The Birth of a Simple Burner
4 years ago, I went to meet some friends in a bar. It had been a long cold winter, my first in Berlin, and I hadn't seen the festival season family for many months. But the days were getting longer, and the excitement began pouring back into the hibernating lives of the residents of the city. Plans were warming up....
My aforementioned friends were interested in being involved in some event or another. It was actually a meeting in organization of this event that we were attending. My only interest was to see my friends and start planning a summer of shenanigans.
In the back of a bar, a handful of people sat, talking excitedly. An attractive red-haired American clearly seemed to be greeting many seemingly colorful characters and preparing for the coming meeting. I remember a slight sensation of nervousness, as none of my friends were there yet, and I had found myself sat in the inner-circle row in the small back-room of the bar where the meeting was taking place. The feeling was reminiscent of being sat at the front of a lecture hall and not wanting to be asked any questions.....
The red-haired woman confidently called the meeting to order and began the proceedings. I turned and noticed some of my friends had arrived, but were stood at the back, behind a few rows of people..... too late now to leave my place and go and say hi......
It appeared they were organizing some event in Summer time, it sounded like a festival, but every time someone said the word festival they were corrected. I found this all very confusing, as I am a fire artist, and sometimes the Fire-Conventions I had recently discovered, and fire-jams in which I attended, are often referred to as 'burns'. It was quite apparent to me though, that these interesting odjbox mix of ausländers were no Fire Spinners. But I was intrigued with what they seemed to be doing. In my experience, festival organization was a lot less collaborative than this open-forum style discussion.
And some point I got curious, and wanted to ask something. I had recently discovered that the fire props I design were actually quite valued, and had had some of my first sales in those cold months. I wanted to embrace the opportunities offered to me, so eventually I built up the courage to ask:
"Can I set up a stall to sell my wares? I make Fire Equipment for fire spinners"
To which a patient but firm reply returned from the red-head:
"No...... but you can give them away"
To which I though to myself:
<WTF?!>......<I just found out my Art has value, and you want me to give it away....... Fuck this hippy shit>
She shortly followed up with:
"So you're a Fire Spinner? Do you know how to set up a fire circle? It would be super cool if we could have one. Would you be up for doing it?"
To which I thought to myself:
<Turn down my offer to make a living at the event, and then ask me to do work? cheeky bitch....>
(Luckily there was a big gap between my thoughts and my mouth, and hence what followed was):
"Yeah I think I can do that"
Which seemed to get a few of these so called 'Burners', quite excited. Which I thought was strange considering none of them actually played with fire.....
She followed up with:
"Do you know anything about Fire Safety? We actually don't have anyone organizing the fire safety of the event, and any advice would be really helpful"
Now I'd only been in Germany for 8 months, with poor but passable german, and about 2 years of psy-trance party, tripper-worthy, fire-spinning experience, and no official training or qualification of any kind. But I had been to 1 proper Fire convention, which clearly made me infinitely more qualified than any of these so called....'burners'.... So I took the bait, and those famous last words rolled of my tongue so innocently:
"Sure, I'll see if I can help a little, but no promises, and I can't commit to anything".........
And so began, the magnificent, inspiring, rapid, wonderful, and painful birth of the Lord of Fire.
A very special thanks to that wonderful red-headed Remy, who became an inspiring mentor, compassionate friend, beautiful artwork, and insightful co-board member. The seed of your voluntelling unlocked the dormant potential within, that no-one else managed to break free.