2000 All Saints‟ „Pure Shores‟ appeared in The Beach, Danny Boyle‟s Apocalypse Now for the rave generation adapted from Alex Garland‟s book, as the equivalent of the Doors‟ „The End‟. „Pure Shores‟ was co-written by Shaznay Lewis and William Orbit who had a studio on Harrow Road in the 80s.
After their second album „Saints and Sinners‟ received remarkably good reviews, All Saints split over the „Jacketgate‟ affair, in which Natalie and Shaznay argued over a combat jacket they both wanted to wear at the Capital Radio Christmas show.
Madonna failed to get into the Grove – as she married Guy Ritchie, the Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels film director, stepson of the Kensington Tory councillor Shireen – when her million quid bid for the old phone exchange at the beginning of Portobello Road by the Sun in Splendour pub was gazumped.
After the Sugar Club restaurant on All Saints Road famously refused to serve her, Madonna went for a pint in the Windsor Castle pub at 114 Campden Hill Road. The Portobello Music Shop on All Saints was more accommodating, putting her on to the local pub rocker Bob Tyder for guitar lessons. Madonna‟s best local connection is „Ray of Light‟, her 1998 rave revival hit (produced by William Orbit), turns out to have been written as „Sepheryn‟ by Clive Muldoon of Mick Farren‟s Social Deviants.
Other stops on the Madonna leg of the Notting Hill pop celebrity tour are the Portobello Hotel on Stanley Gardens, Julie‟s bar at Clarendon Cross, Damien Hirst‟s Pharmacy restaurant at Notting Hill Gate, Café Med on Kensington Park Road, Starbucks on Pembridge Road and Planet Organic on Westbourne Grove. Sheryl Crow, Lisa I‟Anson and the Spice Girls were also guests at the Portobello Hotel.
The first Notting Hill Carnival of the 21st century went from UK garage „Summer of Love‟ festival into gangsta rap murder mayhem; largely blamed on the Radio 1 stage in Kensal. „Scary Spice‟ Mel B was on the cover of the Time Out Carnival special.
The Independent announced: „Forget Sydney, Rio and New Orleans; Notting Hill helped by the success of the Hollywood movie of the same name, is now the place to be.‟ Joseph Harker, the founder of the Black Briton paper, wrote in the Guardian that „an event which used to be by and for African Caribbeans, now just has a small core creating the music and the atmosphere for the benefit of a separate audience.‟
On Sunday it was chilled out Y2K UK garage in Emslie Horniman Pleasance park featuring Shola Ama, MC Onyx, Jamelia, Lonyo, Richie Dan, the Architechs, MJ Cole and Elizabeth Troy. On Monday there was De La Soul, Sean Paul, dancehall and gangsta rap; an Asian man was killed in a steaming attack on Kensington Park Road and a black man was fatally stabbed on Kensal Road.
In addition to the 2 murders there were 19 stabbings and 60 assaults, a „yardie-style execution‟ of a youth in Kensal in the run-up, post-Carnival fire-arms incidents around London and neo-Nazi bomb threats. The Independent claimed to have „exposed the way in which police officers have for the past decade and a half „underplayed‟ the recording of crime at the Carnival for political reasons.‟
Rory McGreevy wrote in the Standard: „The violence of the Notting Hill carnival that ended with 2 murders, 19 stabbings and 130 arrests has dominated the headlines. But violence has become a daily fear for many as fashionable London moves into the streets that the film Notting Hill made famous.‟
The Standard Homes and Property supplement asked: „Is there anyone living in Notting Hill who‟s not famous?‟ as the TVam anchor-woman Carla Romana was reported to have rented a flat through Faron Sutaria for £400 a week. The report noted that a flat „next door to the bookshop used in the film Notting Hill, starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant‟ was available for £350 a week.
As Ken Livingstone, Lee Jasper and Trevor Phillips worked on controversial route expansion proposals, Trevor Phillips accused the police of stoking up a race row and Lee Jasper called for the Carnival to be extended to Hyde Park. A plan to extend the route along Harrow Road was also mooted.
A Standard report on a Rolex robbery in the Temptation Alley fabric shop at the north end of Portobello and a series of break-ins at the Japanese Experience bar („attracted to Notting Hill after the success of the film‟) concluded that „the problems of crime are worse than they have ever been.‟
2 weeks after the 2000 Carnival Paula Yates, the former Tube presenter ex of Bob Geldof and Michael Hutchence, died of drugs misadventure in St Luke‟s Mews off All Saints Road, on the 30th anniversary of the drugs related demise of Jimi Hendrix on Ladbroke Grove.
