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Things you only know know if you're a pyrotechnician

Danielle Goldstein

...according to Darryl Fleming, 46.

It takes a week to set up for Londoni's New Yeari's Eve display

‘We have a crew that goes in before Christmas to start installing some of the elements on the London Eye and rigging barges on the river. We can’t close the Eye, so the most iconic part of the show doesn’t get finished until about 10pm on December 31 – two hours before it starts – with a crew of 32 people rigging around the clock. It’s an awful lot of work for a 12-minute display, but immensely gratifying.’

Surprisingly, rain is rarely a problem

‘Given that we live in the UK, we’re quite adept at waterproofing everything and firing in torrential downpours. But when it snows they keep the Eye rotating to stop snow building up, which would prevent us from rigging it with fireworks. We’ve not had to cope with that yet, touch wood.’

NYE needs as many fireworks as the London Olympics Opening Ceremony

‘We use 12,000 fireworks – about six-and-a-half tonnes. For the Olympics display in 2012 we used about the same, but in three-and-a-half minutes as opposed to NYE’s 12 minutes.’

Not every country likes a flashy display

‘I think most countries have a style. Ours is artistic and subtle, while American shows tend to be more bombastic. The Chinese prefer crackers and noise, because as far as they’re concerned fireworks were invented to ward off evil spirits.’

Working with fireworks isn't dangerous... unless you're clumsy

‘Silly things cause injuries, rather than fireworks. The worst I’ve had was hammering a stake into the ground: I hit my shin with a sledgehammer.’ 

For plenty more NYE tips see

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