Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Year's Eve


Sometimes it's hard to believe that I worked for four years as the technical stage manager at Sherman Cymru: charged with supervising the health and safety of the stage area, my fellow colleagues, actors, visiting technicians and anyone who might happen to wander across the stage while I was hauling a quarter of a ton of lights or scenery up into the air, precariously attached to one of the counterweight flying bars. During this time I learnt that to qualify to do many risky things, one had to fork out large amounts of the company's money in order to spend a day in some remote training centre, where at the end of the afternoon, and after a desultory "tick box" exam, the answers for which the instructor had spent all day drilling into us, you were promised another piece of plastic to stuff into your wallet (presumably only to be produced in the event of a serious accident involving multiple injuries to third parties).

In Colombia the New Year, as with many other festive dates, is welcomed with fireworks. Sadly, in Boyaca (Pati's home county) fireworks have now been outlawed due to the number of accidents involving children. That, of course, has not made it hugely more difficult to procure fireworks - you just have to travel a bit further. At least we had the children in bed when we (the slightly pissed adults) made free with the rockets.

The following video clearly demonstrates that (a) I never underwent any pyrotechnics training, and that (b) the entire risk assessment process more or less goes by the board in Colombia. I didn't actually burn my hand, but the rocket went off just over my head, rather than 20m in the air as all the others had done. The fact that Pati's brother-in-law, who supplied the fireworks, was wearing a glove to launch these things, didn't deter me in the slightest. When in Rome, eh?