I can admit that in all honesty, I’ve never sincerely been in love. Although I’ve belligerently choked on tears over a boyfriend, I feel like I have never truthfully experienced true love. From what I’ve witnessed love results in irrational behaviour detrimental to the person’s wellbeing. I’ve done stupid and illogical things to maintain a relationship, but I’ve never acted illogical to the extent, where I’ve stayed in an unhealthy nor mentally or physically destructive relationship. I feel like the enchantment of connecting an individual on a deeper level and blinded infatuation eradicates the presences of reason and logic. Despite not experiencing true love, I understand if you’re genuinely in love and sincerely believe they’re your soul-mate, you maybe reluctance to terminate an unhealthy relationship. Often the individual knows that the relationship is unhealthy but they physically feel unable to leave. The reluctance to leave a non-loving but still love-filled relationship, coupled with the fact that I have amazingly kind-hearted and beautiful individuals, has often left me in the incredibly irritating predicament. What is the procedure when your friend is in a situationship with a fuckboy or has a boyfriend who frankly deserves some level of disembowelment?
‘I walked around with a smile, but deep inside, I could hear voices telling me “This aint right. Don’t you know, is not for you” I always knew what I had to do’ – Jennifer Lopez
The close and intimate friendship I have with my friends, means I strive to always be there for them, regardless of the situation. I’ve been transformed into the perpetual shoulder to cry on; there to provide useful commentary, propose potential resolutions or simply console and provide comfort. However, rather than offering actual valuable relationship advice on how to solve the situation, I’m continuously just having to utter the phrase “that nigger that you’re ain’t shit”. What do you say when the problem with the relationship is solely that the motherfucker isn’t shit. Your boyfriend can’t justify secretly arriving into a instathot’s DMs with a non-endorsement related objective and general inappropriate communication with other females. There’s nothing you say that going to allow me to tolerate emotional or physical abusive from a partner. A relationship ought to expire, when the reciprocation of love and respect, ceases to exist. The majority of the problems and the arguments, my friends with fuckboy boyfriends have, are merely due to the fact that the nigger that they with aint shit. Logic dictates that if the person that you’re with, just isn’t shit, you should probably just terminate the relationship but as I described earlier, love is not logical.
If he ain’t gonna love you the way he should, the let it go, If he aint gonna treat you the way he should, then let it go”– Keyshia Cole
Initially my approach was to solely keep reiterating the main cause of the problem, relaying to her that the relationship is doomed and re-enlightening her of the fact it will never change because her boyfriend isn’t and never will be shit. I’m fully immersed in the art of vituperation, my humorous yet spiteful harangues are legendary. In devotion to our friendship, I’m willing to invest several months (and years if needs be), affronting a fuckboy in the hope my friend will adhere to reason and eventually depart the relationship. My complaints and insults embody the spirit of herpes and just refuse to perish. Naturally, your persistence may disrupt and permanently alter the nature of your friendship, as your friend may become irritated and discontented with always having to defend her boyfriend. Furthermore her boyfriend is going to become increasing exasperated and spew hateful verbal abuse towards you, generating tension at gatherings. You may be accused of being a hater and bitter, particularly if you’re single. Frankly I have no qualms deflecting insults regarding my relationship status, because as Ms Houston unequivocally stated with the most extreme clarity “Pack your bags, up and leave. I’d rather be alone than unhappy”.
‘I can’t even look in your face without wanting to slap you… you better thank God I ain’t go that strap boo’ – Trina
However this is mentally exhausting and at this stage in my life, I’ve resorted to simply refraining from making any further interjections. I despise being perceived as the aggressor in the relationship. In situation like these the friendship will deteriorate as your friend begins to wrestle between her love for her “bae” and your factual comments. To avoid this situation you have to voice your initial apprehensions, suppress any feelings towards the boyfriend and then just be there for her when the relationship ultimately explodes. Once you believe that the relationship had eternally expired, you begin the consoling which transcends into the grieving process. Only once she’s fully grieved and accepted the loss of the cancerous relationship, you can recommence the shit talking you’ve desperately been wishing to resurrect. I have one toe permanently submerged in the pool of pettiness. When these types of relationships conclude, it tends to result in a heartbroken and emotionally demolished friend. This is heart wrenching to witness as my empathy runs deep and it physically pains my heart to see my friends cry. However I take great pleasure in extracting revenge; I’m the kind of bitch who will sever tyres, transforms windows into puzzles and practice the art of engraving on his car exterior. I’m that particular type of ratchet friend who has abundant level of insults and curses – enough to reflect every wasted day, every tear shed and every lost piece of energy.
