Monday, 31 August 2009

My Carnival U Turn

Picture source

Wasn’t it me who only a few days ago said I wouldn’t be going back to Notting Hill Carnival? Umm, so why did I find myself yesterday afternoon packed like a tin of sardines being carried along with the crowds on Portobello Road? Yup, I succumbed. It took only a few persuasive phone calls from my cousin and there I was heading to our designated meeting place, bringing Khy along for the journey. The good news: it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be, and to my surprise Khy wasn’t at all frightened by the crowds or the noise, and on the contrary was bopping along to the sounds of Donaeo like a carnival pro. The bad news: it was long. We spent the whole day walking for miles trying to find the floats with the flamboyant costumes and before you knew it Khy started to get really tetchy. Things got progressively worse when he announced that he needed to go to the toilet and needed to go quickly. Anyone who has ever been to an event of that size knows that’s an impossible feat. But my son being my son refused to empty his bladder in a discreet place “Mum, I can’t, everyone will see my bum bum”. So instead I headed to the yucky Porto loos where there was a ridiculously long queue, and I knew there was no way he would hold out for that long. My only other option was to use a shop or someone’s house. Sounds like the perfect solution, but the catch is of course you have to pay for the privilege. The places I came across were charging anywhere between the region of £1 to £3. I know - blue murder! Eventually we came across this lovely looking Notting Hill apartment where the man at the gate uttered the magic words “kids go free”. I virtually pushed Khy through the doors before he changed his mind, and voila - problem solved. Or so I thought. After rejoining my fam and anticipating at least a couple of hours of dancing, my son simply decided he had enough. All it took was me refusing his request for an ice cream before he embarked on one set of wailing that could be heard above the booming sound systems. That was it. Enough. I promptly said goodbye to my carnival crew, headed to the nearest train station and was home in an hour or so nursing the biggest headache and sore feet. What is it they say about always trusting your instincts?

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Kinda Strange: Puma's Bolt Arms Ad

Okay, I'll admit I've developed another obsession with Usain Bolt following his earth shattering, record breaking performance at the World Championships in Berlin. I just came across this ad by Puma advertising the Bolt Arms -  which is basically a foam constructed pair of arms replicating his famous lightning pose. I saw a few spectators at the games waving these around, and thought it was pretty funny. Anyway, the ad is kinda cheesy. Poor Usain. 

Friday, 28 August 2009

It's Baccannal Time!

Tomorrow will mark the 45th birthday of the Notting Hill Carnival, wow, forty five years! Back in the day, around this time of year, I’d be making some serious preparations ahead of the carnival celebrations. My girls and I would be deciding what outfits to wear, what sound systems to check out, and you know yours truly would be practicing the latest dance moves to execute them at Europe's biggest street party. But that was then. Today my Bank Holiday shenanigans are more likely to consist of a visit to Ikea, or a vigorous house clean from top to bottom followed by a couple of hours spent with relatives. Yup, I know - BORING! You see, unfortunately once you get to a certain age the fun element of carnival is superseded by fear. I know in my case, year after year I’d read the horror stories and worry that I might be caught in the crossfire of a gang war, get robbed, crushed in a stampede or some other life threatening incident. The last time I remember attending around 6 years ago, true to word, I did get caught up in a crush and promised myself that if I ever got out alive, I wouldn’t go back. So far I’ve kept my promise. Not to say I don’t miss it though. I do. Desperately. I was contemplating taking my son to the kiddie carnival on Sunday, but I don’t know if either me or him are ready for that (he’s only 4). Maybe next year. Just maybe.

But anyhoo, in proxy of me actually going down to West London to ‘hol’ up mi foot and jump’ I thought I’d compile a little list of top carnival tunes as voted by my Twitter and Facebook fam, followed by a little homage. So here goes:


Let the Beat Hit 'Em - Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, as voted by ME!

Flex - Mad Cobra, as voted by my Richie

Dollar Whine - Soca Boys, as voted by Diane, Christy and Marie

Feeling Hot Hot Hot - Arrow, as voted by Janice

Tease Me - Chaka Demus & Pliers, as voted by Mikey

Hol Up You Foot and Jump - Zulu Lightning, as voted by Shach & Laura

Gimme D Ting - Lord Kitchener, as voted by Senga

Fools Paradise - Melissa Morgan,  as voted by Venice Webb 

You Know You’re at Notting Hill Carnival When…

- You pay £10 for a piece of jerk chicken, rice and peas and a can of coke and don’t even screw about it.
- Walk for at least 20 miles and spend the entire day dipping it low like a teenager, not feeling the effects until two days later when you can‘t get out of bed.
- Whine with at least one aesthetically challenged/ dirty old man who you ordinarily wouldn’t give the time of day to. Hey, it’s carnival after all.
- Spend most of the day arguing with your friends (or most likely a friend of a friend) about which sounds to visit: “What do you mean she wants to listen to acid jazz? Listen, this ain’t in Camden. Laters to that”
- Devote too much time and energy to finding the Westwood stage, only to get there and find yourself squash up in a Slam dance situation (Onyx stylee) with dudes who looked like they’ve just stepped out of Pentonville.

