Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The gunpowder, treason and plot,
I know of no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent
To blow up the King and Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow;
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, make the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip hoorah!
Tomorrow, November 5th, is Guy Fawkes Day. A day in which people the width and breadth of England gather together to celebrate a love of all things burnable and exploding and, to some extent, alcoholic and more power to them. I’ve a fondness for those things myself. It was also, according to my Grandmother from Yorkshire, a tradition for children to beg for change to pay for fireworks or more often, as much candy as you could get down your neck. Money is money. Candy is candy. Kids aren’t over-burdened by pride in such matters.
Of course the whole thing was originally a celebration of the foiling of a devious papist plot to blow up parliament and kill James I, leading to the more recent belief that Fawkes was the only man to ever enter parliament with honest intentions. This, to my mind, makes the current take on Guy Fawkes as a protest symbol for us lowly commoners a bit ironic, not least because every time someone buys one of those V for Vendetta masks Time-Warner, a very establishment media company, gets a cut. However, Fawkes’ torture and subsequent traitors death (Look it up. He died before it was all done but they finished up anyway. It’s not pleasant) were meant to be a celebration of an evil doer’s failure to cripple the government after all. I think that he’s become rehabilitated to many of us. Still, as I age I find that I become both more tolerant and more radical in my views. I kind of like the way old Guy has been rehabilitated. Apparently Alan Moore, the author of V for Vendetta, does as well. You should look that up too. So tomorrow night launch a few fireworks to celebrate the occasion. Maybe light up a long clay pipe and wear a tall, funny looking hat, if such is your inclination, and if you think like me, remember, people shouldn’t fear their government. The government should fear us.