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This episode is all about the Caribbean roots of Notting Hill. It begins at the vegetarian mecca of West London, the Grain Shop. Meeting a long time friend, music producer and Vegetarian, Progression. They fill up and make their way to ‘People’s Sound’ record shop. It’s become a bastion of music spread over generations. They discuss music and the deep history of the area before Shakka makes his way to Bay66, a legendary indoor skatepark beneath the flyover. Gary, born and bread West Londoner and skater, gives Shakka a crash course in skateboarding as they discuss the changing face of Notting Hill and the part it has played in their lives. Next up, the Rum Kitchen. A bar with tropical vibes and a signature rum that plays as the base to some inventive cocktails. Continuing with the carnival feeling, Shakka continues on to the Notting Hill Arts Club and even a fashion show for the Carnival clothing in the lead up to one of the biggest events London has to offer each year.

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Transcript

- What's up, I'm Shakka. I'm a musician and food lover. For the next few days, I'm gonna be showing you around my neighborhood. I grew up here listening to the sounds of the Carnival and smelling the flavors of Portobello Market in the air. I'm gonna be eating, drinking, and vibing my way around the area. I'm meeting the artists, the musicians, creatives and foodies who make up the real Notting Hill. This is pure west London soul baby. This is Notting Hill, where west is always best. Day two, I had a lot of meat last night and I need to fix my body. I'm heading to this spot called The Grain Shop and it's a vegetarian spot. And I'm gonna be doing it with my boy Progression. Food lover, music producer and he's a vegetarian too which is, what, perfect? Yeah, it's perfect. So, we're gonna hit this spot. We're gonna fill up our stomachs. And we're gonna do it right baby. Big man. - Be . - My dog. You nice? - I'm good man. - Good, good, good, good, right. So, last night finished me. I had a pile of meat and I need to-- - Cleanse. - I need to cleanse. - All right, do you know what? Everything here is nice so to be honest with you, we could like, mix and match and-- - You're really selling this, everything in here is nice. - No, no, no. - You don't dislike nothing. - No, no, no, for real though, I've been coming here since I was a kid. - Yeah, yeah. - And I'm still coming here. - Yeah. - So, somethings gotta be right, isn't it. - Of course. The Grain Store is an institution. One of the old school and original food spots on Portobello Road. It's been around since the '70s. Everyday they serve up over 20 freshly cooked veggie dishes. It's delicious, cheap and the portions are huge. Make sure you get there early 'cause they sell out pretty quick. Let's get some of the dahl, let's get some of the sweet potatoes and parsnips. - The mac and cheese is a must in this store, I'm not gonna lie. You can't come here and not get that. - Just a bit, not too much. 'Cause I know I got a lot inside there already, that's me. - [Progression] Do you know what, you've got to try from here. - What's that? - The veggie sausage roll. - The veggie sausage roll. - Yeah proper stuff. - I'm not really a sausage roll fan. - No, no no try it. I'm not neither but that, but from here, it's proper. - [Shakka] No, but you called them epic before. - They are epic. To the epic veggie sausage rolls. - Epic veggie sausage rolls. - Right. - And-- - And a raspberry slice tart was recommended by my man here. - Line up the stomach now with veggies man. Let's just do this, ain't it. Don't drop my food. If I have a veggie sausage roll and it's dead, I swear I'm coming for you. - [Progression] Definitely not dead bro. - Right, whenever you come to this spot and you take the first bite and you drop your fork inside, you don't really know what your getting, do you? It's like layers upon layers of-- - That's what gives it the element of surprise, you get me. I've been coming here since I was about five. There wasn't many other people that was vegetarian and vegan and whatnot. I used to find it difficult to find place just to eat and whatever but this place has always been here. What's kind of kept it going is that it's vegan food or vegetarian food but it tastes nice. - You know, a lot of people feel like when they eat vegan food, it's tasteless or it's good for you but it's not necessarily nice. - Whereas here, they like-- - Balance. - Not even a balance, it's just ping. You know what I mean. - This is it man. - It's a beautiful thing man. Try some of this sausage roll. - Do you know what? - This is a sausage bro. - I'm telling you it's proper good. - It's a sausage bluff. This is nice to me. Like I swear my stomach is aligned and rejuvenated. Let's hit the record store bro. - [Progression] Cool, let's do it. - All Saints Road, otherwise known as the front line. We're gonna go to this record store. It's been here for eons. It's like one of the staples of All Saints Road. It's one of the places that you have to go to. - People's Sound is a place where people come from all over the world to buy records. They don't just come at Carnival. People come throughout the year, winter, spring, summer, autumn, fall. Our door is always open to everybody whether you're black, white or blue, it don't matter. We always let everybody feel welcome. So, whenever you wanna pass by People's Sound, we're there. - [Shakka] How long has this been here for? How many years? - Since 1980. - 1980. - Yeah, it was started by Elliott Grid, Daddy Vgo. - Rest in peace - Yeah. Him is the foundation, he was my teacher. My name is Prince Jahkey. I come from a place in Jamaica called Cartburn Pen Kingston 11. I am also a singer, songwriter, radio producer, composer, performer and known as a Jamaican musical encyclopedia. So, anybody needs information about the history of the music from David Rodigan, come right down to the guys on the local radio stations, they all come to Prince Jahkey to get those information because I grew up in the music industry. - We got people on the wall like Delroy Wilson and Pablove Black and the Wailing Souls and Lee Skratch Perry. These are all legends. - People now from Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Brazil, you name it, the world. They've come here to People's Sound to get these records. These records come directly from Jamaica. - Why do you think that this place in particular has remained and people still continue to come here from all over the world. - We get exclusive music that comes to us, so, people have to come here to get those music. You can't get them nowhere else. We have all of the artists them. From the original retro scattelites, from ska, rocksteady - [Shakka] Yeah. - Early reggae, reggae, ragga, everything. We are from the first to the latest. - If you ever go to Notting Hill Carnival, you have to visit the People's Sound Sound system. They just set up their stack outside the shop and blast out the sounds of Jamaican past and present for two days straight, representing a cranial spirit and style for over 35 years. My mother and father took in Dominica. - [Prince Jahkey] Yeah. - My dad like I said is a reggae musician. - Yeah. - So, when he was growing up, he was a rasta but the beauty of our heritage was that he not only had reggae and dub but we also had soca. We had calypso, we had zouk, we had bouyon. We had many different styles of music that drew from not only our Caribbean past but our African heritage. And the evolution is clear as day for us to see. And so now, when you come to a spot like Carnival, you have people from all over the UK and abroad. - The most beautiful thing about it for we, is to see people from all races. Them too feel that. It's like, there's no race, so, it's a great vibration. - There's so many eras and so many styles of music but this store in particular houses all of those eras and all of those styles of music. This is Vivian Clarke's "Love Makes a Woman". This was recorded by the Foreigners crew. The Foreigners Crew is a band that my dad put together and that's him on the guitar. - All right. - That's him on the drums. I remember helping my dad make this. That's me on keys bro. - Wow, how old you was there? - I must have been like 17 there. - Yeah. - That is so mad. - Look you come in People's Sound now for your music with your family. - Do you know what I mean? - So that's what this place is all about. - It's crazy. - Listen, people come here from all over the world and they leave there with a smile on their face. We know how to make them feel. That they wanna come back. - This have been magical. I'm gonna hit the next spot but before I go, I have to buy this number. - Of course. - I have to buy this bro. Let's ring it up. Right so it's time to leave Jahkey and Progression and move onto the next spot. All right, so, I'm gonna do something that I ain't never done before that my mom wouldn't let me do when I was young. I'm gonna go to the skate park. I'm about to fulfill like a little childhood dream of mine. On the right hand side is BaySixty6 It used to be called the playstation park but it's like an iconic skate park in my area. So, we've got a guide called Gary, who's gonna give me a private lesson. I'm mad excited, let's do this. - We're called BaySixty6, we're open seven days a week. This place opened in 1997 and it was the first indoor or semi-indoor skate park. Skateboarding is about self esteem and just and how far you can push yourself. It's the best place ever in