Notting Hill Carnival 2012

carnival sign

Sunday is family day at Notting Hill carnival, but we didn’t let children get in the way of a ruddy good knees-up

I’ve never quite understood why organisers choose the Sunday of the August bank holiday weekend for family day. Due to ‘recovery Monday’ it’s usually the day that everyone wants to get a bit squinky and this year was no exception. The sun was out (briefly), the beer was well, everywhere and the bass-heavy music boom BOOM boomed through bones.

carnival bird costume

Despite the inevitable street-crime problems, the carnival is one of London’s most-loved annual events. People from every background, community and religion dance, sing and piss together, side-by-side. It’s a heart-warming experience.

men pissing at the carnival

That’s not rain

My friends and I stomped through the streets of west London, shaking our booties to the non-stop beat. The air was filled with laughter. Wafts of spicy smoke from the jerk chicken stalls, then piss, curry, then the sweet aroma of chocolate as sticky revelers escaped the Cadbury’s float – they’d been flinging bucket fulls of chocolate sauce at each other all day.

couple covered in chocolate

I’ve been going to the carnival since I was tiny. The ground is always littered with hollowed-out coconuts and chunks of chewed up sugar cane, your feet get so grubby. After hours of walking and dancing on tarmac, blisters and swollen ankles from repeatedly tripping over debris begin to throb. But it’s a good hurt. Sandals are a definite no-no though, so too is anything you’d be upset about losing/being mugged for.

girls on bridge at carnival

Happy faces beamed at us at every turn, young and old. Some painted with butterflies or peacock-coloured stripes. We smiled from the moment we got there, lubricated, in part, by rum-punch and cans of Carling – on sale from almost every front porch. When the processions were over and our vision a little wobbly; the stages had turned their speakers off and the crowds began to thin, we headed home. Well, nearer home – the local pub.

More pictures to come.

drummers at the Notting Hill carnival

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Back to Bath

Bath, again

After commuting from London to Bath for a year to go to uni, I’ve graduated and ended up living in Bath. There’s irony for you. I’m working for a book publishers in the city centre for three months and actually, I’m starting to quiet like it. Who’d have thought that me, Ms I Hate (hate, hate) Bath is now hanging her fat cheeks in rose-flushed shame as I’ve found myself enjoying the place more and more. OK, admittedly it’s for totally self-orientated reasons, for example I can walk to work instead of getting the tube, but non-the-less, the place is starting to grow on me.

hot air balloons over Bath

Bath is not the sort of place that you want to be a student. It’s expensive, has mono-syballic nightlife (Bridge, Moles, ‘rock’, pop, dub) and everyone else is a student, although I realise that could be seen as a plus. But as a, *cough* YOUNG professional it seems a far more interesting place. The people I work with, for example, wear clothes from shops other than Urban Outfitters and Topshop.

Poetry man performs poems for loose change - they look really thrilled.

Poetry man performs poems for loose change – they look really thrilled.

Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write – Bath doesn’t completely suck. There’s Mission Burrito for a start, I know it’s terrible but I do love them so. Then there’s the man who recites epic (in the traditional sense of the word) poems to lunch-eaters in the park. The sky is often picturesquely filled with hot air balloons and who could forget the violin-playing tightrope walker. It’s no London, but it’ll do for now.

Now, your turn.

Now, your turn.