There is life after Carnival
Dr. Fraser- Point of View
July 13, 2018
There is life after Carnival

Let me first congratulate the winners of the different carnival shows. I want to single out Fireman Hooper and Man Zangie. This I believe is the 10th time that ‘Fireman’ is holding the Soca Crown. I remember first seeing him as part of the Roses Crew, leading a celebration around the Arnos Vale Playing Field after a West Indian ODI victory.

I find it amazing to hear that he is criticised for being sacrilegious. Some of the ‘make believe’ Christians will, however, never criticize politicians when they make claims that mock Christianity.

Artistes-dramatists, fiction writers, singers have all used this theme before. The Spiritual Baptists with their style of worship and choruses, will always appeal to the artist. Hooper’s relationship with the crowd is phenomenal. Luckily, he is not a politician, for he would have had some of those same critical Christians eating out of his hat.

‘Man Zangie’ is also getting criticism for some historical inaccuracies, but let us remember he is not a student writing an history exam, but an artist who is allowed some artistic license. He could play around with the facts. No problem.

What stood out about this year’s Mardis Gras was the numbers playing in the costumed bands, some being quite big, having I am sure, over 500 players. This, despite the hard, economic times! My focus on Carnival is on the three traditional players – pan, calypso, and costume bands. Calypso for me, is about social commentary involving satire and humour.

This is why I particularly liked Abijah’s ‘Vision’. He brought together all of these. If we trace the roots of calypso back to the slave plantations, satire would have been an important aspect of their songs, along with the double entendre where their Masters were hearing one thing, but other slaves understood the real meaning.  

The CDC has obviously been putting some effort into improving the Shows, but some areas need more attention. If we are going to get foreign stations to cover the shows live, we have to ensure that they start on time and that they run smoothly. The Calypso Semi-finals was first advertised to start at 8 p.m. I got to the Park at 7:30 p.m. and was told I had to go to the main entrance. There I saw a relatively long line and was informed that they were waiting on a scanner.

At about 7:55 someone phoned the CDC office to find out what was happening. He was told that it was only 7:55 and not 8 as yet. So, when 8 was advertised it meant time to allow people to enter.

Dimanche Gras also started late. At the start there were few spectators.

What the organisers need to know is that some people wait at home until they hear that the show has started. The late start meant that at the end of the Calypso part of the Show many persons were ready to leave.

The Mardis Gras programme was taken back to Victoria Park and advertised for 10. So, there were persons there quite early with nothing happening on the stage until the first band appeared at about 12 or just before. Many persons from the country who might not have attended the early shows and returning Vincentians with their children come, hoping to get a glimpse of what might have happened before; perhaps appearances by those who might not have made the finals, and also by those who were already crowned. I know there is a cost attached to this, but either have a pre-show package or announce 12 as the starting time.

Well, all is finished for this year and it is back to reality. How do we deal with it? That is the question! Our disguises are now off, and life continues.  

Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian