Notting Hill Carnival 2013, that is. No pic as yet, ‘cos Squirrel lives in the middle of it, didn’t dare to go out after last year*, and the couple of pix I took on Sunday from my mobile on my way to the Prom performance of Parsifal are awful. I’ll have to download a couple from my friend’s iPhone. Got some from my window, I live opposite the best soundstage of Carnival, but that’d give away where I am . . .
Point being, I opened my window (holding a large whisky and soda) and suddenly about 200 people turned round and waved, all smiling.(And judging by the number of iPads and iPhones suddenly pointed at the window, a somewhat startled paw-waving, whisky-guzzling Squirrel is about to become famous on FaceBook . . .) I did a rough estimate; there were at least 2,000 people crammed into the short street outside the Squirrel Nest by the end of this afternoon. All happy, dancing—as much as you can squashed elbow to elbow—and enjoying life.
This is the same day. of course. that the news is all about thousands of people who’ve been gassed in Syria. (The only life-threatening fumes discernible over this weekend were the usual, from charcoal barbecues and marijuana.) I simply do not know any more whether the ability of humans to share the general joy of life is greater or less than their apparently innate desire to destroy it.
But, anyway, this particular celebration of it is over for another year. But perhaps there is something to be optimistic about: that for two days in the year, in at least one great city of he world, a couple of million people fill the streets and fewer bad things happen than on any normal day in any city of two million people anywhere.
People can be good to each other. So what the hell stops them?
*I got barged into by an idiot last year, knocked over and twisted my spine; so I couldn’t walk at all for nearly two weeks. Didn’t want to risk that happening again; it’s a right bugger having to go up and down five steps to your loo on your bum and have to use two crutches to get from your bedroom to the kitchen. I didn’t want to risk that again. But I was going through the crowds in my wheelchair to get to the Albert Hall yesterday afternoon, and people were really quite kind. Usual British fashion, of course: they suddenly realise they’re in the way and say “Oh, Sorry. . .”