Wednesday, July 05, 2006


So, because 230 years ago, the Americans got away from us Brits, last night I joined 3 million other 'independently minded people' to stand on the FDR ( a large motorway which runs over 9 miles up the eastern side of Manhattan ) to watch the much-awaited firework display. (The FDR was closed to traffic, just incase you're wondering....)

The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy. Fighting superior technology, Man's best weapon is the will to survive. Yeah that's the movie, but actually it could easily have been the theme of the display - particularly at the end, when the will to survive came in very handy whilst trying to get home at the same time as 3 million other 'independently minded people'.

The actual individual fireworks were probably the most original and creative I've ever seen - notably ones which exploded into star shapes and 3D boxes, Saturn rings and slow-rising ghost-like alien things. But, whatever happened to the three act structure? Like most displays these days, after the initiating incident the whole storyline rather lost the plot. There was no 2nd act climax, and even the denouement was confusing with several false-endings. Just imagine being at the theatre and the audience clap because they think the play's over (in several places), only to find it starts up again. Said play would almost certainly be considered rubbish, right? Visual storytelling is no different to any other, and in my opinion, all firework display designers should enrol on Robert McKee's 'story' seminar.....

Anyway, personal structure gripe aside, it was a good display as displays go. It's just that nothing will EVER compare to the Millennium firework display in London. That year my friends were clearly sleeping with the right people because I found myself, with only a handful of others, viewing from the roof of the Royal Festival Hall, so close to the action that burnt-out firework shells were landing on the ground at our feet. I will never ever forget that evening and the background soundtrack of my French friend D, who was leaping up and down with excitement behind his tripod as he took zillions of photographs, whilst simultaneously trying to direct another friend in the use of his new camera by screaming every few seconds 'Press zee fooking BUTTON!'


Blogger Catster said...

fab pics - you clearly were pressing 'ze fooking button' at the right times - D would be proud! xxx

10:31 AM, July 07, 2006  

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