The Great Fire of Dronfield

Dronfield Rainbow

In the words of Maximus Decimus Meridius, “Is this not why you are here? Are you not entertained?” If he had not been talking about the bloody combat of the gladiatorial arena, he may well have been alluding to the  obvious lack of entertainment that comes with fireworks. Fireworks, fireworks, fireworks… Pop, crack, fizzle. Fireworks are a lot like relatives: they are imposing, the idea of them sounds more fun than the reality and you want them to leave sooner than they do. Fireworks.

But the great fire of Dronfield isn’t all about not having fun watching fireworks, there are plenty of reasons not to have fun: it’s about not having fun watching a large fire, not having fun realising how few people in Dronfield you actually know, not having fun paying 30 pence more for a pint in a plastic cup and not having fun being cold in a field with wet feet. And if you’re very lucky, you can not have fun while some idiot with a toffee-apple walks into your woolen jumper, the possibilities to not have fun are almost endless.

What better way to spend a Saturday night than being caked in mud listening to the usual choir of morons – determined to have fun, at all costs –  blurting, “We’re not going to let the weather ruin it for us, there’s rain, wind and lots of mud, we don’t mind, all part of the fun”, while they stand there shaking, wet-haired, snot running down their face and embers burning holes in everything they are wearing.

Having spent approximately £10k on fireworks, the Great Fire of Dronfield would have needed 1428 attendees paying full price (£7) to just to break even, which I am sure they did. If I had a budget of £10k to entertain ~1500 people, fireworks would not be top of the list. My shopping list would include lots of cheap booze and result in at least (I would hope) several divorces.

I have compiled a short, but concise, list of things I could spend £7 on, not end up with wet feet and still have slightly more fun than watching a firework display:

  1. Buy a reduced Clint Eastwood DVD at Sainsburys and fall asleep watching it.
  2. Buy two reduced John Wayne DVDs at Sainsburys and fall asleep before the first.


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