‘He’s so caught up, he won’t call her. He shows no love, ‘til she decides “I changed my mind. I don’t love you no more”’ – Keyshia Cole
But if you believe that the friendship isn’t worth the emotional stress and empathy pains, of befriending an individual in a relationship you don’t condone, sometimes it’s easier to just de-friend the individual. There are certain situations where the bullshit from dealing with a friend in a destructive relationship, with a nigger that isn’t shit, begins to outweigh the positivity of the friendship. The more pragmatic and exempting solution in this situation may be to terminate the entire friendship. Unfortunately this approach has its own predicament – forgive or forget. When the relationship ultimately explodes, do you re-engage with the friend and support her through the heartbreak, despite you trying to prevent her from having experience this intensified heart ache? Or do you continue to maintain your distance, as she failed to adequately value your friendship and the re-ignition of the friendship may situate you in the a similar role. Is it worth having a friend who regards your friendship as collateral damage to a relationship, that involves a beau who isn’t excrement.
‘It aint nothing to cut that bitch off… cut that bitch off” – K Camp
I decided to “Ray Charles” the J’ouvert, conveniently called Stained because I don’t a stained outfit when I’m working with only hand luggage worth of clothes. So my Rotterdam carnival experience started on the Friday with the annual boat party ‘EXTASea’ at Parkhaven. EXTASea was the quintessential soca rave – it was sweaty, full of wotless behaviour and waistlines answering back. The boat had 3 levels/ rooms, with a large dancefloor on the ground floor perfectly equipped for ‘Palance’ and ‘Top Striker’ – several attempts were made to rock the boat. I loved the juxtaposition of the picturesque shoreline against the imagery of ‘split in di middle’, ‘skinned out pum-pums’ and legs pon shoulder… it was a highly reluctant docking off the boat. A quick power nap and refresh later, we got ready to go the ‘Carnival at Night – Pre-Party’ event at Maassilo. The venue has a unique warehouse feel with lockers instead of a conventional cloakroom, which is quite frankly ingenious because nothing is worse than that Noah arc queue at the end of the night. Also, it was well ventilated considering the fact that it was a wicked 37° and it was at a soca rave… every little bit of cool air was treasured. The actual venue itself consists of 4 rooms each playing good music, but the highlight of the night definitely was Charly Black’s performance, it was the perfect motivation to act like a party animal. Skinny Fabolous was amazing but I had seen him only 2 months prior in Berlin, so I knew what to expect.
So I had enormously high expectations for this day, my entire trip was shaped around ZomerCarnival so needless to say I was geeked for it. Unfortunately for several reasons it was incredibly anti-climactic; logistically, aesthetically and atmosphere-wise I felt let down. Immediately as I got close to the carnival I could tell something was off the usual excitement and drunk proceedings were non existent and the only music that could be heard were from neighbouring restaurants and cafes. The actual carnival felt more like a Eurocentric street parade than a Caribbean carnival. The float sound systems were inadequate and lacked the bass required for island music, the costumes were incredibly juvenile and amateurish – I could see unfinished seams and hemlines – and the atmosphere was pedestrian. The restrictive nature of the road meant there was only enough space for the masquaraders to dance meaning everyone else was stationary relegated to the even narrower pavement. I was a spectator to a mas full of paraders who lacked the energy to “carry on bad” because the set up failed to provide the usual anonymity to act wotless. The carnival experience was slightly redeemed by the music stage that proceeded the mas and the after party as Maasilo. Lyrikal’s performance ensured that the party was lit and I carried on like I had no behaviour – whines were rough and reckless, my bampsee was flicking and and I participated in all the charges to the differing sides of club. The disappointing carnival experience made for a perfect after party as it meant no one lacked the energy to carry on bad; everyone was dancing and soaking in the moment.