For further information on the Carnival visit

Thursday, 27 August 2009

MOBO Awards Nomination Pardee

Kanya King: MOBO Awards founder and CEO

So last night I attended the MOBO Nomination Party at the Mayfair Hotel and have to admit - I had a bloody good night. Call it the free booze. Or the fact that I haven't been out in eons. Or maybe it was ha ing the opportunity to have a giggle and a quick boogie with old faces I hadn't seen in ages. Or was it the fact that I got to meet Britain's Got Talent dance crew, Flawless? I dunno what it was exactly. But all I know is that I stumbled home just after 10pm last night feeling all giddy, excitable and filled with a lorra lorra love. If I'm being honest I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the nominations, but you can read the full list here. I did enjoy the performances though. Bashy and Estelle's little sis, H-Boogie performed their single 'Your Wish is My Command' with plenty of gusto. Then little bitsy Jade Ewen took to the stage and executed a very confident rendition of her single 'My Man',  I was quite impressed. While she was singing I kept shouting to anyone who would listen "Why didn't they give a song like this to Alex (Burke), she would've killed it" (NOTE: I'm too upset to talk about Alex's debut single... I just can't). Other artists in the building included Beverley Knight, Lemar, Sabrina Washington, Wiley, Kano and Peter Andre. They've yet to announce who will be hosting the awards, but they will take place in Glasgow on September 30th. Planning on attending? 

It's definitely raining hot magazine covers at the moment, and with this in mind I couldn't resist posting ID's latest cover featuring the latest crop of supermodels including Jourdan, Chanel Iman, Sessilee Lopez and Arlenis Sosa. I love the aptly titled cover line - Pretty Young Thing, which is also an obvious nod to MJ (RIP).  I'm also loving the Robert Palmer Addicted to Love  video homage. One look at the simple black dresses, slicked back hair, and bright red lippy, lets you know that the fashion director was definitely pumping the iconic 80's rock anthem through his/her speakers when thinking up concepts. Loves it! 

And now for the original 

Rihanna: Strikes a Pose!

is absolutely untouchable in the style stakes at the moment, no other R&B starlet comes even close. Hark at my girl on the cover of the September's Vogue Italia this month.To coin fashion's most overused phrase: simply fi-eeerce! Source

Naomie Harris Covers Pride

Hey folks, I've been a bit off the radar of late, but I'm back!! Just a quick one to prompt you to pick up the latest issue of Pride. Actress Naomie Harris graces the cover and was interviewed by yours truly. Naomie will be starring in the BBC's adaptation of Andrea Levy's novel, Small Island which will air this autumn. I've seen a few clips of the film and it looks as if it will be pretty decent. I hope you like the interview if you get a chance to read. Naomie is a total sweetie, but that can sometimes work against you when writing features because there isn't anything particularly controversial to draw upon to generate discussion and debate. That said, I admire Naomie's low key demeanor. She doesn't really do the red carpet "celebrity" thing, and just wants to bag decent roles and make great films. Some of today's entertainers should really take note. 


Monday, 10 August 2009

Chick, Chick, Chick, Chick - Chicken!

So off I headed to the Horniman Museum for what I thought would be a relatively calm and serene Sunday afternoon event. THIS IS WHAT I WAS FACED WITH. Was soooo not prepared for the madness, mayhem and exceedingly long queues of yesterday's Jerk Cookout festival which took place in Forest Hill, South East London. I went to the same event about 3 years ago and there were literally about 500 people I'd say. Yesterday, apparently the numbers were in the region of 20,000 plus. Wowser. I'm really happy for Tony Fairweather and his team who put the event together, but I'm really not certain if they'll be able to hold it at the same venue next year if it continues to grow so rapidly. And admittedly, it is a good idea. The initial format was to have a handful of Caribbean food caterers battling it out to see who could make the baddest, lip smacking jerk chicken. This year I think they scrapped the competition element and instead opted for loads of Caribbean food stalls selling their mouth watering cuisine to plenty of willing customers. The queues were huge people - I'm talking an hour's wait for a piece of jerk chicken. Yeah it tasted good, but the verdict is still out on whether it was worth such a long wait. This year along with the food stalls, they also added 2 stages with live music, PA's and even attempted a world record of 5000 people doing 'The Candy Dance' simultaneously. Would love to tell you how that went but was too busy standing in line for chicken.

*Note: I blatantly nicked the pic of Facebook. If it belongs to you and you object to it being posted, please feel free to email me at 

You're Beautiful...Woman

This post is super late, late, late. But for my UK based peeps, I need to ask what you are you up to this coming Saturday? Nadda? Okay, well if that's the case then I urge you to head down to the Highgate Newton Community Centre in North London to check out You're Beautiful Woman, a groundbreaking event celebrating black beauty inside and out. With a host of events to empower and inspire, guests can immerse themselves in the wonderful things on offer such as seminars, workshops, beauty demonstrations and stalls selling everything to make you feel beautiful. My mate, the lovely Ronke over at The Musings of Ondo Lady is part of the You're Beautiful team, so you know it's gots to be good. Visit their official site for further details. 

And I'll leave you with this oldie but goodie, that I always think of whenever I hear the name of this event.  

Can't Get it Outta My Head: New Bashy

Just checked out Your Wish is My Command the new video by Bashy featuring Estelle's lil sis H-Boogie. I hear this track on 1-Xtra all the time and had no idea it was Bashy. Loving the whole tongue in cheek retro vibe. Check out the tight pants and Travolta-esq pelvic thrusts - luvs it. Huge big ups to Bashy for always attempting to take it there by being witty, provocative and  inventive in equal measure. And with the 70's being of my favourite artistic eras, he gets extra extra cool points. 

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Gimme Some of That Good Hair

Another trailer from Chris Rock's forthcoming comedy-doc 'Good Hair', scheduled for a US release in October. No word on whether it will be released in the UK as yet (boo). It looks brilliant.

About Me

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I am a thirty-something African Caribbean female from South East London. My blog will shine a light on Black British culture offering the best in entertainment, fashion, beauty, community, film & music, with the occasional personal musing thrown in from yours truly. Thank you for taking out the time to peek into the pages of my diary. Now grab a cup of cocoa, relax and enjoy.