On Saturday I had about the most cathartic experience I’ve had in a long while. I was standing in a crowd of about 300 people, in Crawley. We were jumping up and down, and shouting:
"We love you Lewes, we do,
Oh Lewes we love you.”
I must admit at a certain point I did stand back and ponder on the absurd nature of what I was doing, which wasn’t, I must add, simply eulogising even more than normal about what a great town I’m from. I was at a football match. The final whistle had just gone. It was an important FA Cup tie. Lewes had just beaten the hosts, who play in a higher standard league, to get into the First Round (proper) of the competition for only the second time in their 121-year history. The players, dressed in their light blue away kit, were applauding those who’d travelled up the road to watch them play. And the crowd were going proper bonkers.
On Saturday November the fourth the most manic date in the Lewes cultural calendar takes place. Thousands of people have spent millions of hours preparing the festival which shows the world exactly what the town is all about. There will be dancing, shouting, fire-jumping and rookie throwing, as we celebrate our independent spirit and remember the 17 martyrs who died a painful death for the sake of freedom of thought and expression.
For once, when the bonfire ash has cooled and the smell of paraffin has gone out of the fabric of the streets, there is something else to look forward to. Darlington are coming to town on the 11th. I’m not sure which I’m more excited about. It’s going to be quite a month. Enjoy the week.