Yesterday evening, after Monday's looting, Portobello Road was deserted apart from some police and a few listless tourists. Only the chip shop kept going. Today it's business as usual except for the shops that were trashed. I need the view of Egbert, the St Lucian Rasta, on current events. It's like having a colleague.
'There's a new nutter out here,' he announces. 'Just arrived from the madhouse.' I hope I find him soon.
I ask Egbert what he thinks about the riots. 'I wasn't around. Someone accused me of being in Hackney. I don't think so. I'm not into confrontation or the rioting business so I stayed here.'
What about the carnival? 'You can't suppress the residents. Let them enjoy themselves, they won't loot or shoot nobody.' He falls asleep with his usual abruptness, wakes, coughs, makes a liquorice paper roll-up, sleeps.