Safety is for sissies

Fireworks? It's all a matter of attitude (Hugh Aldersey-Williams, Arts, 30 October). The Fiesta del Elche concludes with three hours of pyrotechnics, a brief blackout is followed by the firing of 3,500 rockets from the church roof, whereupon the nimbler citizens spill on to the streets to fire hand rockets at each other for the next three hours. When I suggested to our Spanish hosts that the resultant 350 casualties might cause the authorities to intervene, they looked astonished and asked: "Why ? If people throw fireworks at each other, they must expect to get hurt."

What a bunch of sissies we have become. Afraid to go out, afraid to stay in, afraid to eat and afraid to drink. Science classes so safe they're boring, children so protected they're a danger to themselves. Bring back jumping jacks, black devils and cycling without helmets.

Bryan Sadler

This article first appeared in the 13 November 1998 issue of the New Statesman, Why gays become politicians