a way to keep kids off the street, keep them off drugs. - [Shakka] Yo yo yo. - Hello, hello. - How are you doing? - What's your name boss? - Shakka. - My name's Gary. - Gary. - Nice to meet you. - Pleasure to meet you brother. - You heard you wanna learn to skate. - I do, I do. All my boys did it back in the day, I want to do it now and I've never had a chance, sorry. - Well, I'm here for you boss, all right. - So let's run this. - Let's do it. - Could you bend down for me please. - Like so. - Yeah, that's right. Now, just turn your chest slightly forward and place your chest bone on your thigh. - Place my chest bone. - Just come forward a bit. That's nice. - All right, cool. - Now look up a bit, look forward. - Yeah. - Do you feel comfortable that way? Or, try it the other way, turn around and do the same thing, turn your chest. Do you feel comfortable this way? - Yeah, I feel comfortable that way. - So that makes you a regular. That means, left leg forward. - Okay. - If you were comfortable with your right leg forward, that would make you a goofy. - Okay. This is like play station all over again, that's right. - Well, listen you're a natural. That means left leg forward. - Right. - I'm unnatural, I'm right leg forward. - You're unnatural. - Well, no, I'm not unnatural, I'm just different. - How long have you been skating for? - I started in 1977. - Okay. - I was 13 years old. The guy who taught me when I was 13, Roger Harvey, I love you man, we still skate now. We still meet up, we still go for drinks on birthdays. We're tight, we're all tight. It's a beautiful fraternity. The last Friday of every month, we have old man's night. So, no kid could come here 38 and under. Can you jump on and jump off again? - Yeah. - Ready, go. And jump off. That's perfect, that's the basics we've got under control now. So, what I want you to do next, is do it with movement and do it on three. Copy me, ready, watch. One, two, three, look at the lines and jump back on, yeah, all right. Land, chin forward, all in one move, bam, okay? Go, chin, yeah, come down, come down. That's it! Hold my finger. All right, let go of my finger. One, two, three, look at it. - Oh. - Almost. - Woohoo. - One more time, one more time. - I'll give you a little beat, are you ready? - You'll give me a little beat. Then go, you first. - Yeah man, I'm here man. - Two, three. - Come on, I need an award, I need an award. Well, this park's been here 20 years, September just gone. There's no place in London that is covered. Every skate park is outdoor. You can't turn pro here unless you have an indoor park. - Right. - So this is why everybody trains themselves up to the next level. So, whether you're BMX, skateboard, rollerskate, inline skate, scooter, we cater for you all. Whatever you do with kinetic energy, we love you. - You got kids like from a bunch of different races and cultures from like the whole of London. - When we were young, there was a lot of name calling. It never happened in the skate park. You look here, we got Indian, Chinese, black, white, whatever. I love it that the kids come together in a way whereas they don't care about your color, creed, what you eat, whatever. - Yeah. - They just wanna learn from each other and it's a beautiful thing. - [Shakka] But that's why I love this area in general because like, it's like-- - It's a diverse culture. - It's a diverse, like I go and talk to so many different spots. There's very few that's like Notting Hill. - There's only one Notting Hill boss. - There's only one, now, you gotta show me some magic stuff. Just one, just one, just one. I know it's cold. - All right, here we go here. - Come on. Almost, almost, almost, almost, almost, almost. It's my first day so, you guys have to allow me. I've heard a lot of talk about this guy George who had this dope Westland and Rembrandt. And what better place to drink rum than in the Rum Kitchen. It's a special place. Because it used to be the site of the legendary Mangrove restaurant which was run by civil rights activists Frank Critchlow in the '60s. It played host to the likes of Jimmy Hendrix, Bob Marley and Mohammed Ali. George Frost is the co owner of the Duppy Share rum and he's gonna show me the ropes. George Frost, how are you doing brother? - Yeah good, how are you doing? - I'm very well, I'm very well. - Nice to meet you. - Yeah man likewise, likewise. Listen, I don't know if anyone told you but I'm a huge rum fan. - Yeah, I heard. How do you like to drink your rum? - I like mine in the morning, I like mine in the afternoon, I like mine in the evening. - Nice. - [Shakka] And I heard you got something special for me. - I do, we got a great rum to show you today and it's actually a rum that I launched about three years ago. It's called the Duppy Share. So, I've got my boy Dami who works with us. - Pleasure. - Pleasure. - Dami's come up with three cocktails. We've got one like a proper old, old fashioned and actually an old fashioned cocktail. - Nice. - And then we just got two really simple cocktails. - Okay, dope. - We'll start with our take on the dark and stormy. We call it the dark and stormsy. - The dark and stormsy. - We gave stormsy a lot of rum for his birthday party, in return, he has unofficially given us his name for the drink. So, we'll kick off with that one. Dami, over to you brother. Boom, enjoy. - All right cool. I think rum is an amazing category and the joy of rum is, it's fun. It's simple, it's delicious and this is literally just rum, ginger and a bit of lime and Angostura bitters. And, I hope you agree it's not too bad. - This is really nice. - And I'll check. - No, no, taste it, taste it. It bangs, right? - It's a good one. It's a good one. - Do you ever have a moment, yeah, when you drink like either a cocktail or just any kind of drink and it gives you an instant flashback to a moment in your life where you had that and does that happen to you? - Yeah. That's basically the very reason I launched it. Anytime I drink rum, it literally takes you back to the Caribbean. And for me, the Caribbean is fun, young and full of energy, exciting, welcoming, amazing music. . It's hard to get that energy and excitement out of the Caribbean and over to England. If anyone's managed to do it, it's Notting Hill, it's Carnival. We want to get across that incredible energy excitement that Notting Hill particularly has. Everything about the brand started and is still west London. I've lived here for as long as I can remember. The company was definitely founded literally in my bedroom just off Westmore Grove. So, it will always be our home and our Duppy heartland, I suppose. I was in this bar in East London and the guy was saying there was a concept in whiskey called the angel share. So, this whiskey is aging in a barrel, some of it evaporates and it's said to go off to the angels. In the Caribbean, they didn't think that's the case. They think these crazed spirits called Duppies, like Bob Marley sings about Duppy conqueror, they come along they steal the rum and then they go and have a massive party. Immediately, it was just like bang, everything came together. It's a wonderful link back to what this is all about, which is the Caribbean. So, Dami, what have we got next? - [Dami] We have the gold fashion. - The gold fashion, nice, I like it. What's inside this? 'Cause I saw you putting stuff in but I was too busy having a chin wagging here. - So here we have 50 ml Duppy Share. One cut of Angostura bitters, one demerara sugar cube. - Hold on a minute, I smell something else in there as well. Is that orange? - [Dami] Yes, it's a twist of orange as well. - This is also quite bang. It's dope for people who don't like harsh tastes and flavors 'cause it's got the sugar in it and it's also got the orange in it. It's a dangerous drink. - It is. - It's dangerous because it's like it's pure rum, there's no chaser, so there's no pacing yourself with the alcohol and it's sweet. We've got one more. - We've got one more. This one is a really simple one. It's just all rum, red bull tropical, a little bit of lime. - Nice. - And we call it the Beenie Man. And you know why we call it the Beenie Man? He knows. ♪ I'm drinking rum ♪ ♪ And Redbull ♪ - That's scary, we're not doing that again ever. - Can we cut that? - No, no, no, no, we're not cutting that. We're gonna use that take. Listen, I am more than entertained by the way in which you sang one more Redbull. Are we gonna get that now? - And one Beenie Man. - [Shakka] This is the Beenie Man. - [George] Let's go. - It does have the pick me up but it also has the taste. This whole building used to be the Mangrove Restaurant so people like Marvin Gaye and Mohammad Ali, come down here to have a bite and have a drink. - No way, Mohammad Ali's been here. - Mohammad Ali's been in this spot, yeah. - [George] Awesome. - We are probably sitting in the same spot that Mohammad Ali was sitting in. Thank you so much for this man. - Not at all, that was awesome, that was awesome. Having said that. - Oh, is that for me? Holy crap. Guys, my first even alcohol made for me. I don't even think I will open it. I think I will just leave it on my mantelpiece. This is crazy, mommy, I made it! Thanks for loving what we love, rum. Man, you need a hug for that man. Thank you so much. The love is genius. I can't help but feel the Carnival spirit stirring up inside of me so I'm off to meet Cal Jader, a DJ who keeps the spirit alive every month at the west London nightlife icon that is the Notting Hill Arts Club. This place is a little off the radar. There's a small secret door in the middle of the