It is an unwritten rule that if a family stay in for New Year’s Eve and watch London’s enormous firework display on the BBC, one viewer in the room must mutter “what a waste” under their breath.
Presumably they refer to the millions of pounds which have been spent on the short and fairly predictable extravaganza. But one group of students at Southampton weren’t bothered that the money was spent on fireworks; the problem for them was the unproductive use to which all those rockets and Catherine Wheels were being put. Fireworks could be so much more than pretty distractions they thought, they have the potential to be tools which aid mankind in our daily lives.
And so the tongue-in-cheek series ‘Practical Fireworks’ was born.
Opening jars, mixing cocktails, toasting bread… it seems there’s nothing that can’t be achieved with a beautiful inefficiency and needless element of mild peril. At this point we hope you realise that the danger involved in all the stunts is not worth the risk. Don’t try this at home kids.
The pyrotechnic pioneers have varying degrees of success with each experiment as you can see from their full list of episodes here.
Presenter Chris Baker, a Physics student in his final year at the University, told us that there are plenty more ideas in the pipeline: “We’re always eager to hear audience requests and hope to tackle such important problems in the future as ‘How can I style my hair using fireworks?’, ‘How can I cook a delicious kebab using fireworks?’, and on the suggestion of one of our viewers, ‘How can fireworks help me pick a religion?’. Hopefully we can answer all those questions in the coming weeks without causing ourselves significant injury.”