Sunday, July 5

Holy Turtles

Carnival is basically a Good Thing, but I usually try and be out of town when it's on, partly because of the racket, but also because the police chases and firework fights can get tedious, I also find it alarming when people hide behind my wheelie bin to shoot up.

Having spent most of the last 3 years out of the country, I had completely forgotten about this annual Caribbean bonanza. However I finally twigged by noon on Saturday when my radio had become inaudible despite only being two feet away from me. I decided that I might as well give up and join in.

I crossed the road to the main body of the party alongside a girl in a vest and face paint, her toes had scraped their way through the fabric of her red slippers and she was propping up a grinning man with a propeller on his head.

The parade was cranked up to full volume, local community groups samba-ed along in enormous glittery costumes, banging drums and pushing trolleys piled high with sound systems. Punctuating the groups were dancing girls wearing little more than body crayon, big shoes and feather headdresses.

The only community group that had decided not to compete in the sparkle stakes were Team God who had opted for a theme entitled 'What I wear To Shop At Asda’. Unity was achieved by dint of large gold cardboard stars tied to their backs, making them look like a flock of holy turtles. Each star was customised with text, mainly a single inspiring word: Give, Smart (??), Happy... emphasized by repetition, like the turtle-man who had the word hopefully written many times in biro all the way down his back.

I think they must have salsa’d too hard, too early on, because by the time I saw them they were trudging wearily and trying not to look at naked girls and men on stilts with bananas in their jockstraps.

This morning I swept up the remains of the television I heard being kicked down the street during the night.


  1. I understand the stilts, but can one do a decent samba while wearing a banana in a jockstrap?

    And wasn't it Buddha who said, "All god's children are turtles"?

  2. what carnivale? is it time for lent already? *so sayeth the heathen* xoxox

  3. Bill - I think drugs helped with the samba.

    That Buddha thing might be the link.

    Savannah - it's us non-catholics that are the heathens. The Caribbean communities do their festivities in the summer and call it carnival possibly to differentiate it from the drug-fulled pop orgies going on in fields all over the country at the same time.

  4. Amazing! That sort of thing is so far outside the realm of my experience I've always wanted to see it someday. They just don't do stuff like that around here, at least not that I've ever seen!

  5. Was your costume bug-themed?

  6. You make this sound sooooo appealing. I'm obviously an old curmudgeon. People in the streets enjoying themselves is so VE Day.

  7. Notting Hillbillie or Trustafarian?

  8. your drawings are really adding a lot to your posts - esp. these with this post...

  9. XL - I also used the theme 'What I Wear to Shop at Asda'. But then I shop wearing tinsel fairy wings and deeley boppers.

    Madame DeF - I just knew this would be so you . Make a date to come and stay for next year's carnival, they have special lavatories and street food...

    Ellis - I fall into neither of those categories. I'm a 'Friend of St Paul'.

    Deb - Thank you. Glad you're enjoying them.

  10. Stef - I've always wanted to go to the Venice carnival

  11. Kicking a TV down the street - who hasn't longed to do that. Full marks.

  12. Which town are you living in, Lulu?? Notting Hill Carnival is in August. I suppose they were recreating the Native American myth that we're all living on the back of a turtle, and that it's "turtles all the way down".

  13. Inky - I too sympathisized with the sentiment but it made a jolly loud smash at 4am
    I'm in Bristol Gadj. there's quite a sweet video about the carnival

  14. Gosh, you just reminded me how much I enjoy living here in N1. I moved last September from W11, and I hated last year's festivites with the utmost intensity as I was pregnant, constantly sick, and the never ending smell of jerk chicken was filling the air for a whole weekend. I have never before and never again spent that much time over the toilet.

    PS: Excellent drawings! :-)

  15. The carnival sounds like great fun! What is the occasion for the festival or is it just because it's summer?

  16. I just watched the video you recommended, what a fantastic carnival. What an exotic place to live!!!

  17. You make it sound so great. I've never been to a carnival although I've always wanted to go to the Venice one in February and of course to Brazil

  18. Met Mum - The Carnival is not a thing to live too close to, even when unpregnant.

    Dedene - exotic is one word for it!

    Frenchie - It is great - before 2am. Then it can be less great.

  19. Yet a good time was had by all -- no?

    Bananas in jockstraps
    and whiskers on kittens.
    Snowflakes that stay on
    your nose and your mittens.

  20. Well if you didn't win a ticket to Michael's farewell spectacle in LA then Carnivale would be the next best thing.

    I want Aliens to invade Earth and take away all the mean surly stupid drunks so that these types of celebrations would be fun..

    that's all I ask..

    oh yeah and cure all the diseases and give everyone the same amount of money and clean the air and water..but mainly take away all the assholes. I don't care what the Aliens do with the asshats I just want them off of my planet.

  21. MR W
    Brown paper parcels
    crack heads and arsels
    roses and poses and angels in wings
    this town is full of those glorious things

    K - Surely you have some!

    Donn - you seem very splenetic these days. You're right of course, the inevitable tranche of twits does tend to spoil the fun

  22. I need to see a pic of the women in nothing but crayon.

  23. I wanna go. Carnival always sounds like a gay pride parade with even more nakedness and also monkeys. Who wouldn't enjoy that?

  24. BB - I think the picture you make in your head will be better.

    Pru - Come along next year, be one of the naked dancers, I'll crayon you a costume.


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