Posted on August 31st, 2014
Here’s a shitty photo from this year’s Notting Hill Carnival. It’s somewhat of a tradition for me to a) go to Carnival every year and b) take a lame pic with my phone’s camera (the photo of me on the About Me page is from Carnival, though not taken by me).
Carnival is one of the few constant sources of pleasure that comes around every year. It’s pretty much the only time I ever drink during the daytime, and it’s one of the few times that many of the people who’s company I enjoy are together en masse. It’s the kind of place where you can start at midday and end up going on all through the night.
But there’s always been a tension at Carnival. I don’t necessarily mean the kind of tension that comes with such a large number of people cramped into a confined area, but that’s obviously an ongoing concern (it only really hit home just how ridiculous a policing operation the Carnival is when I was walking down Ladbroke Grove at 4am and saw that the place was absolutely teeming with stationed police, at a time when I was the only person on the street). I mean between the local residents, who certainly towards the south end of the Carnival zone are of a more wealthy sort, and the interlopers, the people who get to drop in once a year and wreak havoc on the place. It’s a tension that’s only going to get worse.
This year, it was really noticeable how many new flat developments there were in the Carnival zone. That means an influx of new money into the area, and that’s exactly the sort of person who get vocal about people pissing on their garage door for two days a year (incidentally, I can’t believe it took organisers until this year to stick portable urinals at toilet stations). There was already an attempt at obstruction by Westminster Council on Channel One, one of the most popular sound systems which thankfully they managed to resolve. But it’s the kind of obstruction that’s probably going to become more prevalent in years to come.
I entirely understand not wanting to have people piss on your front door. But Carnival is one of the few places of coming together that there is in London. Considering how many people are in attendance and how much alcohol is flowing through the day, the amount of aggro is rather low. I just hope we’re not going to see the dissolving and dilution of a true London institution.