The old saying was “Carnival is colour and colour is Kodak” but all that has changed. Now, the new saying in Trinidad and Tobago is “Carnival is pleasure and pleasure is expensive.” Yes, pleasure has a price and sometimes it’s $1,000 per person in Maraval. To be fair, it is an all inclusive event meaning it’s all you can eat, all you can drink and all you can wine between the hours of 2 and 9. But the question is how much can one man or woman eat, drink and wine without getting sick or creating a bad impression in the minds of the ones who did not get too drunk to forget. Yesterday was the first time I had the opportunity to actually see expensive Carnival fete tickets so I had to take a photo and blog for the world to see. At these prices I was expecting the tickets to be the size of on iPad but unfortunately they were regulation size tickets or even smaller, probably in an attempt so as to maximize profits. I wonder if fete promoters pay taxes or if the police will be waiting for those fete-intoxicated drivers? On the positive side, these fetes do bring in foreign exchange as these two tickets were bought with a foreign credit card by a foreigner as I am sure many tickets to Carnival fetes were.
The culture of a country is not only found in the country’s song, dance and shark and bake but also in the full-page ads in the newspapers. In studying the culture of a country most anthropologists and space aliens listen to the drums but miss the real beat drummed out by ad agencies via full-page ads. Some say the newspaper headlines tell the story of a country but as this task of headline creation is usually given to the accountant or janitor at most daily newspapers, headlines can be misleading. Since the cost of one full-page color ad is almost equal to or more than the yearly salary of many workers and public servants in Trinidad and Tobago, it must never be taken lightly. These ads sometimes show, in a subtle way, who are the real power brokers in a country thus who are pulling the strings.
Since there is much to learn from full-page ads this blog decided to take some photos of some of these ads appearing in the daily newspapers over the last few days to document the Carnival season for 2011 and by extension, the mindset of our happy country.
The Bands for this year Carnival are returning to the Savannah causing happiness in some who were previously unhappy. This move back is seen as so important that the theme for Carnival 2K11 is “Back to D’ Savannah” aka “Forget Manning.” The National Carnival Commission, which is the body responsible for organizing Carnival celebrations in Trinidad and Tobago, has a budget of TT$130 million of which TT$45 million is for prizes. The Soca Monach and Chutney Soca Monarch competitions carries the biggest prizes with a first prize of TT$2 million each. These huge prizes caused a reinvigorated Machel Montano to not only enter the Soca Monarch competition after a long absence, but to also to declare on February 4th to a group of adoring fans that included Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, he will lose 20 pounds for the Competition so that he can fly off the stage easier. No doubt, Machel will be on the extremely effective and easy to follow diet by Timothy Ferriss which guarantees followers will lose at least 20 pounds in four weeks without breaking a sweat or eating a chicken roti.
The first prize for Band of the Year is however only TT$1 million which might have something to do with the alleged huge profits band leaders make selling Mas Players bikinis and beads that are used to entertain locally while generating employment overseas. Minister of Arts and Culture and former US Marine, Winston “Gypsy” Peters, has threatened band leaders, and by extension all mas players, with a 1,000 to 2,000 percent increase in taxes on readymade costumes in an effort to create local, glue-gun jobs and show band leaders who is boss.
Hubert Volney, a former colourful character and local judge turned Minister of Justice, is trying to save himself and his community from death by noise by objecting in court to the annual WASA Carnival Wet Fete. According to the Trinidad Express this morning, Mr. Volney’s objection is based on the level of noise which emanates from speaker boxes during the fete. It should be noted that speaker boxes are not the only boxes that make plenty noise around Carnival time but it is the speaker box noise which the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) polices and which Volney is objecting.
It is possible the magistrate might rule that no variations to the law will apply so the fete promoters will have to blast their music quietly or not at all. The problem with low-noise fetes is after the first hour or so no partygoer will be able to wine properly due to alcohol induced deafness.
Like Volney, I also don’t like noise from fetes I am not attending especially when the music is loud but no good. Most people who don’t go to fetes don’t realize that the better fetes are really orgies where people have either very tight fitting or little clothes on. Because of this, fetes are fun and an avenue for the almost acceptable display of the human primal behaviour in public. When the magistrate considers the application for the fete the magistrate must remember that a fete is where a group of people become happy, deaf, tight and horny at the expense of the happiness and sometimes hornyness of others.