Did you see the fireworks on Australia Day? Weren't they just wonderful? Weren't they just like every other friggin' fireworks display you've seen since age 10?

When bemused aliens pick over the baked ruins of human civilisation in a billion or so years they're gonna look at fossilised "bunless" chicken bacon burgers, leaf blowers and bloody fireworks displays and say "ah, rightio, it all makes sense now".

So pointless as to be insulting, governments worldwide have adopted million-dollar pyrotechnic displays as the main tent pole in their bread and circus appeasement of the public. 

$6.6m worth in Sydney this New Year, $2.8m in Melbourne, perhaps another $5m spent by cities across the rest of Australia? Now throw in the cost of Australia Day's celebrations. Better get a bucket.

A gigantic screen mounted in Federation Square or Martin Place showing the Premier lighting up that amount of stacked cash with a flamethrower would be a far more honest political metaphor - and at least there'd be a chance of an MP's hair exploding.

As a lovely Czech girl said to me recently: "I understand fireworks if they're just there, but what is this camping out for 12 hours to 'get a spot' to see them?"

It's a great question, but then, this is a country where Underbelly is considered "quality drama" and  people actually take Charlotte Dawson's opinion seriously on subjects other than nail polish.

Is it really any surprise we have millions of people who consider watching pretty colours with their mouth open the highlight of their year? No doubt they also had a nine-metre flashing Santa and his reindeers on their roof for Christmas as well.

"Wanna go for a drive to see the Christmas lights in Dolt Street?"


"Sure, wait in the garage for me with the engine running."

I've seen plenty of fireworks displays in my life - you can't escape the things - it's apparently not a party in this city unless there's some gunpowder, oxidizers and strontium carbonate burning in the air overhead.

Maybe I'm missing something but they've all been pretty much the same: Boom. Crackle. Swish. Ooooooh. Repeat.

When I was kid, fireworks displays happened on "cracker night" and they were monstrously fun. Nailing little Tommy McArville with a 30-ball shooter as he crouched behind a gum tree or blowing up half a kilo of dog shit with bungers was almost worth the skin grafts in hospital afterwards.

And we say we want kids to be active?

Lemme tell you, your heart-rate's nicely elevated sprinting away from five 13-year-olds armed with Welcome Spring rockets and a mat of Throw Downs.

Now? We ask children to stand around for five hours eating warm dip and chips so they can watch things fizzle in the sky. Stunning that kids think adults are lame.

Years ago, some bloke bought his .38 handgun to our family bonfire in the mountains and, when the pyre failed to catch alight, he doused the head-high pile of wood with petrol and blasted a few rounds into the thing to get things going. That was cool.

The Chinese, who apparently invented fireworks, seem to get the concept of dangerous fiery entertainment right. At least they do when one of their fireworks factories explodes and takes out half a shanty town.

I'd camp out for five hours to see that on Australia Day. If there was beer involved.

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