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Nutten foh nutten

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Ley me well-come home my Classmate and long standing buddy, Paddy Corea. Ah ain’t see him yet, but ah know he dey hey foh yet another Carnival. Paddy is ah student of His-story, ah Culture-man, Starlift Pan-man, Brass-man and best of all an original Mas-man from way back in second form at Grammar School (1956). He loves his homeland and Vincy Mas and grieves when he sees de misdirect-shun and de gradual de-mice of Vincy Mas.

Ah want to agree wid Paddy, it is painful how CDC has surrendered Vincy Mas to de Business community and Private Show Producers. De only money making show dat is left foh CDC to give away is Soca Monarch. Check out Tele-commune-no-care-shun provider Flow.{{more}} Dey doing ah one-dah-full job promoting Vincy Mas wid street concerts outside dey headquarters on Halifax Street; ah hope de Police noted de interrupt-shun of traffic on de streets wid ah Flow fleet last Friday afternoon. But yuh can’t fault dem foh Nuff give-aways! Sponsorships for Bands; ah five thousand hey and ah ten thousand foh Best New Song competition. Lots ah Goodies yes! But in dat package customers must “top-up” yuh phone wid ah $20.00 or tex foh three minutes. “Nutten foh nutten!” But dat is not all. Dey’s ah Flow Monday Evening Jump-up band. I heard de promoter on Boom saying, dey hope to have five thousand members, de band fee is $40.00 ah person. Tommy Saunders mental Arithmetic tells me dat 5000 people at $40.00 is two hundred thousand dollars. Even to watch de Carnival live on cable TV yuh have to Pay-to-View, dah’s in addition to paying Flow monthly foh cable. Ah tell yuh “Nutten foh Nutten!”

Yuh might think ah picking on Flow, but dey chief rival Digicel, is bringing ah Monday evening Jump-up Band too. Registray-shun fee is $ 50.00 ordinary membership and $150.00 VIP. Imagine dat, de ordinary people’s fete having VIP sex-shun. Oh lard ah fell-to-fall! And even better still, de Brewery/Guinness, de traditional Carnival Fren, is also having ah Monday Afternoon Band, $ 50.00 and $ 200.00 ah suppose dat is de equivalent ah de VIP. Lest ah sound one-sided or jaundiced as de big man does say; patrons getting de money’s worth, T-shirt, drinks, snacks and de Jump-up till midnight! Ah remember de days when Ju-c uses to sponsor all de expenses foh de Kiddies Carnival. Why not all de Steel Band on de street sponsored by Flow, Digicel, Guiness, and whom-so-ever.

As foolish as she does sound sometimes, Lie-Za wants to know why all of ah sudden, Vincy Mas has turned out to be ah Monday Afternoon Street Ah-fear wid thousands ah young people, dressed in T-shirts, plastic cups wid coconut water, mauby and juice (yuh wish), jumping like “Vincy Gone Crazy” on de streets ah Kingstown. Where is de Vincy Culture in all ah dis? Way de Pan dey? Way de creative costumes dey? When all dis Monday Madness is over at mid-night, tell me who has time and N-ah-G to go to Victoria Park next day to watch “Blondie Bird and Friends” and de other Mas Bands parade across de stage. Furthermore when yuh jump Monday foh $50.00 and $200.00 VIP (less dan ah Mas Band costume) who got time or money to play Mardi Gras on Tuesday.

While these well intended entrepreneurs creaming off de profits in Carnival, CDC wid dey tired, incompetent and poorly organized team, winds up wid MT stands during shows and ah mountain ah prize money and other expenses to foot. Ah will pre-dick dat if dis Monday Afternoon Madness is allowed to flourish, in another five years, we could easily say goodbye to Mardi Gras and its rich and colourful costumes, and who knows, good-bye to Vincy Mas!

Before ah go, ah “giving Cherry (Rodriguez) her Cherry.” After years ah trying, she finally get her Queen Show package to-get-her. Congrats Cherry! But ah calling on de current members ah CDC to step aside and give room foh some fresh young blood! One must never overstay one’s time. Dey sit back either drained or void of initiative and I-dare, and allowing de cultural aspect of Vincy Mas to disappear. CDC shows are long, boring and over priced. Look at de Calypso Semi Finals wid 22 Calypsoes, wow! After de first six, is like yuh heard dem all. Gospel Music has more spirit dan Calypso. Where is de humour in Calypso, de Picong, de double entendre, de lively and jumpy rhythm? Dey is room foh more of de Ras I, De Dum (Kojah Anthony), GAO and others at Semi Finals. Otherwise Victoria Park will continue to be MT. And Lie-Za wants to know, what percentage of de Gates (cash) does CDC get from dem Private Shows. Also, how clean is de river water dat is used at these Wet Fetes. Ah not dealing wid she at all. And wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.

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