Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Foxwood Steel plays Manchester Carnival Saturday

In our new van free world we are pleased that this is a small steelband again. We are me (Victoria), Bex, Vicky, Fehmina, George, Wanda, Chloe W.

But we have a secret weapon, namely Manchester Unison, Black Members Section, who are are our percussion, dance and decorating section. (Also Unison have just gone public supporting a new old style left wing Labour party, which makes me even more proud to be associated with them.) Unison are Liz, Sonya, plus.

We take our eight pieces of pan and kit in three cars; George arrives from Birmingham on a train; Fehmina already in Manchester; the rest of us drive over from Leeds. Getting in and out of the park is its usual fraughtness. 

The float is the lead float again. Excellent. With scaffolding again. Excellent. We play our tunes a few times over in the next three and a bit hours. I ask Liz Unison, after two hours how close are we to the end. Not close enough she says. We are exhausted, but that is Carnival!

The usual stuck in the park happens now. We load up my car up to the brim, then it's over the fence for the rest into Vicky and Wanda's cars.  Well it would be, then Mr Jobsworth calls over and says It's against the rules. As the police had not stopped us passing our own equipment over the to the street, we opine that we don't really have an option.

It all gets a bit heated, then we agree to stop.

And wait till he is out of sight and get the last three over, then Wanda and Vicky can drive the others off back to Leeds, and I brace for the four hour wait till I can move my car.

Fehmina and I chill for a bit with Matt and his mate, then I settle down with tea and chips from Ifty who is helping his mates with his mates Fish and Chips van.

Read my book, take a walk, brave the toilets, talk a walk around the area, which by now is just competing sounds and pointless expensive bubble guns.

Read more pages of This Changes Everything.

At 8.15 I drive v slowly and quietly to near the arena [I can feel myself not breathing aloud]where all the other cars will spend the night. A steward stops me as I park and tells me I can't move now. Fortunately I have already moved as far as I need. Ifty says he will keep an eye out on my car for me.

I walk to Manchester Oxford Road, in my usual can't wait at a bus stop, oh there's an 85 going past, says Piccadilly on the front! Oh well, nice evening for a walk.

At Oxford Road someone finds a ticket for Leeds, hears that I am going to Leeds, gives me gratis a ticket for Leeds. This is such a nice thing to happen that I feel good all the way home.

Back home at 10.30, that was a long day but more restful by train. And tomorrow is another day at Manchester Carnival, so rested is a good thing.

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