I've loved fire ever since I was a child. Tank battles between toy soldiers weren't quite the same unless some lighter fuel was involved, and I particularly enjoyed turning Jiff lemons into mini flame-throwers. So what better place for a pyromaniac to live than Lewes? Every year the town stages a spectacular procession, in which hundreds of people from different bonfire societies march through the town in bizarre costumes, wielding flaming torches.
It's a wonderful evening, but the Lewes Bonfire Night procession draws too many visitors for the town to cope with and many find it a rather claustrophobic experience. However, two weeks earlier there is another parade, which is a sort of dress rehearsal for the main event. It is not on the same scale as November 5th, but in many ways it's far more enjoyable and is, as the League of Gentlemen would say, a local procession for local people:
There are so many things I enjoy about the Lewes bonfire processions: the noise of the drums, the heat of the flaming torches as they go past, the cavalier attitude towards health and safety, the feeling of anarchy the grips the town, the sound of burning wheelbarrows as they rattle down the hill, the eclectic mixture of costumes and the unpredictable choice of music.
Is it any surprise that the God of Hellfire himself - Arthur Brown - lives in Lewes? Only last year, he managed to set fire to his hair (again) at a local concert. Ideally, I would like to see every procession end with a performance of Fire: