I don’t pretend to be an aficionado of the Carnival: one of the general public, I have a preconception of it as a celebration in costume and dance of West Indian culture, given as it were an August Bank Holiday weekend to release a whole year’s pent up feelings of that community on the streets of Notting Hill.
Joining it on the day, the promised fun is dampened by police uniforms on street corners. And though the smoke of barbeque wafts down the street, the ramped up prices make it seem less a treat than a trick; then, one bumps into the music, the rhythm whose volume and beat invade the abdomen, and make the heart squirm with inferiority at some higher manifestation of life force.
Everyone is convulsed into the simple one two repetitive response, truck loads of hugely amplified sound keep plugging the trend. The processions of costumed girls and men move forward inexorably to this rhythm, ambiguous till in fits, in the more daring conjoining of their hips, the unambiguous occurs.
The police response is a darting of the head, but there is no hint of exposure; and, in any case, the throbbing rhythms continue, one two; a woman in bikini and feathers is miming the sex act with a truck front –this seems to escape police censure, and goes on unchecked, till a tall man in the crowd fears for her, and gently guides her away in unbroken one two, making light of it in the Carnival spirit.
It has to be said the simple one two rhythm of Carnival, given perpetuity in rap, is as honest as it gets in musical terms, and defies the climax and thus the opprobrium of a public sex act in its mysteriously perpetual climactic phase. It would seem to be the ecstasy of sex rhythm sanitised, so that children and old folk are indulging their hips, and finding in the one two the pure rhythm of life.