This was the concluding day of my ZomerCarnival Weekender experience and it was certainly a sombre affair. In true soca fashion, there was an All-White Party called Shine, held at the idyllic, waterfront venue of Boompjes venue, which was undoubtedly the best venue of the weekend. Boompjes aesthetic is EVERYTHING comprising of large glass windows with an open plan interior, giving the chicest look that perfectly complemented the all-white theme. Soca raves are normally characterised by its display of high energy, sweat and wotless behaviour, but ‘Shine’ was an unconventional soca fete, as it was noticeably less “turn up” and more relax, enjoy the scenery and vibe with people. Despite being a chill and classier event, ‘Shine’ still had the soca energy that I love and I still shaking my bampsee left, right and centre. You could sense the encouragement, lack of judgement and carefree attitude that triggered my love affair with Soca raves. The event wasn’t full capacity wise, but it full of the best of vibes.
My Rotterdam Carnival experience ended with the ‘Carnival at Night – the Aftermath’ at my second home aka Maasilo. Unfortunately this fete was disappointing as you could sense the fatigue. Due to lack of attendance, only one of the rooms were in use and there was an overall lack of energy and hype. Most people were either at home packing or sleeping and the lack of whines made for a less than lit night. Thankfully the night was partly salvaged by Olatunji’s performance who was a last-minute replacement for GBM Nutron. Olatunji is a majorly animated performer and he literally provided the energy at an otherwise deflated night. I knew it was my time to say “doei-doei” to Rotterdam Carnival when the bashment set commenced.
In all considering, Rotterdam was quite anti-climax and a disappointment. My favourite event was EXTASea and I feel like the weekend peaked too early as experience deteriorated the more the weekend proceeded. I went from experience ecstasy to extreme disappointment. I’m still undecided about whether not I will return to Zomercarnival. Although I was assured that the dismal carnival I experienced was a one-off due to roads works, I don’t think I can spend money on the assurances of other people. I know if I do come back I will most definitely have to play Mas and either have to pray that the costume God smiled on me or work magic with a bedazzler machine.
“I got to shake you off, because you’re loving aint the same and you keep on playing game like you know I’m here to stay”
So I frequently get sent a variation of the “I think our friendship is off ” text. Sometimes I’m frankly just not in a social mood, so conversing with people isn’t a priority. But most of the time if you feel like something in our relationship has changed and I’m acting different towards you, then we’ve probably reached the tail end of our friendship. I’m at the stage in my life where if I sense a toxic or one-sided friendship, I begin to sever my emotional ties with that individual. I’m aware tell when someone is preserving our friendship only to exploit it at a later date. I can tell when someone is only messaging me to “patent me” or lay the foundation down for a future favour, so if you message me and my responses are cold what you’re experiencing is my residual love dissipating.
Just like my namesake(ish) and diva icon, I’m shaking you off because realistically we shouldn’t be friends
I am far from a lady of leisure but slumming it camping at a traditional festival is just not something I can do. I enjoy my creature comforts i.e. access to toilet, a mattress, quilts, running water. So when I reached an age where I could attend festivals, the only logical and thus most suitable choice for me was Wireless Festival. The fact that I can go home daily and be in my bed after a 30 minute journey on the Victoria Line, seemed like heaven to me. I went to Wireless once when it was cheaper and in its original venue in Hyde Park, however I took a hiatus. However a few years ago I started to live life again and I’ve attended the past 3 consecutive years. I decided to do Friday & Saturday because my body is too old to do all 3 days and Sundays lining didn’t appeal to me.
MO STACKZ – For some reason Mo Stack was performed on Friday rather than Saturday. This was an unexpected surprise, His DJ, Semo provided lit mixes and in all honesty Mo Stacks makes nothing but bangers
PARTYNEXTDOOR – PartyNextDoor was a nice vibe, I’m a major fan of his song, productions and song writing abilities nd I remember being tipsy off Baileys reciting the words to “Recognise”. I feel like it was hard to translate his talent to the big stage because so many of his songs are slower tempo, sexual nature and it was daytime. I was so happy when he performed the songs his wrote for other people e.g. ‘Work’ and ‘Wild Thoughts – both originally performed by Rihanna
BIG SEAN – Big Sean definitely brought back the hype. I was an early Big Sean fan, so the fact that I finally got to see him was dope. He performed the major hits, which considering the fact that its only a 40 minute slot, is all I can ask for.
