Carnival is coming!!
It is nearly that time again – the time when all of the frolicking, partying, drunkenness, sassiness, wotlessness, and yes, a bit of craziness too. All of it is coming to a soca party near you.
There have been many tweets and Facebook posts, reminding us every day about the numerous parties we should attend. I don’t believe there is anything more exciting to us Caribbean people than soca music blasting out of a stockpile of speakers, attached to a truck. Since all the Caribbean carnivals are wrapping up for the month of August – that leaves us – we, the Notting Hill carnival revellers. We are down to twenty-four days. Yes, 24 days before the roads of Notting Hill will be covered in paint, powder, oil and chocolate. Twenty-four days before swarms of people flood into the borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Preparations are already on the way. Gates are being put up. Grills are starting to emerge. Jerk pans are starting to poke their noses out of some houses. Pictures of some of the UK’s great soca artistes, such as Triniboi Joocie have found themselves on the walls along Portobello Road. Carnival is rolling off nearly everyone’s tongue. Costumes are ready to be dished out. Flights and hotels are being booked. The ground is starting to shake already. Carnival is near.
People ask me why I love carnival so much? I simply tell them it’s in my blood. Soca music has embedded itself into my DNA. I can’t get it out, nor do I want it out. Some people believe it is the women dressed up in a bikini, and men chasing them down the road for a whine. But it’s much more than that – so much more. Carnival is a celebration of being black, embracing culture, craft, and overcoming the struggles people of colour have to face in these first world countries. We are chipping down the road in the fight against oppression, injustice, inequality and racism. Those doors that used to read: “no blacks, no dogs or no Irish allowed” exists no more. The walls of exclusion have been torn down; we are now celebrating for all those black and white people who fought the good fight.
Even after the death of their beloved son, Steven Lawrence, a mother and father fought rigorously to see that it never happens again, not to another black boy. We have come so far, imagine where we were years ago? I can tell you. We were in chains, suppressed and held captive like animals in a cage. Now, in 2019, we are global superstars, directors, musicians of all genres, business owners, faces in politics, doctors, scientists, journalists, and yes, we have taken over a whole stretch of road for two days – we did that. And we should be proud of it ¬– embrace it. Of course, let’s not forget those souls from the Grenfell Tower who lost their lives. Remember them as we go along the carnival path. They are dancing next to us; drinking, smiling and singing sweet soca right beside us in love. They will always be remembered.
Meanwhile, in the house of commons, Boris Johnson is determined to get the UK out of the EU on the 31st of October 2019. In his words, “the critics; the doubters, the gloomsters – they are going to get it wrong again. We are going to leave the EU, no if’s or but’s.”
After listening to such a well-articulated speech ¬– should we be scared? Or should we embrace a UK outside of the European Union? Or is Jeremy Corbyn going to force his hand? Look out people, a general election might be on the cards. This is certainly a race against time. Can Boris see this through, or will he bottle it like his predecessors? We’ll have to wait and see. This fight is going to the last round. A round we might get knocked down or come out victorious. There are still two months and about three weeks to go.
On the news of the weather, which seems to be constantly changing daily, weekly, even hourly. This is a worrying matter for most revellers. Especially as carnival is looming closer and closer, we are all hoping for pure sunshine and cloudy skies. No rain. Maybe just a bit, not a monsoon like last year. However, if it does rain, there are a multitude of soca events happening all over the capital. Here are a few facebook pages to check out: Busspepper events, Releasedriddim, Jay Sun Bailante, OneFamalay.co.uk, Lava events and Shipwreck events. Look out for Triniboi Joocie’s decade party on Thursday in POW, Brixton; it’s going be lit. And on Saturday it is time for DJ Markee’s, Soca Addict. There are also cruises sailing down the Thames on different days of the month. Remember, to have fun, but be careful. Stay within the confines of the law. Trinisinlondon, the site for everything soca.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily trinisinlondon.com