Last night was the ritual of burning The Man.

We arrived at The Man site and took up seats on our blanket right in the front row, waiting for the fire show to start.

First there were marching bands. Have you ever seen a fiery tuba or flaming kettle drums? Setting a wild rhythm, the flame-throwers, eaters, twirlers, dancers appeared next, certainly the biggest pyro show I’ve ever seen. Some performers were very professional and some just gifted amateurs, but all were ‘playing with fire”.

The fireworks show took up after the fire people, with colours exploding out of The Man for maybe 15 minutes. The 45,000 strong crowd was wowed, none more than those using “enhancements”!

Then, smallish flames appeared in different areas of 70 ft. Man scaffolding, as the edifice that had been the central landmark for all our time here began to be destroyed.

As the fire became fierce, and frightenly strong, goaded by dusty gusts of strong winds, I had mental images of the Victorian hills fires that destroyed so many lives, and properties, scorching the earth for decades to come.

Fire is so primitive and so powerful, the epitome of ashes to ashes. I’m sure many people were hoping to leave mental/emotional baggage incinerated on The Man pyre. For my part, nothing to leave behind, only an emblazoned memory.