Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Chapel Town Carnival

Chapel Town has a violent history, which we only discovered when looking into why our car insurance was more than twice what it was in Bristol. Twelve years ago it was the scene of some of the worst race riots in Britain. Today, imprisoning the green patches and old Victorian terraces and parks into enclosed pockets, are streets and blocks of council houses, and neglected older houses, littered roads, graffitied walls and torn fencing.

On the corner of one street is a giant end-terrace scarred from a partial burn out. Some of its windows are boarded up. Through the rest flutter curtains still intact, flickering between the gaps in the glass teeth, their pattern and colour still faintly perceptible.

On the opposite side of the road that runs down the back of the house is a bus stop. On top of that bus stop a man is perched watching the parade from above. Passing just beneath his feet are feathered battalions of dancers in flamboyant costumes, softening the severe edges of the houses they brush past, colouring the dulled streets. From where we stand observing, on the pavement that lines the edge of our particular green pocket, I can't help but wonder if the chaos is reserved for the choreography, and if it's only the anarchic colours which clash.

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