The Brockley fireworks code

Well, it's that time of year again, and we felt we should do a short piece on those things that go whiz, bang and pop.

We were a little dissappointed the other day, when we wandered into Tesco on Lewisham Way, and found them selling boxes of fireworks as 'buy one, get one free', with a giant cardboard stand to promote the fact. Now, we're sure most of the boxes are sold to very nice responsible people putting on a show in their back garden, and generally celebrating all that is great about bonfire night, but considering the nature of some yoof in the area (and indeed, across most of London), we felt it a bit irresponsible to be effectively selling the things half price. This is surely any delinquent's dream? Double the action, twice the trouble!

The other half, aka Brockley Sarah, even felt strong enough to write to Tesco and take the issue up with them. We received a fairly limp response from the product marketing team, reminding us that they only sell fireworks to the over 18s. It was a bit of a 'not our problem' response, and we'd have expected better social responsibility from a multinational corporation like Tesco. Even though these things are only on sale to over 18s, we all know the average hoodie has at least one older brother who’s happy to go and buy some for them.

So far though, we must admit, our end of Brockley has been pretty quiet. No bangers in the back yard, no gangs hurling rockets at each other from opposite sides of the street.

What are your views on fireworks, and do you have stories to share? Would restricting their sale improve your quality of life at this time of year, or is this yet more nanny-state madness?

36 comments:

lb said...

This reminds me, I haven't seen 'Bengal matches' in the shops for years. Oddly pleasing, and pretty much impossible to injure yourself with unless you actually stubbed one out in your eye.

Brockley Nick said...

Doh! Sorry Jon, just posted something about fireworks above. We've clearly spent too much time doing pub quizzes together and are incapable of independent thought.

Anonymous said...

How can you possibly have an "offer" on something that sells once a year. it's just a gimmick. The fact is that most people will walk away with more than one firework - don't loose sleep over it.

Brockley Jon said...

haha! I might have to go and edit the posting times so that mine appears above! ;) nah, whatever, there is room for two!

The Cat Man said...

Its nanny state madness.

The fireworks for the home are complete trash nowadays anyway, I mean, 30 varieties of 'fountain' and about one rocket per box.

It used to be much better when I was younger and my parents even remember going to firework displays with 'jumping jack' fireworks jumping around the people watching.

now thats entertainment.

The truth of the matter is that councils are unwilling to pay for the public insurance to hold firework events so the number that are being held are in sharp decline.

Just more PC-ness gone crazy-ness.

lb said...

Predictable enough response there. Yeah, yeah, I remember my parents getting good old 'British' boxes of fireworks (made in Huddersfield and Sanquhar, just to prove I'm not making this up) and as I recall it they never had any rockets in anyway - all fountains and a roman candle or two, if you were lucky. You had to buy the rockets separately, as indeed you still can.

MB said...

Political correctness? what does that have to do with insurance? Personally there is nothing I like more than burning an effigie (how do you spell that?) of a Catholic on a big pile of sticks.

Anyone been to Lewes? NOw THATS the way to do it.

Sue Luxton said...

"we'd have expected better social responsibility from a multinational corporation like Tesco". Now call me a cynical green, but that's where I think you're going wrong Jon ;).

BTW, expect an almighty tussle between the Mayor and the Lib Dems in next week's local papers over who 'saved' Blackheath Fireworks. Mayor agreed at last night's Public Accounts meeting not to proceed with proposals to scrap the £36k the Council pays towards the annual display, but to look at more sponsorship etc to help pay for it instead.

Headhunter said...

Yeah i read somewhere that this years Blackheath show may be the last one...

Anonymous said...

borough's councillors going to do something more productive than attacking Tesco and fighting for bookshops?

nobbly brick said...

That's interesting about the Mayor wanting to scrap the Blackheath fireworks - as I mentioned earlier, its been getting progressively worse over the last couple of year and this seems to be a Council policy - if they don't want something (for whatever reason) don't take positive action to change it, let it fall into ruins through disuse - hence the Playtower etc.

Good to see the Lib Dems (if it is they) getting into something constructive (sponsorship) rather than encouraging neglect. Although they shouldn't seek sponsorship from Barratts or Taylor Wimpey...

Headhunter said...

Aren't Councillors supposed to listen to the general populace? Surely that's what Dean and Sue are doing by reading the stuff we spout on this site.... We don't all have time to go to local assemblies or spend time phoning and writing to the council, this forum sometimes throws up some interesting points and it's encouraging that the Cllrs are listening...

The Cat Man said...

Sue just proved my point. Local councils are simply negligent.

Its another example of what was a historical celebration of the failure to blow up the houses of parliment being cancelled by the PC brigade.

I shouldn't be too surprised, I'm working on the assumption that they probably didn't have a effigy of guy fakes burning on a fire for at least ten years now.

When are people in SE London going to start caring about their British history? Its so shamefull.

Headhunter said...

I don't think anyone said anything about PC and lack of pride in history, I should think your illegal Nigerian, Chinese or outer Mongolian immigrants love a good firework display just like the rest of us. I think it's more likely good old fashioned lack of cash at the council, and don't even get me started on that...

Headhunter said...

I don't think anyone said anything about PC and lack of pride in history, I should think your illegal Nigerian, Chinese or outer Mongolian immigrants love a good firework display just like the rest of us. I think it's more likely good old fashioned lack of cash at the council, and don't even get me started on that...