Back in Powis Square, the renovated Tabernacle Carnival HQ hosted the Mangrove steel band, the Portobello2000 internet radio station, Beat Dis jazz collective studios, and a Santana gig attended by All Saints and Blur members. Roifield Brown‟s My Village website was launched as Portowebbo from the old Virgin offices at 101-9 Ladbroke Grove, featuring the Meanwhile Gardens soap series.
After the Sun in Splendour‟s Madonna association, the next pub along Portobello, the Gold (formerly the Princess Alexandra) at 95/7 acquired an even more powerful American link when Bill Clinton nipped into the bar in the last days of his presidency, while Hilary and Chelsea did the market.
As „Hollyweird West 11‟ graffiti appeared by the Notting Hill the movie blue door on Westbourne Park Road, the cyber-punk sci-fi mural on the corner of Basing Street was „bombed‟ by critics of the official street art. At the other end of the street there was the football classic „QPR crap but local crap‟.
On Aswad‟s 25th anniversary Drummie Zeb and Tony Gad were pictured beside the Westway on the „Aswad 25 Live‟ CD and appeared under the flyover at Subterania. Gorillaz featured Trellick Tower in their 2000 video while in reality the towerblock was evacuated and Golborne Road sealed off after a gas leak.
As Kensal became „the new Notting Hill‟, the William IV pub on Harrow Road counted Bjork, Sarah Cracknell of St Etienne, Madonna and Kylie Minogue as locals. At the Paradise (By Way of Kensal Green) bar on Kilburn Lane, Neneh Cherry appeared along with Ben Watt of Everything but the Girl and Leftfield.
Sarah Cracknell recounts in St Etienne‟s „The Bad Photographer‟ song: ‘5.30, last Thursday, a shoot in Ladbroke Grove, hours later, hey waiter, could you pour some more of those.’ She recommended the Earl of Lonsdale, the North Pole, Julie‟s bar, Vinyl Solution/Intoxica and Rough Trade record shops, Holmes Place gym on Lancaster Road, the Coronet cinema and Barnett‟s toyshop on Kensington Park Road.
2001 All Saints threw in the towel after their last gig at the Albert Hall World Sports awards, singing „Pure Shores‟ to an audience including Muhammad Ali. Notting Hill Girl by Denise Watson and the Inside Notting Hill Travel Bookshop guidebook were published and the film of Bridget Jones’s Diary opened.
After Ken Livingstone‟s Carnival route expansion plans were thwarted by the local councils, 2001 passed off without any major controversy. The Carnival Time Out cover girl was the new r‟n‟b singer Lisa Roxanne and Bob Marley‟s son Damian was in attendance at the Rampage sound-system on Colville Gardens.
Damon Albarn was to appear in Powis Square but pulled out. As Jamie Hewlett‟s Gorillaz NME centre-spread featured the Westway, the cartoon concept group were based under the flyover in Westbourne Studios. Freestylers‟ „Pressure Point‟ LP, including the track „Broadcast Channels featuring the Carnival‟, had a Ladbroke Grove – Portobello Road tube sign and Harrow Road W10 street sign on the cover.
Don Letts‟ „Dread Meets Punk Rockers Uptown‟ reggae compilation and autobiography had his 1976 Carnival riot walk picture on the cover. Nils Stevenson‟s punk photo book launch was held at the Apart gallery in the old Portobello Tavern pub on the Lonsdale Road corner. Mick Farren was back from the States to promote his autobiography Give the Anarchist a Cigarette, still emanating freakpower.
In Hollyweird W10 Trellick Tower appeared in Stuart Urban‟s holy grail conspiracy thriller Revelation, along with Heathcote Williams. In the fashion press the high rise event of 2001 was Kate Moss buying World‟s End pirate boots from Rellik, the vintage Viv Westwood shop under Trellick at 8 Golborne Road.
The Portobello Green area by the Westway featured in the Paddington Green TV series and the Mini adventure Mars Attacks ad. Heather Small (who was brought up on Silchester Road) expressed a wish to have her ashes scattered along Portobello market. Brian Eno had a studio in Folly Mews by the Warwick and Robbie Williams appeared in Tesco‟s at 224-6.
Having survived the 90s un-gentrified and mostly unused, the Electric Cinema at 191 Portobello Road became part of the Monsoon/Accessorize fashion empire of the hippy entrepreneur Peter Simon, and Nick Jones of the Soho House media club took up the lease. In its new incarnation as the Electric cinema/club/ brasserie, the old hippy fleapit became a celebrity hangout once more.
The first celebs to be papped outside included Jamie Oliver, John Leslie, Abby Titmuss, David Walliams, Kate Winslet, Kirstin Dunst, Sadie Frost, Carl Barat of the Libertines, Sienna Miller, Dennis Hopper, Claudia Schiffer, Bryan Ferry, Tamara Mellon and Harvey Weinstein. (The Jimmy Choo shoes empress Tamara is the daughter of the Rachman associate Powis Square landlord Tommy Yeardye.)
