For those lucky enough not to know, Notting Hill Carnival (Wikipedia tells me) is an annual event which takes place each August over two days. It is led by members of the Caribbean population, many of whom have lived in the area since the 1950s. The carnival has attracted up to 2 million people in the past, making it the second largest street carnival in the world after Rio.
Wikipedia then goes on to mention how many people are arrested every year for general acts of violence and being drunk and disorderly (a few hundred) and how many people are stabbed / killed routinely (a couple per year on average).
What Wikipedia fails to mention, is that I fucking hate the Carnival with a passion. Particular elements of the Carnival that make me wish I were dead, include: the type of people it attracts (not the Caribbean ones, the white people who think they are fucking fun and liberal for attending what is originally a Caribbean carnival) / the fact that all the roads around my house are packed and filthy for two days / the fact that you can’t get to any shops because everyone is mobbing them trying to buy cans of cider and bottles of rum to drink on the streets around my house / the fact that all the tube stations are either closed or crammed / the fact that everyone is fucking drunk.
Have I mentioned that I hate drunken people? In fact everyone who drinks should be executed. Perhaps I’ll attend the Carnival next year with a gun. They do it to each other anyway, why shouldn’t I as well.
And here are a couple of incidents from this year’s carnival, incidents which happened before I packed a bag and went over to Scott’s house to avoid being anywhere near this bleeding nightmare.
Incident One: I’ve just come back from Manchester, been straight to the gym near Euston station and have now taken the tube back home. I’ve just got off the tube and getting in the lift to go up to street level. Predictably the lift is absolutely packed and everyone is well jolly. Amongst the people is a group of 5-6 boys, white, aged around 19, dressed from the suburbs, i.e. wearing Lacoste tops, jeans, white trainers. Two of them are singing Sun Is Shining by Bob Marley in a put on West Indies accent (“sun is shining, the weather is sweet, make you wanna move your dancing feet now”). If I had a shotgun in my pocket I would have already starting stroking it.
As we’re stuck there, waiting for the lift to move, another one from their group spreads his arm and taps a black guy on the shoulder – behind his back and from a different direction so that when the black guy turns round to see he’s facing somebody completely different. The whole group of stupid kids cracks up, the black guy says nothing (he’s not a real aggro black guy with a gun unfortunately, he’s one of those timid Somalian ones who sell fruit and veg) and everyone goes on with their business, waiting to get out. Then the guy who was singing Bob Marley says to the guy who tapped the shoulder: “Do it again, do it again” (still in West Indies accent). All this while we’re all stood there pressed against each other and closely listening to all of this.
Then the lift arrives and the tapper guy doesn’t get the chance to do it again, do it again, as we’re all starting to walk out. With my back turned to some of the group, I’m heading out too, when I feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn around and see the Bob Marley singing guy, so I pull my headphones out and say to him: “What do you fucking want”. The cunt looks at me with bloodshot eyes that are finding it hard to focus after too much Red Stripe and says in the same fucking mock-black accent: “I dun nutting mate, I dun nutting”. Unfortunately I don’t find the courage to punch him in the face and become another Notting Hill Carnival arrest statistic.
Incident Two: I’m on the tube again later on Sunday evening, heading out to Matinee. It’s about 2230. There is lots of drunken shouting all around of course and it’s quite busy, when I hear some particularly intense shouting / chanting from the next carriage. We get to some station (Bond Street? Why not) and this shouting / chanting guy (white, aged 24 maybe, kinda fit) gets off wearing just a pair of checked knee-length shorts. I’m going to speculate he had a top and some shoes to start with, but they have been left somewhere. Then he’s on the platform walking towards the exit, then he pulls his shorts down and takes them off (shouting and singing all through that of course), then he puts them over his shoulder and walks off. Completely and utterly naked. I like this guy.
So yes, on Sunday evening I go to Matinee with Scott, where we eventually meet Donnell, his boyfriend, Brendan, Nathan, lots and lots of other people, but Matinee is extremely busy and not so much fun and we spend out time standing around waiting for something to happen (nothing does), or walking around trying to get somewhere (it’s very difficult). I don’t have such a great time, so we only stay from 2300 until 0630 and then we go.
And finally, because we’ve seen too many pictures of me from going out etc before, here are some pictures of the Matinee dancers whilst getting ready to dance instead.
EDIT: I have now listed the London Preppy booklet on ebay. I will write about this in tomorrow's post, but in the meantime you can find it here:
The listing is on for one week.