27 Aug 2007


'an occasion or period of public enjoyment and merrymaking with eating, dancing, drinking and often processions and shows held especially in Roman Catholic countries in the weeks before lent'

The Notting Hill Carnival is a street carnival held annually in the Notting Hill area of London and has been going since 1965. It is the second largest in the world. This year it was on the 25th and 26th of August. Sunday for the children and Monday for the main event.

The carnival has steelbands competing against one another, sound systems which are static each playing their own music ranging from drum and bass, to hip hop, r&b, electronica etc, the masqueraded processions and of course the soca and calypso vibe constantly in the air.

Notting Hill Carnival 2007 Facts and Figures
2,000,000 visitors over the weekend.
3.5 miles long route
70 performing units comprised of mas bands and mobile DJs and 16 steelbands
41 static sound systems within the carnival area.
16,000 different records played
300 food stalls
50,000 active participants.
15,000 costumes.
150,000 feather plumes.
30 million sequins.
100 litres of decorative body paint.
1 million hours go into making and decorating the costumes.
5 tons of chicken eaten
30,000 corn on the cobs
15,000 deep-fried plantains
1 tons of rice and peas
1 tons of Jamaican patties
12,000 mangoes
16,000 coconuts
5 million hot and cold drinks
10,000 litres of Jamaican stout
25,000 bottles of rum
70,000 litres of carrot juice

I live within the 'carnival zone' so I have been immersed in the build up and the actual festivities. I was at first sceptical about the invasion, noise and mayhem. (the police helicopter is still flying overhead and its nearly 11pm)
It was great. Very fascinating to see the preparations come together and the floats, food, music were really super.

Naturally, it is impossible to capture the smell of the food and the booming bass from the sound systems in images. It is definitely more experiential...The most enjoyable thing about this years carnival which is probably true for most carnivals is the atmosphere which is constantly palpable. The weather has been just perfect over the long weekend and it was so nice to see the variety of people old, young, tall, short, shy, exuberant, locals, tourists everyone really looked like they were having a great time. Complete strangers chatting to each other and having fun with no holds barred. Great. Even as tired as the performers were after dancing all weekend they were still smiling as posing with people who wanted their pictures taken with the costumes.
We were lucky enough to get some really good viewing points so I didn't want to waste the opportunity by constantly reducing the view by looking through a camera! I am also sure that there are thousands of images in the internet so I won't overdo it.

I have to say I actually enjoyed watching the whole process and the sheer amount of organisation and time and planning that must have gone in are really commendable. Not only that the people take part in the actual bands and floats who would have been preparing since last years carnival but also the police, fire, cleaning and ambulance services that were setup to make sure everyone had a good time. The sheer amount of rubbish on the streets is crazy (and quite revolting) but by the morning every last bit had been cleared up. now that is applaudable.

Lastly, it was interesting to see how the businesses in the area prepared. About 80% of these had their windows and store fronts boarded up since Saturday morning. Most were just regular chipboard sheets nailed up which eventually got covered in posters and graffiti as the weekend progressed. Others added a little more of a touch by using their logos or corporate colours.

hopefully, next time I'll be talking about the mother of all carnivals... the rio carnival! one can dream....see ya!

ps. freya, sarah and stav, hope you had a good time!

23 Aug 2007


with names like:

Vanessa Atalanta (Red admiral)
Inachis Io
(Peacock butterfly)
Lymantria monacha (Black arches)
Parnassius apollo (Apollo)
Argynnis paphia (Silver-washed fritillary)

their intricate patterns and vivid colours

the fact that they fly

they are symmetrical but yet not perfectly so

they are the inspiration for so many designers both directly and more abstractly.

their transformation from ugly to beautiful

they symbolise so many things: freedom, elegance, gracefulness, hope?

they are fascinating and beautiful. why? any suggestions? have they inspired anything you have created? do you like them, hate them? feel free to add your comments.

here is an image that formed part of the Diary 2008 project which is a really interesting idea where each day of the year in a diary is designed by a different artist/crafter. Each page becomes a small piece of art making the diary a lovely collection of thoughts, ideas, sketches, drawings (and of course URLS) from all over the world.

have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by.

20 Aug 2007

and so to blog....

testing, testing.. anyone out there.

ok this is what i am hoping to do with this blog.... that is to just write. Writing about things that I find interesting, fun, inspiring, cool, amusing, beautiful.. whatever.

the aim is to explore or prove that everthing really is connected. this will seem very random which it probably will be, at the start at least, so the only way I can think to structure it is by using the Alphabet: A-Z that is.

so please feel free to comment, suggest, contradict, it all adds to the fun of it.

most importantly spot the connections and please point them out to me if I miss them!

here goes.....
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