As the flittering confetti of Notting Hill Carnival is now replaced by fat raindrops, the post party blues are starting to set in. The thumping of speakers is now replaced by tired, heavy hands on a keyboard and a throbbing headache.
Although the only three S’s on our minds at the moment are (the dreaded) September, School and Lana’s Summertime Sadness, here are the S’s that have made Notting Hill Carnival what it is today.
Notting Hill Carnival has always been a calling for the most glamorous, sparkling outfits imaginable. Diamantes in bright red and burnt orange, shimmering silver and azure have for decades been scattered on the passing floats, crowds bobbing to the soft Reggae beats. Dreamy, gemmed two-pieces and towering headdresses glimmer in the sizzling Bank Holiday sun on the statuesque figures of dancers, their feather tails twisting as they boogie.
The background beats of Carnival can be heard from miles around. Whether Reggae or Calypso, Dub or steel drums, the sounds of Carnival are the heartbeat of the celebration. Booming from Sound Systems lining the winding roads, groups of people are each having their own party along the Notting Hill route. Highlights / veterans of the sounds of Carnival include: Channel One, (this year was their 38th), KCC & The Rocking Crew and Different Strokes (around for the same amount of years as me- Happy 21st!).
Since its founding in the 1960s as a celebration of London’s cultural diversity, Notting Hill Carnival has always been a shining example of what is truly great about the big smoke. It originated as a sign of defiance against racial attacks and has remained a festival of people, music and most importantly, unity. In its earlier years it harboured discriminative press about criminality and riots when actually, it has always been a display of joy.
Now, its existence is perhaps more important than ever in light of the Grenfell tragedy and recent terror attacks. Streams of people lined the streets to continue as it first began back in the sixties; a celebration of harmony and happiness. Heads bounced as people applauded and danced, the glittering floats and feathered performers jigging as they passed. The Carnival is not only free in the sense that it is completely liberating, but it is one of Europe’s largest street parties free of cost. In a world tainted with news of money and instability, it is precious that neighbours, friends and strangers can gather with a passion for fun.