Amidst the costumes and curried goat, the floats and feathers, the ubiquitous bobbie boogieing awkwardly against a spry Bacchanalian beauty, visitors to this year's Notting Hill Carnival may spot a new attraction: the begging bowl.
Global credit woes may have crunched the ambition of this year's performers, with organising group London Notting Hill Carnival Limited admitting that anecdotal evidence suggests many of the acts have had to significantly reduce their sequin count.
The main problem seems to be sponsorship, with the well hand-wrung credit crunch meaning previously profligate companies are reluctant to part with money in an unstable economic climate. LNHCL say we'll have to wait until the weekend to see if this means a less colourful Carnival, though happily there's been no drop in numbers of bands registered (and folk who climbed up to Ally Pally over the weekend will have seen a sneak preview of the costumes set to rock West London).
Enough of this debt-kvetching. Time for Carnivallers to man up for their masquerades and get YouTube-ing all those old instructive Blue Peter episodes. Fire up the glue-gun! There's no colourful if costly garm that can't be re-made using an old Fairy Liquid bottle, a few loo rolls and an ounce of elbow grease.