I looked at a video of Peter Minshall’s supposedly mesmerizing king and queen of Carnival costumes 2020 and had to exclaim to myself what a piece of junk!
For something that was aimed at leading a street parade that is the heart of Carnival this king and queen business was embarrassingly poor, trivial and tiny. Like all the other parts of Carnival, it is not evolving upward but going down down down.
You exclaim in horror that the queen was on stilts and she danced and entranced! The king made the puppet dance! I reply that the queen was a moko jumbie how original that was, hardly a colourful costume that she moved in imitation of a jellyfish under water, and she was a tiny insignificant mosquito on that big stage. The king’s puppet was a joke, old and tired concept.
Neither could be an inspiring centerpiece of a big street parade, in my view. The other kings and queens of the bands this year were bigger and more colourful, but again no more than variations of costumes we have seen over the years and decades.
So what’s better as a centerpiece for a band of masqueraders in a street parade? Floats, my friends, massive overwhelming floats like those in Rio’s Carnival parade. Look at the 2019 versions and ask yourself why can’t the Trinidad parades in Port of Spain and San Fernando have floats like those? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yW313inIlFk
I know your answer. The Carnival Development Committee will never allow it, the bandleaders will never agree, it will cost too much money, our version is tradition, king and queen costume must be self drawn and not a float.
And that’s the problem right there. No creative evolution. No imagination. Not looking at the competition. People in charge don’t know what they are doing. Carnival in all its parts sailing in circles and taking water, some parts already drowned and rotting. Let’s do the body count.
Trinidad Carnival is essentially a street parade of masqueraders, right? Whoever heard of a two day street parade using the same costumes? Monday mas has long been an irrelevance, so get rid of it and have a one day parade. That means no J’Ouvert, oh no we can’t have that! And why not, since J’Ouvert has been dead for years?
Why have Carnival in late February/March anyway? It’s disruptive of the children’s education and adults’ work, and would be much better in the August vacation time for schools and many workers. Several Caribbean islands have changed their Carnival time and gotten away from the days before Ash Wednesday. Can’t be done, you say, tradition. I always thought tradition must serve you and not the other way around.
If anybody bothered to ask why the masqueraders and musicians do their thing they would hear that people want to have fun and do a street parade of colourful costumes and dancing in the streets. They are not interested in competition for band of the year which means standing in line for hours to get in front of judges and television cameras. A solution is obvious. Get rid of those stupid judging stages and masquerade traffic jams and let the people move! I know, it will never be done. Tradition.
Next on the list of flat tires is steelband, Panorama, road march, all irrelevant to Carnival and should be dumped in the Gulf of Paria double quick. At one time steelbands provided the music for each band, but no longer, as it’s all orchestras or recorded music now. The tune played by most steelbands on the road was the road march, but without steelbands on the street what’s the point?
Steelband is irrelevant to Carnival and should be sent on its way forthwith. Panorama is irrelevant to Carnival. Pan itself is pretty much dead on its feet, killed by Pan Trinbago, the CDC, Ministry of Culture and the pannists themselves. Let it go. Oh, I forget. Tradition. Cheups!
Comes crawling on hands and knees the venerable calypso, with dying calypso tents, irrelevant calypso monarch competition with very expensive prizes, and singers barely able to come up with one decent song each year and often nothing suitable for road march.
It’s all wasted money subsiding calypso tents and millions for competitions for what is at best a dying art form. You don’t think so? What happens to calypso after Carnival? Which calypsos have made international music charts recently? Who are the calypsonians touring the world and singing in cruise ships and Carnegie Hall to great acclaim? Why does Carnival need calypso or road march offerings? Detach the miserable creature and let it sink or swim on its own.
Black people have indeed done a marvellous job in butchering their beloved Carnival culture in all its parts. We Indians, white people, Chinese, Syrians, Portuguese and others shake our heads in wonder at how thorough they have been in the last fifty years.
A friend here in Toronto tells me I haven’t given the Carnival lovers enough entries on the error list, so I must oblige in rapid fire sequence.
If Carnival is a colourful street parade with dancing masqueraders, why isn’t there any dancing? Dragging your drunken alpagat aka chipping doesn’t count. See Rio samba dancers for reference.
Why are the mostly female masqueraders wearing mostly bikinis instead of real costumes? Seeing attractive women in tiny bikinis (or naked) is a relic of the 1950’s when that was really difficult, but now when you can see that on any beach or see naked women in porno online, what is the point? Masqueraders should have COSTUMES.
Since the Carnival parade takes place in broad daylight in front of mixed audiences of all ages and genders and religions, why are masqueraders encouraged to engage in porno style dry humping, wining to the ground and other clearly sexual gyrations NOT suitable to the eyes of young children? Maybe most black parents don’t mind, but I am assured that some of the other races are NOT amused, and many of the religious groups frown on such displays in public. What is good for most black people is not necessarily good for others.
Is it really a good idea to have a full scale two-day Carnival parade, kiddies Carnival, calypso contest in every little town in Trinidad and Tobago? Instead of a few big ones in regional centres, I mean. Most of those little town Carnival packages are an embarrassment and waste of money and effort.
This is a big one. Throw out all those Carnival packages in schools. They are a waste of the children’s education time and effort, occupying pretty much all of February school time I am told, and entirely unnecessary. In our time in the fifties and sixties there was little or no Carnival in primary and secondary schools, and the adult Carnival went on anyway, and better than today from what I hear.
I have more, but why beat a dead donkey? I sign off content in the knowledge that Trinidad black people will not consider any of my points or suggestions worth a red cent. Why he messing with we tradition? What he know? Why he don’t shovel some snow in Toronto?
Indian people will tell me, why you riling up the black people? You know they don’t listen to nobody. You only giving them ammunition to say we Indian people racial! Well, I didn’t know they needed ammunition any more than we need Carnival!