Pub gentrification continued unabated with the Carnarvon Castle on the corner of Portobello and Golborne becoming the Bed bar (then the Fat Badger), the Earl of Warwick on Southam Street re-launched as the Golborne House, and the Prince Arthur by Trellick Tower as Number 10. The Percy and Eagle on Ladbroke Grove and the Metropolitan by Westbourne Park station were also given gastro makeovers.
Along Portobello the Motown/Beat Bar became the Mau Mau, the Warwick Castle was abbreviated to the Castle, and the Earl of Lonsdale (Henekey‟s) was partitioned into old style bars. The Tavistock Crescent Frog & Firkin/Babushka bar was named the Mother Black Cap after its role in Withnail and I. The Portobello Sports Centre bar became the Dot-Com Café, and Mike‟s caff had a spell as the M-Café.
2002 As Stella McCartney went from Portobello chic to Paris fashion show celebrity, the press went into inter-Stella overdrive about her rooftop showershack on Westbourne Park Road (attended by Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sharleen Spiteri) and wedding planning outside the Westbourne pub.
Golborne Road became Stella Street as her conversion of the Peak House chapel ex-offenders centre caused a local trader revolt over rent-rise fears. Jade Jagger‟s parties at her Harrow Road warehouse also caused complaints resulting in a noise nuisance abatement order.
Barry Adamson (formerly of Magazine and Nick Cave‟s Bad Seeds) came up with „The King of Nothing Hill‟ Mute album; a suitably goth-soul tech-noir Market Bar soundtrack featuring Hendrix and Performance references. In a similar gothic vein, the Market Bar was also haunted by Brian Molko of Placebo.
The Roughler local mag returned, featuring usual suspects; Jock Scot, Anna Chancellor, Andrea Oliver, Will Self, Roadent, Thomas Rees, Rough Trade, Keith and Kevin Allen, Damien Hirst; and tributes to Berny and the Cornwall, Eve Doggart, John the Pipe, Steve Underground, the Warwick and Percy.
As Scary Spice Mel B was reported frightening staff of the Notting Hill Brasserie at 92 Kensington Park Road, Courtney Love disrupted a Virgin flight. Richard Branson reappeared at Notting Hill Gate dressed as Dr Who for the opening of a Virgin mobile-phone shop.
The „never ending genesis‟ of Peter Gabriel‟s townhouse off Ladbroke Square, incorporating the freemasons‟ hall next door, caused more local discontent and a court case in which Gabriel sued the builders. Along Holland Park Avenue there was an attempted highway robbery of Liza Minelli.
In Hollywood W10/11, Trellick Tower appeared in the abduction conspiracy thriller Silent Cry starring Emily Woof; Bend It Like Beckham featured the Sikh temple on Norland Road and Shaznay Lewis of All Saints; and Joe Tucker‟s drug deal revenge comedy Lava was set in Notting Hill during the Carnival.
Claire Holder was ousted as Carnival chair in a trustees‟ coup and locked out of the Notting Hill Carnival Trust office on Ladbroke Grove. The new board of trustees announced a sponsorship ban in a „return to Caribbean roots‟, before appointing the business consultant professor Chris Mullard as the new chair.
As the Good Times Carnival sound-system DJ Norman Jay got an MBE, the 2002 Time Out Carnival queen was Ms Dynamite. The actual Queen‟s golden jubilee celebrations in June featured „a mini-Notting Hill Carnival‟ down the Mall, rather than the Carnival riot that accompanied her silver jubilee in 1977. The Mangrove Community Association office on All Saints Road shut up shop.
The last Clash group meetings took place in the snug bar of the Earl Percy on Ladbroke Grove. The last Clash gig was a firemen‟s strike benefit in Acton, during which Mick Jones joined Joe Strummer‟s Mescaleros to do a Clash set concluding with „London‟s Burning‟. Joe Strummer‟s final local gig at Kensal Green was attended by a contingent of firemen.
2003 Local Strummer tribute gigs took place at Westbourne Studios, the Portobello Sports Centre, the Elgin, the London Print Studio on Harrow Road, and the Tabernacle featuring the surviving 101‟ers, while the Strummerville foundation was set up at the Glastonbury festival.
Mick Jones produced Pete Doherty‟s Libertines and subsequent Babyshambles, as occasional BAD 2/Dreadzone gigs and clubs continued into the 21st century at the Tabernacle, Notting Hill Arts Club, Subterania/Neighbourhood and the Inn on the Green under the Westway.
Macy Gray said in her „My London‟ interview in the Standard: “I like the night life here, especially Subterania in Ladbroke Grove because it‟s funky and the boys are cute.” Shortly after which, Subterania was reopened as Neighbourhood by Ben Watt of Everything but the Girl – following the success of his Cherry Jam club on Westbourne Grove and Lazy Dog at Notting Hill Arts Club.
