Who I Would Burn on Bonfire Night

It’s chilly, it’s dark, and we’re all about to burn a man who very nearly put a stop to all of our fun with a few barrels of gunpowder. But why should Guy get all the attention? Here are some alternatives for evils of which of society should tonight be purged…

| UPDATED Bonfire Night Cambridge University christmas friends effigies effigy Fireworks friends re-run geoffrey chaucher Guy Fawkes mollie wintle simpsons halloween will heilpern

Who you would burn on bonfire night is, ostensibly, a personal and provocative question but one which, when posed to my friends, prompted an overwhelmingly positive response:

‘My supervisor… or maybe a middle-eastern dictator.’

‘All boys except one. No actually I’d burn him too because otherwise he’d be like “srlsy I’m the only boy left in the entire world I can shag everyone.”’

‘Mark Zuckerburg  for inventing facebook.’


‘John Prescott.’

‘That woman on the tube who picked her scab and then flicked it at me.’

Mollie Wintle would burn Geoffrey Chaucer

Whilst the above suggested effigies are wise and sensible choices, I believe there can only be one winner for who should rightfully be burnt on bonfire night. And it is not Guy Fawkes, but actually Geoffrey Chaucer. I type this with scratched eyes after a night of debating whether the poem ‘Troilus and Criseyde’ is in fact ‘more than anything the book of Troilus.’ If you were wondering what this title meant you would be in the same oppressive boat that I have been in for the past 16 hours. And when I say debating I mean me looking through Nick Dinan’s cover photos whilst wondering if sparknotes is technically allowed to not cover such a major and massive beast of a poem. It’s not even that bad. It’s just possibly the longest thing anyone’s ever written ever. We could fan the flames of Chaucer’s effigy with pages of his text because that would be fun, and would contain one of the ‘pointed ironic touches’ Wikipedia assures me his texts are littered with. Resorting to the classic ‘if in doubt, quote it out’ my essay consists of vast chunks of Chaucer dispersed with tiny veins of analysis. I might as well have just handed in the entire poem to my supervisor. But it is Bonfire Night. I’m not that mean.

This all looks deliciously flamable…

Ben Dalton would burn the entire cast of Halloween Simpsons

My choice – and I’m beginning to surprise even myself here – would in fact not be Kristen Stewart. Lord knows why not. The woman suffers from a case of Elvis-lip so severe that it rivals the face my Dad does when attempting to seduce Mom post-takeaway on a Friday night. She is also called ‘Kristen’ rather than ‘Kirsten’. Whatever the reason, I am going to let her live for now.

If I could burn anyone this Bonfire’s, it would have to be absolutely any character from the thousands of Halloween episodes of the Simpsons. It could be Snowbell in her bat wings, or Marge dressed up as Morticia from The Adams Family. It could be Homer in a toga, or Ned as the devil. It could even be those two really annoying aliens who always appear to the soundtrack of someone playing an electric saw. I hate them all. They, alongside the traditional Guy, are the evil of which society should be purged. And this is why:

No matter how painful the Christmas F.R.I.E.N.D.S re-run is to stick mid-February (you’re trying to find Joey’s gluttony funny yet just can’t take your eyes off that seasonal fir in the corner of Central Perk), there is nothing as jarring as crashing down after the usual tricolon of BluePeter-NewsRound-Neighbours to find yourself watching the third Halloween episode in three days. And it’s June.

The comedy has been replaced by gore. The subtle critique of modernity has been replaced by Willy The Caretaker with a chainsaw. And above all – and I’ve mentioned this above – the entire soundtrack has been replaced with that dratted electric saw. Played on repeat. Then wiggled a bit.

I, for one, want to be able to turn the television on safe in the knowledge that, if clear of the 31st October, I will be able to follow Lisa’s relationship with the jazz man. Or tut as Homer grabs that jelly statue off that women’s bum and is then pursued for harassment.

Burn them. Burn them all.

It’s just not entertainment…

Will Heilpern would set all the Moustaches alight

Having been asked to consider would I would most like to burn tonight, as an effigy, I thought long and hard. I thought about that one moustached Porter who’s always a bit of a dick to everyone for no real reason, without ever being quite rude enough to complain about; the blue haired man who intercepts me on my walk to and from the Sidjwick site EVERY day to give me a crappy leaflet about Propaganda on Friday nights at Fez and, finally, about the – granted incredibly eloquent – student, who dominates my lectures to the point that it feels like everyone else in the lecture hall is intruding on his private supervision.

Then I thought ‘No’, burning effigies of these people, who are probably lovely if you take the time to get to know them, would be an absurd and psychotic overreaction.

So I analysed these irritations. What I dislike most about the lecture kid is that he makes it all about him. The thing that really gets to me about the aggressive leaflet-er is his over-insistence and what I  actually hate about the porter is, realistically, his moustache. Then it struck me: Movember embodies all of these qualities. Movember not only encourages abhorrent moustaches, but also insistent, grasping Facebook statuses and, even worse, it makes the entire of NOvember about these hairy lip growths. What’s worse is that most of these people are not even growing them for charity, but for some delusional sense that it is ‘banter’. It probably stopped being ‘banter’ when people stopped using the word ‘banter’ without irony.

Unless you can do this. This is ok.


Find some more impressive way to raise money: at least run the marathon or something. As the great Ashley and Jerwayne of PhoneShop fame would say, ‘Be a man about your charity’.

It is only the 5th of November, the potential moustaches are but mere grubby stubble waiting to be set alight. We could end this all now. Stock up on cigarette lighters tonight and patrol the scenes of festivity with a slightly malign smile and turn guilty looking upper lips into your very own hairy bonfire effigies.

*NB. Please don’t actually burn people’s upper lips tonight, buy them a Gillete Fusion Proglide 5 instead. It uses  “thinner, finer blades with a low-resistance coating to effortlessly glide through the hair, without tugging and pulling the skin.”