June 29th, 2009

The People's Carnival

This was the weekend of the Oldham carnival, now renamed- in a belated echo of Nu Labour populism- "The People's Carnival". I wandered over to the park in the afternoon- and it was like tripping back in time. The rides, stalls and inflatables were the same rides, stalls and inflatables as last year- with the difference that the people- now the event had been renamed in their honour- hadn't bothered  to show up. In the central enclosure a showman was trying to whip up enthusiasm for the Battling Cumberland Giants:  there was Mighty Mick the local lad and Terrible Ted  "who has a bad reputation"; they were asleep behing a screen and we needed to shout to wake them.  I walked round the ground. The showman was really milking it. As I came away the Cumberland Giants still hadn't appeared- and a time-wasting clown called Handy Andy was doing wheelies on a motorbike with a sidecar. A couple of small boys accosted me on the road. "Is there a Carnival?" they asked. I said there was. "Is it any good?"  I gave a Gallic shrug.

Shortly after I got  home the rain began. It came down hard!  Elsewhere in Greater Manchester football stadia were flooded and roofs caved in.