20th September 2008
Stockwell Road, London SW9 9PY
There was a time when a carnival procession coming through town would be a major event, with the streets packed with excited cheering locals as the floats and the costumed participants passed by. These days [& we’re not including Notting Hill, obviously], unless it’s somebody running past with a cone on fire, the great masses can rarely stagger to their bedroom windows to have a gander at what all the noise is about.
So here we are in Stockwell, which despite having been established as an specific place since the 13th Century (admittedly then it was just ‘the well by the stump’, but little acorns and all that…), is mostly known these days for being a tube stop between Brixton and Vauxhall.
It does however have a vibrant Portuguese community, and it also has its own festival [when Lambeth Council can afford it, that is], usually situated in Larkhall Park – another post-WW2 creation – and includes what’s locally referred to as the pineapple parade (though there’s definitely a strawberry in there as well) – courtesy of the wonderful Mandinga Arts – which, despite the colour, exuberance and noise of the young participants, doesn’t seem to garner much of an audience until it reaches Stockwell Station [yes, the place where Jean Charles de Menezes found himself tragically in the wrong place at the wrong time].