GOLDLINK – I briefly got to see Goldlink, who i love and I sang his latest album like it meant something. I love ‘Mediation ‘ and ‘Crew’ for me was my song of 2017. His vocals and breath control are identical to album, so he definitely did not disappoint
POST MALONE – I’m not a fan of Post Malone. The whole un-bathed look does nothing for me and his said some problematic comments so it was background noise to me. His talented just not for me.
J.COLE – Friday was headlined by Jermaine Cole. This was the second time I had seen him – both times at Wireless. The first time I was front row and I love it, he literally made eye contact with me and I melted. This year i decided to chill closer to exit and just soaked in the vibe. He performed the old hits and some stuff off the new album
I know on the Wireless website, it says lineup is subject to change but this year Wireless took the piss. They decided to show the England vs Sweden match on the main stage, I found this incredibly infuriating as I did not pay #70 to watch a football game, I could watch for free at home. I honestly believe it was a ruse to shield the fact that J Hus, was no longer performing – something they decided to do out of their own violation. In order to accommodate the screening they tried to open doors prematurely with little notice. I was only made aware due to the Wireless app. They were attempting to make Davido – Africa’s no 2 – perform earlier than his original scheduled slot time and thus to an empty crowd. Luckily they found sense and moved his performance to immediately after the match .
DAVIDO – Davido himself was amazing and he played all of his major hits. Unfortunately the vibe wasn’t everything because the main demographic did not align with fanbase. That’s all I’m going to say regarding that matter because it’s quite obvious what I’m alluding to. I just thank God I saw him on his ’30 billion’ tour months earlier.
BIG SHAQ – Yes you was hot, it was 31 degrees.
FRENCH MONTANA -French Montana was lit. He has great stage presence and pandered to crowd amazingly with his decision to wear the England shirt, echo the chant “its coming home” and do a shout out to J Hus. He makes nothing but bangers and ‘Stay Schemin’ reminds me of happier times. Also he has one of the best adlibs in the game “HUUUUHHHHH!”
MIGOS – Migos were also super hype but I couldn’t get over their wardrobe choice. Explain to me why Quavos was in a red puffer jacket. I dont care what Big Shaq says you’re hot. I can see the sweat dropping off your forehand. Honestly I just wanna know who dressed Offset in that long sleeve, thermal locking shirt and bootcut jeans. Regardless i still managed to get my twerk on
STORMZY – The day was rounded off my headliner act Stormzy, who was performing his first headlining act, which was made more special by the fact that it took part in his hometown. They had a choir and the juxtaposition of dark skin Stormzy, in the freshest white tracksuit at nightime, was epic.
I recently turned 23, which when all considered is an irrelevant year with that within the context of life is insignificant. Far from being a milestone and barring anything personally momentous occurring, over time it becomes muddled into the twenty somethings. I struggle with birthdays regardless of the number; the irony of celebrating your birth, facing my predetermined mortality while struggling with chronic suicidal radiation is just another exhibition of sadistic tendencies. For me birthdays are firmly entrenched in the complexities of existential crisis, coupled with a mental health crisis, obsession and PTSD. They sit as annual reminders to a life I frequently wish to terminate and consist of frequent provocation and prompts to act upon impulse and yearning. I spent my birthday crying, cutting, overeating and purging and through the self-destruction, I devised a list of things I wish to incorporate into my life before my next birthday
1. Maria, don’t proceed to go the extra mile, if you lack the energy to reach the starting line I have a fixation on the attainment of external validation and frequently sacrifice my survival in a pursuit for self-worth. These feelings of inadequacy in conjunction with abandonment issues make it impossible to exhibit self-preservation. I have an affliction of lending my self to being used and maltreated for minuscule amounts of gratitude. In this next year I want to stop exhausting energy reserve to help people. There’s no use in jeopardizing in my entire existence due to in in grain fear of people leaving me. I need to stop living on egg shells and permitting my needs to remain unmet, due to a fear of . If someone wants to leave because my usefulness is expired or compromised, Maria I beg let them leave
2. Maria, every single feeling & emotion you experience is justifiable and legitimate
Under the guise of mental health I’m quick to diminish and disregard feelings of pain, anguish, rage or sorrow. Integral to my medical diagnosis and a core impediment to my quality of life, is inability to effectively manage my emotions or generate an appropriate response to a stimulus. In mindfulness, I’m told to escape to a wise mind and make reasoned decision on rationalised emotions. This frequently cause me to disregard my organic and intrinsic feelings and invalidate them as hyperbolic responses. I strive to not make permanent decisions on temporary feelings, however that shouldn’t devalue the legitimacy of the feelings experienced. I’m allowed to be sad and angry if someone does a fucked up thing. I’ve realised to conceal foul behaviour , individuals will cross-examine your feelings and testimony, in a vindictive attempt to make me feel irrational to cultivate self-doubt.
