Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Carnival is the Best. Bold. Underline.

Our first apartment in London was on Ladbroke Grove, on the third floor: as in the perfect position to watch the Notting Hill Carnival go past. It would have made up for being vibrated off the couch every time the 452 went whizzing past.. yet my brain once again failed me last year - because I booked a trip to Barcelona on that August Long Weekend, missed out on the Carnival and got third-degree-burns from my boobs down. We came home that long weekend on the Monday night, we had to beg the police to let our taxi down our street, because I would never have made it down there alive. There were Bins on fire, Chickens being roasted on sticks in the middle of the road, and people just passed out on the street.

I have seen Armageddon, and it's name is Ladbroke Grove after Carnival.

This year I wasn't going to be such a putz, and made sure we didn't have anything coming up that weekend because I was going to Carnival!!!! I had heard many mixed things about Carnival, some people love it, some people hate it. I can understand that if you had travelled across London to be there and were stuck in a crowd of half a million people and needed to pee. Luckily - our apartment we live in now is still only a 5 minute walk to Carnival.

What can I say about Notting Hill Carnival? other than it is the best thing I have ever been to. So many people having a great time together, dancing in the street together, and not letting any political bullshit, or racial tensions, or rioting madness ruin a truly fantastic vibe of a day.
This is a speaker system set up outside one of the apartments we looked into renting. It was £500 a week, about the size of a shoebox, and people could see in if you were in the bathroom, (bargain! nice on Foxtons!) and just imagine trying to sleep during Notting Hill Carnival with these speakers just outside your bedroom window? I danced in front of these for about 30 seconds and went deaf.

The Carnival is all about food, music, and community. The Parade is fantastic. It is like Halloween, Mardi Gras, and a protest movement combined. The Sunday is the 'Childrens Day'.. well even that was pretty crazy, Monday is when the Parade is cranked up a notch, and the barely dressed ladies get their turn to shine.

I had the best time. The food is great. You can walk into a street and see some guys mixing it up on some decks freestyle MC'ing. Soooo awesome.
Rhuane Laslett one of the founders of Notting Hill Carnival had a dream, and that dream was about people dancing in the street and music, so it's good to see that something based on the purity of having a good time still exists without a complete corporate take-over, and the police blending into the periphery.

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