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Frank L. Hoffman
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Letter from Jenny Moxham about Fireworks - 10 Jan 2008

Dear Mary and Frank,

Thank you so much for forwarding this on to me and thank you very much Ruth for your kind comments regarding my poem CAROLS BY FIREWORKS and fireworks. I'm so pleased to hear that you agree.

I was delighted to read this little article in yesterday's Herald Sun (Melbourne) since not many people seem to dare to speak out against fireworks. Not even the people from the animal shelters who take in scores of terrified and distressed dogs every New Years Eve.

Even they only seem prepared to condemn 'illegal' fireworks (those let off by individuals). It's as if suggesting that humans be deprived of the pleasure of these environmentally unfriendly, health harming, animal scaring explosive shows is just too much to ask.

Very best wishes
Jenny

Big bang mentality a fizzer

January 09, 2008 12:00am

IT might be symptomatic of being old and grumpy, but frankly I'm just about over this unhealthy obsession we have with fireworks, writes Ross Brundrett.

They were all over the skies a little over a week ago, on New Year's Eve, of course.

What better way to herald in the new year than with some air pollution.

Nowadays you notice we have two sittings; one at 9pm for the young family members who cannot wait until midnight.

Which means more bangs for more bucks. Twice as much money going up in smoke.

So by the night's end the air is that acrid and thick you'd swear you were in Beijing on Smog Day.

Oh yes, there's nothing quite like the smell of gunpowder in the night air. Splashing fiery embers to the heavens, lighting up the night.

Heaven help any international flights heading to Tullamarine, the poor pilots must have thought they had travelled back in time to London during the blitz.

It's entirely excessive if you ask me but it wouldn't be so bad if that was the end of it.

You know, just once a year, like old Guy Fawkes night. But it's not, we put on large displays of fireworks at the drop of a hat, as if that's the only way we can whip a crowd into a frenzy.

Fair enough we do it for the Olympics and Commonwealth Games, but not at every Moomba or Grand Prix or the countless other events that should be able to stand alone without being propped up by pyrotechnics.

Why bother shooting for the stars for a night footy match or rugby league or soccer . . . and authorities have the nerve to prosecute fans who set off flares. Heck, what do they expect after sparking them into action with fireworks?

Which brings me back to New Year's Eve. Have you noticed now the increasing number of illegal fireworks being set off in the suburbs?

Our house faces a park and New Year's Eve at our place was punctuated by mini explosions at regular intervals. It was like the "shock and awe" bombing of Baghdad.

By the night's end our dog was whimpering and dragging his tail around the house like John Howard on election night.

What does it say about our society? Are we so culturally stunted that we need bright lights flashing across the skies to be stimulated, if only for a second or two?

And where will it all end? The worry is that this fascination will translate and be commercialised to private functions. Candles will no longer do the trick at birthday parties, not when you can shoot for the stars.

How long before weddings and other parties are considered incomplete without rockets spewing out sparks across the sky?

I say now is the time to nip it in the bud, or whatever you have to do to defuse the big bang mentality.

I say to the next event organiser who wants to dazzle us with another fireworks display: try something a little less predictable. Something that doesn't involve explosive charges, perhaps.

It's beyond the pale, it really is, and it's about time our authorities led the way by steering us out of our predisposition to all things pyrotechnical.

Surely in this day and age, we can come up with something else to impress the vast populace, just for a minute or two?

Surely we don't have to rely on something as basic as fireworks, which after all, have been around for a millennium or two.

I know some people still get a huge kick of things that go bang in the night, not to mention things that go sreeeeeeeeee and kerrrtiiissshh.
Indeed people have been known to queue up for hours just to get early dibs on vantage points, but that just makes their obsession all the more tragic.

Let's move on and drag ourselves out of the metaphorical bonfire.

The light at the end of the tunnel need not be the flash of a fire wheel.

brundrettr@heraldsun.com.au

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