Notting Hill gate which leads down into the underground basement club which plays everything from funky house to dance hall. This place has been the favorite spot to play for the likes of Amy Winehouse, Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars. Cal. - That's me. - Hey, nice to meet you bro, Shakka. - Pleasure. - Pleasure, pleasure, pleasure. - Pleasure. - Oh man, I'm looking at a lot of different memories right now. Genuinely like the walls, the many many different drinks that I have ordered at this bar. It's pretty cool. - Legendary space. - It is definitely. Tell me about the night that you guys do here. It's like a Carnival night or a-- - [Cal] Yeah, so we've been doing a night for about 10 years actually. We started off with a live night. It was an alternative Latin night. Everything from folkloric music to electronic sort of Afro Cuban rumba. - Sick. - [Cal] Chilean folk, you'd have like Venezuelan rock banks and it was crazy. It's evolved and incorporated a lot of the west London influence as well. - [Shakka] So, is there like a sonic thing between let's say soca and calypso and music that's popular around Carnival? - From my point of view, I think a lot of these musics don't cross over enough. And if you look at the commonalities between soca and tropical music from the Caribbean coast and Columbia and Venezuela and Cuba, there's so much more in common. People from Trinidad and Jamaica, they like salsa as well. It's like this whole thing that these communities or these people can't appreciate that music and I think that Latin music is a very universal music. - It's interesting that you do talk about fusion. I guess you could say that it's like a symbol of what Notting Hill is or what Level Grove is or what Carnivals are like in general. A joyous celebration of culture and styles coming together and just saying, here we are, this is our sound, this is our culture and were wrapping in the strongest, loudest, most proud and joyous way that we possibly can. - And representing communities as well. - Right. - I think that's really important. - The Carnival spirit is very much alive in me. Speaking of spirits in fact. I do have a spirit to give you. I was given this by the guy who made Duppy Share. He was nice enough to create a special bottle called Shakka Share and Shakka would like to share this bottle of rum with the legend that is Cal. Would you like some rum? - Yes, yes. - You would like some rum. - Of course. - Yeah. - Yeah, I'd love some. - Let's do this, let's have some. Here's to keeping the spirit of Carnival alive and to the fiesta tonight, salut, nice. Right now we are outside the Tabernacle, known to me and a few of the locals as Tabs. It's a music space, it's a life space, it's a community space open to the community and to the public and it just so happens to be my second home. I got a tip off that Mangrove Mas is gonna be launching today. Mangrove Mas is essentially a group of people who create costumes and wear the costumes in Carnival. And while I was up there, I decided it was only right to catch up with Micha, one of the designers. So you guys are essentially like putting all these costumes together, designing the costumes, showcasing the same costumes tonight and anybody can join. - Yeah, like the more the merrier people from everywhere should come down and wear a Mangrove costume. Last year was my first year as costume designer for Mangrove. It was really really good. When you see like a Carnival, someone wearing the costume you've designed and then they are having the best time, it kind of just, that's what makes it for me. It's all done from scratch, gem by gem, feather by feather. The planning and the prep starts from way before you even think. When Carnival ended, I thought yes, I have a break and then I got a call. I don't think it was even September yet. - I'm looking forward to it. I'm gonna let you guys go, have a great run. Let's make it work. - Thank you. - So as you can see, you ain't got to wait for August for the Carnival feeling to arrive. You can see it in the music, in the food, in the people. It feels good. Today has been an insight into how Caribbean culture has such an influence on Notting Hill. Sharing rum cocktails inspired by the Caribbean spirits and listening to the music of Jamaica at People's Sounds showed me the reach this culture has. Watching the Carnival costume show and seeing everyone getting so excited about an event that's happening in eight months makes me realize how important this heritage is. The Carnival, something started by a past generation is a way that people still define themselves today. Seeing the passion and dedication of the people makes me remember why I love where I came from. Here's to you west London. I can't wait to see what I discover tomorrow.