On a weekend, late in February, I was initiated into my first carnevale, Dunkerque style. First lesson is that too much fluro, fake fur and feathers is never enough . And what a happy coincidence, for the sake of narrative flow, that they all start with ‘F’.
Men dress like women, women dress like, well, caricatures of women. But ultimately, anything goes as pirates and maidens parade through the main streets jeering the onlookers safely watching from above, calling them the ‘cuckolds on the balcony’. Not actually knowing where we’re supposed to be going I placidly follow the two metre high umbrellas and sea of flowered hats.
‘So why are we stopping now’
‘Ok, the what, now?’
Comprehension dawning as I see vacuum sealed packets of smoked herring sailing in gentle arcs overhead. Panic dawning as I realise the crowd , like so many rabid seals, really want the herring. Wanna know another thing that starts with F? (this is where I should mention that, despite being able to deal with pretty much anything bar scuttling giant cockroaches, I have a phobic reaction to anything resembling a mosh pit, to anyone I trampled in my blind panic to get out…move faster next time).
Anyhoo, aside from the mini breakdown, I actually had a pretty good time (assisted by my good friend alcohol). It wasn’t carnevale proper, which happens sometime around mid February, but rather one of the smaller suburban celebrations, which start in the Dunkerque region sometime in early January and finishes at the end of March.