Monday, 25 August 2014

Notting Hill Carnival: day two

Wet. Cold. Slippery. Punters are buying plastic rain capes.

Preparation for the Elimu Paddington Arts Mas Band. Costumes, make-up. Boys being ticked off by their mothers. 'Put your shirt on! There are girls in here!'

This year's theme is Black in the Union Jack. Roman centurions, sequinned nurses, nylon mesh academic gowns, lace parasols, three-cornered hats. Red, white and blue ribbon garters. Tons of clever ideas on a teeny budget. Sweat and pelting rain are going to account for a man's blue body paint.

'Miss Trinidad's upstairs, being made up.'

There are camera spotlights and fluorescent bulbs. I think I'm dazzled by them, then as I'm drawing I lose the centre of my field of vision and see peripheral silver lightning. It's OK, it goes in a few minutes. I'm tired, that's all.

This building is a place of safety, sheltered from the noise outside. Why do you do this to your hearing? This amplified beat. Earplugs don't have magic powers. You're doing permanent damage. Hello.

Eyes, ears. Built-in obsolescence.

More pictures if you scroll down.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Notting Hill Carnival: day one

Another anguished group email from the Ladbroke Square Gardens committee: builders are dumping rubble and bottles of urine over the railings. 

People with no allegiance to the neighbourhood are employing any old builders they can find.

Oh, and it's time for the influx of carnival tourists as well. I'm not going to describe the squalor or quote the more exasperating utterances of hipsters off their faces, because I'm avoiding them all today and people have bigger problems.

But how can I be curmudgeonly while watching happy and good-mannered children being made up to follow the slick, Transport-for-London-sponsored Elimu Paddington Arts Mas Band float?

I walk home the long way round in order not to get my ears blasted to hell. I'm going to the Prom tonight and want to be able to hear the Janáček.

A policeman stationed on our corner leans on his bike and sighs. In the old days we had a couple of mounted police there. 

More pictures if you scroll down.