Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Minister of Soca...

A while back I asked my Facebook friends to identify their favorite Machel Montano songs.  I was surprised that so many people responded and many called out songs that I had long forgotten about. With a career that spans almost thirty years, there's no denying that Machel is one of the greatest soca artistes in Trinidad and Tobago and that his Soul Train Music award for Best International Performance is well deserved, particularly for his 2014 hit, Ministry of Road (M.O.R.)

Machel Montano at the 2014 Soul Train Awards

In my opinion, M.O.R. (written by Jelani Shaw, Kasey Phillips, Nikholai Greene and Machel Montano) is one of Machel's best compositions to date.  In a time when power soca tunes were on the decline, M.O.R. was a sure winner for Soca Monarch and the Road March.  The song demonstrates how much more writers can do with the jump, wave, and wine themes that originally defined the power soca genre and like calypso, it can also take on contemporary socio-political issues in Trinidad and Tobago.

His persona as a Minister, whether political or social is the main message in the composition.  His self-presentation is an obvious play on his presumed association with the People's Partnership ruling government and the benefits that he allegedly receives from this association (with specific reference to the TT$5 million payment by the government for the creation, production, marketing, and performance of the Going for Gold album in 2012).  The Minister could also be an ode to Junior Sammy, which is obvious in the video, and as all Trinbagonians know, Mr. Sammy has been the real Minister of Road long before Machel.  This feature forces us to question the financial relationship between Montano and Sammy, Sammy and the Government, or all three.  Could it be that Machel is making a statement on the age old ploy of road construction to gain electoral support?  Or as another blogger pointed out, is he supporting the construction of the Debe-Mon Desir leg of the highway and throwing shade at Dr. Kublalsingh and the Highway Reroute Movement?

But what is obvious in the lyrics is Machel's discontent about the annual congestion to cross the savannah stage on Carnival Tuesday and possibly throwing support behind the socadrome as a source of relief.  And like a true politician, he uses the fix-the-road ploy to gain the support of his constituents (the masqueraders) because they too, are fed up of the route issue:

See fuh dis Carnival, nobody waitin long
Cyah stay in de traffic jam
Or wait by de hospital
Help me tuh make ah mas
De trucks dem Line up in town
People ready tuh run
One million comin down

It's no secret that Machel has some issue with authority, which really came to light with the guilty verdict related to an assault incident back in 2007. The song scoffs at this charge and he seems unremorseful when he boasts that even that set back couldn't keep him down:

Nobody cyah stop we,
If it's not ah charge tuh pay money,
Kill de road we have authority.

In essence, the song is a big up to Machel by Machel. And why not? He deserves it.  He has a long list of hits and titles, a longstanding position in the soca industry, and a vision for the genre that makes him a true Minister of soca...but like our government Ministers, he has his shortcomings, which are hardly recognized by his voters...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Thoughts on Tribe's Wings of Desire

Firstly, I am no fan of Tribe so note that there will be biases in this post.  For instance, I had a smh moment when I saw that their promo video for the band launch featured no soca. Really Tribe? Sometimes I wonder how much are these bands and their cult following concerned with promoting and preserving Trinidad Carnival, but again, that's my bias speaking. They are not.  I also don't like that you have to get past a gatekeeper to register withTribe, but I don't blame the band for that, I blame these soul-less masqueraders.  Now if you think I'm being too harsh here, try observing a Triber or a wannabe Triber around registration time...the devil makes a mint off of them...

Anyways, I am not completely anti-Tribe, but will give them credit where it's due. According to costume guru, Saucy, Tribe does literal interpretations well for the bikini and beads crowd.  If you remember Ole time Something Come back Again (which was my absolute favorite), Birds of a Feather, Butterflies, Beasts, and Bacchanal, and Tribe 10, these were all fabulous overall presentations.  For this reason I thought 2015 's Wings of Desire, which was supposed to be inspired by the Victoria Secrets' angels, would be brilliant.

