If you haven’t got any plans to celebrate Bonfire Night then look no further as we’ve pulled together everything you need to host your sparkling fireworks night!
What to eat
Why not try this mouth-watering Spiced Toffee Traybake recipe from Mary Berry’s Fast Cakes before you head out to watch those fireworks!
Download the recipe here: Spiced Toffee Traybake recipe
What to listen to
A great fireworks display needs to have an explosive soundtrack. And who better to recommend then BBC Radio 3 presenter, Clemency Burton-Hill? In her book, Year of Wonder, Clemmie explains why Music for the Royal Fireworks by George Frideric Handel (1685–1759) is THE piece of music to play when kicking off your fireworks display:
‘Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks has nothing to do with today’s tradition of Guy Fawkes’ Night and bonfires in Britain, but as pyrotechnical music goes, it’s hard to beat.
The piece was actually written to accompany a huge fireworks display in London’s Green Park in 1749 to celebrate the end of the War of the Austrian Succession and the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, seen as a major success for Britain. Before the grand ceremony took place in central London near the royal residence of St James’s Palace, a full public rehearsal was staged at the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, south of the river.
Astonishingly, more than twelve thousand people rocked up, each paying two shillings and sixpence. The unexpected turnout caused a solid three-hour traffic jam of carriages on London Bridge – at the time the only way to cross the Thames around that stretch of the river.
This boggles my mind: I’m trying to think of pop stars, let alone classical composers, that could today command a paying audience of over twelve thousand people for a rehearsal. It just goes to show how central this music used to be to audiences of all backgrounds; and how the label of ‘classical’ or ‘popular’ is so nonsensical, so restricting, so pointlessly alienating. Popular music, surely, is just stuff people like to listen to; back in the day, everyone liked listening to this.’
Music recommendation from Clemmie Burton-Hill, Year of Wonder
What to read
Now that you’ve got your hearty food and fireworks playlist sorted, the final thing to do is build the perfect bonfire, and Norwegian Wood is just the thing to help!
“You know exactly where you are with a woodpile. Its share price doesn’t fall on the stock market. It won’t rust. It won’t sue for divorce. It just stands there and does one thing: It waits for winter. An investment account reminding you of all the hard work you’ve put into it. On bitterly cold January mornings it will bring back memories of those spring days when you sawed, split, and stacked as you worked to insure yourself against the cold. There’s that twisted knot that just wouldn’t surrender to your ax. And isn’t that the log you pushed in at the wrong angle, making the whole pile collapse? Yes, that’s the one all right. Well, winter’s here, and now it’s your turn to feed the flames.”
Whether you’re a seasoned woodcutter, or your passion is yet to be kindled, Norwegian Wood is the perfect fireside read, and the ultimate companion this bonfire night.
We hope you have a very happy Bonfire Night!