Notting Hell Carnival
On Monday Ruth, Holly and I made our way to Notting Hill Carnival to work at The Pelican. Our managers had informed us that it would be a ‘busy but fun shift’ we were getting paid cash in hand, we could drink on the job & have some carnival fun.
We were all so exhausted from working the entire Bank holiday weekend (Ruth and I had finished at 4:00am that morning and Ruth had a mega Bank holiday bender). We arrived at Westbourne Park tube and as we walked into the streets of the carnival Police were crawling every inch of the place. We found The Pelican- boarded up completely, covered in graffiti. Outside the pub there were horrendously trashy girls dancing on top of the mini platform selling Red Stripe to the crowd. Once inside we were strapped with money bags and we joined the sluts to sell Red Stripe. The Red Stripe were being stored inside two ice bins- ten minutes in and our hands felt like they were going to freeze off.
Time felt like it had stopped and we were over it. The Drum & Bass stage was opposite the pub so naturally it was an amazing crowd to deal with. So amazing that a fight broke out half an hour after being there. One of many, actually. So there was uproar in the crowd and it begins to separate- a man has been bottled so badly that his entire face is falling apart. He was spitting up blood, bleeding from his eyes and his bottom lip was barely on his face any more. He was dragged in front of us and it was hands down, the most horrific sight I have ever seen. I would be surprised if that man was alive by the end of the night. At that point the security guard pushed us inside and we stood there in shock. I wanted to cry and be sick at the same time, I definitely didn’t want to go back out into the street. We did though. More of the same continued until Ruth and I were put on the bar and stayed inside. A little bit later Holly comes flying through the door- someone had been stabbed outside and the crowd began to flee. Children were joining us in the pub, the security guard was dragging them over the ‘barrier’ to protect them from the ever growing aggressive crowd.
The rest of the night continued to be awful, working with unfriendly staff in a badly organised and filthy bar. Three or four times during the night we were locked in with the customers at the pub because the rioting outside had become so bad it was unsafe for anyone to leave or enter inside.
I have no understanding of why the festival is still going if the events that happened on Monday are similar to those that occur every single year. Everyone who attended had their life in danger and it was constantly an unpleasant environment to surround yourself in.
I will never be returning to the Carnival and I will advise everyone I know to do the same.
On top of all the hellish drama, I slipped over in the cellar- cut my foot open and it swelled to twice the size of my other foot making it impossible to walk properly once I had finished work. I was then bedridden on my only day off.
So my review of Notting Hill Carnival- I wouldn’t again.