Overall, Wings of Desire is simply, boring.  I expected more of the Victoria Secrets-esque wings with more vibrant and new color combinations.  I do not agree with the tired arguments that the designs are not original, they look too Brazilian, they are too skimpy...blah blah blah.  These critics need to remember that Tribe's model is not based on being cutting edge or producing Minshall type costumes.  They are satisfying their market, the same way that Poison did several years ago.  And while I'm on the Minshall and MacFarlane type costumes, a lot of them weren't original interpretations.

My main criticism of Wings of Desire, is that overall, the presentation is boring, but if you look closely, there are lots to applaud.  I think it's superficial to say that all the costumes "look the same". If you are of this opinion, I urge you to look closely at Solange Govia's designs. Vice's body wear where the sleeve and the illusion panty are remarkable concepts.  Although I'm not a fan of the color combo on Crave, she got the wings right and the details on the bra and necklace cannot be ignored.



Another costume where the body wear stood out is Raw. Oh em gee, do you see that bikini cut???



My overall favorite costume is Anya Ayoung-Chee's Luxe.  She captures the Victoria Secrets' wings and her signature fabric cape is the ish.

Source: Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Costume Photos

But these specific details on some of the designs do not help with the overall look of the band. More importantly, these are Frontline costumes and they make up a minority on the road.  Furthermore, at this point we have no idea what the backline will look like, but I predict they will all be lackluster and a poor scaled down version of the Frontline.  Over the years, Tribe's basic backlines have deteriorated and look like little or no effort went into them.  And for the males, just accept that board shorts and armbands will forever be your destiny in Tribe....

Finally, I would just like to point out to people, especially those outside of Trinidad and Tobago, that Tribe is not the be all and end all of the Trinidad Carnival experience although it is represented as such.  There are lots of other bands that do not require so much effort to get in and offer more for their backlines. If you are not into the bikini and beads, there are other bands that offer more creative representations.  If you don't want to play mas with 5000-6000 people, there are smaller bands.  If you want a more elaborate male costume, there are bands for you.  If you want to pay less, you can.  The Trinidad Carnival is not as insular as it may seem to be...

Soca vs Dancehall- Review

July 12, 2014
Hope Gardens
JMD$3000 (presold)

Out of all the soca sessions for summer in Kingston, I opted for Soca vs Dancehall.  I attended SVD last year and wasn't blown away so I wanted to give it another chance. Even though it's not a true soca fete, I had a good time, not the best, but good enough.

Throughout the night I kept getting mixed responses from people I knew.  Some were having a blast, while others felt it was boring.  I am going to go out on a limb and say they were all correct.  You see SVD is not for the die-hard soca lovers in Jamaica, but it works well to attract the non-soca crowd, especially those who are familiar with the standard 10 soca songs.  For those who didn't know, the theme is soca AND dancehall, so you should be prepared for the genre mix.  I admit that I was one of those who tuned out during the dancehall set, but I didn't mind it too much because it was not the real hardcore dancehall you would hear at a passa passa or container satdaze. 

Yes I know..I need to work on my pics

I am not an expert, but I do know that not every deejay can mix dancehall and soca well, which was the real problem at the party.  The deejays were either really good at mixing soca or really good at mixing dancehall, but not both.  For instance, Coppershot failed at soca ...miserably..and Dei Musicale fell flat with their dancehall set.  My suggestion is to leave the genre to its expert deejays.

I had no complaints about the bar.  I obtained my usual Johnnie and coconut water mixes without problem during the night.  I also liked that Haagen Dazs ice-cream was included.

Don't worry, I had my lactaid

As much as Hope Gardens is accessible and I suspect that it's a cheaper venue, it has become soca central.  I've been to so many parties at Hope Gardens that they've all merged into one memory.  For those who found SVD boring, could it be that they are tired of the same venue, the same themes, the same patrons, the same deejays? Again, it depends on who you talk to.  Although the soca crowd in Kingston is small, probably it's time to change it up.  What about an out of season Jouvert or breakfast party or even a cruise? (Thank me later promoters)....

Yet, there were many, I believe the majority, who had a blast at SVD and were just grateful for the little soca in July.  The SVD crew did well but with a party that's held so often, they need to think about the future of the concept...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Jamaica Carnival: Sunrise Breakfast Fete Review

Sunrise Breakfast Fete
April 26, 2014
The Lawns of Hope Zoo
JMD$6000

I think I was excited for this breakfast fete since April 2013.  In fact, I was probably too excited because I wasn't blown away.

This year, the fete was bigger and a true representation of what an all-inclusive breakfast party should look like.  All of the elements were there: easy parking, a food court, an array of breakfast dishes (some of which were catered by Jacqui Tyson), several bars, a coconut water stand, bashy restrooms, but the best part was the chilled rags.

The music was pumping and we even got a fantastic 30-minute performance from Kerwin DuBois.  Machel and Skinny Fabulous also performed.  I really enjoyed these performances.


And can you talk about people; it seemed like the entire soca fraternity came out for this one.  Some people couldn't even bother to change after J'ouvert and came with their paint and all.  Side note: I find allyuh had enough time to go home, bathe, and change eh

My major issue with this fete since has always been the limited bar.  Because it's sponsored by CPJ, patrons  are forced to drink Dewars, Campari, Grey Goose and other CPJ beverage brands.  I can't tell you how much I hate Dewars, which tastes like death and the tears of small children.  But what killed the vibe for me was the heat.  That was a no joke heat even with the chilled rags. So by about 10:30 am, sweat stains were forming on my shirt and I was ready to leave.  Call me bourgie or whatever, but I didn't dress up to sweat like a nun at a cucumber stall....

Bless up Sunnation for those chilled rags

I'm almost sure that most patrons felt that this fete was epic (I know... I know ..we need put that term in the vault), but I didn't get that vibe.  It had everything and more for a great fete, but for me it was just okay....

Jamaica Carnival: I Love Soca Review

I Love Soca
April 23, 2014
Hope Gardens
JMD$2000

I Love Soca was huge this year.  If you see people!  This fete has come a long way and it's safe to say that the Wednesday before Carnival in Jamaica will belong to the  I Love Soca promoters for a long time.

I really liked that they used a bigger part of Hope Gardens to accommodate the obvious increase in patrons.  Man the place was ram...it seemed that all the soca fans came out and then some...Machel, Konshens, Cecile, Chris Martin, Shaggy, Kerwin DuBois, Mr Killa...and a few other celebs were also present...

A Too Real moment (literally)

I walked with my 4 main necessities for a cooler fete: ice, scotch, coconut water, and a cup.  I love cooler fetes because I don't have to worry about bars with no scotch, no coconut water, only Dewars, and small cups with too much ice.  The only drawback is that you may drink a tad too much.  Good drinks combined with a good selection of music from Richie, Dei Musicale, and Nuphoric gave this fete vibes and more vibes. Everyone was clearly having a ball even if they had to go to work the following day.

At a point the music level got so low you could have a conversation easily without raising your voice.  For some, this was a vibes killer, but it is the price we pay for a fete held on weekday near a residential area.  The other complaint is Lil Rick.  As much as I love his songs, he just didn't seem like a good fit because he was so boring.  I just wanted him to stop.

All in all, I Love Soca delivered and was not a disappointment.  See you next year

Monday, April 28, 2014

Jamaica Carnival: Beach Jouvert Review

Beach Jouvert
April 19, 2014
James Bond Beach
JMD$5500

I really did not enjoy Beach Jouvert 2013, but this year I felt it had redeemed itself with Bunji and Fay Ann as its headline act.  If you've been to Beach Jouvert several times, it is clear that the promoters use the same model every year- James Bond Beach, drinks inclusive, paint, and a performance; even the venue is set up the same.  And of course it wouldn't be a Beach Jouvert without the standard wining competition. Even with these elements, there's something about paint, soca, and the beach that lend to an awesome party.

It did take some time for the vibes to pick up, but once the paint was distributed there was a full on party.  Nuphoric from Trinidad and Richie RAS did not disappoint and had the crowd wining to all of the latest and some throwback hits.  Now you all know how I feel about Bambino, so I'm not going down that road again.  I'm just going to say that maybe one year the gods will be good to us and Bambino will lose his voice....

After the mess that was Shurlame Shurwayne last year, Bacchanal was smart to book Bunji and Fay Ann and the Asylum Vikings.  In Trinidad I was really disappointed with their performance which was very boring.  I assumed it was just at that particular fete and reserved judgment until I saw them at other events.  However, they didn't show up to the 3 events I attended where they had been scheduled to perform, so I was glad to see them in Jamaica.  The performance was good with Bunji and Fay Ann belting out tune after tune.  The most memorable aspect was seeing the entire crowd clapping and singing Carnival Tabanca.  Another aspect was Fay Ann telling the general section to move the barriers to the VIP. I really couldn't help thinking "that good fuh bacchanal" because there's absolutely no need for a VIP section at Beach Jouvert or at any Jouvert party in fact.


Photo credit: Bacchanal Jamaica's facebook page
At $5500 for drinks only, this party was overpriced, but it continues to attract patrons because the formula works...but hey, you can't go wrong with thousands of drunk people on a beach wining to good soca....

Monday, April 21, 2014

Jamaica Carnival: Red Conquest Review

Red Conquest
April 4, 2014
Mas Camp
JMD$3000 (vip)

Red Conquest was the only night I've been to Mas Camp this season.  It was strategic for Bacchanal to leave this night up to Island Vibes who made sure that there wasn't the typical mas camp feel.  The music from Richie R.A.S and Nuphoric from Trinidad did not consider the typical mas camp 12 songs which was a huge relief, not only for me but for a lot of the non regulars as well.

I'm glad that I opted for the VIP which included drinks and food.  I like that the VIP area was set up like a fete within a fete and not just a cordoned off area. I had no problem obtaining drinks directly from the bar or from the assigned servers throughout the night.

The highlight for me was Skinny Fabulous' performance.  It is difficult for a performer without a band to command a huge venue such as mas camp, but I think Skinny did well.  The crowd reception, however was lukewarm mainly because his songs are not as popular among the mas camp crowd when compared to Destra's offerings.  I will leave my comments on Jamaica's love affair with Destra for another post...


Skinny Fabulous
Photo Credit: Bacchanal Jamaica's facebook page

I've said many times that Bacchanal is out of touch with what's happening in the contemporary soca scene in Jamaica.  The problem is that they have a huge following who are content with their current offerings and not really open to a non-palance. On the other hand, there's a group of soca lovers who are fed up of the same ole at mas camp and want something more which is what we had on the night of Red Conquest.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Picks for Jamaica's Ministry of Fete

The Jamaica Carnival Schedule shows that there are way too many events and it is impossible to attend all especially if you are living paycheck to paycheck.  And if you haven't been saving, unfortunately, there is only one paycheck to carry you through the majority of the carnival season.  So if you don't get comps or an alternative source of income, you may find this post useful when making your fete decisions...



These are my picks for the next couple weeks:
Red
April 4, 2014
$1500 (general) $3000 (vip)*
I'm so over Mas Camp, but if I had to chose one night, it would be Red, which will feature Skinny Fabulous and music by DJ Richie R.A.S. and Nuphoric from Trinidad.  This night will be organized by Island Vibes, the lastest group of Carnival promoters and I have no doubt that they will do an awesome job that night.

Soca vs Dancehall
April 6, 2014
$2500 (early bird) $3000 (presold)
If you were lucky to get the early bird tics for $2500, this is a good deal for a drinks inclusive event.  The selling point for this fete is DJ Private Ryan from Trinidad (yay!).  The theme is Carnival at Night so I am curious if patrons would actually wear costumes.  But the one thing I've learnt is that Jamaican party-goers will stick to a theme.

Beach Jouvert
April 19, 2014
James Bond Beach
$5500

OR

Canboulay Breakfast Party
April 21
Rodney Hall Estate, Portland
$4000
I predict that these will be the top two events on the Easter weekend, but the choice will depend on what you are looking for in a fete.  Beach Jouvert has its loyal followers, especially those who love the paint experience.  You may have noticed that there are very few live performances this season, so the addition of Bunji and Fay Ann is a big selling point here...

On the other hand, Canboulay is for the pretty people in pretty outfits.  Portland will be a nice venue for a breakfast fete but only if you will be staying there for the entire weekend because going to Portland from Kingston in wee hours of the morning is no easy task. I do feel, however, that the Portland weekend of events will also attract those in the over 30 age group who are finished with the Ochi Weekend and Beach Jouvert.

Dusk
April 21, 2014
Beverly Hills
$2500
I enjoyed this fete a lot in 2013, so hopefully I can attend again this year.  The poolside venue is a nice touch and the music will be provided by Dei Musicale from Trinidad and Richie R.A.S (yay! x 2).  The $2500 drinks inclusive cost is also a plus.  This fete is a good choice for those who will be in Kingston for the holiday weekend and looking for a no-fuss event....

I Love Soca
April 23, 2014
Cost: $2000
Venue: TBA
Kudos to Andrew, Ian, and company for owning the Wednesday before Carnival. I Love Soca has become a staple in the last week of Carnival events.  By this time, everyone is pumped and ready for the weekend. This year it will be more than just a cooler fete with performances by Farmer Nappy and Lil Rick...

Pandemonium
April 26, 2014
Cost and Venue: TBA
All I'm going to say here is WE WANT M.O.R.!

Now..it gets sticky on Saturday April 26...A.M.Bush Jouvert ($4500)? or Sunrise Breakfast Party ($6000)? or both? From my biased position as a Trini, I would opt for A.M.Bush because it has a record for being one of the best jouvert fetes in Trinidad (even Jamaicans would admit to this). But then...Sunrise Breakfast was BESS last year, hands down one of the best fetes I've been to in Jamaica. If you have the money then go hard and do both...


*For now, we could work with US$1=JMD$110

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Jamaica Carnival 2014 Schedule

WOW! The Jamaica Carnival schedule is packed for 2014! There are so many events to choose from within March and April, so good luck to all you feters.
Keep in mind that this list is not complete and will be updated as soon as the information becomes available.

Dusk 2013

Ongoing Events:
Bacchanal Fridays
March 7, March 14, March 21, March 28, April 4, April 11
Venue: Mas Camp
Cost: $1500 (presold) $2000 (gate) $3000 (vip) $3500 (vip gate)

Tabanca Tuesdays
March 11, April 8, April, 22
Venue: CRU
Cost:

Soca Chippin
March 20,-
Venue: Mahogany tree bar
Cost:$500

Carnival Central
March 16,-
Venue: Ribbiz Acropolis
Cost: free

French Lyme
April 2, 9, 16, 23
Venue:The Deck
Cost: free

E.P.I.C.
Every Thursday from March 27- April 17
Venue: Regency Bar
Cost: free

Fetes:
Sunday March 16, 2014
SOS Carnival Madness
Venue: The Lawns of Liguanea Club
Cost: $2500 (presold) $3000 (gate)

Saturday March 22, 2014
Sunset Cocoa Jouvert
Venue: Hope Gardens
Cost: $4000 (presold) $4500 (gate)

Soka: The Spirit of Carnival
Venue: Lime Golf Academy
Cost: $1500 (presold) $2000 (gate) $3500 (vip)

Sunday March 23, 2014
Army Fete
Venue: Jojos
Cost: $500

Carnival Catamaran Cruise
Venue: Sandals Resorts & Spa, Montego Bay
Cost:

Saturday March 29, 2014
Soca Overdrive
Venue: Hope Gardens
Cost: $1500

Sail Away (Boat Party)
Venue: Boarding at 1 Port Royal Street
Cost: $3000 (drinks inclusive)

Friday April 4, 2014
Red
Venue: Mas Camp
Cost: $1500 (presold) $2000 (gate)

Saturday April 5, 2014
Soca vs Dancehall: Carnival at Night
Venue: Hope Gardens
Cost: $2500 (early bird) $3000 (presold) $3500 (gate)

Sunday April 6, 2014
Enamel Cooler Fete
Venue: Water Commission Sports Club
Cost: $1500 (presold) $2000 (gate)

Saturday April 12, 2014
Sundown Cooler Fete
Venue: Victoria Pier, Kingston Waterfront
Cost: $2500 (presold) $3000 (gate)

Sunday April 13, 2014
Soakin Wet: The Jouvert Edition
Venue: Lime Golf Academy

Wednesday April 16, 2014
Color Coded: Paint vs Powder
Venue: Aisk Parking Lot (2a College Green Ave)
Cost:

Saturday April 19, 2014
Rise up Breakfast Party
Venue: Groovy Beach, Ocho Rios
Cost:

Beach Jouvert
Venue: James Bond Beach
Cost: $5500 (presold) $6000 (gate) $8500 (vip)

Sunday April 20, 2014
Sun Rum Fun
Venue: Ocho Rios
Cost: $2500

Bebida Cooler Fete
Venue: Bayview Eco Resort, Portland
Cost: $1000 (presold) $1500 (gate)

Monday April 21, 2014
Canboulay Breakfast Party
Venue: Trident Castle, Portland
Cost: $4000 (presold only)

Dusk- Soca by the Poolside
Venue: Beverly Hills
Cost: $2500/$3000 (presold only)

Wednesday April 23, 2014
I Love Soca
Venue: Hope Gardens
Cost: $2000 (presold)

Thursday April 24, 2014
Frenchmen Blocko
Venue: Braywick Rd, Jacks Hill
Cost: $3000

Pandemonium
Venue: The Golf Academy
Cost: $5000 (presold) $6000 (gate)

Friday April 25, 2014
Wine UP Cruise
Boarding: Port Royal
Venue: Maiden Cay
Cost: US$95

Bacchanal Jouvert
Venue: Mas Camp
Cost: $2500 (presold) $3000 (gate) $5000 (vip presold) $6000 (vip gate)

Jouvert Truckaz
Venue: Hope Gardens
Cost: Free (with Invitation) $1500 (without invitation)
Packages: $3500 (male) $4500 (female)

Saturday April 26, 2014
Caesar's Army A.M.bush
Venue: Caymanas
Cost:  $4500/$5500 (presold)

Sunrise Breakfast Party
Venue: The Lawns of Hope Zoo
Cost: $6000/$7000 (presold)

Frenchmen Bazodee
Venue: Melwood Ave, Cherry Gardens
Cost: $7000

Glow
Venue: Chinese Benevolent Association
Cost: $2500 (presold) $3000 (gate) $4000 (premium drinks inclusive)

Sunday April 27, 2014
Bacchanal Road March

Monday, March 10, 2014

Carnival Monday with K2K

K2K's 2014 presentation, "Vie: The Rise of the Sanctuary" aimed to use birds to depict a specific life virtue. So it was only fitting that we were asked on Carnival Monday to represent birds of paradise.  The costume consisted of a blue and black chiffon shirt with oversized sleeves to mimic wings.  The shirt was worn with our own black bottoms, whether shorts, leggings, or bikini bottoms. Unlike many other bands, K2K had uniformity. A lot of bands tend to forget that Carnival extends to TWO days; therefore (in my opinion) masqueraders should be costumed for both days. I know I've said this before, but I hate when everyone in a band has on their own "Monday wear".  No matter how fabulous your individual Monday wear might be, it does nothing for the band on a whole which ends up looking like ole mas.

Waiting to cross the downtown stage
I met the band on Ariapita avenue after they crossed the QPS stage.  The numbers were small, but the masqueraders were having a great time.


Some of  highlights of my day:
1.  The shirt was lightweight and very comfortable
2. My makeup was fabulous
3.  Lunch and afternoon snack were provided
4. No problem to get drinks
5. The most vibesy sno-cone man ever
6. The DJ played nice groovy tunes throughout the day
7. The band won in the medium category downtown
8. There's just a nice familiarity among K2K masqueraders that I haven't experienced with other bands

No big complaints but:
1. There was no coconut water
2. We could do with a little more masqueraders
3. I really don't want to hear Nappy's "Big People Party" again....ever

After my first year with K2K, I never thought I would be singing their praises 2 years later.  I'm glad I stuck with them because it's been a lot of fun so far.  In a time where it seems that the bikini and beads rule the carnival, K2K is refreshing balance...

Thursday, February 27, 2014

K2K Costume Collection and Goody Bag

I must say that so far it has been smooth sailing since my registration with K2K in December. By now I have warmed up to the fact that K2K will not distribute earlier than the week before carnival.

My section, Macaw was scheduled to be distributed today (Thursday).  I got to the mas camp in Victoria Gardens by 3:00pm and was out within 20 minutes. I got my costume, wings, monday wear, and goody bag without any problems. My friend got a large bottom piece (which is a victoria's secrets panty btw) although she had ordered it in a medium size. She was told without apology that it couldn't be exchanged even though it was clearly not her fault.

I must say that the costume is fabulous. The gown looks more layered than the prototype which works well for me in terms of camouflaging my mid section. I will need to do adjustments however to the length. The wings are light and look very much like the model. Overall, the costume is pretty and looks easy to carry.


Finally, we were advised that the band will meet on Jerningham Avenue on both days. I am very wary of K2K attempting to cross the QPS stage so early because I suspect that other bands will be doing the same.

I don't think anything could top the mini picnic set in the K2K goody bag last year, so I am not that disappointed in this year's modest bag. It is definitely the same tote bag and cup from 2013, but there's nothing in the bag to boast about. But it's the thought that counts.


The contents of the bag include:
Magazines
K2k mug
Cher-mere samples and discount card
2 Protector condoms
Dove body mist
Degree male deodorant
Domino cookies
Dial lotion
Sacha gift certificate

So far my only real concern has to do with the parade route which has not changed.  But I have no doubt that this year K2K will look fabulous on the road and if we make it to the stage...

Friday, January 10, 2014

Carnival 2014: T-52

In a follow up to my Planning for Carnival post and with about 52 days left to Carnival in Trinidad, I'm asking now- how prepared are you?

Costume
If you intend to play in one of the "it" bands, you should have proof of registration by now.  If you are still waiting on a "link" to come through; that dream was as real as Santa came down a chimney for Christmas.  But fear not friends, there are several low key bands with costumes available and for less.  I also believe that costumes can still be purchased from Island People, Passion, Petlemas, K2K, Ronnie and Caro or on costume resale websites like Carnival Junction.

At this point it is okay to use your costume as a profile pic for all social media platforms.  It is important that the costume is tattooed in your brain. This constant visualization helps with your mental and physical preparation such as choosing the colour of your boots, bag, and other accessories.  For some, we must be careful to assume that we will look like the model in the pic on Carnival Tuesday. Ha! Very few of us are blessed with a "Soowan"...but if you think it's possible, more power to you.

The Soowan
Diet and Exercise
Luckily, my costume provides full coverage, but if you are not so fortunate, this is a very critical stage for diet and exercise.  If Christmas messed up your plan, fear not, there is hope even though you may have to fight up with the resolutionists in the gym (oh and remember to keep us fatties motivated with hashtags like #instafit #carnivalbody #carnivalbodytunup #frontlinebody etc). I would also suggest that you accompany the gym routine with an oxygen diet for maximum results.  There is very little time for anything else and air is very low in calories.

On a serious note, don't worry too much if you haven't achieved the much hyped about "carnival body". Despite what is seen in the media, most people don't have it; well except for the chicks in Fantasy.

Travel
The airfare is extremely high at this point especially from the US.  From other Caribbean countries, you are looking at about US$500-600, which is pricey. Kudos to those who already bought their tickets and good luck to those who haven't.


Accommodation
I'm sorry if you haven't finalized accommodation because there is none available. None.  Your options now are limited to what my Jamaican friends refer to as "kotching".  You may ask to "kotch" at a Trini friend's  house or you may request to "kotch" with friends who already have accommodation. Now, this is no easy task because you are forcing yourself into someone's space so ensure to employ proper "kotchiquette": 
1. Always carry your own blow up bed and bedding
2. Offer to buy groceries or meals
3. Offer to pay for gas because your host will be forced to be hospitable and transport you around
4. Pick up some top shelf liquor in duty free for your host
5. Don't "re-kotch"- meaning, you should not have any guests/kotchees of your own

Fete Tickets
I said last year don't worry about tickets just yet, but if you do plan on going to the high profile fetes, tics should have already been procured. At this point in the game, no one is "considering" if to go to Vale Breakfast, Beach House, or C'est La Vie.  Either you are going or not, and like your costume receipt, going means tickets are in hand.  But fear not, in the land of fetes, the scalper is always king/queen...