Sunday, 30 August 2009

Party Tresses

The morning of the Notting Hill Carnival is deceptively low-key. The roads are closed. There’s no traffic. Traders quietly get on with the business of building tents for chicken stands, stoking up oil-drum barbecues and slicing small hills of plantains. The set-up is my favourite part of the carnival. There's an air of excited anticipation. Neighbours of a mercenary bent hurriedly scrawl 'toilet £1' on pieces of paper and sellotape them to their front doors. Beneath my bedroom window a crew of young men are industriously fitting together the components of a 10,000 watt megabass sound system that, come midday, will be vibrating my kidneys and shaking all the pictures and mirrors off my walls.

Don’t they know how tired I am?

Still, there’s no point in staying at home and then moaning because you live in Notting Hill and, surprise, surprise, they hold something called the Notting Hill Carnival every year. I’ve never understood why those people who don’t like it don't just go and live in Chiswick. The only way to deal with the carnival is to go with the flow. Either be in it or be out of it (many choose both options, I know).

If you’re going to be in it, select your most brightly coloured dress. And if you’re fortunate enough to be in a position to choose which hair to wear with your outfit, definitely go for the red.