Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lif Ya Leg Up

Notting Hill Carnival, London's largest celebration, started 45 years ago among the city's burgeoning Afro-Caribbean community. Peaking at 2 million attendees, the party gets started on the last Sunday of August with parades and truck-sized sound systems scattered throughout the Notting Hill neighborhood and centered on Portobello Road (of flea market and Bedknobs and Broomsticks fame), and continues all day on "Bank Holiday" Monday. Costumed West Indian carnival groups originating in Trinidad and Guyana make up the parades, with the sound systems pumping pan-African rhythms from reggae and calypso to salsa and house. Unfortunately, since many of "us" don't know how to behave, the police have clamped down on the event and often restrict the movement of crowds to certain streets, creating a tight, volitile environment (tons of people + tanks of alcohol + police = volitile environment). Still, it was nice to get my wine ("wind" wit a Trini accent) on for a couple hours on a rare warm and sunny summer afternoon in the English capital.

Fly Brother welcomes your views. If this post hit the spot, please comment and/or click.


Stacy said...

Aw so bummed I missed this! Looks like it was madness!

Fly Girl said...

Ahhh, those bumpers are moving! Looks to be a relatively tame scene compared to years past. Love the new graphic! I can see Rio and Paris in the window but what is the other?

Random_Personette said...

As a native Londoner I have to say I have become increasingly disillusioned with Carnival.I thought it was lame and headed home early but I'm glad you had a cool time.

Ren. xo

rhonalala said...

I loved the part on the video where the black man put his arm around the white woman and she looked at him totally stunned. That is such a normal occurance at "carnival" events but she ran away with her friend in tow. Hilarious.
This reminds me of Toronto's Carabana. Although I don't attend anymore it is always great fun and has a HUGE turnour yearly.

Fel J. Cruz said...

Oh, sure, post something that makes me miss London even more.

Can't wait to go back, London is such a fun and historic city.

Fly Brother said...

Stacy: Madness, there was lots!

Fly: The other two are an African elephant and the Great Wall of China. Very tame...

Random:...and lame. I was kind of disappointed overall. Folk were just standing around and the parade was a masterpiece of minimalism. I was like, "is that all there is?" I did see some talent, tho ;-)

Rhonalala: Haven´t been to Toronto yet, but I´ve heard good things about both the city and the event from reliable sources.

Fel: I did enjoy the history of the place - older than the entire post-Columbian US. I´ll have to spend more time there for sure.