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Tuesday, July 08, 2008




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Undiluted Sauce!!

Each year we masqueraders are bombarded with mas bands and their committee members flaunting assurances of the hottest most gorgeous costumes, an ultimately fantastic on the road experience and a host of other extras such as delicious meals and snacks, a well stocked bar and a goody bag filled with Carnival essentials that will wow us. For all this we, the masqueraders, are to gladly hand over our hard earned cash because we are paying for “more than a costume”, we are paying “for the experience”. At the end of Carnival Tuesday day while some of us are satisfied that we may have gotten our money’s worth, others are left feeling short changed, wondering why all those promises were never fulfilled.

Now, I don’t know about any of you but I take my mas seriously, and I do not mind paying for a quality product and a quality experience when what is promised is what is delivered. I expect efficient service from band launch to costume pick up, an on road experience with minimal hiccups and everything that is promised on those flashy websites; this is after all what I am paying top dollar for. When there are problems I expect that they will be dealt with in a manner that is fair to the masquerader with service going the extra mile to ensure that the issue is rectified. And though my costume may be advertised as being “complimentary” that does not mean that I should accept two string of beads and three plumes that some color blind designer throws together because I want to show them my support of their “effort”; I am paying (through the nose) for a costume, it is not given to me free!

I am not going to accept mediocrity when the price of costumes keep going up year after year, when time and time again masqueraders pay willingly (sometimes FULL payment in advance) only to be given a sub par experience coupled with insulting, degrading service, the mas band going back on all those pretty promises used to lure us to sign up with them. Each and every band is in this to make money, regardless of what the say; no band leader is in mas to come out at a minus on Ash Wednesday. Sometimes it feel as if they take us masqueraders for granted with the bottom line being making a profit while we get bottom of the barrel treatment.

We masqueraders should be valued for the power we wield, we are the ones that support a band, we pay the inflated prices, we are willing to give them a second and third chance and what do we get for it? For too long SOME band leaders have been trying to get away with just toeing the line, just coming out on average while they raid our pockets time and time again, and what recourse do we have??? It is an insult to expect anyone to not only wear a cheaply made, inexcusably poorly designed costume but to ask them to pay a month’s salary for it to boot!

Well, for Carnival 2009 “the sauce” is here to tell it like it is, undiluted; I am putting my MOUTH where my money is and no band will be spared! After the Silver Mist fiasco where Carnival Jumbie was vilified for speaking her true feelings about her costume upon collection, I realized that “they” expect us to shut up and accept crap just because “their” egos cannot take the truth. My job is not to play nice with everyone so that I can invited to all the events and only write glowing tributes like the usual crop of media personalities. I apologize in advance to all those whose feelings will be hurt because they are too narrow minded to look past the review and actually use the criticism to offer masqueraders a better product and a better experience. Masqueraders are not obligated to give anyone an easy time because they are new, when it is our money jumping up in band leaders pockets we really should be demanding the best from each and every one of them who think that they can just get together overnight and bring out a band, serve us drivel on a platter and expect us to eat it up with a spoon and say thanks!

The personal attacks will come, my loyalties will come into question and my credibility will be attacked and undermined but at the end of the day I shall be happy knowing that I have spoken my mind and said my piece because in this business of mas there are many looking to line their pockets without a care to the masquerader; how else can anyone explain why each and every band leader is not presenting anything but their BEST effort to the public? And while I am sure to be called every name in the book for saying what I REALLY think of their costumes, at the end of the day the costumes will still be ugly and no one will be rushing to sign up! Seriously, the criticism can only benefit THEM not me.

After all when a band uses superlatives such as hott costumes (extra T for emphasis), boasts that they are the missing ingredient to spice up Carnival, that they are full of passion and adrenaline, a renaissance of movement and sensation, that the fun has just begun are we not to expect nothing short of spectacular?

And while I do not anticipate that each costume will be drop dead gorgeous or that every band launch will be a hassle free event and that unexpected issues will not arise I am hoping that band leaders give us masqueraders the respect that we deserve and not try to baffle us with bull shit! The competition for our money is fierce, and to the bands that cannot stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, the sauce is coming to you with extra pepper!
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