Yesterday, Mrs Phil and I headed down to Notting Hill where we met up with Foz (a uni friend) for the Notting Hill Carnival. I’d never been before, so I was really looking forward to it. The day itself didn’t disappoint: we arrived at about 1PM, and made our way down to watch the main procession for a while.
I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever heard so much noise in one place! All the lorries were kitted out with generators and massive sound systems. Some of them were so loud that you felt the sound much more than actually hearing it. They had seemed to discover a volume level a few steps up from “ear-bleedingly loud!” I have to confess, we didn’t stick around the ultra-loud sound systems longer than we had to! Foz had brought earplugs with him, sadly I don’t own any so didn’t have that luxury.
After watching the procession for a bit, we wandered down to the Pineapple Tribe soundsystem (warning: site has auto-playing music) and danced around to some dubstep and drum & bass. It was a bit difficult to do too much dancing around given the crowds, but we had fun. After that we wandered round, looking at a few more sound systems, and generally trying to soak up the atmosphere. About 4PM we were getting hungry so stopped off for some food. We had some curried mutton, which … well, it was alright, but I’m not bothered about having any again.
At this point the crowds were really starting to build up, and it took ages to get anywhere. I’m not really a fan of big crowds, so we tried to stay away from the most crowded areas and headed back in the direction of the Pineapple Tribe soundsystem again. We spent the rest of the time there dancing around to breakbeat this time (it was definitely our favourite soundsystem). At about 5:45 we decided it was about time to head home – we were hoping to beat some of the crowds.
Unfortunately, the route back to the tube took us down the main procession route, and it took ages to get through it (until we could find a back way anyway). It was a bit scary at times being surrounded by that many people and utterly unable to move. At one point, Phil got caught up in a crowd and was forced to go in a direction she didn’t want to go. It was the one drawback of the day: maybe some people thrive in crowded environments, but I’m not one of them!
All in all, though, it was a great day. Good music, good weather, and a great atmosphere! But if I do go again – I will have earplugs…