The third re-launch of the Acklam Hall site began with Ben Watt‟s Love Box „house-funk-disco-dub block party‟ featuring Groove Armada; One Starry Night of „Latino-tronica, fluid deep house, Afro-funk and jazz‟; and the Standard DJ Lottie‟s Missdemeanours night of „deep dirty disco with shades of soulful funk.‟
Damon Albarn showcased his „Democrazy‟ solo album at Neighbourhood, as the Blur and Gorillaz frontman had a Peter Gabriel-esque world music phase on the label of Honest Jon‟s record shop at 278 Portobello Road – who also released the „London is the Place for Me‟ calypso history CD series.
Banksy‟s Che Guevara monkeys succeeded „Nuclear waste fades your genes‟ on the Portobello railway bridge. Dom Joly‟s millionth toilet customer sketch took place at the toilets on the Tavistock Road square. His large mobile phone routine was inspired by the street character „Maradonna‟ who also happened here.
Amy Winehouse appeared on All Saints Road on the cover of the 2003 Carnival Time Out guide visiting the Portobello Music Shop. After signing to Island and a showcase appearance at the Cobden Club in Kensal, she was to appear at the Mastermind sound-system on Canal Way during the Carnival.
So Solid Crew were under Trellick Tower on the cover of the Time Out Carnival issue; inside Ben Watt was pictured on the roof of Westbourne Studios next to Trellick. On Bramley Road, the beergarden of the Station bar hosted a Dub Pistols v Leftfield sound-system Carnival clash. In the run-up police shot a crack dealer on Ledbury Road, and Darcus Howe complained that hip-hop had been excluded.
Sharleen Spiteri‟s „Carnival Girl‟ video was shot on Portobello at the Tavistock Road junction with prop rubbish before the Carnival. Yasmin Kerr, the actress daughter of Jim from Simple Minds and Chrissie Hynde (and the step-daughter of Patsy Kensit) was interviewed by the Standard in the Gold.
Geri Halliwell was refused service in Damien Hirst‟s Pharmacy restaurant unless she left her pet dog at home. Sophie Ellis Bextor, „the real Posh Spice‟, stayed at the Portobello Hotel before buying a place on Ladbroke Grove. Holly Vallance didn‟t have good neighbours in Notting Hill and complained in the press about the entrance to her flat being used for prostitution and as a Carnival toilet.
Joe Corre, the son of the Sex Pistols‟ manager and outfitter Malcolm McLaren and Viv Westwood, launched his Agent Provocateur lingerie shop at 305 Westbourne Grove (next door to the site of the Sex Pistols‟ 1977 photo off-license) with a „Knickers to Notting Hill‟ poster campaign.
As the local occult rockers Killing Joke were resurrected, Waking the Dead featured a case involving mummified bodies in a house of horrors on Ladbroke Grove. On Portobello, Gillian Anderson, who played „Scully‟ in X-Files, was injured in a mystery fall at her flat opposite Tesco‟s – the truth is out there.
The Standard restaurant critic Faye Maschler noted in her review of Cafeteria opposite Ladbroke Grove station (formerly Belgo Zuid, on the site of the Ladbroke Hall, now occupied by a private school), „muck, graffiti and a faint (actually, not so faint) air of menace.‟
2004 Live8, the follow up to Live Aid featuring Pink Floyd, was organised by Bob Geldof and Richard Curtis in the latter‟s Notting Hill abode. Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics returned to a £4.5 million „palace fit for a diva‟ up the hill, after starting out working in Mr Christian‟s hippy deli on Elgin Crescent.
Madonna‟s next attempt to get into the Grove was foiled by Lord Sainsbury, who bought the Lansdowne Road house next to his so that she couldn‟t. Madonna‟s mate Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin of Coldplay frequented the Cow on Westbourne Park Road, along with Stella McCartney, Leah Wood, etc.
Craig David bought a flat in the Westbourne Grove Corner Building, Moby cited the Fresh & Wild flower stall as his favourite shop, and John Cale recommended the Zucca restaurant. Natasha Bedingfield and Estelle‟s management company was in the area and Jamie Cullum moved to Kensal Green.
The area‟s street cred hit an all time low as The Grove estate agents mag was launched and it was reported that Will Young was living on Ladbroke Grove. His flat was subsequently burgled but the thieves were arrested attempting to sell pictures of him and returned a computer containing his new song lyrics.
