the world where there was conflict and the ever- present risk of bombings.

This feeling stayed with me as I reached the quiet safety of my home and I recorded some of the fireworks in the distance.

It isn’t as effective as if I’d been moving , walking along the road at the time but still reminds me of my thoughts that night..


Fireworks 5th November 2015

EDIT: January 2016   I’m actually editing this post in January 2016 and a lot has happened since then..This night has taken on a more potent and poignant meaning  as world events develop.Not only are there the deep resonating booms which sound like bombs but also later the crackle of smaller fireworks… reminiscent of gunfire.

Recently I heard Lauren Laverne on 6 Music discussing how she had tried to describe the’ reason ‘ we celebrate Bonfire Night in the UK… She found it difficult to explain a celebration of the night someone tried to blow up Parliament…

A similar threat now is something that our Security Services are presumably busy trying to avoid happening.

The Gunpowder Plot was hatched in 1605 and according to the BBC History page   “Guy Fawkes instantly became a national bogeyman and the embodiment of Catholic extremism. It was a propaganda coup for the Protestant English and served as a pretext for further repression of Catholics that would not be completely lifted for another 200 years.”

This association with the earlier the turning point in history of the Reformation and the development of the English Civil War  in 1642 are inextricably linked with the layers of memory buried in  the area around Banbury and specifically Crouch Hill.

I will post more on this history later.


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