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This is a question Have you ever started a fire?

I went to sleep with candles burning - woke up to a circle of flame on the rug. Thought, "Tits. Better put the rug in the bath and turn the taps on." TIP: Don't put a burning rug into a fibre glass bath. I caused about £5000 of damage to the house and was coughing up smoky black phlegm for a few weeks. Can you beat that?

(, Tue 2 Mar 2004, 17:48)
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Oh, dear god.
When I was a student, I was at a party coming down from something or other when I muttered "what this place needs is a bit of mindless terrorism". Hey: this was 1988. It was a different world then. Anyway: little did I know what I had started.

Within a few days I had a steady stream of art students coming to me with recipes for gunpowder and a kind of eager look on their faces. To cut a long preamble short, me and a fellow student went on a several-week long comedy reign of terror, letting off bombs that (although causing no damage) could be heard a mile and a half away. We'd let them off by the cellar doors of the student bar, under the windows of anti-social twunts playing overly loud music on a Sunday. It became quite the sport to get maximum impact with minimum chance of detection. Then...

I went to my mate's room to check on production of the next batch of comedy bombs. He handed me a mortar and pestle and said "I've been grinding this all day". He didn't tell me he'd mixed the powder and then ground it - that's a total no-no. He'd also substituted potassium chlorate for the saltpetre in the mixture. In theory, this should go off when you breathe on it, and he'd been grinding a complete mixture ALL DAY with no ill-effects. I ground it ONCE and was engulfed in a 5ft fireball that sucked most of the oxygen from the ground floor and caused the smoke pall from hell. My hair was sticking up and smoking like something out of a cartoon. I had 2nd degree burns on my face and hands, and was rushed to hospital in Wakefield, 6 miles away.

To celebrate my heroics/idiocy, my friends decided to get rid of the evidence by conducting a series of experiments "in my memory". They concluded that

a) throwing a lit bomb into a lake will not stop it going off. On the contrary, it makes the explosion more exciting.


b) if you put a lit bomb in a drainpipe, it will blow out the bathplug from two floors away. I believe the victim of the drainpipe bathplug ejection is now the Executive Producer of Fame Academy. Oh, did she look surprised.

I spent the next week bandaged like the invisible man. Quite hilarious.

Kids: don't try this at home. Get your A-Levels and go and do it at Uni.
(, Tue 2 Mar 2004, 18:40, Reply)

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