Bel Mooney‟s account of her pet dog being rescued from St Ann‟s Road by former skinheads from Henry Dickens Court moved Oliver Tuck to write to the Standard: „Bel Mooney‟s delighted astonishment that 4 white, unemployed Notting Hill men can act in a humane and civilised way contrasts markedly with Simon Davis‟s one-dimensional view (in an anti-Notting Hill letter)… in London one should never make basic assumptions on account of class, race or Richard Curtis film stereotypes.‟
As All Saints were resurrected for their third album „Studio One‟, the 2004 Carnival Time Out featured the new garage/hip-hop stars Estelle and Shystie outside the Apollo studios on All Saints Road (where All Saints formed). All Saints and Sinners, Jenneba Jalloh‟s black history book, and Attitude, the memoirs of the All Saints „godfather of alternative comedy‟ Tony Allen were published.
Mas and Mayhem, Sue McAlpine‟s definitive Carnival history project culminated in an exhibition/ performance at the Tabernacle and The Strategic Review of the Notting Hill Carnival study initiated by Ken Livingstone was published. Further Hyde Park extension proposals were made and there was another murder during the Carnival at Kensal Green.
On the 25th anniversary of „London Calling‟, the Clash track was chosen as the 2012 Olympics bid theme, Passion is a Fashion: The Real Story of the Clash by Pat Gilbert was published, the Harrow Road London Print Studio put on a Joe Strummer exhibition and Mick Jones formed Carbon Silicon with Tony James.
30 years on from Hawkwind‟s „Hall of the Mountain Grill‟ album, George‟s Mountain Grill cafe at 275 Portobello Road still hadn‟t become chic, even though everywhere else on Portobello had. Then Mike Skinner aka The Streets appeared in the caff in an Observer photo shoot, also featuring the old Star pub and the betting shop opposite Tesco‟s (of London Fields previous).
Over night, the rock landmark was gentrified into a trendy takeaway; at first “No Longer the Greasy Spoon‟, then Babes‟n‟Burgers; and it seemed that the time of the Hawklords had finally come to an end. However, back under the Westway, Hawkwind Space Rituals resumed at the Inn on the Green.
As if everybody wasn‟t sick enough of hearing about Notting Hill, after the movie hype, New Labour property boom gentrification of the late 90s and early 2000s came the advent of the „Notting Hill Tories‟ – with the prospective Prime Minister David Cameron living in North Kensington.
2005 Cameron was profiled in the Standard as „the darling of the so-called Notting Hill set of upwardly thrusting young Tories‟ as he was about to „move round the corner to a bigger house on the quiet St Quintin estate… a 5-bed house on Kingsbridge Road, £1.1 million…‟
In „Tory town on the hill‟: „The painted stucco homes of Notting Hill are the heartland of a new wave of young Tories hungry for power… Cameron lives in Notting Hill… alongside fellow Tory MPs such as shadow chancellor George Osborne and Edward Vaizey… Spectator editor Boris Johnson grew up on Elgin Crescent, his sister, Rachel, is writing a novel called Notting Hell…‟
WASP, the 2005 „Woody Allen summer project‟ that turned into his serial killer rom-com film Scoop, featured Woody and Scarlett Johansson in a Golborne Road café, scenes in Holland Park, and Woody driving down the Westway. In Woody Allen‟s first London film Match Point Scarlett Johansson works in a Ledbury Road boutique.
At the time of the Scoop film shoot, an Islamic stall on Golborne Road was associated with the 21/7 would-be suicide-bombers arrested on Dalgarno Way and Tavistock Crescent. The former Bond villain actor Irvin Allen who ran the „Mister Tasty‟ stall on Portobello was tried for murdering his wife.
Carnival controversy continued over Ken Livingstone and Lee Jasper‟s Hyde Park Caribbean Showcase event and alleged financial irregularities at LNHC Ltd. Time Out featured Ms Dynamite and Norman Jay as „King of the Hill‟ pictured on Cambridge Gardens where his sound-system started in 1980.
As Mick Jones produced the infamous „Cocaine Kate‟ Moss Babyshambles sessions, he appeared under the Westway with BAD 2 at the Inn on the Green. Bob Marley‟s local son Julian was in attendance at the Inn for the Portobello Film Festival. As the Tabernacle closed again, the basement blues club tradition was revived at the Balkan Express „Tesco‟s Disco‟ at 222 Portobello Road.
2006 North Kensington appeared as Kidulthood, the gritty urban underbelly/underworld Notting Hell W10, as portrayed by Menhaj Huda, starring Noel Clarke (of Dr Who assistant fame who also wrote the screenplay) as the hoodie anti-hero Sam and Jaime Winstone.
A day in the life of disaffected west London youth, featuring suicide, teenage pregnancy, prostitution, drugs, baseball bat, knife and gun crime on and around Ladbroke Grove, Kidulthood was criticised for being the exaggerated opposite of Richard Curtis‟s Notting Hill.
