Last night there was a big fireworks display in Battersea Park. It’s always beautiful, and my flat is a warm place from which to enjoy the light show. Usually. Right now it isn’t a warm place because the boiler’s fucked. But you still get a good view. I was looking forward to it until I got a call asking me to work a last minute shift. And since I can’t say no, I ended up working with a hangover, while the fireworks happened for other people in my flat. They even sent me photographs.
This evening I was determined – fireworks or bust. Turns out Flavia is going to be shooting things off her roof at six. Perfect. I can satisfy my pyromaniac tendencies and hang out with a good friend at the same time. So all I need is something to bring to the party…
NOWHERE IN CHELSEA SELLS ROCKETS.
Everywhere else in the country there are spots that are temporarily shut, and a shop pops up selling fireworks, befitting the landlord and the concession. There are lots of shut shops in Chelsea, mostly from businesses that can’t carry on because of the rent these arseholes think is appropriate. The landlords on the King’s Road, the same greedy bastards that destroyed the whole idea of the King’s Road by driving up prices until it’s only tenable if you’re a characterless chain store… there’s no way they’re letting a fireworks shop pop up. They even killed The Chelsea Kitchen. Fuckwits. They’ve neutered Chelsea. Idiots in suits murdered this borough 20 years ago. It won’t be cool again in my lifetime, despite the fact that I live here. It’ll take that long for the idiots to die. And all I want is a rocket…
As it turns out though, my neighbour is going to Harrods. He’s brilliant, successful, young and optimistic. But he’s labouring under a misapprehension. Harrods sells everything, surely? That’s why it’s Harrods. He certainly trusts it. What I wouldn’t give to be so uncomplicated.
We have a friendship now, me and this guy that thinks Harrods is a legitimate retail outlet. He’s going anyway to get cheeses so I join him in his black cab. A long time since I’ve taken a black cab. I like him. I want to find a rocket with him and both of us to feel like we’ve won.
We arrive at Harrods – the everything store. I’m there for fireworks. I know already that it’ll be absurdly expensive, but I ask the guard where the fireworks are. I just want a rocket. “We don’t have any fireworks.” Says the guard. Then he adds “Try Sainsbury’s.” and he manages to do it with the curve that implies somehow that Harrods wins the moral high ground by not having fireworks.
Harrods doesn’t stock fireworks??!! What is the point of marketing yourself as the everything store, charging 17 times the value for everything, making yourself a tourist destination, and not stocking bloody fireworks on the fifth of November in London??! Grrrrrr. A little more faith slips away… (The Sainsbury’s recommended by the dude didn’t have them either, but Harrods? Is the fantasy not that you can get anything?)
I went to Flavia’s place empty of gunpowder. I had myself. That’s enough bang for anybody. We fired off some lovely things, we drank much wine, all was well. If I’d found a rocket, then we’d have had a rocket. But as it is we had companionship. And that was enough.