Monday, October 31, 2005

an ottery way to celebrate guy fawkes' night... (only in england!)

last night i went to the nearby village of ottery st mary to watch the local tradition of "tar barrelling" - basically people running up and down hills while carrying barrels of burning tar on their shoulders. according to someone down my corridor who has been researching this, it is the oldest tradition that hasnt yet been banned. i can see why people would want it banned, it was a pyromaniac's wildest dream - the tar barrellers (interestingly, of both the main genders) were running through crowded streets, sometimes very close to the spectators, and people in the audience would cheer them on and when it looked like the barrels were going out they chanted for paraffin...
and the food! there were burger vans everywhere, plus other dodgy food outlets, including one that made donuts (4 for £1!) which made me feel nauseous: rings of solid fat, deep fried in hot liquid fat. these put me right off donuts (and i used to like the damn things...). nice. later i had a chicken burger to make myself feel better, i liked the bread but not the chicken so much. i think i might go vegetarian now. (meat is murder! sometimes literally, if you die of food poisoning...)
anyway, doesnt rolling-stuff-down-hills-once-a-year seem to be such an english tradition? ive heard of cheese rolling, bathtub racing, etc., but ive never heard of any of these kinds of traditions happening anywhere else in the world. (if they do, could someone let me know please?)

i might upload a few more pictures of this unique event later, im having problems with uploads right now :-(

another couple of points raised by this (rant time i'm afraid!)...

1. guy fawkes tried to blow up parliament (well, he wanted to get the king, but that meant taking out the rest of parliament in the process...) - which makes people wonder if he had the right idea after all?
when there is the general election, the tradition is that the queen dissolves parliament (i.e. we have no parliament for a month!). we do ok without them for a month, so it makes you wonder if we would be ok without them forever. i reckon we'd do ok without the monarchy, at least. (dunno if we'd be ok without government/parliament though...) the monarchy dont do a lot, the only arguments people use for keeping them are "its traditional" and "they bring in the tourists". (i LOVE johnny rotten's sarcastic sneering in the sex pistols' "god save the queen": the lyric "god save the queen, cos tourists are money!" classic song!) apart from bringing in tourists, what do they do? recently prince charles has been telling president monkey (bush) off for not doing enough to halt climate change, so hes ok after all. but the rest of them dont do a lot as far as i can tell, apart from owning dangerous dogs, hunting foxes, riding horses, being rich, living in palaces, smoking pot, etc. maybe thats why old guido wanted to blow up the king. of course, i cant say that it was a good idea, becuase that would be "glorifying terrorism" and the "labour" government wants to outlaw that in their new anti-terror legislation.
2. i went with some people from my corridor to the tar barrelling and they all stuck together, except for one guy (rich) who was blatanty ignoring us girls and constantly on the phone to his girlfriend. when he got home i heard him talking about it with a mate who asked who he went with, and he mentioned the names of the boys we'd gone with but none of the girls. i was next to him and he didnt even say he'd gone with me, i mean he couldnt exactly have forgotten about me seeing as i was right in front of him! also on the way home, after the group had fragmented a bit (as they always seem to do on nights out), i was walking back with him and he just buggered off, and i had to make my own way home. i got to the coach just in time, and found vicky (one of the girls who had also come on the trip) there too, luckily for both of us. but still, not very gentlemanly of him to leave us to find our own ways home, in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar place.
i've noticed this with a lot of boys my age, when they get a girlfriend they forget about all the other girls and ignore their mates on purpose. ive met other guys who do that, e.g. jack at school was one of my best mates and then he became what will called a "wom" - "woman over mates". i havent heard from him in ages, which he wouldnt have done when he was single. it's not worth losing your friends over, really. i admit, i probably would have lost mates over boys when i was 13, but when youre 18-plus it's just plain stupid!
reminds me of another song, morrissey's "hold on to your friends" - i'm sorry but i will have to copy-and-paste quite large sections of the lyrics (oh what the hell, i'll just copy and paste the whole lot!) to demonstrate what i mean:

A bond of trust
Has been abused
Something of value
May be lost
Give up your job
Squander your cash - be rash
Just hold on to your friends

There are more than enough
To fight and oppose
Why waste good time
Fighting the people you like
Who will fall defending your name
Oh, don't feel so ashamed
To have friends

But now you only call me
When you're feeling depressed
When you feel happy I'm
So far from your mind
My patience is stretched
My loyalty vexed
Oh, you're losing all of your friends

Hold on to your friends
Hold on to your friends
Resist - or move on
Be mad, be rash
Smoke and explode
Sell all of your clothes
Just bear in mind :
Oh, there just might come a time
When you need some friends

(there you go, proves my theory that moz has lyrics for every occasion!)


Blogger ISLAND MONKEY said...

Hey - cheers for your comments on my blog. And I can see you are a Mozzer fan as well. Good stuff. I saw him last year at Old Trafford CC which was great as he used to live in Kings Road next to the ground and told loads of anecdotes about Manchester and growing up around Stretford. The only time he has ever done that at a gig I believe.
Ottery sounds like a barrel of fun..(I apologise for that bad joke)...nice part of the country down there...all the best...

12:47 am  
Blogger Laura said...

Hello Hel Fire, this is really bazaar! I was going to recomend you look up the fabulous island monkey but you already have. marvelous isn't it. Thanks buckets for your advice I'll get round to it soon Honest! By the way how did you find me? you're welcome anytime just pop round to sillynonsense please bring cake I'll pop the kettle on.


9:32 pm  
Blogger Wes said...

^^ i like the potter one :P

1:01 pm  

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