3. Maria, recognize the difference between acknowledgement, understanding and acceptance – acknowledge and process the red flags
“God loves a tryer” is a phrase that has shaped my life. The rhetoric of trials, tribulations and complications being a necessitous for life, has long been indoctrinated into my psyche. Harmful cliché such as “it’s the journey not the destination” and “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, encourages sadistic tendencies and self-sacrifice. It forms the basis to why ignore red flags and warning signs to abort missions and terminate friendships. The universe presents me with numerous Easter eggs alluding to my unhappy ending, however instead of heeding the warnings, I persevere because “I’m strong” and failing is presented as the absolute shame. Maria reject the connotations behind quitting and sometimes admit defeat. Admitting defeat is cauterisation; quitting is realising the continued exertion of effort, endangers what left you have left. There is dignity in defeat and no shame in quitting be content an attempt was made.
4. Maria, love does not overcome toxicity
As I alluded to earlier, I lend myself too freely to being used. I love both unconditionally and unsustainably. This frequently results in clouded judgement and inability to protect myself from negative and detrimental energies. I was recently told by @Kelechnekoff that the presence of love does not negate the person’s ability to hurt you. Friends and family have operated as the catalyst for several mental health crisis, attempts on life, cuts and tears Too often we disregard the toxicity, problematic behaviour and the trauma inflicted upon us by our loved ones. I find that bullshit and toxicity tolerance levels, is increased when dealing with family friends. With romantic acquaintances, hints of maltreatment and ill intentions are rendered out with dexterity. Whereas with friends because use of a perceived unconditional love, I falter Not every friend wants you to be happy and not every friends wants you to be happy without them. So friends want to contribute to your happiness to be recalled as a bargaining chip and function as emotional leverage.
5. Maria, you don’t need to be happy to exist
This thought is controversial but stop trying to be happy. Happiness may not be for you, financial and academic success may compensate… it may not. It’s okay to exist and just get through. The frequency with which I’m told to be happy, do what makes you happy, is infuriating. My psychiatrist told me my intended DBT, would improve my quality of life, however this does not equal happiness. I’m 23, I’ve tried to be happy, at this moment in life, I will concede to just trying to be emotionally stable. Relying less on external validation to bolster my abysmal self-worth or supplement my lack of joie de vive, would be nice though.
So despite mental health awareness and acceptance increasing, the misconceptions and stigma behind mental health is still very much intact. I don’t divulge my mental health issues freely and I’m semi functioning so most people I encounter aren’t aware of my situation. I’m not open about my mental health for several reasons but one of the reasons I choose to not speak about mental health, is due to people’s reactions. For lack of a better word people move like dickheads and make insensitive and/or rude remarks regarding my mental health condition. The following things have all been said to me by uninformed and untrained people. Some of these individuals are former and existing friends, some are by family members, potential suitors, teachers and family friends.
Needless to say, my reaction to these comments was not pleasant. Its only by God’s grace that no physical altercations happened. Moving forward I need everyone to refrain from spurting reckless remarks about my mental health because I’m no longer the person you want smoke with. Don’t poke the bear, I have a good shout for the insanity plea. Stop being a dickhead!
I live in a frequent state of disassociation and escapism, so naturally a perpetual state of loneliness is expected. The lamentable and destitute state of the NHS and their subsequent failures in treating my ongoing mental illness, has entrapped me in a perennial state of isolation; I’m alone in my sorrow, alone in my pain and alone in my depression. Depression and anxiety is incredibly mentally isolating and triggers a retreat into a hermit like state and mild agoraphobia . Mental deterioration provides me with never-ending time to fixate on the negatives, causing the loneliness transcends to excruciating level. Unfortunately my loneliness extends past the mental realm into physical realm and the sense of feeling alone has penetrated into different aspects of my life.
