When I was a kid growing up in Walthamstow, one of the highlights each Summer was the annual carnival parade, in which a long line of decorated flatbed lorries snaked around the town's streets, via the end of my road, raising money for local charities. Every year my folks would walk me up to the corner, give me a few coins to throw into a collection bucket and encourage me to shout my head off at the colourful passing show. It was all unspeakably exciting. In 1965 Dad took some photos of the event, including this one.
Of course in the cold light of 2022, the visual evidence Dad managed to capture all those years ago, pricks the bubble of my hazy youthful memory. The floats and flatbeds slowly making their way through the crowds along Markhouse Road aren't the professionally reupholstered vehicles that I thought I remembered, but are actually amateurishly decorated old warhorses, crudely festooned with multicoloured crepe paper and hastily handwritten signs - no doubt held together by endless reels of sticky tape. It should be noted however, that a long forgotten hero did make a rather splendid effort when it came to creating that Dalek - credit where it's due.
My overriding memory of the carnival, sadly not captured for posterity, is that, standing at the junction of Markhouse Avenue and Markhouse Road, you could hear the whole shebang coming a mile off. Pots, buckets and old tin dustbins rattled with coins and were bashed together to ramp up the atmosphere - the shouting, crashing and honking of horns becoming louder and louder until the whole deafening parade was right in front of us. And then it was gone, gradually fading away into the distance until the following year.
This from Niagara's third LP, 1973's 'Afire', is a somewhat more rhythmical approximation of the sounds I heard for a few minutes each year, while standing at the end of my road.