Rachel Johnson‟s Notting Hell: Sex, Lies and Real Estate posh chick-lit novel revisited „the haves and the have yachts‟ folk on the hill; featuring shopping, „yummy-mummy‟ school runs, communal garden disputes, feng shui, infertility and infidelity on and around Ladbroke Grove.
Lily Allen‟s „LDN‟ video captured the Notting Hell/Kidulthood contrast of the times; with the Rough Trade shop on Talbot Road appearing as „Tough Grade‟, the Romeo and Juliet/domestic dispute along Portobello on Tavistock Road, and scenes by the Westway and Trellick Tower.
During the 2006 Carnival Lily Allen appeared on the cover of Time Out and at the Yo-Yo Carnival club at the Notting Hill Arts Club at Notting Hill Gate, where she made her debut earlier in the year. Miquita Oliver (the daughter of Rip Rig & Panic Andrea) presented a Lily Allen guided tour along Portobello on T4.
Following further clashes between London Notting Hill Carnival Ltd and Ken Livingstone, the Mayor‟s Caribbean Showcase mini-Carnival (or mini-val) took place in Hyde Park featuring Ms Dynamite and Bob Marley‟s son Kymani. On the 40th anniversary of the first Notting Hill Carnival, the Portobello Film Festival featured a London Free School night at Westbourne Studios.
After talking about making a Notting Hill musical, Damon Albarn (of Blur and Gorillaz) joined forces with Paul Simonon (of the Clash) as The Good, the Bad and the Queen. The local psychogeography concept group rehearsed and warmed-up at the Tabernacle for a showcase gig at the Roundhouse with a Simonon-painted backdrop featuring the Ladbroke Grove GWR bridge and the gas works.
Under the Westway, Julien Temple filmed interviews for his Joe Strummer documentary The Future is Unwritten on Stable Way. On Ladbroke Grove, the Ion bar was re-launched as the Ten West punk-funk bar. On Portobello, the Spanish Civil War mosaic was unveiled at the entrance to the Green arcade.
2007 When the smoking ban came into force there was a smoke-in protest at Lucky 7, Tom Conran‟s Margarita lounge and Mexican restaurant at 127 Westbourne Park Road – formerly Frank Crichlow‟s El Rio, the Profumo affair café where Christine Keeler scored off Lucky Gordon.
As Roy Williams‟s Absolute Beginners play was at the Hammersmith Lyric, the film star Patsy Kensit was pictured in Notting Hill in London Lite as she found an anti-„Chelsea tractor‟ ticket on her car. George Michael did a community service course at St Mungo‟s Bridge Centre for being found stoned in his car.
Paul McCartney was reported having „A Hard Day‟s Night‟ in „his local boozer‟, the Cow at 89 Westbourne Park Road, at the time of his divorce battle with Heather Mills. He was subsequently papped on Kensington Park Road at Osteria Basilico whilst dating Sabrina Guinness.
In Hippie Hippie Shake, the film of the Oz editor Richard Neville‟s autobiography starring Sienna Miller, All Saints Road appears as the King‟s Road. The film also features scenes on Portobello on the corner of Colville Terrace, and in the First Floor bar/restaurant which was converted into a 60s pub.
At the same time, scenes in Adulthood, the follow up to Kidulthood, were filmed along Portobello on the Tavistock Road square outside the hairdressers. On the Adulthood poster the writer/star Noel Clarke reappeared in front of Trellick Tower. The Twilight vampire film star Robert Pattinson appeared in another 2007 film shot in the area How to Be.
As the Rough Trade shop opened an East End branch, rehearsals for Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett‟s Monkey opera took place at the Tabernacle. The Standard‟s Andre Paine wrote in a review of Brett Anderson, „the former Suede frontman singing about being lonely in Notting Hill won‟t do it for everyone.‟
After the Portobello Star pub at 171 was converted into a trendy bar, the Portobello Gold at 95/7 (formerly the Princess Alexandra Motörhead pub) became the market rock scene local once again. Portobello counter culture continued at 2 Blenheim Crescent with Minus Zero (formerly Plastic Passion) 60s/70s punk rock record shop on the site of the Dog Shop and the Oz designer Richard Adams upstairs.
The headshop tradition was maintained by Lee Harris‟s Alchemy at 261 (originally at 253). There was still a „Sergeant Pepper‟ Guards jacket stall, down the road from Lord Kitchener‟s Valet, opposite the Sausage and Mash mod café at 268, and Earl „Spats‟ Okin remained a Portobello pop anomaly.
Roughler productions continued with a photo gallery at 253, internet TV station and local celebrity stars in their eyes show at the Tabernacle. Class War returned with a Bash the Rich march/Notting Hill Tory radical history tour and there was a bonfire night hoodie mini-riot by Ladbroke Grove station.
