Monday, March 14, 2011

the unbearable sadness of jouvay and too-small mas

walking up the avenue from cut+clear to the corner by the stadium where trucks await, where we meet the band, become the band, where music+bodies+vibes congregate to start the only orgy i ever been interested in, not for the sex but for self and the leggo of self and becoming more self than self in losing self, selfless...walking up the avenue to meet the band is the saddest moment. this is when i realise ting about to start and i excited but so sad because now is a matter of mere hours before the bes' part of the year, of life, perhaps, done with no more for a whole nother year. i almost cyah bear the moments before jouvay start because it already nearly done.
stop typing to clear tears enough to watch my heart take shape in black letters onscreen; i know i not ready to write this yet, this is why every year my carnival post ridiculously late, or never, like las' year, drafted but unpublished, unfinished, it makes me too sad. but i have tabs open on my screen days now, i somehow cyah read wha' anybody else say this year until i finally say wha' i wanna say every year. i trying to not let the tears wash away the words this year and ironically, it might be because of some photographs so wonderful they truly doh need my thousand-words, that make me wish i was there every time i see them even though i was, photos of a carnival season culminating is a bes' jouvay that show me myself so joyful+powerful i sometimes didn't recognise that girl when the photographer showed them to me. al*s gorgeous captures of the show+jouvay remind me that recording a response to these moments and experiences is wha' i here for, for those of us who aren't.
anybody who know me can tell you how i start vocalising my longing for jouvay jus' before christmas, when i feel i cyah keep it to myself no more, 9months long enough. then after ole years night i start asking in earnest: is time for jouvay yet? then once the 3canal show start rehearsing i feel like surely it mus' be tomorrow any day now, and when the show open i on the verge of exploding every time i realise i still have daaays to wait after waiting the longest year of my life for this nex' jouvay, the las' one always sooo looong excitement builds, i feel i eh go make it, cyah stop asking if is time yet, i start walking in the middle of the road from canboulay carnival friday morning 5am, think i'ma die if the las' days doh pass right now in this breath, until walking up the avenue, all my excitement melts into sadness at the imminent end of the bes' time ever and i almost cry in the road. i keep it together though, put on my jouvay warrior face for the characters out there with me and know that once i hit the corner and paint and laventille riddim section hit me i will know nutting mostly, for the nex' brief eternity, except the few random moments when i look out of my joy long enough to see those sharing it with me and know we will not be together like this again for a whole nother year.
my sadness is similar when people ask if i play mas and i say: nah, jouvay is all i need, once i play jouvay, i good (especially if i in the 3canal show, tha's my mas for the season, stretched weeks-long). is true, jouvay and the canalshow is all i need, i doh even miss feteing, but i do miss (not enough to ruin jouvay, but still miss) mas with minsh. after seeing my mother play minshall mas every year my whole life plus eventually being in the mascamp making my own costume and others, i eh see any designer since bring anyting that make me want to play. i promise myself i will play the year i inspired to make my own mas, and know with paul kain incorriging, it go happen, but meanwhile, i saddened by the lack of design-variety in the current carnival market.
i eh ponging bikini+beads. i might not be playing it, but i have no problem with it either and doh see bikini bands as the death of carnival. my philosophy is always that everybody should have the carnival they want once it doh infringe on others, whether that be 500lb. women in 8oz. bikinis, old men in 9,000feathers, children beating crix pans covered in oil+blue, doctor wining low in the canalwater (big-up mar for a lyric beggin' to get tief)- everybody is somebody, doh 'fraid. play yuhself! wha' i take issue with is ropes and general exclusivity of certain arenas, anti-carnival; the death of mas is in the lack of options; bikini bands have as much a right to carnival as traditional mas, they provide a service for which there's apparent demand and their patrons deserve the carnival they want too. the problem is that there aren't enough bands offering alternatives.
we have macfarlane (doh ever appeal to me, but helps provide options) bringing a big-band alternative, skullduggery might be the start of someting new (didn't see it tuesday, boo me), folks like robert young and ashraph bring lovely small bands whose masqueraders help/create their own costumes, a few individuals like the inimitable paul kain doing their own ting, plus some communities still make their own mas, but where are the designers to fill the gaps between tribe and macfarlane, and between macfarlane and minshall? bikini bands doh need to trample carnival if a lack of re-evolution leaves a gaping hole where fully-conceptualised costumes used to dance, insteada the green section roped neatly between the red and yellow, followed by the blue+brown version.
bikini bands deliver exactly what they promise, give them that; wha' we need is the promise of more...
walk good.

*alvin k. henry's photographs (including top of this post) of the 2011 3canal show and jouvay, from rehearsal in bohemia through 1st night in the still-under-construction-carib, tech+run, plus jouvay; feast your eyes:


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