Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Notting Hill Carnival 2015

'Is there a toilet on this bus?'
Nadine Read, founder of The Makeup Hut
'Not yet.'
I'm ambivalent about the carnival but you've got to hand it to Elimu Mas Resurrection and Paddington Arts. They've teamed up to focus on the carnival as a serious business and this year their professionalism delivers stunning costumes, a flood of beautiful people of all ages, and Trinidad's Carnival Queen who can walk on stilts in the rain.

Exquisite, wistful, remote, she floats like a poem on trails of blue-green fabric, a golden ship on her head. She is the ocean. Beside her is the designer, a cadaver wearing fruit.

'We wanted to improve the carnival experience,' says the director, and they certainly deserve that massive ad from British Airways on the side of their lorry, plus their tours of China.

Rain-spattered picture

Outside is a centrifuge of noise.

'I just turn off my hearing aid,' says the costume director Annie, who's wearing a gold sunray-pleated cloak.

I keep pace along Westbourne Grove with the St Michael and All Angels Steel Orchestra playing a clever arrangement of For Once in My Life: like all competent steel bands it makes me cry.

'I was pissin an she drew me. Sick man. Can I buy it? Are you police? D'you want my name? She's in the zone man. She's English. Look, I was pissin an she drew me. Sick.'
If you're the person doomed to live in the absurd Havona House, with its pool, ballroom and ludicrous bas-reliefs (as yet untagged by our local artists, but just be patient), being built smack bang on the zebra crossing at the end of Portobello Road, here's what it looks like during the carnival - I've left out the tide of people so as not to put you off because we could all do with a laugh and at the moment, here in London W11, you're it. Can't wait to see the reaction when you visit The Sun In Splendour.

Here's a secret. If you want people to come up to you and be nice, go out and draw. 'I just want to say that I like that you are drawing when most people say art is shit.'

My friend says that his front basement area is a sea of excrement and condoms. The council will clean up for free in the first week after the carnival. As I said, I'm ambivalent.

More pictures if you scroll down.

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