It has now become an inescapable reality which even the most jaded cannot deny – Carnival is around the corner. It manifests itself in many ways; the sounds of pan being played in the pan yards, Loud soca music blaring from every second car, Omar getting a twinkle in his eyes and Astrid having to attend a million fetes in skimpy clothing dispensing alcoholic beverages to the eager. Already the fetes are piling up with several happening on the same night.People are looking at their already depleted pocketbooks with dismay as they shell out hundreds of dollars for a chance to see and be seen at one ( or more likely dozens) of the more fashionable all-inclusives. People are eagerly awaiting their costumes so they can don 6 inches of lame they paid up to $4000 for months ago. Well, some does not include Omar who, up to this evening was musing about whether he should play with Tribe or Harts – never mind that both are already sold out. I gather I will be making some begging calls to at least one mas camp.
At work today I had two interviews, one with the Minister of Energy Conrad Enill who I have always quite liked. I think I first started liking him when I did my first interview with him in his previous portfolio in the Finance Ministry and we chatted about fiscal policy and the WTO for an hour after the interview was done. Most Ministers are either too self-important to want to chat with journalists off camera or know little about their Ministry and thus want to limit their discussions. Not Enill…he knows his stuff…even if I often disagree with government policy. My other interview was with Wrenwrick Brown ( and which hat did his parents pull that name out of?) of the National Carnival Bands Association. He is an interesting man. He is Secretary of the organization and also a Mas designer himself so it was not surprising his passion was evident. We ended up chatting for quite a while after the interview as well. Like many, including myself, he is concerned that the so-called skimpy mas as exemplified by Harts/Tribe/Island People are taking away the true point of Carnival and also making the festival a Westmoorings event rather than a true people event. The skimpy mas bands are run like businesses and their clientele truly believe less is more – the expected costumes are bikinis with beads for the women and skimpy trunks with a sash for the men. They give their fans what they want and run laughing to the bank after Carnival. The fact that a costume from this year’s band is indistinguishable from last year’s or the year before is immaterial. They have different names. This year’s bikini is called “Emerald Dreams” and last year’s was called “ Forest Ficus” ..I mean really…they are different. I tend to agree with him. If I am playing in a band..as I have…I want to be part of a theatrical spectacle that makes a statement. I want the crowds to be waiting for my band to appear and to talk about it for the next week. This is why I have only played with Minshall in past years and if I played now it would be with MacFarlane without a question. These are bands that show thought and whose costumes are true reflections of their theme. It is interesting to note that this year MacFarlane..ok..he is a friend…Brian’s band is partnered with the UN as it portrays Earth: Cries of Despair. Wings of Hope. You can see the band by clicking here.
That being said my friends are split into rival camps. Alvin, Binky, Sheppard, Naz and, I assume Johnny and Amado are MacFarlane sorts while Omar and Astrid seem to think they would die if they had to wear more than a foot of fabric anywhere on their bodies. I suppose as i said in a previous blog – diversity is good.
In good news…and yes there is plenty in this twin island republic…Omar is back in North and it seems I may see my elusive Astrid/Iggy this weekend and possibly even have a drink or 10 of frozen Stoli with her…note to self..buy Sevruga. Amusing news of the year – Grommit wants to fade back to normal colour so he can get dark again on Carnival. Where do I live again? Oh right.