I have always been intrigued by the notion of Guy Fawkes ... that annual celebratory event for the retailers of fireworks where people pursue the odd notion of literally seeing their cash go up in smoke.

It is a wonderful commercial money-maker and hey, why not.

If people want to set fire to things and make a noise without the fear of being visited by noise control or charged with public nuisance then this is it.

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While yesterday was the actual day of volatile celebration we all know that for the next few weeks, and months for that matter, the explosions will continue ... somewhere.

And the animals will continue to fret and hide.

Not in Australia though because Guy Fawkes and fireworks sales are not part of that landscape any more, apart from one state.

Fireworks were banned from sale in all states during the 1980s, except for the Northern Territory but they are not sold there for Guy Fawkes.

Instead, they are used to celebrate Territory Day on July 1 — a celebration of the state attaining self-governance.

But wait, there's more.

They can only be let off on that day between the hours of 5pm and 11pm and according to the rules all unused fireworks must be handed in to authorities the following day.

Yeah right.


This is why Australians who visit these parts during the Guy Fawkes crescendo are intrigued to see the things going off everywhere.

I know a couple of Aussies living here and they join the purchasing queues leading up to the day and relish the opportunity to light up the night sky, like they once did back home before the bans were imposed.

But they do it away from the populace and head for beachfronts.

Fireworks are also banned in Canada, but they are embraced in China of course because they've been making them for about a million years and are rather good at it.

When you sit down and look at it the concept of Guy Fawkes it is all rather perplexing.

Because it is effectively a celebration of an event which took place in 1605 where 12 chaps, led by Guy Fawkes, attempted to blow up the English Parliament.

The building and those in it.

They were caught however after someone dobbed them in and they were tortured and executed.

This failed political intrusion later assumed the title of the 'Gunpowder Plot' which of course is where the gunpowder and fiery powders used in today's commemorations come into it.

And that's what intrigues and amuses me.

We are celebrating and commemorating an attempt to blow up Parliament.

What does that tell us?

It basically says that if you try and blow up Parliament you will be severely dealt with by the authorities ... but that for hundreds and hundreds of years afterwards people will gather and let of flames and explosions in a sort of communal celebration of the fact that someone had a go at blowing up ... Parliament.

And it plants the name of Guy Fawkes into the history books for ever.

He's a star.

For the November 5 outings of exploding clusters of fire and debris is basically a recreation of what would have happened had be been able to light the wick.

That's how I see it anyway.

No wonder the Americans stick with the absurdity and mindlessness of Halloween ... no way their political top guns would stand for this Guy Fawkes thing.

They have enough potentially explosive woes across their political landscape as it is.

My earliest memories of Guy Fawkes night go back to around 1959.

Crikey kids, it was all black and white back then I think and a lot more subtle in the audio sense.

For many a year we would annually scour the neighbourhood for things to stack up on the great bonfire.

We'd knock on doors and asked if they anything we could take and burn for them.

We did okay, although one old chap suffering the mental ailments of extreme age gave us a pile of furniture his daughter had been storing in his back shed.

Luckily he proudly showed her how he'd got some "kiddies" making the big bonfire over on the beach to clear out the "rubbish" in the shed.

It took us two hours to take it all back.

One time there was an easterly blowing and sparks from the bonfire ignited some of the dry Norfolk Pine fronds.

Burned-out skyrockets landing on the roof until midnight and great echoing booms from Mighty Cannons going off in the drains ... dear oh dear.

Guy would have been proud.