I’m young. I’ve got very little to do. There was no alternative really. No one could go with me, that’s true. I could have chickened out with the usual excuse of lack of companionship, but really? Backing out of the largest street party in Europe because of a lack of a buddy? Nah, man, they would have just slowed me down.

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Honestly, though, I’m writing a blog post on it but I’m going to start with one emphasis: photos and me writing is all very well and good, but really you have to have been there. You have to go. Experience it yourself. Seriously, put it in your diary, your calendar, indelible ink it on your hand right now because this is something you have to experience and you have to experience it for yourself. It’s loud in every conceivable way; loud music, loud colours, and when you’re walking through the food areas, loud smells. The music, a case in point, was so loud at some points, you could feel it in your throat. Now I’ve been to places where the music is so loud you feel the bass through your feet first, or you’re pretty sure the beat’s messing with your own heart’s attempt to keep a rhythm, but I’ve never had quite the same experience with feeling the shudders all through my throat, down to my chest. Luckily the colours didn’t have a similar effect on my vision, otherwise I wouldn’t see for days.

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Yes, the costumes were fantastic. Some of them even made you catch your breath when you first saw them, gasp and try to imagine even putting something like that together, like the swans I’ve featured above. But actually my favourite thing was the odd group of lesser costumed revellers, whose minimised attire made them less initially impressive, until they started dancing. One particular group, all wearing fluorescent green shirts, that I saw early on, all shimmied along nicely, until suddenly one of their group shouted out, counted them in, and then they all burst into some choreographed skanking right then and there. Hands down my favourite moment. The energy bouncing off those people you could live on for a year, it was one of those clich├ęd, corny moments where everyone’s just in tune with the party, with each other and you realise life isn’t all fast cars and how much office space you have. And sorry, I was too busy enjoying that moment live to bother getting a good picture. No regrets on my side.

And, on a final note, debates about body image and weight have been in and out of the news like a badly designed whack-a-mole these past few years, but as I was watching the carnival I felt there could be no advert that more potently showed the power of inner confidence despite your shape than the ladies and gentlemen that took part in as much, or little, clothing as they desired. Whatever you wanted to wear, went; however you wanted to dance, went; every form of expression was embraced and revelled in, and if it was colourful and covered in glitter, all the better. And if anyone had tried to tell anyone any different? Well, would you have taken on a whole troupe of angels?

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