I spent today in and around Trafalagr Square witnessing and photographing the Chinese New Year parade.
Those of you who would like to know a little about the history of Chinatown which, in London, goes back centuries can read about it from this link.
The following has been taken from the China Town website
About the Year of the Rooster
The optimism of the Monkey year overlaps the year of the Rooster, but the Rooster tends to be overconfident and is prone to come up with nonsensical plans. While the colorful Rooster brings bright and happy days, he also dissipates energy. Better stick to pratical and well-proven paths. Forget about that controversial best seller you were going to write. No get rich quick schemes this year, please!”
and can be read in full from this link.
Now for my day…
Before the speeches in Trafalgar Square there was a procession from Leicester Square, which came down Charing Cross Road.
Compared with the sort of processions I have seen elsewhere around the world, and indeed in our own Nottinghill Gate, it was pretty ragity.
There was a small triangle site for photographers which helped get some pictures of the procession. The streets were packed and people seemed to be enjoying themselves.
There were officials with phones, officials with radios, and officials with loudspeakers. In fact, as is the Chinese way, there were more officials than the troups in the procession! And they kept getting in everyones way and I saw two of them collide very forcesfully with each other but as neither actually fell down I didn’t bother with a photo. What was worse was that they kept on getting in the way of the photographers and spoiling dozens of photo-opportunities.
The dragon dance was pretty small but there were some interesting performers in the procession wearing good costumes…
The troupe on stilts were very entertaining and gave a fantastic dance on the stilts. The little girls playing with sticks, and string, and a wooden toy were lovely, sweet and fascinating to watch as they looked with such concentration at the job they had to do.
Then we made our way to Trafalgar Square where the Chinese had erected a stage, very much as the Russian Winter Festival I covered a few weeks ago. First of all there were long speeches and the only really good picture I managed to get was our Ken! I will leave you, dear reader, to guess what he was really trying to say here!
The front of the stage was reserved for VIPs and there were a lot of them. This is the Chinese way I guess but it was very difficult for the photographers to do their job properly.
There were top police brass, top navy brass, top army brass and top airforce brass. And some stupid berk who was more interested in sending messages on his Blackberry than watching the stage.
Photographers had to kneel down on a soaking wet carpet if they wanted to photograph anything. This made the job impossible as the stage was built so high that, if you knelt down you couldn’t see an awful lot.
This was a shame really, but it’s their parade so one has to obey their rules. As it was a pretty cold day anyway, I decided I had enough photographs (about eighty) so when a few of the other photographers left, I decided to follow them and also call it a day.