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Where has the last year gone? I certainly remember last year’s Carnival as if it were yesterday…but yet it’s already Carnival time once again!

That’s right, this Sunday and Monday – 24th and 25th August – Notting Hill’s streets will be packed to the brim with the revellers, soundsystems, jerk chicken stalls, Red Stripe sellers…and the Carnival procession too! And then, of course, once each day is done and dusted, it’s time for the legendary Carnival after-parties to get going…

Notting Hill Carnival 2013
Last year’s Carnival

Time Out, as ever, has a great guide to the Carnival which you can see here – there’s the route map, Carnival tips to help those that have never been and an essential guide to Carnival after-parties…as well as warm-up parties! The print edition of the magazine also has a six-page guide, including a feature on the steel bands of the event, a look at the parade’s colourful costumes and other useful tips that will come in handy to those attending. Given that Time Out’s free, it’s well worth picking up a copy. (Try local newsagents which should still have some lying around.)

VisitLondon also has useful and fun section on the Notting Hill Carnival – including a very useful area map that not only shows the procession route, but also displays helpful Underground information. There’s also more on their Notting Hill Carnival pages, which also include information on Notting Hill and Portobello Road in general.

The Evening Standard has a great line-up of Carnival parties that are taking place over the whole Bank Holiday weekend if you really want to get into the Carnival spirit.

Rinse’s Rough But Sweet Soundsystem

Celebrating twenty years since their first transmission as a pirate radio station on this very August Bank Holiday weekend, Rinse will be hosting a Carnival soundsystem for the very first time. In partnership with London streetwear brand Boxfresh – who themselves are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year – the Rough But Sweet Soundsystem will be on the corner of Hazelwood Crescent and Bosworth Road, W10. Rinse has grown from a small set set of friends sharing tracks inspired them into a radio station that transmits innovative music; the soundsystem will be live on Rinse and is the first of a programme of birthday celebrations that will culminate in Rinse – Late at Tate Britain.

Notting Hill Carnival - Rinse

The Rough But Sweet line-up – featuring everything from grime to basement and bass to soul  – includes Katy B, Chase & Status, Tinashe, Route 94, Skream, Bicep, Becky Hill, Metalheadz, Ms Dynamite, P Money and many, many more – head down (or tune in!) to celebrate with Rinse.

For a sneak preview and to get you in the mood, check out this amazing track by Katy B, who’s released this just in time for Carnival: https://soundcloud.com/katyb/littleredlight

Top Notting Hill Carnival Tips

Don’t bother trying with any of the Underground stations actually in the area – they’ll either be closed, operating a one-way system or insanely over-crowded. Try Bayswater (Circle & District) or Holland Park which aren’t too far a walk away. Many roads (e.g. Westbourne Grove) will be closed, so it’s easy to get around. TFL have a useful page on transport to and from the Carnival.

Yes…Carnival will be crowded. Ridiculously so in some places. (e.g. The junction of Great Western Road and Westbourne Park Road is always something of a major bottleneck.) If you see a massive crush of people – no doubt trying to push past each other in all directions – consider stepping back and trying to find another route around, especially if you get a little nervous with large crowds.

THE SOUNDSYSTEMS ARE LOUD. Don’t stand too close to them, because your ears will be ringing for days on end. I SAID, YOUR EARS WILL BE…oh, forget it.

Everyone and his mate will be selling soft drinks/cans of Red Stripe/bottled water from front steps, street corners etc. They’re fine to buy from! But it’s probably an idea to bring your own water along, at least to start with.

If you want to get the vibe of the Carnival but don’t mind which day you go on, DEFINITELY go to Carnival on Sunday (officially, Children’s Day). It’s a bit less crowded, the soundsystems will still be in full swing, and you can pretty much experience everything. Plus, the kids really are very cute with their amazing costumes!

DON’T drink too much. Please. I’ve seen many a reveller passed out in some doorway by mid-afternoon (!). Yes, it’s a bank holiday. Yes, it’s fun. But then you’ll just be making some nice St John’s Ambulance people tend to a drunken fool. And doorways aren’t exactly comfy!

On a related note…you’ll need the loo at some point, yeah? There are some toilets and urinals set up on site, and you’ll also see local residents offering their own loo facilities (for a charge!). But bear in mind the whole ‘loo situation’ is a bit like a festival.

