Friday 8 September 2017

Friday 8th September: Notting Hill Carnival 2017, Panorama

On the Saturday night before Carnival kicks off on Sunday, there is the Steel Pan championship "Panorama" in Emslie Horniman Pleasance park on the carnival route.  The local bands practice here all week on the run up to it so you can come out and get a sense of what is to come!  On the night, the participating bands line up in a que rehearsing their sequences before they each enter the judging panel.  They have to physically pick up their drums to move them along the road as their turn comes closer.  This is quite possibly the most physically challenging instrument of all time!  The songs are epically long and the arm-work is fast and constant.  The Ebony Mas Steel Band took this a stage further with a choreographed dance routine of spinning round inbetween chords.  Here you can see a couple in their Fela Kuti Felabration t-shirts which inspired their theme for this year.  Check out their incredible winning performance here.  I wish so much that I could play, it looks SO MUCH FUN! 

Thursday 7 September 2017

Thursday 7th September: Notting Hill Carnival 2017 - J'ouvert

J'ouvert is when the early birds catch the worm in Carnival terms and call in the dawn with the cry of a Conch shell. I thought it was the beginning of the day, starting at 6am but now realise that it is a continuation from the overnight celebrations after the steel pan contest "Panorama". Infact the Ebony Steel Pan band lead the procession of paint assassins like the Pied Piper along the route of Portabello Road. This year I was well equipped for the crossfire of gunge and glitter with an industrial strength boilersuit that looked like I was going into a chemical testing zone. Witnessing an army of psychedelically clad pranksters in clouds of white talc is a surreal sight at sunrise. But that's why its one of my favourite parts of the weekend and why I happily lose sleep to absorb as much of the fun as possible. It only comes once a year!

Read more on the tradition in my archive posts here .

Wednesday 6 September 2017

Wednesday 6th September: Notting Hill Carnival 2107 - how to dress

This year's festival featured unprecedented glorious hot sun from start to finish.  It actually felt like being in the tropical climate of Trinidad Carnival where I began celebrations earlier this year.  Before we knew that the English weather would bless us with this heatwave weekend in the midst of rain and wind, I wrote a guide of how to dress for the Evening Standard:

"Dressing for Notting Hill Carnival as a spectator is a dichotomy between wearing your best garms to enter the spirit of joyful abandon but nothing you'd want to obliterate because that is a guarantee. Throughout the day your body will be a canvas for rain, paint, talcum powder, chocolate, rum, beer, hot sauce and potentially worse should you fall down a kerb. FACT.
I get a cheap mesh body suit in the Summer sales and customise it with rhinestones, tassels and feathers. Use the same crystals to glue motifs onto your plastic cup / hipflask for drinking on the road. Tie your hair up with a bandana for preservation and this should be your flag of heritage if you have it. Accessorize with door-knocker hoops, a whistle and horn from street traders or soundsystems handing them out. Fill a fanny pack with wet-wipes, hand sanitiser, blister plasters, lipstick and glitter. Sew pom-pom fringe onto the tops of fish-net pop-socks and pull out your brightest creps that you don't mind defacing. I have a special pair just for Jouvet, they look like Margiela paint splatter trainers circa early 00's. Lastly but most importantly top-off with a waterproof. Luckily there's a flood of iridescent macs on the market to match your sequin sheen. "

Here are snaps from my look this year which had green ribbon decorations in my hair for the Grenfell Tower campaign request to wear green for the weekend as mark of respect.  
Special thanks to Most Wanted Wines for the " Last Of The Summer Wine* " care package of a rainbow backpack, battery charger, glitter makeup and wine sachets for a bacchanal!

(*form of dance, involves gyration of hips, can be slow or fast must always be sexy. performed to mainly west indian music like reggae, calypso and soca.)

Monday 4 September 2017

Monday 4th September: The Art Of Ping Pong, my WIP pics

 The 21 artists to be taking part in the Art Of Ping Pong exhibition for this year are now being unveiled and announced over on their Instagram.  One of the creatives to customise a ping pong bat for the charity auction is me!  Here are some snaps from my work in progress / process.  The fundraiser for the Alzheimer's charity will open on the 3rd November at 71A Gallery in Shoreditch.   You'll be able to view the complete collection and try to guess who has created which piece for a week before they go up for grabs.  Until then, keep an eye on their social media for hints and sneak peaks of the bats and names in the bag.