Horns of Few

For over a week I haven't been out of my front door except to go to the bins. But as I took the rubbish out at mid-day I heard a familiar sound, albeit thinner than usual. There at the end of the street, in front of the fabulous mural of Oxford's street band, Horns of Plenty, were two members of the band recording their part for this year's Cowley Road Carnival. These two told me that other band members are also out recording their contributions ready for early July.

I stayed in the side street and was well over four meters from everyone but wanted to witness the determination and sadness of running the 20th carnival away from the streets. There won't be a children's procession dancing to the Horns' and Sol Samba's music, there won't be live poetry in the pubs, nor beatboxing in Tesco's car park, nor thumping sound systems competing the length of the road and Cowley Road's many international restaurants won't spill out onto the pavements.

Cowley Road Carnival has got bigger, louder and more confident each year since I went to the aspirational first one - then mostly the gazebos of local charities with a bit of bold dancing on the grass - and I really hope the 21st will be a huge celebration of survival.

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