As You Were, London. The Party’s Over.

Great conceptual shot by Sabine Thoele from the Flickr pool.

The party is over

The Queen’s Jubilee festivities have come to an end. What did you think, all said and done?

Enjoy the bank holidays?

I had to work yesterday. So today, I give you a story.

It was some time around 8:30am. The streets were empty, Union Jack bunting tangled in tree branches, only me and one other person standing on the platform, waiting for the tube. I stepped into an empty carriage, headphones in my ears. Sat peacefully. One stop. No one got on.

Another stop. A group of 10 or 15 guys clamber into the tube, drinking beer, hollering. I pretend not to notice until one of them drunkenly leans against my shoulder and offers me a sip of his Coors Light. No thank you. Just on my way to the office, I say politely. He spills a bit. I smell of beer.

He loses interested and turns his attention back to his mates. They are covered in Union Jacks. He starts mooing loudly, waving his flag. Jumping. They are hanging on the hand rails hooting like monkeys.

A few stops down the line, one of them gets on all fours, walks down the aisle making animal sounds. Stops near me.

Licks my foot.

Yes, I smelled of beer and had my foot licked by a stranger on the tube all before 9am.

Usual bank holiday in London then….

How did you spend yours?

 

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A Weekend of Caribbean Chaos

Expect elaborate, vivid, colourful costumes covering strategic bits of wriggling bodies in a long and impressive parade.

11: Notting Hill Carnival 2009

Expect whistles and party horns from a crowd of a million people that make up an incredibly vibrant atmosphere, 40 static sound systems pumping out Soca, Calypso, Reggae, Funk, R&B and House music that makes you want to dance along with stages featuring live acts that have included in the past the likes of Wyclef Jean and Jamiroquai.

10: Notting Hill Carnival 2009

Expect to be enticed by the mouth-watering aroma of jerk chicken and curried goat coming from 100 booths serving up delicious Caribbean food.

9: Notting Hill Carnival 2009

Yup, it is Notting Hill Carnival weekend this Sunday and Monday, and the only bank holiday I get off of work because my office is in the thick of it all. It’s also a brilliant weekend for photo opportunities if the weather holds cleans itself up – or even if it doesn’t.

8: Notting Hill Carnival 2009

The carnival was started in the ‘60s by the Afro-Caribbean community, drawing its roots from the carnivals of the 19th century in Trinidad which celebrated the abolition of slavery. The first carnival in Notting Hill was meant to showcase a steel band that used to play in Earl’s Court on weekends.

1: Notting Hill Carnival 2009

It ended up creating a community feel that has been built up to the world-famous festival it is today.

7: Notting Hill Carnival 2009

Head down on Sunday if you’ve got kiddies for family fun and costume prizes. Or, if you’re in it for the pure chaos, Monday is made for madness and music that starts in the morning and carries on late into the morning hours.

6: Notting Hill Carnival 2009

Take public transport, don’t expect an easy escape or clean toilets and keep your eyes on anything valuable you bring along, but also expect to be impressed by the effort that goes into the costumes, energised by the music and inspired by the culture. I’d say it’s a must to go at least once if you’ve never been before.

5: Notting Hill Carnival 2009

One more little tip – If you’re coming from outside of London and want to save a bit of money on accommodation, vouchercodes.co.uk is running a deal in connection with Travelodge offering £15 off “flexible rate room bookings”.

2: Notting Hill Carnival 2009

Photos are from my visit last year!