Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Notting Hill Carnival, Round 2

Last year we excitedly went to the Notting Hill/Ladbroke area and got right into the Carnival - watching the parade, drinking a lot of Red Stripe lager, sampling some of the food stalls, and strolling around the southern part of the Carnival area listening to the various sound systems setup. In hindsight we'd probably had a pretty tame day, not really knowing what was happenning.

But this year I wanted to get well and truly into it. So after a few invitation emails during the week, a small team of us met up yesterday morning for a solid breakfast at our favourite Greasy Spoon - the Caffé Caffé next to West Kensington tube - then after loading up with beers from our little corner off-licence we headed up there on the No. 28 bus. Very classy indeed!

We started off at Notting Hill Gate, and walked our way through some of the same areas and same sound systems we were around last year, then across towards Ladbroke Grove, and then northwards up Portobello Road towards the Westbourne Park/Southern Row area of the Carnival where some of the big sound systems are. On the way we came across some amazing streets lined with smoking food stalls cooking all sorts of Afro-Carribean foods to eat on the go, all sorts of free flags and stuff for Carly to collect, drinks vendors with wildly varied prices for cold beers, and some fantastic DJ's and which often kept us dancing in the street amongst the crowd for a while before we pushed onto the next one.

Good Times indeed

We never made it this far north last year, and we were not disapointed with making the effort to get all the way to Norman Jay's 'Good Times' sound system on Southern/Western Row. The street intersection was jammed when got there, but we managed to find a space near the bus to watch the crowd, soak up the music, and have a bit of a dance around enjoying the Good Times sounds that he has been playing at Carnival since 1980. The music they played was the best we heard all day, eminating from the top deck of the bus to the massed crowd. It was definitely the place to be for Carnival! (And this year's Good Times 6 CD is a must-buy, along with the one I got last year)

That's for you Matt!; and, Me and Pete heading home

With the Mas Parade still winding its way around the route and the sun starting to get low, we opted to head back towards Notting Hill to begin our trek home. The streets were even busier by this stage, the soundsystems still entertaining the dancing crowds, and the beer prices even higher by the time we made it back to Portobello Road and then eventually onto the bus for a recovery pub dinner back near our place.

So yes, we had topped our previous Carnival experience, and were very glad that we'd made the effort to do it again.



At Sun Sep 10, 07:01:00 pm GMT+10 , Anonymous Meg said...

Matching shoes! Oh dear. Next stop... peeing with the loo door open.

At Sun Sep 10, 08:57:00 pm GMT+10 , Blogger Shane & Carly said...

Oh that's an old joke!!

No mate they definitely have different coloured stripes - but thanks for the 'eagle eye'


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