Bonfire Night is the most mangy, scruffy of all the celebrations about. It’s probably due mostly to the fact that it’s a wholly British event, which means that big business can’t really do anything in America with it. Well, that and the fact that all Bonfire night entails is the burning of old wood, old leaves and the occassional unfortunate hedgehog in a field. Oh, and a lot of expensive, disappointing fireworks. It’s the underdog of the autumn festives versus the glitz and glamour of dressing up at Halloween, which gives it a special place in my heart. So, on a loosely based theme around that, I decided to put together a miniature mix of songs that are loosely based around this wonderful evening.
First off, let’s start with the king of the Bonfires, before it descends into loosely related tracks: Patrick Wolf
Patrick Wolf – Bluebells (mediafire)
Pretty much the entirity of the ‘Magic Position’ album could’ve been posted her as the soundtrack to this celebration of the massacre of Guy Fawkes’ gunpowder treason and plot, but this is the track that centres in on November 5th. It even says so: ‘Now it is the fifth of November’ – see? Still, it’s a pretty depressing song at times, and it’d be wonderful to see Patrick in amongst the ‘stray dogs and families’ as he sings. I can’t imagine the kids from council estates who take to local parks reacting too kindly to his signature regalia, but Patrick is made of tougher stuff than that, obviously.
Beat Happening – Bonfire (mediafire)
I don’t know if the Gunpowder plot means anything to Calvin Johnson, but still, he and Beat Happening made this song, which gives me the perfect excuse to post it. Fair enough, it’s hardly about sitting in the back garden whilst your uncle gets pissed off because a rocket won’t start, but the ‘Who’s it going to be/Is it him or me?’ line could easily about Fawkes’ plot to get rid of the King, couldn’t it? Please? Let’s pretend anyway, as it’s a wonderful song.
Animal Collective – Fireworks (mediafire)
I refute any claims that I’ve simply searched my iTunes for the songs for this list whatsoever. Anyway, Animal Collective are good, no matter what your Kasabian loving friends say when you put them on, and this songs might sample fewer fireworks that Wolf’s songs, but it does feel a fair bit like being inside a Catherine Wheel or something. Stick it on anyway.
Interpol – All Fired Up (mediafire)
Paul Banks/Julian Plenti is certainly too cool to even consider knowing anything about bonfire toffee or any of the boring shit we do. but he does make good music. And this has fire in the title, and Interpol haven’t really done anything for the past few years (as a group anyway), so this’ll have to do. Don’t forget, Paul Banks is the country solo at the end of the year. Cannot wait.
Cajun Dance Party – The Firework (mediafire)
Cajun Dance Party instantly turned me off because I couldn’t stop comparing the singer’s voice to that of Luke ‘Kook’ Pritchard. Thankfully, they make some pretty dancey tunes to back up his voice which makes you almost forget the similarities. I’m also willing to forgive them for letting me flesh this out with another track.
Herman Dune – Whatever Burns the best, Baby (mediafire)
I am still kicking myself for not going to see Herman Dune when they played last year. This track makes me feel doubly sad. Again, it’s not really about Bonfire Night, but if all these songs were then we’d be left with Brit-pop and Choirs singing hymns. Nevermind. I’m sure that I’ve missed a lot of brilliant songs, too (almost certainly something by Radiohead, I feel), but hopefully a song by this French Duo will appease.
Oh, and of course, for all of you who have got to work on Bonfire Night (or even if you can’t be bothered):
Idlewild – Last Night I Missed all the Fireworks (mediafire)
My absolute favourite Idlewild track by a mile, it’s from their early days, before they discovered folk and still screamed and shouted and generally made a mess. It’s short, sweet and incredibly good. Listen to it on the morning of November the 6th and let it console you.
Hope this hasn’t been too excruciating.