Monday, December 9, 2013

A Friday of choices

It's a rare occurrence in my life where I need to choose between too many good things. I consider myself extremely lucky in these cases, but they do happen on occasion.

Such was my Friday this past weekend. I'd already made plans to see another VIP lecture at the V&A. This one was being hosted by Appetite UK, a brand agency lecturing on...well, something design-related. It was supposed to happen the week before, right after I'd returned from Boston, but alas, they had to reschedule for some reason or another. I could still make it this new Friday, and I'd even invited Two along as she'd expressed interest before in my academic side events. Unfortunately she had excellent plans to see Goldfrapp instead (her explorations into London's music scene were extensive and impressive...she'd gone out five nights in a row the previous week with Olive to see...well, five concerts in a row...I know I couldn't pull that off...but she can).

So I was going to be alone for the night with my design lecture. No worries, I'd done this sort of thing alone. Instead of giving up though and going quietly, I decided to invite Churches. Surely she, also working in the design department, might be interested.

Instead she put in a counteroffer for my Friday night - a fireworks show. What I'd forgotten in my haze of work and excitement of plans and upcoming linner party organization was that it was almost the 5th of November - Guy Fawkes Day. Somewhat big in the UK, which is sort of ironic considering it's celebrating the day that a guy almost blew up the houses of parliament. Naturally he didn't succeed and historical evidence seems to show that he was merely the fallback guy but whatever. We're going to use this as an excuse to set of thousands of kilos of explosives and wear the now very-familiar mask of his face (a la V for Vendetta).

I was torn. I did want to see the design lecture, whatever it was about, since it'd been a few months since I'd been to the V&A and their lectures were always inspiring. But I'd need to go it alone. I also absolutely love fireworks and it would be nice to do things in groups more, aka being more social and not a weird loner who lives alone (I'd recently read an article that said people who live alone eventually go insane...though upon further inspection really all the article was saying was that some of the things we allow ourselves to get away with when we're alone could be considered...not socially acceptable).

I decided to go with the fireworks. What the hell. It'd been awhile since I'd seen them and I love them. Once as a slightly younger person (like maybe four years ago) I told myself I wanted fireworks at my wedding. That no longer holds because I think it's ridiculous but I do sort of kind of want it still. We'll see.

The design lecture by myself could happen another time. I spend enough time during my day alone, thinking about design. Time to spend some time with friends and see some fireworks.

We set out straight from work. It ended up being a nice group of four: me, Churches, Charmaine, and another girl from work who I'll call Paints.

We met at the tube station near Bishops Park where the event was being hosted and walked our way over there. We made enough time to catch the kid's fireworks show and the adults fireworks show. Entrance was a mere £7.

Surprisingly it was more like a fun fair than a festival about fireworks. I was expecting something pretty low-key and low-cost, like a field where you paid to have a clear view of the fireworks display. No no! There were even rides and...

By god there was even cracky fair food. The glorious smell of deep fried washed over us in waves as we walked around, checking out everything. That smell is like no other. And it always makes you hungry, despite the fact that you've eaten all day and want no more food.

We got into position on the field to watch the kid's show and vowed to buy food as soon as it was done. This is what fair food does to you.

We watched the kid's show. Surprisingly good! It went on for a solid 20 minutes. There was even a very cute and logical countdown to the start, which began right on time.

Then we went for food. Churches and Charmaine wanted burgers, I decided to go for cracky Chinese food. I always want Asian food. It's just in my genes I guess. I know it'll never be good, but I can't help it.

I went with veggie wok noodles with sweet and sour sauce on top (it was either that or curry). It was...alright. As I knew it would be...but I just can't help that smell from luring me in! We had a discussion how they must buy that smell in bulk then pump it through their ventilation systems to bring you in. Whatever food they're making is never as delicious as that smell. So it must be fake. Engineered to smell delicious. Chemical crack smell.

I didn't finish the entire thing. I just couldn't. It just tasted like mediocrity and disappointment. I still relatively enjoyed it though. Admittedly.

By this time (since I'm extremely slow at eating) we'd lined up again on the field to take in the adult's fireworks show. This one promised 900 kilos of explosives and no countdown (well, a very vague countdown I suppose, that was mostly audience-produced...and rather late, like 20 minutes late with no explanation...which made it kind of funny).

Despite all that, this show was considerably better. It went on for longer, the fireworks were higher and more sophisticated, and there was even a musical accompaniment (mostly soundtracks from superhero movies). I could see the theme they were going for (the fireworks' colors matched the superheroes of the music that was playing) and many of them were quite impressive. I wouldn't say it gave Disneyland a run for their money (because let's be honest, those imagineers are definitely paid well for their creativity, as they should be), but it was one of the better fireworks shows I've seen outside of large commercial amusement parks and for £7, it just couldn't be beat. We were all rather satisfied with the entire thing, having pulled the plan to see it together at the last minute and rather patchwork.

Unfortunately I have no photos of this part as I was lost in the fantastic display that was this fireworks show, plus it had started to rain a bit so it was difficult looking up into the sky as rain was pelting into your eyeballs at the same time. Luckily I'd worn my snowboarding jacket with the thoughts that I would be out late for the lecture, plus my leather riding boots, so I was well prepared for the weather. Others in our group were not so fortunate.

After the fireworks display ended we wandered around, got some mulled wine, then slowly made our way home early. It was a good way to end a Friday as I had an early morning the next day in preparation for the linner party. Still didn't get to bed before 1am as I was busy organizing and planning, but such is the way.

Good Friday. I am confident I made the right choice.

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