Saturday, 1 January 2011


The clock struck midnight (I didn't actually hear it, but it must have done somewhere). New Year's eve was over, now it was New Year's day.

I'd had my own private party that evening. I'd decided that it was going to be a Queen night. I mentally danced (as I'm brilliant in my head) to "Tie your mother down", "A kind of magic", "Love of my life", "Another one bites the dust" and of course basked in the beauty of "Bohemian Rhapsody". I also kept pace with Brian May on air guitar, and I'd never sounded better. There was a party in the pub next door, and I'm sure that the music group were quite good, but unfortunately they had to suffer unfair comparison with the Kings of Pop.

At Midnight I was standing on my balcony, a quality cigar in one hand, and a glass of port in the other. Then the spectacle started. Fireworks from a house two streets away, then another and another. A brilliant spectacle of sound and vision. In the distance could be heard the deep rumbling of firework crackers, all moulding it seemed into one long burst of sound.

Fireworks were thought to have originated in China around 2,000 years ago, and throughout history, right up to today, they are thought to have the power to fend off evil spirits and ghosts that are frightened by the loud bangs. I'm not sure how many people in West Bridgford had this in mind when they were setting off their fireworks, but if I was an evil spirit frightened of loud noises, I wouldn't be any where near the place. For most people it's just fun. The New Year was being welcomed in a very special way, and I loved it.

In a wonderful juxtaposition; while I was marvelling at the noisy fireworks display, Chinese Lanterns began to drift serenely across the horizon. There was noise and silence, fireworks and lanterns, both beautiful in their own way. It is thought that Chinese Lanterns were first used nearly 2,000 years ago. They were invented as a military aid, used as a method of communication on the battlefield.

Lanterns are now traditionally released with a wish to bring good luck and prosperity in the coming year.

Whether you believe in the origins of fireworks and lanterns is beside the point. I for one am happy to ward off evil by any means, and also to seek good luck and prosperity for the future. Who does not wish the new year to be at least as good, if not better than the old one?

I have my own personal hopes and dreams for 2011, but I also never want to lose sight of a bigger picture. I want to follow Martin Luther King, who said, "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity".

Happy New Year

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