Carnival nights

The carnival is over once more and ended in the time-honoured fashion of bottle throwers and police in riot gear, but if this was supposed to be nostalgia for the old days, it wasn’t, mainly because the kids throwing bottles were too young to have been at the original debacle way back when. The police then only had hastily aquired neighbourhood dustbin lids so this was probably just a practice session for them. However, it did mean that the Inn On the Green closed earlier than intended, not that I wasn’t ready to go home by then. Actually I didn’t go home…

The carnival had gone reasonably enough before the kid’s tantrums, though the usual police crowd-control tactics on both days raised hackles, which I’ve always assumed they were meant to do. This resulted in the inevitable pushing and shoving just to stay on your feet whilst marching along with the floats. Not that I was trying to march at all. I had enough of that when I did my squarebashing in The RAF. The crowd control there consisted mostly of a drill instructor shouting a lot and not encouraging anyone else to join in. It worked quite well, too. The crowd was definitely controlled, though in my case there was a certain resentment, though not because no-one was dancing.

To be honest I wasn’t even trying to dance along with the floats, it’s just that my timing was terrible as I always seem to be trying to make my way to a pub when the floats come past later in the day. I’d seen a few of the floats from my front door in the morning, and I didn’t dance or march then either. They looked pretty good again and you have to applaud the effort that goes into getting them together each year.

On the Sunday, I did manage a quick one in Finch’s before making my way to The Castle where I had another quick one and stayed for a second because the barman managed to knock a drink over me. I had the second in the hope that my jacket would dry off but that didn’t happen so I proceeded to the Inn. There I used the drier in the Gents’ to restore decorum.

At the Inn there was a live broadcast on both carnival days, with Djs from Harlesden’s Life FM. Plenty of reggae and soul, modern R&B and so on, with a string of Djs revving things up. On the Monday, they ended up with lots of Salsa for the usual tuesday night Salsa dancers, who came a day early as the Inn was closing for a few days after Carnival. The debacle at the end of the evening resulted in the police curtailing the celebrations and directing everyone away from Ladbroke Grove. No problem for me as I wasn’t going that way anyhow.

As I walked home I remembered that Jason, who runs my website, had invited me to his annual End-of-Carnival soiree, which just happened to be on my route home. I joined the usual suspects in more imbibing, tempered with some excellent food, though I did manage to end the evening by emptying half a bottle of beer over myself. “What a waste” was the concerned comment of someone who shall be nameless. My own comment was unprintable.

The Inn re-opened on the following Friday but this was a special evening for people who didn’t want to drink, nor want anyone else to, though they were happy enough for drinkers to go along and discover that a good time could be had by all. Needless to say, I didn’t relish the idea. All was not lost though, as on the Saturday there was a joint birthday party for Dave the manager and Christina, a friend of guitarist Brady. This went on until the small hours, with plenty of live music, about seven bands in all. I didn’t play but I did go on until the small hours. I didn’t spill a drop either. I shall return there with the band on Sunday, but before that, I’m doing the Oval, East Croydon, gig with Chris and the Waydown crew.