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Learning English - Words in the News
30 August, 2005 - Published 16:18 GMT
Londoners party at street carnival
Carnival dancer

Sunday was the climax of Britain's biggest street party - the annual Notting Hill Carnival. A colourful procession of floats, steel bands and dancers moved through crowded streets in west London. This report from Lesley Ashmall:

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More people than ever have taken part - fifty-thousand in all. They've danced and strutted for hours in the heat and delighted the crowds. Risabelle is ten years old.

"I think the carnival's really good because you see all people in costumes and they're really good."

But partygoers think the crowd is thinner. At its peak, a million people crammed onto the streets over the two-day festival. Yesterday two-hundred-thousand came for the children's carnival and the police think about half-a-million people are here today. Alisha, who's been coming here for years, thinks she knows why people have stayed away.

"It's not as busy as when I last come, it's not as busy. I suppose it's what's been happening in July, so that's why people are a bit afraid. But I'm like, police are here, I pay my tax for a reason."

Organisers conceded this could have affected numbers, but say it hasn't spoiled the party. Louis Benn is one of the directors.

"With the unfortunate incidents of seven-seven, it has had an impact on people's lives throughout London, but I would say that by looking at the show of people that's come out today from all ethnic backgrounds, across the board, it just goes to show that Londoners will not be beaten by these people."

There have been scores of people arrested for drunken behaviour but overall the police think it's been a good-humoured event and for the hundreds of silver butterflies, the gold lamé-clad gladiators, and even the man with the world on his shoulder, the sequinned papier-mâché version of course, the carnival is a party well worth coming to.

Lesley Ashmall, BBC News

Listen to the words

the crowd is thinner
there are fewer people at the carnival than in previous years

most busy

agreed, accepted

spoiled the party
stopped the party from being enjoyed

the unfortunate incidents of seven-seven
a euphemistic or polite reference to the bomb attacks in London on 7th July

from all ethnic backgrounds, across the board
from all racial and cultural groups; if you say something is 'across the board' you mean that it affects everything or everyone in a particular group

will not be beaten by these people
will not be defeated by the people responsible for the bomb attacks in London on 7 July

a large number

a good-humoured event
a happy event

silver butterflies, the gold lamé-clad gladiators
people dressed in artistic, colourful costumes made of shiny fabric, and looking like butterflies or gladiators (men who, in the time of the Roman Empire, used to fight other men or wild animals in order to entertain an audience)

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