Saturday, February 21, 2009

Carnival Exile

I was a serious Carnival baby. No, I wasnt born in November but my parents both grew up with and participated in Carnival until they were well into their 50's. My dad is 70 and he still plays though he sticks to his Monday night mas with his favourite pan side. Goat doh make sheep so I have been playing carnival, hitting panorama, calypso competitions and tents, j'ouvert (oh yes..j'ouvert) since I was a very young teen. I was renown with my friends for being an 'all out' carnival man.

For the past 7 years I have been in Carnival exile. Reality of a marriage and kids hit at the same time the cost of carnival skyrocketed. Suddenly there was no more enjoying yourself with just a blue note in your pocket. From all-inclusives costing over $500 for a couple to two and three thousand dollar costumes, it suddenly didnt seem to be worth it. And, I am not the kind of man to do things in half measures. Its either all or nothing for me, especially with my beloved Carnival.

So, I removed myself from Carnival and resigned myself to watching the parade of the bands on tv and listening to panorama on the radio. I feel justified in my decision. My family has flourished and my finances are solid.

However, doubt sneaks in.

For one, Bandwagonist tweeted me the video for Machel's Wild Antz.

Now I have listed to all of the soca and calypso this year. Some good stuff but nothing has made me yearn and pine as much as hearing the Machel tune. I was actually in anti-Machel mode due to the stories coming out about his ignorant behaviour to staff and fellow artists. However, this tune took me right back to all the best fetes and all the best road experiences ever. Suddenly I wanted to back in "de ting" no matter the cost. this tune is roadmarch, I swear. Im not saying it is the best Machel song ever (far from it) but goddamn did it hook me into Carnival the way no Bunji, Fay-ann, Shurwayne or "roti song" can do it.

To add to my pain and suffering I found every soca video on youtube and played them. when I reached Machel's "Big Truck" I was in tears.

My mind is not changed though. I will not be paying $2000 for a costume and $20 for beer (at the rate I drink beer, several hundred will be spent before long). I have a family that I love and that I want to support in the best way possible.

I do recognise however, the power of the Carnival over me and that my soul still to be free from Carnival exile.


  1. as I warned many people the Carnival JUMBIE doesn't escape us all... for all those years you have exiled yourself the energy is just waiting to come out... and from your twittering I can see that energy... not taking away anything from Machel and the Wild Antz...

    Carnival has gotten expensive because bands recognize that Trinis pay for stuff no matter the cost... we see it in the groceries and at the Gas Pump... I just hope that one day we as a people will put this same Carnival ENERGY into building our NATION...

    glad that you keeping the belt tight and restraining yourself tho... as well as reading about your pops still carrying on the tradition... someday you will rejoin the MAS and I hope its not as a StormTrooper... but as a Midnight Robber...

  2. Spot on . Carnival as an entity has to face some realities to ensure that it keeps appealing to Carnival Jumbie in us all. It has got to appeal to more than the die hard feters with $3000.00 to throw around (no offense to die hard feters! :-) ). A sotrmtrooper section in a mas band...hmmm ....