Bonfire Night is the kind of gruesome success that most PR people or politicians – still just about separate careers – could only dream of. The idea was planted by the fires, the guys, and of course that doggerel. Alan Moore would probably call the last component deep magic, although having the law on its side probably helped.
Remember… forgot. It’s only struck me recently just how much November concerns itself with remembrance. Alongside Bonfire Night, there’s Remembrance Sunday itself, of course: a temporal coincidence, on the face of it; but did November somehow work itself into being the perfect month for a continent heartily sick of the Great War to write fin beneath it? Then there’s All Souls’ Day, and even in a fashion All Saints’ Day and Thanksgiving. My personal remembrances in November include the anniversary of Dan’s memorial service, my late Grandma’s birthday, and even the birthday of my favourite old soldier: he’s still soldiering on, you’ll be pleased to hear. But his day is always an excuse for our mismatched family to come together, and affirm that a family is what we actually are.
Historically I’ve hated November: my melancholic streak widens much as the days shorten, and this grey and dismal preamble to the festivals of light makes me simply want to hibernate. But remembrance is how I’m trying to come to terms with it. If the harvest festivals are the year’s natural climax, then November is its denouement; a necessary, explicatory, thoughtful disentanglement of all that came before.
But, still: roll on that post-denouement epilogue, with the abrupt change in tone it permits; with its feasts, and its cheery, guy-less fires.