Monday, February 06, 2012

The final onslaught looms

I think - New Year's Eve aside, perhaps - this has been the quietest Spring Festival I can remember (not excluding my first three or four here, when fireworks were nominally banned within the Beijing city limits). The soaring cost of fireworks has been significantly inhibiting the pyrotechnic celebrations this year.

But I'm sure people have been saving much of their arsenal - and will be raiding their piggy-banks for a rush of additional last-minute firework purchases - for one last HUGE blowout tonight, the Lantern Festival, the mid-point of the first lunar month in the new Chinese calendar, and traditionally the end of the main phase of New Year celebrations. I am dreading it.

My American friends, however, just can't seem to get enough of it. A delirious enthusiasm for "blowing shit up" seems to be hardwired into them, no doubt somehow related to their cherished constitutional right to roll up their shirtsleeves. And the Canadians, always inclined to ape their rambunctious southern cousins, seem to be just as bad - if not worse. Last week, I happened upon this, surely the world's most tasteless giant firework concept (Burning Schoolhouse?!), from AirMagic, a Toronto events company specialising in 'special effects'.
[I actually find it a bit disappointing: not that much pyro at all, just some smoke and sparks belching out of the chimney. But then, at the end, the whole structure is suddenly engulfed in flames. That is quite startling.]

I don't suppose anybody has managed to get hold of one of these over here. I hope not! You can get your fix of pyromania by watching the video below.

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