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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Notting Hill Carnival

Heaving crowds, reggae, jerk chicken, pickpockets and the heady scent of weed in the air. It’s got to be carnival!
After 2 hours getting through London, a 30 minute wait for the toilet, and popping open my first £4 can of cider I was ready to squeeze through the groups of wackily dressed people to try and find the perfect music set. We didn’t go see the parade so I’ve had to pad out the blog with a few stock images (sorry, apparently no one goes to watch it). Headlining this year were Basement Jaxx, Protoje & Yaadcore and Jus Now among others. I’d only heard of one of them, and to be honest wasn’t really sure who the hell we were listening to, but it was good fun. 

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We spent the day travelling round the carnival and trying not to think about how badly we needed the loo. Even with the locals opening up their homes for people to go, it was so busy that people resorted to peeing in the street and trying to avoid being collared by the police… not nice.

Notting Hill carnival is dirty. Streets lined with rubbish, rivers of piss, puke and the constant worry of getting robbed. It made me feel a bit like a student again. Is this how I lived for 3 years? The food is great though – true Caribbean fare; rice and peas, blackened chicken, corn and jelly doughnuts.

The party ends at 7pm so there are lots of wasted twenty somethings weaving to the nearest open tube (Paddington for us) in search of the next party. We ended up in a Dalson club after a quick stop in Mile End dancing the night away. After being so careful all day, I did indeed get my bank card, phone and oyster card stolen. Luckily the sheer amount of alcohol numbed the blow – ah the joys of London. I also walked into a lamppost – clearly the bad luck of carnival.

For anyone interested in going I would give the following advice – wear a money belt with your belongings under your clothes. Take cash, it’s hard to find a cashpoint. Take your own drink – it’s very expensive. Do sample the food – it’s great and freshly cooked before you. Don’t take children for very long, and avoid music sets as these places can get very busy and overwhelming. Leave enough time to get there and to get home. Do watch the parade – the costumes are amazing. Enjoy! It’s a historic London tradition and definitely worth going once.

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