At the 2007 Carnival Ken Livingstone‟s Caribbean Showcase in Hyde Park was replaced by the steel band Panorama. The Time Out Carnival guide featured Lethal Bizzle, Bobby Kray, Sadie Ama, MIA and Alison Hinds. The Portobello Film Festival presented the Mutoid Waste Company, Dread Broadcasting Corporation, Alabama 3 and JC of the Members, at the Inn on the Green and Westbourne Studios.
On the 30th anniversary of the squatted Republic of Frestonia, residents of Pepler House on the Wornington Green estate made a declaration of independence in opposition to Kensington Housing Trust‟s regeneration plans. In the spirit of Frestonia, Passport to Pimlico and The Napoleon of Notting Hill, the Peplerians had their own constitution, flag, president, first lady and independence day.
After the Acklam adventure playground was closed, the community struggle continued with the campaign to save Meanwhile Gardens from development. The western end threatened by the property developers features the Moroccan Garden created by the Al-Hasaniya women‟s group based in Trellick Tower.
30 years on from „The Clash‟ album, Mick Jones‟s Carbon Silicon had a residency under the Westway at the Inn on the Green. Pete Doherty appeared in a Babyshambles video in a caravan under the flyover and his „Bloodworks‟ paintings were exhibited at the Bankrobber gallery on Ledbury Road.
The Banksy artist stencil graffiti on the Acklam Road corner became a Portobello landmark after reputedly being sold for a quarter of million. The other side of the Westway, the site of Hawkwind‟s Mountain Grill café, formerly Babes‟n‟Burgers, was renamed Rehab in honour of Amy Winehouse.
2008 At a snowbound mini-Carnival on Ladbroke Grove the Olympic torch was grabbed from the former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq by a Tibet protester outside the Elgin. The following month there was a fuel protest on the Westway.
50 years on from the race riots, the Tabernacle Carnival Village hosted Vanessa Walters‟ Michael X play starring Clint Dyer. Michael X: A Life in Black and White by John Williams was published and The Bank Job film featured Michael and Princess Margaret. Max Mosley (the motor racing leader son of the fascist Oswald) was in the news with his „Nazi-style orgy‟ scandal.
The year saw the deaths of the local black heroes, Roy Stewart, the Bond actor/body-builder founder of the Globe bar on Talbot Road, and the Rasta Sledge who founded the first Rastafarian Ethiopian Orthodox church in the country on Denbigh Road and was associated with Rachman and Bob Marley.
On the 50th anniversary of the ‟58 riots there was another riot at Carnival closedown on Ladbroke Grove under the Westway. The race riot anniversary was effectively celebrated with a blue plaque at the junction of Portobello and Tavistock Road erroneously commemorating the 50th of the first Notting Hill Carnival.
As the Inn on the Green hosted 1958 Remembered talks, Ladbroke Grove by the station appeared on Newsnight as a deprived area backdrop to a report on the increasing wealth gap. By then the Dub Vendor reggae shop on the Cambridge Gardens corner had become another cut-price store.
In Notting Hill Tory news, David Cameron‟s bike was famously stolen on Portobello Road from outside the betting shop while he was in Tesco‟s. The bike was retrieved with the help of a friendly neighbourhood Rasta. The Camerons also appeared at the Portobello Woolworth‟s closing down sale.
The new Tory mayor Boris Johnson became the Chestertonesque champion of the Portobello market traders as he scrapped the western extension of the congestion charge zone. The Portobello Gold bar sign announced: „As not mentioned in Rachel Johnson‟s Notting Hell novel – thanks Rachel.‟
The thriller writer Ruth Rendell came up with a Portobello novel described as „silly yet sinister‟ after featuring the 10 Rillington Place murders in her previous book. The Portobello Organic Kitchen café at 207/9 took over from the Star pub as the 1900s Portobello photo gallery.
As the Westfield shopping mall opened at White City, the Standard property supplement re-branded the Latimer Road 1958 riot area „the Notting Hill Village campus style development of offices, studio-workplaces and apartments.‟
Alex Martinez‟s Samuel Beckett portrait on Blenheim Crescent became another Portobello landmark before its existential demise by graffiti erosion. His mural on the side of the Number 10 bar (the old Prince Arthur pub) under Trellick Tower was unceremoniously painted over by the new members‟ club owner.
The first local casualties of the recession were Cheeky Monkeys toyshop, on the site of the original Rough Trade shop on Kensington Park Road, and the Portobello Woolworth‟s. The Cowshed traditional local pub at the north end of Ladbroke Grove was also finally closed. Under the Westway there was a winter festival on the site of the Acklam adventure playground featuring the Rotten Hill Gang. (Boris Johnson is rumoured to want it restored)
2009 Next to go in the recession was Antony Worrall Thompson‟s Notting Grill on Clarendon Road. The former Mountain Grill café on Portobello had another name change from Rehab to Café Ravenous, and the 70s-style Rinky‟s jeans shop next door was finally gentrified.
