Notting Hill hosts the largest street party in Europe. This is the Notting Hill Carnival. It gets a very bad wrap in the press due to one or two incidents from a few losers each year. Which is a not too bad considering that 700 000 people attend.
Last year we didn’t attend, the main reason was due to Clive working and not able to have the weekend off and also due to the fact it was talked down to us, we later realised the English can be very nervous nellies.
The day before it starts the businesses board up their windows and people come out in the darkness and paint them in colours of the caribbean and lots of Bob Marley images.
There are 2 days in which the Carnival is on Sunday and Monday (Long weekend). The Saturday is the classed as the Children’s Carnival. The kids get dressed up in feather and sparkles and parade down the road to some funky tunes, whilst everyone drinks a lot of alcohol and gets messy.
Clive and I ventured to this with a few friends. I made a wonderful display of myself and drank too much, but I was not as bad as the rest of the party goers.
The next day we wandered down to Ladbroke Grove and watched the “real” carnival. It made me ponder why the media only reports the negative of this festival. I do not think they would be able to show anything else and not get complaints.
The men and women predominately black and the odd skinny white man are shaking and grinding it all over the place. There is feathers and glitter flying everywhere, music blasting and the sexual energy explodes! The amount of skin showing is incredible.
For the carnival understand that each group follows a semi trailer down the street with a massive sound system and a bar on it, the parade participants can run up to their truck and get their sports bottle filled with whatever spirit they desire. Once the trucks go past everyone follows them and dance. There are sound system stations set up everywhere to dance. People sell food and drinks from their front doors and yards. Police are everywhere but they just stand back and watch. Anything goes. Everyone had horns and whistles, I managed to have a ringing in my ear for 3 days after.
Clive was on crutches with his bad knee and had a few parade participants grabbed him, he loved it.
From our house we could hear the noise from 9am until midnight as there are a lot of house parties (BBQ’s) around afterwards. The Carnival is shut down at 7:30pm.
All in all it was an amazing experience right on our doors step.