Posts tagged ‘Carnival’

February 14, 2015

Is Carnival Really Worth It?


So I’ve been thinking (which is always a dangerous thing). I am not entirely convinced that Carnival should be considered an economic value to T&T. Some of the figures I am seeing suggest it generates $100 million US in revenue, but government is spending over $50 million US on Carnival which is a 100% ROI on the face of it, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

I suspect the amount of taxpayers money spent is a lot more when other things like police overtime and other subventions are included. Nowadays, much of the costume work is contracted out to China, and I am pretty sure much of the markup ( after band expenses) ends up in offshore accounts. Similarly, I am assuming some of the ticket revenue from Carnival events, such as the big fetes and ‘competitions’ is undeclared and also ends up in offshore accounts. Most of the big hotels are US managed, and obviously the lion’s share of the revenue ends up being sent abroad.

Then consider the disruption to normal commerce that occurs as a result of a lack of productivity and the country being shut down for several days. I haven’t seen that being quantified.

Finally, there is the opportunity cost . If the T&T government invested that money in some other venture it could easily make more money than a mere ROI of 100% ( which I think is an exaggeration) .

My conclusion is that Carnival is an investment in keeping the population distracted, and claiming it is an economic boost to the economy is really not true.

(As a contrast, Toronto’s Carnival is estimated to attract over 1.3 million visitors and generate over $400 million in revenue from a combined Toronto and Province investment of $1 million. That’s a respectable ROI in terms of taxpayers money.)

March 4, 2014

Carnival Tuesday 2014


Carnival Tuesday 2014, a set on Flickr.

February 25, 2012

K2K On Stage On Carnival Tuesday – Video

The beautiful Carnival Band I played with in Port  of Spain, Trinidad  – K2K – which debuted this year. It was beautiful being in the band but even prettier looking  at it through a spectator’s eyes. I am in the video too – hint – look for a green costume worn by a guy with no rhythm.

February 19, 2012

Apropos to nothing…

It is Carnival Sunday and … well… I just feel like posting what I consider the best disco song ever.

The original video I attacked was taken down by corporate shills so here’s an even more authentic and evocative video of the song.

The video below was removed so as not to interfere with the massive potential sales of a 70s disco hit 😐

February 6, 2012

Andrew in Drag and K2K Carnival (Trinidad & Tobago)

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Completely disjointed ( though perhaps not) post tonight.  First off, I have been filling in for another manager at the TV station ( in addition to my writing and my normal TV job)  for the last 29 days without a day off and I am working till 8pm every day. I still have 10 more days before I can get a day off  so you can imagine my mood.  Today that mood changed when,out of the blue I got a FB message from someone I interview on a regular basis who asked  why I hadn’t contacted her in a while and to let me know that there was a  Carnival costume waiting for me at the K2K Mas Camp.

I need to put this into perspective.  Carnival is a big deal in T&T, the biggest party/festival of the year.  I used to like it but it lost its artistic roots for me once Peter Minshall ( now a friend)  stopped designing beautiful costumes that had a message and the thing turned into little more than an all-inclusive  party on the move with bikinis and beads. Then last year I saw a new band appear with the most beautiful costumes I had seen in years – K2K. Fashion and Carnival merged into a display of  gorgeousness that had me Facebooking and Tweeting the  band.

If all works out  I will be spending Carnival on the road with the most beautiful  band in years and I cannot guarantee I will not do my runway walk on the streets of Port of Spain.

If you want to see the amazing K2K presentation for Carnival 2012 – click here.

When you think about it, Carnival is really about being in drag for a day. Which segues nicely to my next bit. Just saw this  cool video and excellent song  posted by Randy Roberts Potts on Facebook . The Magnetic Fields – Andrew in Drag.

I love it!


February 4, 2012

Scenes at the Queen’s Park Savannah today.

A day before the Panorama Semi-finals.







March 8, 2011

Trinidad Carnival 2011


Alvie and Vedesh looking up at me on my perch on Tragarete Rd.

