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Monday, May 04, 2009

Sunny Side Up - The Review

Greetings peeps, Kermit here bringing you coverage from Sunny Side Up 2009, one of the premier fetes (breakfast or otherwise) for the carnival season. Since I was not in Trinidad for carnival in 2008, I missed SSU and all its revelry so I was determined to make up for lost time this year.

I have been a staunch supporter of Sunny Side Up since its inception and I have not been disappointed by any of their events but to me, the breakfast fete is the principal fete for carnival and it is certainly the one I look forward to the most. Maybe it is because it is kind of related to J’Ouvert but not as intense or maybe it is because it sort of warms you up for duttyness in the streets by giving you a taste of early morning-going-into-noon jamishness the night before, who knows. While it is true that there is no mud or paint at the breakfast fete and obviously the fete is in one place and not roaming through the streets, make no mistake, there is plenty jamishness here and that is what I will comment on this year.

If you have read any of my previous posts about Sunny Side Up breakfast fetes, you will already know about the major features which can be found at this fete. You will no doubt have heard about the several well stocked and well manned bars that are to be found up and down the fete area. You will also have heard about the live entertainment which is somewhat of a novelty at a breakfast fete but works very well at this venue and with this crowd. Of course you will have read about the sprinkler section in the fete as well as the fact that it is located next to the foam section which is a source of much wildness. It is because the aforementioned features are of the same high quality now as they were when SSU first began that there is no need to expound on their virtues yet again. What I will instead touch on today is a perceived shift in the Sunny Side Up demographic.

When it first began, SSU’s attendees were a pretty well defined set. Everyone seemed to be roughly in the same age group and most even looked like they would party at the same fetes and move in the same circles which was not too surprising since, as the expression goes, birds of a feather flock together. One of SSU’s greatest strengths was that you were never really too concerned about your safety while you were at their fete. This was a party where you could eat and drink all you want and feel comfortable without having to keep an eye open for a fight, a bandit, or some other random assness that usually takes place at many of the other carnival events. You felt like you were at a family reunion and while you really didn’t know everyone present all that well, you knew that they were family no matter how distant the link. A cousin is still a cousin even if you’ve never met before and since family is after all, family, you could relax a bit and somewhat let down your guard around them. Well, that was then and this is now and while the family feeling is definitely still in full effect, not only are we liming with the cousins that are our age, several new generations have now found their way to the party and have apparently settled in nicely.

Yes peeps, the whole family is now up in the fete jumping and wining and waving, elbow to elbow with us and giving us a look as if to say “Whaappen? Yuh didn’t think ah like tuh wine too or wha?” Maybe this trend started last year in my absence, but I noticed it fairly early into the morning and as the sun rose, I realized that the many of the subjects of my pictures were not the same as in 2007. The hotties were there naturally, as were the lukewarmies (ones that look like they look hot but when yuh check the pic after yuh take it yuh realize nahhhhh, not so much eh), and even the posers, maccos, horners (usually wrap up in one of de yards away from the general feteing population) were present but the more pics I took, the more I realized that the crowd had added two distinct groups: the Nephew and Niece Crew (NANC) and the Aunt and Uncle Posse (AUP).

The NANCs are characterized by their youthful appearance and their exuberant, joyful partying. I dare say that we were all part of a NANC at one point in time, but I don’t ever remember doing my fete thing at an event where so much of an older crowd was present and was doing their fete thing too. I will say that their partying enthusiasm was off the charts and as I watched them form groups, gyrate and jump with each other only to separate, form different groups and do it all again, all morning, even I was impressed by the energy they expended and the apparent ease with which they did so. Sheer delight was all over their faces and they seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves which of course is the point of any fete. The AUP however, was on a different scene.

AUPs have a slightly different purpose in a fete. Yes they are there to enjoy themselves and to see and be seen, but with their age and fete maturity comes an added responsibility: they are there to make sure that the youngsters i.e. NANCs have an example of what good feteing technique looks like and the AUPs took this responsibility quite seriously. It seemed that wherever there was a NANC getting on bad, there was an AUP not far away getting on worse but doing so not in a showing off kind of way, but in a “here-is-the-right-way-to-wine-on-a-tree-and-use-one-foot-to-brace-yourself-on-it” instructional kind of way.

Peeps, it was a scene straight from a National Geographic special (in HD of course) and I could even hear the narrator in his hushed, authoritarian, BBC announcey-type voice saying: “And here we see the young ones full of energy and activity but wining in a most inefficient way. See how not all their bottoms are being wined upon and look there, someone has spilled a drink. Ahhh. What a shame they are not heeding the examples being shown by their elders just a few feet away. Notice how one elder can wine in an almost horizontal position by leaning against a wall, keeping one foot on the ground, while having the other foot wrapped around the waist of her partner. Amazing skill. Meanwhile, her partner, while not only focusing on the foot wrapped around his waist, is also focusing on the pair of gyrating hips on either side of him not to mention the 4 drinks he is carrying. It looks like this poor chap doesn’t even know who these people are. He was just returning from a trip to the bar and got lost but it would be rude not to wine back and so he does.”

When the foam and water flowed everybody got involved, from the young and restless to the bold and the…..ahmmm, well ....yeah, just the bold. When the tustyness started up on stage and off, NANC, AUP, and everybody in between joined in whole heartedly and I realized that maybe, just maybe in a kind of distant (but not very) future, somebody would write about my generation’s fete habits in much the same way that I am doing now and the circle of feteing would revolve yet again. I say circle because as we all know, a circle has no end and since feteing is the true fountain of youth, I see no reason why we should ever stop feteing no matter what age we happen to be. Judging from the actions of the AUPs at the fete, when the sun rose on Sunny Side Up they were definitely made young again and they were happy to share that regeneration with all present.

Congratulations SSU crew for hosting another wonderful fete and I look forward to doing it again in 2010.


Enjoy the pics peeps, J’Ouvert is next…..

Ps. Even though I have been doing my best to condense the number of pics I share, this album is a bit larger that my previous 2009 carnival albums and I fear the final two will be even larger. J’Ouvert will not be too much bigger than this one but Carnival Tuesday will be massive. You have been warned. Ribbit.

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