Thomthumb84's Blog

Notting Hill Carnival

Posted in Comment by thomthumb84 on September 1, 2010

So, like the death rattle of summer, Nottinghill Carnival has come and gone once again. Nothing to look forward to now except a birthday, a wedding, and Christmas, and then the whole sorry route of existence continues again and again, until the end of times. Sigh….

Still, no need to feel glum! It was a good one I thought. The last two years I have only ventured into the throng on the Monday and I think this has worked to my advantage. Two days sound like a bit too much for someone with my disposition for near-death hangovers, combined with crowds and loud music.

Fortunately, my lovely and most wonderful girlfriend has a flat on Portobello Road so we tend to head there on Saturday evening after stocking up on food and booze and watch the people below before settling in with a good movie and a bottle of wine. Refreshed the next morning we hit the streets bright eyed and bushy tailed. This year I also got round to bringing a disposable camera along with me and will try and put those pics up sometime soon.

punters bring their own buckets to get the best view

But lets start with some statistics gathered by the highly capable crew at the BBC. They reported:

264 arrests by the Police and British Transport Police for a variety of offences over the two days of the carnival. This included: 40 arrests for cannabis possession.; 19 arrests for possession of Class As; 26 arrests for public order offences

3 kilograms of cannabis seized in one go from two cars heading to the carnival.

189 carnival casualties on Monday.

5 tonnes of chicken consumed.

25,000 bottles of rum drained.

16,000 tracks played at 41 different sound systems located within the carnival area.

Boris' innovative fence/urinal scheme hits the streets

Not bad huh? The 40 arrests for cannabis possession surprises me. How the hell do you get arrested for weed possession at Nottinghill Carnvial? It’s a bit like getting arrested for drunken behaviour at Oktoberfest. And I don’t quite get the run statistic either. Why rum? Yes, I appreciate the Caribbean influence, but the majority of people I saw had cans of Red Stripe or Carlsberg in hand. Might a PR savvy rum company have generated this statistic by any chance?

We had a superb time but, as is so often the case, missed the majority of actual carnival floats in exchange for the massed side streets. I’m not normally a crowd sort of person but I love the general feel here with everyone in good spirits and slightly liquored up. It feels welcoming and communal in a city where normally looking at someone else’s newspaper on the tube can get you a fat lip.

What we did see of the carnival floats and parade looked good although I was slightly confused to see one display showing (and correct me if I’m wrong here) Bob Marley, Ghandi, Michelle Obama and husband, Michael Jackson, and er…. Marilyn Monroe.

Lovely lunch in the green. Last year we watched the reggae reggae sauce fella doing his stuff on a stage but there was no reggae reggae sauce man this year. And no stage. We did watch one enterprising guy making a lot of money from naive young things. He had a whole helium setup going on and was charging punters per balloon. They would then scamper of to suck the thing dry in a vain attempt to get high before scampering abck for second helpings.

The only bit of violence we saw was along All Saints Road – exactly where we saw it last year as well. It’s also the only street police seem to avoid. That needs to be sorted out. I’m still not totally sure what happened but this guys face was all fucked up. He was covered in blood and couldn’t stand properly.
As always the propensity for the whole thing to kick off was in the air but despite one of two rather pissed off shouty people the whole thing ended quickly and the guy in question was sent off to some St Johns guys.

And while I am at it – well done you St Johns people! It’s got to be a shitty job hanging round while everyone else is having fun, particularly when (as I saw on quite a few occasions) all you get is abuse from the drunk people your trying to help out.

One unfortunate fella after a close encounter on All Saints Road

I didn’t make it to Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues but you can’t have everything. However, I hear there was ancient pre-ska Jamaican tunes being played so will defintely, defintely have to make it there next year.

All in all a lovely day. Just a shame its over really. Feels like a birthday when you wait all year, get all excited, and then just like that its gone and you are just a year older. Sigh..

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