Jetsam

bonaire 3 022

It is after midnight and I find myself doing everything except finishing off a short piece on Carnival I pledged to do for my editor.  This blog entry stands as testament to my willingness to do anything but write about Carnival at this moment. I could say it is the result of getting home at 10pm after doing my nighttime chat show or even that I am tired but that would not really excuse my recalcitrance. Though I live in Trinidad right now and it is often pushed in marketing brochures as the land of Carnival ( and steel pan, limbo blah blah) my love for that particular observance/festival is not even skin deep. Given that I shudder at the very thought of modern Carnival it is somewhat North of ironic that I am supposed to express superlatives about it for a guidebook. To be fair to Fodor’s they don’t actually require me to gush effusively about the joys of it . Even so, it would be silly to give the usual “watch your purse” advice if I did not also give some reason that made attending worth the risk. I supposed my hesitation to write may be related to me avoiding the urge to give my usual four word summary of it – loud, inconvenient and pointless.

A few years ago when Minshall had a band I might have been able to muster a few words about the theatre of the streets or a spontaneous expression of freedom and joy. Today I would feel disingenuous stating such a thing. MacFarlane makes a noble effort but he doesn’t quite have the groundbreaking impact of  his predecessor. What I am left with is writing about throngs of people who buy beaded bikinis and board shorts with appliqué  and then make their way through the streets in between music trucks and food carts. I suppose it should now be called what it is – a two day fete ( all-inclusive in many cases). It definitely isn’t an expression of the creativity of the people of this odd land since creativity has been replaced by commerce with the exception of a dwindling few small bands that are essentially run off the road by the bigger bikini bands.

 

A few years ago I might have also written about steelbands roving the streets but for the last few years I have been forced to walk the streets looking for them. Pan has been relegated to an accompaniment to a few traditional sailor bands and even then they are usually drowned out by the passing parade of music trucks blaring soca. On a side note, why does everyone wonder why soca has never “caught on” outside the islands or island communities around the world? There is little universal message in “jump and wave and wave and wave”..it simply doesn’t have the universality of something like reggae.

Maybe inspiration will come to me tomorrow and I will be able to wax rhapsodic on the joys of the self-titled greatest show on earth. Watching the dreary spectacle of the National Performing Arts Centre today has numbed whatever creative sparks I might have had today. I can’t believe I just wrote an entire entry about Carnival when it is only November and my intention was to deal with something else entirely.

If I write tomorrow I think I shall deal with my gradual  and painless escape from my Apple addiction.

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