Notting Hill Carnival is one of the things I love most about this crazy capital. For two glorious days, the roads of Notting Hill are cordoned off and turned into one giant outdoor party.
The streets become a moving dance floor, a motley crew of all walks of people decked out in their kaleidoscopic party best, floating from one pumping music stage to another, encountering all kinds of fellow revellers along the way, weaving their way in and out of the thumping parade and its larger than life participants.
Local residents either shape up or ship out, with those who stick around taking advantage of the crowds by becoming entrepeneurs of sorts – opening up their homes to let people use the bathroom for £1 a go, or starting a pop up barbecue on their front lawn.
That permanent smell of sizzling jerk chicken creates a kind of meat flavoured cloud that wafts over the whole neighbourhood, curling its way round your hair and nestling within your clothes, until you can’t resist and have to get stuck into a leg yourself, jerk juice dribbling down your chin. Very glamorous. Local stores also go one of two ways – get boarded up, or get on board, stringing flags up in their doorways and selling the requisite Carnival cans of Red Stripe.
Carnival might not be immune to unpredictable, unseasonal London weather but not even rain and the greyest of clouds can dampen the party spirit.
Anyway, that’s enough of me getting nostalgic about Carnival. Here are some of my pictures of Carnivals gone by, capturing the spectrum of personalities you’ll meet, to get you in the mood for the big event taking place this long weekend. Enjoy!