See you all at Carnival!

This summer in Notting Hill, Perform Drama School will be running a number of exciting Peter Pan workshops for kids aged 4 to 8 years old!

Perform - Peter Pan Theatre Workshops

Each workshop lasts five days, and the course will see kids embark on a magical trip to Neverland with Peter Pan, Wendy, John and Michael, helping rescue Tinkerbell from the dastardly Captain Hook.

The workshops are run by Perform Drama School’s energetic and young team of actors, musicians and dancers that inspire and encourage the young participants with funky dance steps and quick-witted improvisations. Each workshop also features colourful costumes, original songs and live music; at the end of each week, the youngsters put on a fantastic show that will delight family and friends!

Perform - Peter Pan Theatre Workshops

The workshops takes place in St Peter’s Hall, 59A Portobello Road, W11 3DB and will be running on 28th July to 1st August (2:30pm – 4:30pm daily) and 18th to 22nd August (2:30pm to 4:30pm daily). For more details on the workshops, or to book a place online, please see perform.org.uk/classes/holiday-courses/peter-pan.html.

As well as running free drama workshops at primary schools in the local area, this autumn Perform will also be running a special set of ‘Outer Space’ themed courses. More on these can be found at perform.org.uk/classes/weekly-classes/perform-48s/themes/outer-space.html.

Peter Pan Workshops with Perform Drama School
2.30pm to 4.30pm, 28th July – 1st August and 18th to 22nd August 2014
St Peter’s Hall
59A Portobello Road
W11 3DB

www.perform.org.uk

Seeking out legal advice is a daunting prospect for many of us – but here’s a new and free service that many in the local area will welcome.

Strictly Law are offering drop-in clinics at The Tabernacle in W11 every Friday (10am – 2pm) where you can obtain free and impartial legal advice. You can simply turn up at The Tabernacle during these hours, or make an appointment with the firm by calling them direct on 020 3292 1335.

The drop-in clinic at the well-known Tabernacle started in March of this year, following the launch of a similar clinic at the Kingsgate Community Centre in Kilburn in July 2013. Strictly Law are also seeking to establish further clinics in London, assisting communities and people that desperately need access to free legal advice.

Strictly Law – “taking the awe out of law” – was established in 2011, aiming to provide an invaluable legal service to the community as a whole but in particular to those who are low paid, elderly, unemployed and disabled.

Polly Jackson, founder of Strictly Law explains:

“Over the years the decimation of Legal Aid has had a serious impact on the wider community. That’s where Strictly Law fits in. Strictly Law has a simple philosophy, the need to ensure all members of the community have access to information and the best legal advice at an affordable price. We want to take this philosophy to the people.

For many, dealing with law firms can be an intimidating and overwhelming experience; we understand this and it is our aim to provide a caring and considerate service. Being a virtual firm means that we can reach people either in the comfort of their own homes, in mutually agreed venues or at one of the Advice Clinics we hold. This immediately puts people at their ease. In addition our overheads are considerably lower which means we’re able to pass on our savings to the client and give them an unbeatably cost effective service.”

Do please drop into their clinics at either The Tabernacle or at the Kingsgate Community Centre in Kilburn if you require some legal advice. If you are part of an organisation that would be interested in bringing on board a legal advice resource for the benefit of your community, please call Strictly Law on 020 3292 1335.

More on Strictly Law and the legal areas in which they can help can be found on their website at strictlylaw.co.uk.

Strictly Law Free Advice Clinics
10am – 2pm, Fridays
The Tabernacle
35 Powis Square
W11 2AY

Anyone interested in the history of Notting Hill and its residents should take a look at this fascinating video on the formation of Notting Hill Housing. This housing association was formed in the early 1960s as a result of the appalling living conditions that some residents faced – alongside other social issues that immigrants were forced for endure. The video shows a different side to Notting Hill that some of you may not be aware of, especially in contrast to what much of the area is like today.

Marking 50 years since the association’s formation, the video features interviews with those linked to Notting Hill Housing including Ann Kenrick, daughter of the founder, Reverend Bruce Kenrick, and the Trust’s first Chief Executive, John Coward OBE. It is highly recommended viewing – take a look below: