Saturday, July 7, 2012

Masqueraders or Masochists???

I haven't blogged in forever simply because I didn't have any burning issues to comment on and life has been just about work and my thesis. But you know it's that time of the year- band launching time so I'll be having lots to blog about.

One of the main things that we Carnival commentators look forward to is the launch of new bands. If you've been following my posts, you know that I'm somewhat of a new band expert, but I have to admit that it has been a disappointing and tiresome ordeal.  At the end of all of this, I'm wondering where can I apply for retribution for the pain, suffering and inconvenience? Yes, I made the choice to give these bands a chance hoping for a much better experience, but they took advantage, got my money (usually in the ballpark of US$1000) and I was left with a below average Carnival Monday and Tuesday.

And I'm not tolerant of excuses such as "it's our first year, please bear with us"...bear with you? Because I have US$1000 to just throw away right? I don't know about you, but I have to work extremely hard to save that amount of money. So what do hardworking masqueraders expect from a new band....

Good quality costumes
In 2011, after picking up my gorgeous Titan costume from Bliss, I decided to try it on in the restroom. The braid that held the bra together came apart.  As a result I had to wait several days for them to redo the wholepiece. My weekend fete plans were disrupted since I had to spend most of my time up and down from the mas camp. I eventually got my costume on Sunday night, but to have the bra part detach from the rest of the swimsuit on Tuesday. I ended up writing a letter of complaint to Tribe/Bliss and big surprise- they never responded.

Bliss- Titans FL 2011 (i know, not a great pic)
But my first time costumes in Spice (2009's Scotch Bonnet) and this year's Dead Sea from K2K will always remain my faves.
K2K Dead Sea FL 2012

Spice Scotch Bonnet FL 2009
A Good Road Experience
I had a ball in Spice on the road and the security was tight.  Drinks were always flowing and easy to get.  When we got tired, the rest bus was nearby. We got a reasonable lunch at QRC, but they needed more seating arrangements.  I had a similar experience in Bliss, but blankets and adequate toilets were provided. Fast forward to 2012 with K2K, which was the worst road management I've ever seen. The  trucks met the band at the meeting spot at almost lunch time, so masqueraders had just been waiting for hours with no drinks, music, security or any sign of the K2K team.  Consequently, we were stuck in the savannah jam up and the band hardly moved for the day, so there was no rest stop or "lunch"  until after dark.  I have to admit that the drink service and music were commendable, but where was the security???? The lesson here is that just because a band has gorgeous costumes and great designers, it doesn't mean that they know how to manage the band on the road. The solution was simple- hire someone who can do it; designers are not road managers. We don't see Anya from Spice doing anything else than looking gorgeous on the road...

The Extras
Because we are Trinis and because we pay a ridiculous amount of money to play mas, we expect some extra goodies to make us feel special.  These goodies can range from a bag of free samples to massages on the day.  Trust me, I don't care for condoms, panty liners, gum, bodywash etc., I just want Monday wear and a souvenir cup. Kudos to K2K for being the only band I've played with who offered a real option for Monday wear. It was stylish, suited all body types, went with the theme and gave the band that much lacking uniformed look on Monday. And those other bands better don't feed me any crap about wearing the costume for both days as they very well know the costumes cannot hold up for that long.

I'm sure we are going to see fabulous costumes from these new or almost new bands.  They are going to wow us at the band launches, we will be talking about these costumes for days, even weeks, sharing pics of our fave costumes on various social media, and trying to break barriers stronger than the Mexico/US border to get into certain bands until finally handing over loads of cash. So the bands will always come out the winners- they already have our money and we give them free publicity.  We cuss when we realize that we are being short changed but we do it all again the next year....

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