Trinidad Carnival 2011 ,which accounted for my virtual absence from the blogosphere, is now over. In case anyone doesn’t know T&T Carnival is billed locally as the Greatest Show on Earth – if nothing else it is one of the biggest street parties on earth. Took about 200  shots from our headquarters on Tragarete Rd, Port of Spain which was a busy Carnival thoroughfare.

Pics are available as a Flickr set here.

February 23, 2009

My dream almost came true

Well Slumdog Millionaire won all the important awards so I am really happy. I am amazed Waltz with Bashir lost to Okuribito ( which I also saw) and I am deeply saddened. I guess you lose some and you win some.

Happily I am ignoring Carnival which is happening only a kilometer away.

Congrats to Slumdog Millionaire.

February 20, 2009

Trinidad pops the clutch and shifts into Carnival gear


It happens every year but for some reason this year it sneaked up on me. I imagine the financial turmoil currently affecting the world and more specifically the company I work for must have distracted me to some extent but it is now officially Carnival weekend. I can tell it is Carnival time not simply by looking at the calendar but by several other telltale signals. The streets are more congested than usual, there are ramshackle structures popping up all over for beverage sales and hordes of confused looking people in shorts milling about and speaking with Yankee accents.

We normally refer to these odd looking wanderers as either JBCs ( Just Come Backs) or Freshwater Yankees. These are generally locals who migrate for as little as 3 weeks to the USA and return with an American accent they did not previously have. They are, as a group, benign but they can be rather grating on the ear and they make the lines at our local supermarkets just that much longer. The latter can be especially difficult on me as I hate having to linger for unnecessary periods waiting to pay for my herbs and spices.

Over the weekend we will have giant fetes aplenty, Kiddies Carnival and on Sunday we will have Dimanche Gras – a show consisting of all the elements of Carnival that runs from about 8pm to sometime after midnight. After that all semblance of order will break down in the Port of Spain as the traffic lights are turned off and the Savannah, which is normally a huge one-way roundabout will be made two way. Steel pan and music trucks will be parked everywhere and traffic chaos will ensure. At around 4 on Monday morning Carnival will start in earnest as J’ouvert takes over and thousands will march through the streets covered in anything from simple costumes to mud and oil. Noise will be everywhere and it will not stop until Tuesday night at midnight. There will be Monday mas and Tuesday mas and basically given my hatred of crowds and noise my nerves will be frazzled.

Happily, I don’t have to work on Monday or Tuesday so if I can manage to resist my tendency to wander into the office for no reason I can stay largely shielded in Cascade. That being said there are always friends from out of town who will want to use my place as a Port of Spain base so I will still see something of the Carnival experience as people don costumes and slather themselves with sunblock .

In unrelated news I took the Jung/Meyers-Briggs Personality test again and, not surprisingly, I am still an INTJ. This means according to the test I am :

  • moderately expressed introvert
  • distinctively expressed intuitive personality
  • moderately expressed thinking personality
  • distinctively expressed judging personality
  • It goes on to say that this means the following:
    “To outsiders, INTJs may appear to project an aura of “definiteness”, of self-confidence. This self-confidence, sometimes mistaken for simple arrogance by the less decisive, is actually of a very specific rather than a general nature; its source lies in the specialized knowledge systems that most INTJs start building at an early age. When it comes to their own areas of expertise — and INTJs can have several — they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don’tknow.

    INTJs are perfectionists, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. What prevents them from becoming chronically bogged down in this pursuit of perfection is the pragmatism so characteristic of the type: INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion “Does it work?” to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake.”

    I can’t say I really disagree and it certainly explains why so many people think I am arrogant upon first encountering me. Happily I share this personality type with quiet a few famous folk including  Dwight D. Eisenhower, General Ulysses Grant,  Frideriche Nietsche, Niels Bohr, Peter the Great, Stephen Hawking, John Maynard Keynes, Lise Meitner”, Ayn Rand and Sir Isaac Newton are examples of Rational Masterminds.

    Pity I can’t seem to live up to quite that level of greatness..ah well.

    If you want to take an online version of the test you can go here:  TEST ME

    August 5, 2008


    I have just discovered that an old documentary on one of this country’s greatest artists – Peter Minshall – is available on Well worth a look.