Romantically unequivocably believe I deserve to be alone. Rightfully so, I’m chronically single with a barely existent but incredibly depressing dating history. I genuinely believe I shouldn’t be with anyone. No innocent sou should be lumbered and burdened with the complexities and emotionally draining nature of my mental health. I don’t think its right to lure people into my sorrow and chaos because I crave physical and emotional affection. My entire personality disorder is characterized by emotionally intensive feelings and strained interpersonal relationships. I’m an oscillating magnet, my attraction and repulsion fluctuate. As soon as I feel the attraction deepening, I become overwhelmed with panic and revolt against the relationship. This is facilitated by the idealized rhetoric of unrelenting and everlasting love and my belief that marriage is meant to be forever. You take vows before God, pledging to love incessantly through sickness or health. I think that my belief that romantic love is meant be forever and my self-awareness regarding my mental health, means I commence a relationship recognising that at some point there will be a crisis or breakdowns. This coupled with the crippling fear of being abandonment in my time of need or due to the fact that I’m emotionally unstable compels me to either push them away before they desert me or test them. I feel the need to continuously test their feelings in order to investigate their level of emotional attachment, genuineness of their feelings and how much of my mental health they can withstand. Most recently I was entangled in a situation where I resorted to verbally terrorising and insulting a guy I was dating, in an attempt to push him a way , diminish his feelings for me and terminate our situation. He was aware of my reasoning behind this behaviour and that my mental health was tainting my actions, which resulted in him trying to engage in a futile resistance. With hindsight I acknowledge that subconsciously I just wanted him to fight for me and prove I was worth more than my mental health. Poor guy all he did was just care deeply for me, give me affection and attention and provide me with everything I wanted from a relationship. But I spent 24 hours exploiting his deep-rooted insecurities and long-standing personal issues, in order to sour his feelings towards me.
On a platonic level I feel the most alone; I have friends but I’m alone. Like the majority of people, the amount of people I classify as friends has drastically dwindled over the years. This is partly due to mental health issues, partly due to maltreatment and sometimes due to the friendship simply running its course. Over the years I’ve been misled by empty promises from friends stating they’ll be there for me, yet I cry alone on the floor in the dark and go to A&E by myself. As a consequence I drown in persistent waves of perceived desertion, isolation and feelings of being let down. To all my current friends reading this, please refrain from taking this to heart but at some point you’ve probably let me down and contributed to my ineradicable and ingrained sense of feeling alone – it may have been conscious or subconscious decision – but sadly it occurred. Previously I believed that it was due to a lack of ignorance and understanding regarding my fears and needs, however I’ve realized that is largely due to self-interest and self-preservation. I no longer hold resentment at my in-aptitude to operate in this manner and I know I lack the self-serving attitude and desire to better myself. This aspect of emotional survival failed to materialise in my own psyche and I can’t blame my friends for wanting to survive and thrive. I, without concern for myself, commit wholeheartedly to the fulfilment of my friend’s needs. I’m a proprietor of favours, emotionally exhaustive tasks and non-reciprocated IOU. My friend’s gratitude operates as currency to purchase future acts of devotions and that I convert into external validation to appease my fragile self-identity. My abandonment issues causes me to make myself appear indispensable to friends through the donation of my time, energy and talents in order to better their lives. My entire existence is reduced to simply fuflling a function and operating as a platform to better things. Once the objective is achieved an inveitable shift and deterioration in our friedndship occurs – messages become less frequent, replies decrease in speed and conversations become 2 dimensional and without substance. I feel the love dissipate almost immediately, sometimes the change is miniscule but I feel emotions intensely so everything registers on a heightened level. This in conjunction with my predisposition to split and perceive things in black and white, make me come to the conclusion that no one deserves me as a friend. Quite franky I excert a surplus and unsustainable amount of love. Entering a wise mind I understand that although my platonic feelings will never fully be reciprocated, I’m not going to terminate all my existing friendships and become friendless – I’m trying to stop my mental health from destroying my quality of life.
