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!

Listen to a Londoner: Koushik Ghosh

Listen to a Londoner. This is a weekly post where people who live (or have lived for a while) in London answer a few questions about the Big Smoke. If you fit the bill and want to be interviewed, give me a shout at littlelondonobservationist@hotmail.co.uk. Always looking for new victims volunteers….

Koushik GhoshKoushik Ghosh, 30
(Bonus answers from Koushik who sped past the 10 questions like Lucy a few weeks ago!) 

Koushik spends his days cutting people up working as a surgeon in Chelsea. By night he likes nothing more than playing chess, pool and occasionally listening to loud funky music whilst driving his car around West London.

LLO: How long have you lived in London?
Pretty much all 30 years of my life. I was born in Edgware General Hospital and brought up in North London. 

LLO: Where is your family from originally?
My parents are originally from Kolkata, in West Bengal, India

LLO: Best thing about London?
 I think its probably the vibrancy and diversity of cultures, though the number of things to see and do are almost endless. Clubs, bars, galleries, museums, wonderful parks – from the young and eclectic to the cultured and sophisticated – there’s something for everyone.

LLO: North, south, east or west?
Being someone who has lived in pretty much all parts of London, I can say there’s pros and cons for most areas. I grew up in North London and a lot of my friends live in and around various parts of it so that always has good memories for me. The last few years I have lived in South London and found it to be lovely in terms of parks and people, but it has slightly worse travel links. East London is certainly diverse and vibrant with some nice restaurants if you look in the right places, though it tends to be a little rougher than other parts. Though, to me London is like a mosaic – you won’t live in a bad patch without being a stones throw from a good patch.

LLO: Best restaurant?
Ooo thats a tough one. I’d have to go for Buen Ayre in Bethnal Green or Tayabs in Whitechapel.

LLO: Best place to escape the city?
Wonder out into the suburbs of North West London and beyond. Perhaps venture to Elstree in Hertfordshire and pick strawberries. Or get lost with the wild deer in Richmond Park and then take a rowing boat down the Thames in the summer.

LLO: 2012 Olympics – stay or go?
Definitely stay – if just to say you were there. I think it’s going to transform the face of East London; the vibe will be amazing.

LLO: Best place to catch a gig?
The Bull and Gate Pub, Kentish Town

LLO: Best local band?
They started playing acid jazz in Ealing venues back in the early Nineties – Jamiroquai

LLO: Favourite book, song or film about London?
It’s an old film from the Nineties called Martha Meet Frank, Daniel and Lawrence. I watched it with some friends from school and it made you feel quite excited about the city we lived in.

LLO: Favourite market?
I really like Greenwich Market – so bustling and not a sprawling mess full of tourists like a lot of the other markets in London. There’s more of a feeling of authenticity to it.

LLO: Most influential Londoner?
Joe Strummer of the Clash

LLO: Best London magazine, newspaper or website?
I have always been a fan of The Metro – it summarizes important and entertaining news stories in bite-size, attractive chunks and is free and readily available.

LLO: First place to take a visitor?
Ronnie Scotts Jazz club, Soho.

LLO: Boris is…
…A hero for saving that lady being beaten up by those chavettes. Also a bumbling buffoon – but in the most entertaining way possible.

LLO: What would you change about the city if you had the power to do so?
Introduce mobile phone reception on the underground and make it run 24 hours.

Thanks Koushik!

For more Listen to a Londoner posts, click here.