RICK JACKSON: You can’t wipe out centuries of explosive tradition

Gunwharf Quays fireworks 2016
Gunwharf Quays fireworks 2016
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Should we ban fireworks for private use?

That’s the question which is being asked a lot this year and a petition on Facebook is gathering pace.

As a father of two young children and two dogs, I definitely think we should not ban them. It’s been part of our culture for centuries.

Yes, there will always be inconsiderate people who let off their own fireworks at 10.30pm, but I loved last Saturday and Sunday evenings, with private displays going off everywhere.

Our local school put on a magnificent display and there were many other great ones to enjoy, but there is something about having a few at home.

Growing up, I remember by uncle excitedly arriving with a box of fireworks to let off in our garden. Hot dogs were warming up as he prepared them on the grass.

Roman candles, Catherine wheels and rockets, we’d all be buzzing with excitement as he lit the touchpaper and stood back.

Yes they were rubbish, but they were bright and went bang. What more could a 10-year-old want?

Banning us from having them would not only be a draconian step when it comes to civil liberties, but it would also wipe out one of our many traditions.

Many of us are watching the excellent but gory BBC1 drama Gunpowder with tells the story of Guy Fawkes and his attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

The rest of the world must think we’re weird when it comes to some of our traditions – how we still celebrate the death of someone who attempted to blow up the establishment, who themselves brought misery and torture to many, and how the burning of Guy is linked to the fact he was hanged, drawn and quartered, the most horrific of executions.

So here we are 400-odd years on celebrating the macabre execution of someone who wasn’t even the main instigator of an attempt to wipe out the establishment. He was just the poor chap guarding the gunpowder.

Any old excuse to try to light a sparkler in the dark with a match.


Welcome to the silly season. Well, for me anyway and it starts tonight with the huge Gunwharf Quays fireworks display, which I am hosting.

I’ll also be interviewing Nadine Coyle from Girls Aloud and current X-Factor champion Matt Terry.

My feet will hardly touch the ground this month as I’ll be hosting the Christmas lights switch-on events in the city centre, Southsea, Cosham and Gosport.

Coupled with hosting the Dorset Business Awards at the BIC and party events, boy am I looking forward to my week off at Christmas.

These events will, like me, be enjoyed by many.

But for me, by the time December comes, I’ll be sick of Slade and Wizzard, then I have to play them!


I’ve joined the gym. How foolish.

I’ve decided that, although I love cycling and road running, I do little for my upper body, so getting a programme of weights to follow seems a good idea.

I’ve already fallen off a cycling machine my feet were attached to and now further embarrassment.

I was waiting for a rather attractive women in Lycra to vacate the Peck Deck machine.

Taking the seat, I decided not to alter the weight.

Unfortunately, I was only able to do one press and had to wait for no one to look to lighten the load by a few kilos!

Maybe I need some advice first? Think it will be a while before I look like Poldark...