Tuesday, 31 August 2010

It's All Over...................

...............for another year and, I think, a great time was had by all. The crowds turned out, the weather eventually came good and the masqueraders had a ball. What more can you ask?

Carnival is an organic thing. It changes from year to year. This pleases some people and upsets others, a bit like real life really. The route is no longer circular but has a defined start and finish. It now travels clockwise instead of anticlockwise (I still can't get used to this!) and there are now definite start and finish times. The days when bands were still circulating and the sound systems were still grinding it out at midnight are now long gone.Whether any of this is a good thing depends on your point of view but it seems to me that there is a danger of it becoming too sanitised.

Plans to move the whole thing  into a park have been, and should continue to be, resisted. It is what it is and what it is, is a street festival (that's a lot of it's and is's, but you know what I mean!). Taking it out of it's natural home would kill it.

Yes, it causes massive disruption. Yes, the streets are filled almost beyond their bursting point. Yes, it is seriously inconvenient for some residents.............but Yes, it is a fantastic event and long may it continue.

For more photographs, go to my Flickr Photostream and click on the Notting Hill Carnival 2010 set in the top right hand corner.................and while you're there why not have a look at some of my other pics. You never know, you may see something else you like!

For more videos of the Visual Sound of Carnival go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScNTyZPP0M4

Monday, 30 August 2010

Monday Morning At Carnival

It's a little after 11.00 on Bank Holiday Monday and I can hear the first of the Mas Bands approaching, the static sound systems haven't started up yet but that's not far away, from then on it's visceral sound and colour for the rest of the day.

Sunday, as usual was a slightly lower key affair. Traditionally known as Childrens Day, it has smaller crowds and less restrictions on pedestrian movement and is a good day for the smaller masqueraders to strut their stuff on the streets. The weather was a bit changeable and we had some rain but it didn't seem to dampen anyones spirits.

It is no less noisy and colourful than the Monday event and if, in the future, you are thinking of coming to Carnival for the first time, consider coming on Sunday.........especially if you have young kids or are worried about the crowds.

I was out earlier today and preparations were already under way. Ice was being delivered, food was being cooked. Bars, barriers and sound systems were being set up. The weather looks as if it's going to play the game. It should be a good day.


Saturday, 28 August 2010

Carnival - A Jurassic Park Moment

I like Carnival.............but sometimes when you are indoors and the whole place is vibrating, it is nice to fight your way out through the crowds and find somewhere quiet to sit and think.

This is not a complaint, I have lived just inside the Carnival route for over 25 years (I was born and grew up just outside of it's western fringes). It was here before me and hopefully will still be here after I have passed on, but I can understand why so many long term residents don't like it. If you are an outsider you can chose to come. If you live here, it comes to you whether you like it or not.

For many older or less able residents the weekend becomes something of a siege. If they are inside they can't get out and if the  are outside they can't get back in!  It is a difficult time for them.

What does p... me off  though is someone who has recently moved into the area, knowing this is an annual event, but still complains about how inconvenient it all is. I do understand, of course how frustrating it must be not being able to get the massively oversized 4x4 up to the house so that the nanny can load Tarquin and Penelope in and take them out of your life for a couple of hours, but that is a fact of Notting Hill life!

These people remind me of the types who buy a house under the flightpath to Heathrow and then complain about the aircraft disturbing their peace and quiet.

The video was shot, in my flat, during last years event and was an attempt to show just how visceral the whole thing is. You really don't just see and here Carnival, you feel it too! If the video won't play, try viewing it here - http://www.flickr.com/photos/malcnhg/3870184901/in/set-72157616701700310/

Anyway, as usual, I will spend some time out in the crowds, some time indoors trying to stop the books falling off my shelves and some time somewhere a little more peaceful.

If you come along, have a good time. If you don't, then at least think of coming next year. You should experience it at least once in your life.

Friday, 27 August 2010

The first post, better than it being the last I suppose.

Well, Carnival is nearly upon us. The parking restriction signs have been up for a while now, shops are being boarded up, traffic islands moved, stacks of steel barriers are appearing on street corners. Vast quantities of food and drink have been bought and every masquerader, band member, stallholder, food seller and party goer is  just waiting for the weather to cooperate.

Some people move out, the majority stay and others just have no choice. It's not a simple as loving it or hating it, there's more to it than that.

Enough for now. I've popped my blogging cherry, which is a bit of a relief but I'll be back with more to say about Carnival very soon.