As Sophie Ellis-Bextor put her Ladbroke Grove house on the market for £1.5 million, lower offers considered, the Chicken Cottage takeaway by the station lost its late license due to the anti-social behaviour of „the Chicken Cottage Crew‟ hoodie gang.
On the 50th anniversary of the first Claudia Jones Caribbean Carnival in Euston, Notting Hill Carnival was due to be axed at a Council meeting if LNHC Ltd didn‟t come up with better stewarding plans. The Tabernacle Carnival Village in Powis Square hosted a Carnival history convention featuring Don Letts‟ Carnival film, Mas in the Ghetto 1973 and the local youth film Grove Roots.
To commemorate the anniversary of the racist murder of Kelso Cochrane in Kensal there was a graveside memorial ceremony at Kensal Green, a procession along Ladbroke Grove and a plaque was unveiled near the murder scene on the Grove bar (formerly the Earl of Warwick pub) on Southam Street – as it emerged that the Labour minister Alan Johnson was brought up on Southam Street in the late 50s.
50 years after Oswald Mosley‟s fascist election campaign in North Kensington, his Bohemian grandson Alex, the son of Max, died of a drug overdose in St Luke‟s Mews off All Saints Road. For Island Records‟ 50th Aswad reappeared at Shepherd‟s Bush Empire, and Alice‟s Antiques shop at 86 Portobello Road appeared as a pub in the Guinness 250th ad.
At the 2009 Carnival a new early start and finish was introduced in a not entirely successful attempt to prevent another riot. Ms Dynamite was banned from appearing in Powis Square over crowd safety concerns.
Under the Westway there was a resurgence in counter-culture activity with Portobello Green and the Inn on the Green hosting gigs by the local reggae stalwarts Arkology, Mick Jones with the Rotten Hill Gang, the original 101‟ers frontman Alvaro, and John Sinclair of the White Panthers and the MC5.
The Mick Jones Rock‟n‟Roll Library and Strummerville studio was at 2 Acklam Road (currently occupied by a career opportunities CV writing course centre). Beyond which, the Mutoid Waste Company returned with the MuTate Britain: One Foot in the Grove anarcho art gallery in the 3-6 Acklam bays.
On Ladbroke Grove under the Westway the Ion bar/Ten West was relaunched as Liquid Nation featuring banker and politician hate figure blow ups in the windows. The Elgin pub had an anti-football gin palace revamp, the centrepiece of which is a rock‟n‟roll last supper portrait featuring Hendrix, the Stones, Bob Marley, etc, but not Joe Strummer who actually trod the boards of the reinstated Elgin stage.
On Portobello, the Market Bar, formerly the Golden Cross and „the Black Cross‟ in Martin Amis‟s London Fields, became Shannons. Round the corner on All Saints Road, the area gained another Stones pop link when the Jade Jagger boutique, featuring Stones style lips logo, opened next to the Pelican.
The All Saints fashion chain store takeover of the Lipka antiques arcade on the north-west corner of Portobello and Westbourne Grove caused more local protest. The site of the first Rough Trade shop on Kensington Park Road reopened as a bric-a-brac shop (now Rachel Ashwell‟s Shabby Chic Couture).
On the 10th anniversary of Notting Hill the movie there was an antiques shop at the top of Portobello called the Blue Door and the local police published the Blue Lamp News bulletin.
2010 The Notting hill reality show Seven Days was filmed around the area featuring Children of Vision hairdressers. The Portobello Pop-Up Cinema opened under the Westway at 3 Acklam Road. Damon Albarn incorporated Mick Jones and Paul Simonon into the live version of Gorillaz.
2011 The spirit of The Napoleon of Notting Hill lived on in the Save Portobello Market campaign against the super-landlords. Following a campaign to save the Good Fairy arcade there was another against extending the opening hours of the Admiral Vernon arcade – as that would mean higher rents, forcing out traders to make way for another chain store.
After the rebel antiques dealer Marion Gettleson was barred from arcades owned by the super-landlord Warren Todd, a demo was staged in which protesters wore Marion face masks in solidarity.
Under the Westway the Inn on the Green closed but the Portobello Pop-Up Cinema continued. Even the Travel Bookshop on Blenheim Crescent shut up shop, to be succeeded by the Notting Hill Bookshop named after the film inspired by the Travel Bookshop.
In the August riots the Ledbury restaurant was stormed and shops were attacked and looted along Westbourne Grove, Kensington Park Road and Portobello. The closed Travel Bookshop was left unscathed.
To be continued…