With the memories of Cropover and Spice Mas still so fresh in mind, next on the agenda is London’s Notting Hill Carnival. This is the one carnival I always get excited and upset about simultaneously. It is my home carnival and the band I am part of (Bacchanalia Masband), well, we always have a great time on the road! BUT this also normally marks the end of the carnivals for the year for me.
It’s only been a couple of days since returning from the caribbean and I can feel the excitement of Notting Hill! Everyone is asking each other ‘Which fetes are you going to? What are you doing Carnival Sunday and Monday? What band are you playing with? Have you got your costume yet?’ I have switched it up a bit this year. Typically my carnival weekend would start on the Thursday with the Poison Lime, followed by the Poison concert on the Friday night. The Saturday I would do the Oh Gosh fete, Sunday has to be the Chocolate Mas Band and Monday Bacchanalia. This year I have decided to go to the Ruk u Tuk breakfast boat fete along the Thames on the Saturday (enjoyed it too much last year) and Shipwrecked on Saturday evening. Sunday rather than do Chocolate, I’ll be doing Abir. After Canboulay and Booze in Barbados, I am totally in love with the idea of paint and powder. And of course Bacchanalia on the Monday.
I’m doing an individual in the fancy Indians section. Creative designer Kelly Rajpaulsingh asked me months ago to choose three colours to base my costume on. That was it. And she kept my costume hidden from me until the very last minute! I had no idea what it would look like! The day before I was due to collect, Kelly sent me a pic of one BIT of my costume and I was in awe! But also anxious. I had visions of me possibly looking like a hippo in a tutu on Carnival Monday. I tried the whole thing on the next day and I couldn’t stop grinning like a cheshire cat! Kelly just knows what suits my body shape and I’m always in love with the costumes she designs for me. But this one just blew me away! I couldn’t wait to wear it!
Here’s the thing (although I think more women will relate than men). When you love a costume, you can’t wait to wear it on the carnival route. I don’t give a flying piece of pork about being the hottest thing on the road. For me, first it is showing off the designer’s creation to the best of its and my ability. Secondly, it is me feeling comfortable in the costume. And for me that means looking the best I can look. So the extra sit ups, the extra interval run, the leaving of that extra piece of chicken is worth it. And last by certainly not the least, it is about having fun with friends on the road! It’s not about being miserable on the road.
So Costume collected.. Let’s get the Notting Hill Carnival started!