We know the thoughts of those who love Notting Hill Carnival. It is also interesting and useful to hear the thoughts and feelings of some against Notting Hill Carnival. This was not easy listening.
The sources for this article have requested to remain anonymous.
But this is MY home! Some of you may have lived here before but most of you don’t anymore. Most of you never lived here. And yet you still throw your party here EVERY year. Can’t you see the neighbourhood has changed? I don’t like you here. You don’t fit in anymore. Why can’t you do like the Glastonbury lot and have it somewhere outside of London?
Ah yes, Notting Hill Carnival, awfully messy business. Really ought to be scrapped. But it would cause such a ruckus to do so. A cultural event? I do not see that. I see a big street party. I don’t get it. What is this soca? What is Calypso? Is it that the ‘Who let the dogs out’ song? or the ‘Turn me on’ one? Ah yes, I’ve heard those once or twice at the private club. I really don’t know about the history behind this party or why it is so important. It might be important to you but not to me. It is certainly not MY culture.
You guys argue amongst yourselves what is best reflective of your culture; more traditional, bikinis, feathers, dirty t-shirts, plaques with political statements… It’s all the same to me y’know. What I see is people dressed having an excuse to get in different costumes, gyrating away indecently (well to be honest, don’t really mind the dancing girls) and having a major humongus disorganised conga line dance with incredibly huge trucks around my home in Notting Hill.
This has gotten bigger. A lot bigger. Before it was just West Indians that were involved in this street party. But it isn’t anymore is it? There are the Brazilians, Africans and all others. And apart from that, there are these little street parties everywhere. I don’t mean to sound like a grumpy old fart. But there are people drinking booze, messing up cars with paint, powder, whatever, throwing up and urinating everywhere. How would you feel if people you don’t know urinated in your back yard? On your doorstep? Don’t really care that it is just for two days. You’re a stranger taking the piss (literally).
Security came in to try to put some form of order to things decades ago. The police. Apart from the fact that they don’t like you really, you are making most work of their day off. Not a good way to start. Over the years, those of you that lead this thing have changed. Squabbles, resignations, scandals, suspensions etc. But security has remained. Consistency and continuity. And guess what? They have gradually become more powerful, able to dictate things, because they have always been there, forcing you to limit the number of trucks on the road, move the trucks further away from the route, you start later, more and more restrictions. All under the legitimate reason of possible terrorist targeting. If it is made hard enough, maybe you guys will forget about this carnival.
You know, get the media to look at all the very small pockets of crime and blow it out of proportion. Most never want information on the positives of this event anyway. And it’s pretty easy really, as they don’t like you much either. Use the Grenfell tragedy in an attempt to get your party moved or cancelled. If it gets cancelled or moved just once, it will be easier to do it the next time round.
These meetings you have to reclaim ‘your’ carnival… I attend; it’s always good to be aware I say. I see many retirees (not much of the young ones are there? They don’t seem to be interested. What’s going to happen when the old age pensioners are gone?). A lot of shouting and swearing, you do not listen. Is that really going to accomplish anything? And what on earth possessed you to have a meeting on a Monday evening???? I don’t see a unified cause. There is one group trying to take control from another group. They say they don’t want to take over but they roll out their amazingly long credentials, their experience, put all blame on the police and rally the crowd. Sounds like a coup d’état to me. But in my mind, LNHCET, the one before, this one… one group is just the same as the other.
You want Notting Hill Carnival to be considered a national heritage thing. Really??? When it is not the culture of the majority? When it is not Britain’s main culture? Whatever will the people in the more rural areas of England think? You think the people in the Cotswold’s, Lake District and Bogna Regis care about this or would be for it?
The panel at the last ‘Reclaim our carnival’ meeting threatened not to have the carnival next year if the demands are not met. Go ahead. Not participate. I am actually happy if you don’t. And what you don’t realise is this. This Notting Hill Carnival is no longer just a West Indian thing. ‘Reclaim Our Carnival?’ Who is the ‘Our?’ West Indians are just one culture represented now at Notting Hill Carnival. It’s a London thing now. It brings people of many of the London communities in one place. All the arguing amongst yourselves really just makes it easier. True, it is making some money so it might just be kept. But you guys can’t handle the responsibility of such a big an event. You’ve proven that. You haven’t got the necessary qualifications. So if and when you decide not to participate, maybe we can get the Chinese community to participate, the Asians, more of the Latin Americans or the African Nations. We might get the Polish and Germans to show off their culture. I quite like a frankfurter.
This is my home. You want to continue to throw your Notting Hill carnival in my home? Go ahead. For now. But be damn sure I will make it as hard as hell to throw your party, until you have had enough; you no longer want to fight for it. And you leave. For good.
Many thanks to those who agreed to have their opinions documented. Images were taken from the internet or by Ilovecarnivall