It’s Time To Reclaim Guy Fawkes Night

Seems to be an annual posting I know (see 2010‘s and 2009‘s!) but I’m really passionate about reclaiming Guy Fawkes night. Why? Partly because it’s very very English. This is not imported, it’s not some pagan festival that the Christians co-opted, and it’s not something that can be easily marketed and commodified by Supermarkets – unlike the nonsense of Halloween.

If you haven’t seen or read V for Vendetta, I highly recommend it. Every time I look at it it seems to be more prescient and more appropriate for the extraordinary times we find ourselves in. It’s legacy is, of course, the fabulous mask – a terrifically stirring and potent image of protest.

That was set in a time of fascist control in Britain, and one man’s attempt to stir up revolution. As we light fires and set off fireworks over this weekend, we need to consider our revolutionary intent.

What is wonderful about the 5th of November is that it is a story with so many layers. Originally, bonfires were lit in celebration of the fact that the Catholic assassination plot against James 1 had been foiled, and parliament had been spared. However, it’s pretty clear that Fawkes was stitched up, and that the whole thing was a double plot to stir up anti-catholic sentiment.

The Occupy London movement has been cleverly deflected by the powerful and hidden regime of the Corporation of London into a story about St Paul’s Cathedral… But thankfully it looks like that is over, and it seems appropriate as we come to 5th of November that St Paul’s is looking steady and supportive, and that the firestorm is hitting where it always should have been.

Latterly, the fires and fireworks came to signify protests at class inequality – especially in places such as Lewes, and I hope that something of that can be imbued into the celebrations we have now: a night of burning and bombing, a reminder to those who abuse power that they will not get away with it. That’s why I think this image of St Paul’s surviving the blitz is so right for now…

I think it’s time to get round the City on Saturday night, get some masks and occupy Parliament Square…Let’s put some rockets up some asses!