Carnival Monday? It rained. And rained. And did not stop raining for the wholllleee day. I seriously thought at one point that Noah was building an ark somewhere and I didn’t know anything about it. But did that stop events? Oh hell no! Listen you have got to understand. As my friend Mel had put it, ‘For us soca heads, carnival is our christmas’. Months of preparation and planning by so many; exercising, worrying about whether you will look good in your costume or not, buying extra accessories for your costume. For designers; is the theme captured well in costume? Will the feathers come in time, will this or that masquerader put on or lose weight, what will it mean for costume changes. Djs, trucks, drinks, stewards, making sure everything looks its best, team work all culminating to this one day. There could be a hail storm, hurricane, earthquake. Carnival WILL happen.
We’re at home getting ready in our usual way, soca music blasting, drinks pouring, making sure we have at least one Lucian flag somewhere on our bodies. Our friend Nadia who is jumping with the UCOM band comes home to meet us. I love her costume! I was eyeing that one at their band launch. We have to get a taxi. A seven seater. My headress is too big. And I refuse to get it too wet before the road. In my head at that time, despite the weather forecasts, I was hoping and praying by some miracle that the rain would let up. At Cornwall Crescent (our meet up point), everyone is trying to shelter out of the rain and to cover their feathers somehow; put them in a van, put them on a truck, put them under a poncho, any which way. I have a clear memory of poor Megan and Chloe trembling in their costumes due to the rain but still smiling.
The make up artists have a nice tent which provides cover for a lot of us. I go to get my make up done. The look was more of a tribal rather than pretty pretty. And make artist Dashnee nails it! I love it! Photographer Shawn Hicks takes some head shots. I have to put it out there. In Bacchanalia Mas Band we are in love with the work of Shawn Hicks!! He takes killa shots of us!
Other masqueraders and friends come to the meeting point. I get to see Venner again! The way I love this guy! He made me laugh so much during my Trinidad carnival trip last year!
It is still raining. When we first started off on the route, I hadn’t striped to my costume yet. After a while I just became indifferent to the weather. I wanted to show off Kelly’s work. Did I mention before I loved my costume? So I stripped to my costume and I didn’t regret it one bit! However, at this point my sympathy went out to all designers in the carnival bands, not just Kelly. A dry Notting Hill is the time to show off their months of hard work and creativity. And whilst it could still be seen, the rain ruined the true splendour of costumes. Feathers were ruined. Make up was dribbly. Our costumes in Bacchanalia Masband took on the challenge of bad weather and remained fabulous! Don’t believe me? Have a look below.
Here’s another thing. Our people? When we get on the road? We don’t care. We have a fantastic time! I see Petra strutting her stuff as only Petra can do. Sophie is holding onto the back of the truck wukking up like she has no spine. My brother and cuzzy are having a time. Kasher? Elaine? Rain? What rain? We have Bacchanalia pile ups, sing alongs, yearly repeated pics, wine on steward, wine on spectators, wine on police. Hell we even wine on lamp poles. This is what carnival is ultimately about for me. Forget the drinking and the wining for a moment. You can do that at any time in any fete. No or me what makes carnival special is the wearing of the costume on the road, being part of a group of all people wearing costume, having a great time on the road with friends all sharing a love of a carnival, every year, in this way reliving what started this whole business.
Other storming friends (ahem Chan and Michelle) come to visit our band for a bit! We dance away. In the words of Kes, ‘we are true masqueraders, carnival is we nature’. We enjoy carnival. And for once I did not roam! I didn’t get to see my friends’ costumes! The rain halted my natural instinct and music was just too good!! The DJs took one giant step for bacchanaliakind this year.
And then that’s it! Notting Hill Carnival is done! Dang!