This is my response to this week’s Flashback Track Friday prompt, where we were given Summertime by Janis Joplin and asked to:
Write an elegy to summer.
In vivid costume, peacock blue,
Under sultry summer sun,
A throng arrives at Ladbroke Grove,
To carnival they’ve come.
Banana yellow, brilliant white,
The main parade, the rainbow swirls,
With sunburnt orange, headdress gole,
The stoops, the jumps, the moves, the whirls.
A thousand systemsaset the tune,
On every corner, hum the theme,
Cacophony of much-loved sounds,
Fuelling vision, fuelling dream.
A gastronome’s Carribean delight,
Of plantain, yam, goat, chicken, rice,
A glutton’s dream, unbounded choice,
Have just arrived in paradise.
Early adulthood, I would visit the Notting Hill Carnival each year. It took placethat last weekend in August, which is a bank holiday in the UK.
That timing seemed significant, because everything starts moving again in September, so this felt like a massive blowout to celebrate the end of summer.
I can remember going with a few girlfriends. Mostly, it was me that was really into the event, they came along because they’d heard of it and wanted to see for themselves. One Jamaican girlfriend, however, was a young mum and introduced me to “children’s day”, which preceded the main carnival days. That’s a nice touch, I think.
It started in the mid Sixties as a Carribean carnival, and just grew. By the time I started going it was popular, but now they measure estimated attendances in the millions. That’s too many people for me. They call it Europe’s Biggest Street Party (it takes place just on open roads) and I wouldn’t argue.
I found some images on the web.