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One cultural event I went to was the Notting Hill Carnival. We went to the Sunday or “Kid’s” parade. When hearing other’s stories of the carnival, I thought as soon as we stepped out of the underground station I would hear music or at least a bass line.  Instead after a twenty minute walk we reached a street lined with people, but still no music, parade or costumes. I was a little confused and disappointed seeing as the carnival was due to start at 9, and it was (by this point) 11.30. Ten minutes had past when one solemn float came by then a further five minutes past and another single float came by. It felt like an anticlimax.

However, after another small wait the parade properly started and it was colourful and bright, everything a carnival should be like. I really enjoyed my few hours I spent at the carnival, some of the costumes were incredible. However, I was disappointed as I felt some of the performers didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves, which put a dampener on my enjoyment on the carnival. Not many people were smiling. Even though the sun was shining and the music was loud and upbeat the performers looked like they were not having fun.  Additionally one float was sponsored or was run by Unison workers with t-shirts, which said, “Don’t trust a Tory with your NHS”. I felt this was a little inappropriate, why does such a happy occasion have to be political? Why can’t we just forget about such issues and have a good time?

I found it strange how there are not many formal reviews on the carnival. Many newspapers reported on the dancing policemen. Perhaps suggesting nothing was out of the norm. However, the London Evening Standard reported the Boris Johnson’s sister, who has lived in Notting Hill for twenty years, complained the noise levels were too loud, especially in comparison to other years. She felt the reason for her ceiling falling down because of “pimped up sound systems”. I don’t know if this is true, but I was surprised that people had concert size amps outside flats, which I felt were too loud when walking past and especially when there’s a few in a small space of time.

I found a review on Trip Advisor, which was written by someone who also had only spent a couple of hours there and it was their first time. They said that there was it was “very lively, lots of nice food” but “don’t go if crowds and booming music are not your thing”. I agree with this short review too. The carnival was lively with fine food. I just wish people looked like they were having more fun.

 

EDIT: After a review Caroline told me to add in the history of the carnival so if I were to present again I would start my presentation like:

One cultural event I went to was the Notting Hill Carnival.The first carnival was in 1964, the carnival first started to mimic the carnivals in Trinidad they started to celebrate the abolition of slavery in the 19th century. The first carnival was steel bands parading through the streets of Notting Hill which brought with them a crowd of black residents, because it reminded them of home and their roots, but also during slavery these events were completely forbidden. Although the costumes were much different, usually imitating the clothes of Europeans in some cases people would put flour on their faces.

We went to the Sunday or “Kid’s” parade… [continues with original review]

 

Something I watched that was is of cultural interest is the first Episode of What Remains, a BBC drama series. It starts off with a woman walking into a block of flats, walking upstairs and walking into the top floor flat. Outside her door is a ladder leading to the attic. She unpacks some shopping, and hears a noise above her, so she goes up to see if anyone is there. For me this is already quite chilling, as you know this can only end one way.

We then find ourselves two years after this event, hearing a dripping noise and seeing the shopping has completely rotten with a layer of dust over the top. Along with a couple moving in to the floor below, who seem to have a mold problem coming from upstairs, so they investigate, who then go to the attic and discover the remains of a body.

For me I really enjoyed the first episode and I look forward to the further three. It does intrigue me who did it, was it murder or suicide? However, I find it completely implausible that a woman can go missing and no one reports her missing. No one in the block of flats or friends noticed her sudden disappearance? Surely even if you didn’t know each other particularly well you would notice them missing, even report it? And if you thought she had left you would think that someone would have seen leave with their belongings? Even if that wasn’t the case there would still be a slight smell. Even though they did explain you wouldn’t smell anything as the loft was insulated. But I just can’t see that there would be no smell, as there food was rotting in her kitchen.

Although, in saying that I like that this series has the potential to discuss the ides of a society where we don’t seem to care what’s going on around us. When watching you think “what happens if I wasn’t here?” Even in the script DI Len Harper (the detective assigned to the case, even though he’s about to retire) says “Someone must have noticed that she wasn’t around any longer” in reply his colleague says “Ten, twenty years ago perhaps. But Today?” Suggesting we’re too wrapped up in our own worlds, or even scared to interact with our neighbors. Is there less of a sense of community today compared to a couple of decades ago? This is something Louise Mellor picks up on in her review on denofgeek.com by saying “were you to disappear one day, would anyone miss you?”

Mellor, goes on to say that perhaps it’s a little boring as it’s off to a “competent, if workaday start” and she’s hoping that “the next three installments can separate it from the herd”. I don’t really agree with her on that, I think it was interesting seeing her go up the loft and knowing something’s going to happen. I guess she’s right in saying it’s like Cluedo a “body is discovered in the loft of a shared address, but who killed her and with what?” When you put it that way it does sound very clichéd and not dissimilar to any other drama or who dunnit series. But what makes this series different is that it’s very self contained, set in this one block of flats, is it the maths teacher, who has a set of all the keys and seems to have another person at his address even though he denies such allegations. Or is it the creepy son of the journalist, or the landlord himself? I think this idea is different compared to other crime or thriller dramas such as New Tricks where they’re potential killers or witnesses are at different addresses and dispersed. It’s also interesting seeing the lives of the different people who live under the same roof.

The Telegraph’s writer Ben Lawrence describes the first episode as “a conventional whodunit” but this doesn’t “spoil the overall effect or power of the story”. He also mentions the idea of “the perilous results of a lack of community”. These points I both agree on, I think it is definitely a “moving tale for our times” and something that we should better ourselves upon.

Difference between the two reviews:

Notting Hill Carnival: On Trip Advisor, the reviewer is very straight and to the point, “spent a couple of hours there. Very lively, lots of nice food” with no particular description of the day itself or the events.” Whereas the Standard’s review was more negative explaining how loud it was and didn’t describe the events.

What Remains:

The blog entry was more explained how the felt the plot was so they used more descriptive words such as “that’s the distressing kernel inside” with a little bit of plot but also wondering whodunit and even suggesting her own views on who did it. Whereas the Telegraph’s review is more descriptive of the events of the story of the first episode, for example “here, is the body of Melissa Young that was discovered rotting in the attic” and not really adding his opinion until the conclusive paragraph by saying that the series “is a conventional whodunit”

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