Anonymous said...

first person for a while to tell Andy to f**k off and leave us alone?

Tamsin said...

Anyone remember indoor fireworks! The tiny things that sparked and spluttered on a china plate while you sat around the table and watched. Most were literally damp squibs.
We did not actually need many of our own fireworks when I was a child - we would just watch outside what looked like a re-enactment of the seige of Gloucester in the Civil War with rival displays firing rockets at each other and then duly light up a few sparklers of our own to write our names with.
Ahhh!

Sue Luxton said...

@anon 17.03: ouch, poor grammar and no sense of humour?! What bookshops?!

Cat Man: what?! Did you misread what I wrote or smthg? The fireworks will live to see another day, relax!

Richard said...

Anon 13:59 - exactly; shops have to have had sale items available at full price for 28 days(?) in one of their stores before offering it at a reduced price - does the same apply to BOGOF? Because I'd like to know which Tesco has been selling them non-BOGOF for a month!

The fireworks display at the end of the Thames Festival was short, but impressive, if only because of the co-ordination of bangs! Nothing beats a massive bonfire though. Cheap and easy too.

patrick1971 said...

Surely the real scandal is that it costs THIRTY SIX THOUSAND POUNDS to set off a few fireworks in a public park? How on earth is this possible? Some insurance company is making a LOT of money.

Headhunter said...

I don't think that's a surprising amount actually. Have you seen the cost of DECENT fireworks? Of course you can buy your 2 for 1 boxes from Tezzies that go off like birthday cake candles but the type that shoot 500ft into the air and explode across the horizon cost at least £20 or £30 each and if you have a decent show like Blackheath which lasts half an hour or so, you need a good load of those and then as you say there's the insurance and the pyrotechnic crew hire...

Personally I'd prefer they spent £36k on a big municipal display than everyone buying mini boxes of rubbish fireworks to let off in their gardens and the £36k getting spent on associated hosptal costs!

Headhunter said...

Richard, Tesco only has to sell the fireworks at full price for a short time in one shop (perhaps in some out of the way corner in Wales) to be allowed to advertise them at BOGOF or half price. It's the with many products at national retailers from electrical shops like Currys or Comet to supermarkets. They can advertise something as the bargain of the century when in reality they only ever intended it to be sold at that price all along. All they need to do is sell it at double the price at 1 shop for 1 week and it can marketed at half price.

drakefell debaser said...

Effigies are still very much in use. Edenbridge in Kent have errected a massive effigy of Jonathan Ross holding a dog with a Russell Brand face.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes Tamsin I remember indoor fireworks-the whole house smelt of sulphur for days! As regards antisocial firework behaviour, there were some kids letting off fireworks near the costcutter last week but they are the only ones I have seen and did not actually throw it at anyone, which I have seen in years gone by in Brockley. In general I wouldn't mind if fireworks night was just one night - not the current two weeks either side of 5 11.

The Cat Man said...

Its 'guy fakwes' night not firework night thankyou very much.

And I wonder how many people can actually remember the reason why this is celebated? I'm not convinced even I know the complete truth and nothing but the truth so help me gawd.

(I'm now in Kentucky which voted republician).

Anonymous said...

To celebrate the demise of a Catholic coup. I think you need to check your spelling though....

The Cat Man said...

ffggegeww!

Brockley Jon said...

Cat man, we all know the history, we just don't bang on about it! ;) BOOM BOOM!

Anonymous said...

I had no idea there were rules on what you could call the night? So glad you're here to help us with our history.

The Cat Man said...

In case anyone wondered, the traditional brockley-ite food - KFC does NOT come from Kentucky.

NSFR said...

I got 24 rockets for £20 quid from Budgens. BOGOF on fireworks is great.

Tamsin said...

Except what I did not learn about the history until relatively recently so I will share it with you anyway - the plot could never have succeeded. They only had enough gun-powder to shake the cellars slightly, not bring down the whole building. But the intention got the five plotters grusomely executed and has given us a perpetuation of the Celtic Samhain feast of the dead ever since.

Sue Luxton said...

It's not the fireworks that cost £36k, it's the policing, security and managing an event for 80,000 people that costs the most. And the £36 is less than half the cost, as Greenwich pay the same and there is already some sponsorship.

Choosenick said...

Yoof were letting fireworks off literally on our road (Jerningham) all last night. I actually object to the lameness of the bang from such tezzie fireworks - if you're going to piss everyone off by repeatedly setting off fireworks in their front gardens, at least use some kick ass mortars and get it over with quick and loud.

Anonymous said...

Tesco actually had the fireworks up high and in an area not easy to steal from.The manager took responsibility in regards to buyers being over 18 years old,they also have security and CCTV.
I would consider this good managment and responsible sellling so why did BS have such a problem?
If fireworks are legal to sell traders have a right to sell them.
Tesco are not going to risk a smear/fine or bad press from selling to kids, and who knows perhaps those who bought the fireworks are really just families trying to have some fun with their children and enjoying a traditional night so why dont you give everyone a break BS and look outside your box?

Paul said...

"we all know the average hoodie has at least one older brother who’s happy to go and buy some for them.... So far though, we must admit, our end of Brockley has been pretty quiet. No bangers in the back yard, no gangs hurling rockets at each other from opposite sides of the street."

Where to begin with such a lazy, ignorant statement. I think somebody's been watching too much Eden Lake?

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