It's not even close to August yet, but the annual Notting Hill Carnival arguments have started already. Pretty much every year there's some kind of brouhaha about the route of the carnival, the danger posed by unruly elements or the cost to the local taxpayer.
This year though it's a little different. In what, at least at first glance, looks like a fairly childish fit of pique, the Mayor's office have announced a rival "Caribbean Showcase Event" on the same weekend in Hyde Park.
The Notting Hill Carnival Trust is obviously "very disappointed" and points out that"For the last year we have been in negotiations with the mayor's office to hold events in Hyde Park to complement the carnival. But we are very disappointed and unhappy that they have reneged on those discussions and decided to go alone. Their undertakings have been broken."
The Mayors office don't see it that way, it's more a smaller refined gathering, to complement the festival, like a back garden barbeque, playing some of that more accessible reggae, but only for around 5000 people.
This to us makes no sense, especially when the money for this shindig could be better spent on more useful things for the carnival, like more toilets.
It's at about this point that this portion of the Londonist has to admit to some bias. We were half watching the news last night and caught a section on BBC London about a change to this years Carnival and we got our hopes up. You see we live in pretty much the epicentre of the carnival, just round the corner from where they set up one of the major toilet blocks. Also we're one of the nearest houses with some shelter from the road, so for at least one weekend of the year the front of house becomes a public urinal. A well frequented public urinal. By drunk people. Some with whistles.
So you can understand why maybe we were a little excited by the prospect of not having our kitchen stink or urine for a week and being able to avoid phone calls from vague acquaintances who were like, in the neighbourhood, thought maybe we'd say hi, and oh, have you got a toilet?
Unfortunately it's not to be, but hey, it's just one weekend and ultimately the Carnival is a fantastic event, it's gotten a lot better policed in recent years, there's the kids day for the whole family and it's a real opportunity to see London at it's multicultural best. Not to mention the stalls selling Jerk chicken.
Just stay the fuck away from our doorstep.