So to circle back why do I feel so alone, despite residing in a city populated by 60 million people and the ability to communicate with people on a global scale? It’s probably because I am alone, sometimes I deserve to be alone, sometimes it’s self imposed loneliness, sometimes my friends leave me, either way I’m alone.
As a self-confessed Bacchanalist, attendance to international carnivals is paramount to fulfilling my best life. Don’t get me wrong I love Notting Hill Carnival, but sometimes fling up your batty on foreign “buddy”. I have a chronic urge to soak it to Soca in the sun, shot spirits and skin out to Spice. Luckily I have the littest group of Soca friends and when my friend propositioned me with an opportunity to go Berlin Carnival, I agreed despite knowing I might not be able to go due to exams. I bought a gold wristband with ‘Carnival Fever’ which provided me with entry into 7 different events, however I didn’t attend all as some events overlapped. There was a more expensive Platinum Package, which included entry into a J’ouvert event that occurred the day beforehand and a boat party but it didn’t seem worth it.
The daytime event was a beach themed soiree called “Soca on the Beach”. Like most raves, the atmosphere at the beginning was not amazing as no one is intoxicated and everyone’s waiting for someone to set pace. Also it was outside and unfortunately it was the only cold day. When I see beach and see soca, I instantly think skin out/ skimpy outfit, so stepping out of the Uber to see grey skies and people shivering was a mood killer. Thankfully alcohol exists, there was food and the music was lit. There was a pool but no one got time for hyperthermia so I just stuck to the bouncy castle.
The nighttime event was an all red event called Fire Fete. The club was a nice size with, bleaker seats, well ventilated and with 2 bars. This is perfect for me because I hate feeling claustrophobic in a club and soca fetes are essentially 5 hour aerobic-gymnastics class, so you’re girl needs the option of sitting down.
Similar to the previous day, there was a day party at a venue called Pirates. The venue was in close proximity to the Berlin wall, which was dope because the raving schedule didn’t allow for much sightseeing. This was more of a chill event, it was less drunken behaviour and dancing, the sun was shining and there was a mixture of cocktail and food options – both Caribbean and Eurocentric.
The nighttime event was Carnival Glow, which was an all white everything event, held in the same venue as the day before. This event was the highlight of my whole holiday because my unofficial baby daddy was performing aka Kes. Everyone knows I’ve been obsessed with Kes (and the band) for a while, but when he cut off his dreads, I was like bruhhhh… P A N T Y D R O P P E R. He played my favourites like Wotless, Workout and obviously “Hello, hello, hello, hello…“.
So unfortunately the actual carnival was a little bit of a let down. This was mainly due to the fact that the Carnival Fever float was the last float of the parade. This resulted in excessive waiting around – I literally waited for 2 hours for the float to play music – fortunately the costumes made for pleasant viewing. Being a first timer, the entire set up was alien to me, as unlike Notting Hill, where you can enter the parade at various points or go to a station, Berlin carnival only has 2 out of approximately 50 soca/ Dancehall floats. Following earlier floats wasn’t an option but standing next to a park and under trees when hayfever is kicking your arse really isn’t fun. Eventually the float did move and luckily the music was hype and the sun was still shining, so fun times happened on the road. In usual carnival fashion people had no behaviour: dancing on bus stops and climbing fences. I lost my shit all over again when Kes The Band performed and dancing to ‘Top Striker’ was everything.
The carnival was succeeded by the customary after party, in a new and smaller venue. The event was called ‘Soca or Die’ and was camouflage themed. Everyone knows I love good theme and I was channelling my inner Destiny’s Child. Skinny Fabulous performed and although I love a jab-jab riddim, me like literally everyone else in the rave was extremely tired. You could sense the fatigue in the club and the energy was super low. Soca is essentially non stop cardio so everyone was spent and the knowledge of an early flight weighed heavily on my mind.
My final verdict is Berlin was fun and the perfect introduction to international carnivals. Considering the fact that I only paid #100 for a wristband that got me into 5+ events, it was most definitely good value for money. The energy for the events was perfect so I advise everyone with a soca addiction to try it. Just make sure you take power naps. check the carnival schedule beforehand and shake the sand out of your shoe before you get back to your room.