Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Notting Hill Carnival 2010

So, it came and went in what it felt like a flash, leaving a whirlwind of mess and discarded vuvuzelas in it's wake.
Sunday was plagued by a 15 minute downpour just as we were on the way to a house gathering situated on the northern end of Portobello Road. This resulted in a mass scramble for umbrellas and a run for shelter under the Westway bridge. The rain failed to dampen everyone’s party spirit and everyone carried on regardless of the very un-August-like weather.
Monday is traditionally the “Adult’s Day”, therefore it is always more hectic and crowded than Sunday. Also, if you consider the fact that Monday is the last day of the event, you can imagine that everyone was trying to cram in more fun before they begrudgingly schlepped back to work the next day.
Soon after the boards are put up by residents and shop owners, they were taken over by local graffiti writers, to give the otherwise boring and concrete landscape some artistic vibrancy.
The floats were a spectacle as usual, leading the parade of artwork and displays that people have worked so hard on for the whole year prior. It was a pity not to have captured some clear photos of the costumes and installations. I blame the people behind me pushing and shoving, the people in front of me blocking my view and the policeman next to me who was screeching through his megaphone.
If parades are not your thing, there are always make-shift gatherings and congregations of people having their own parties. Tavistock Park is one of the main areas where people chill out - a little bit like a mini festival, complete with the three Ds (drinks, drugs and debauchery). There are not many places where people can sit and "relax", bar the staircases in front of residents' houses and the local shops, so the park is a popular hangout.
As a celebration of cultures and communities, there are endless options for refuelling. Caribbean, African, North African and Middle Eastern, Chinese, Vietnamese, American, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and French cuisines were all there for the choosing.
The obligatory shot of the bobbies on the beat. It's not quite the customary shot that appears in the newspapers every year (the one of the voluptuous dancer gyrating in front of a fully-uniformed bemused policeman) but I suppose it will do.

"A paaaand, a paaaand, evryfings a paaaaand!"

Monday, 23 August 2010

Notting Hill Carnival 2009 Revisited

To kick start this blog I have posted some photos of the 2009 Notting Hill carnival in preparation for the 2010 carnival post in a few days time. I enjoy the carnival for the "coming together" of communities, the music, the food and the fact that there are so many photo opportunities; whether the subject is Ladbroke Grove eccentrics, the graffiti, the crowds, the smoke, the colours and the general lively vibe of the whole occasion. Carnival is not without it's bad bits, as the media would stand to testify. Not a year goes by without a plea for information or evidence from a victim's family or a hunt down for a criminal. WANTED posters linger on the street long after the event has finished, until they are torn off or blown away. However, the great thing is that thousands upon thousands of people flock to the area to have a really good time, and that's all that matters.