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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spice 2010 Review (8)

SPICE Review

After hearing some good reviews about SPICE band 2009, twelve of my friends and I decided to give them a try for Carnival 2010. Now I know many others have already given their reviews of the road, I can’t give my road review because by 1:00 pm Carnival Tuesday, I was so fed up of SPICE’s BS I went home. I will however give a detailed account of the ugly, uglier and ugliest experience that I had with this band. Before I do that I would like to commend two Spice workers, and I know them by name because they genuinely cared about our happiness during this dreadful ordeal. So thanks to CJ and Rene (second stop in costume collection) the girl with the golden locks.

So seven of us entered SPICE’s Mas camp in September to register for costumes, while walking through the Mas camp we were followed by a not so helpful worker Natalia, who continuously reminded us not to touch the costumes (even though we were not attempting to do this). The majority of us liked Thailand, however when Natalia heard this she quickly informed us that we would not be able to get all our sizes in this section. Of course this was before we advised her of how many costumes we required or what sizes we would like. Still, going on Natalia’s advice, we then inquired what sizes would be available in this section. She replied, “I can’t tell you what sizes are available in that section unless someone is actually registering today.”.... EXCUSE ME??!!! My cousin (who has very little patience for stupidity) asked Natalia if she was about to turn away thirteen potential masqueraders because the sizes available were a secret. No response. To make a long story short, we approached some persons with a little more power and sense than Natalia, found out sizes and eventually registered.

Three people from our crew were foreigners and one of them was actually coming to Trinidad for the first time for Carnival. Being one of the youngest, her mother was a bit worried about the crime problem in Trinidad and requested some private security for her. When we contacted SPICE on this matter we were informed that each officer used would cost $1000 TTD, we obliged. On the date that we were requested to pay for this security, we were told that the price had increased to $1100 TTD because we were required to buy a SPICE T-Shirt for $100. We inquired then, what the $1000 was for and we were told that it included a T-shirt, but those specific T-shirts were already printed, so we need to buy one at Hilton for $100..... WHAT??? So where did initial T-shirt funds go.... to charity? Still we obliged. Fifteen minutes later, a gentleman approached my friend and me at Hilton, to inform us that Spice’s security unit had reached its maximum (400 individuals) and our friend would not be able to have her PRIVATE guards. Now, I am unsure what PRIVATE means to the average person but usually it means that, I pay for them and they guard ME. What that have to do with Spice security? Needless to say, no money was paid to Spice and the personal security walked alongside the rope both days.

On Carnival Monday we were at first irritated that there was only one small entrance available for the 2,500 masqueraders to enter QRC grouds. Furthermore that small entrance was made even smaller by two lines of SPICE security checking ID bands before entry. While we appreciated the security it was unclear why it was obvious to no one that over 2000 masqueraders entering through one tiny gate would be a bad idea.

I will refrain from commenting on the lines for food and the inadequate seating arrangements as this was already addressed in previous reviews. One issue however that I must comment on is the fact that there were drinks available in the food tents to Spice staff but masqueraders who PAID to play were told to go outside to the trucks if we wanted a drink. Yet there was no one who informed us of this practice as we roamed from tent to tent in search of a bar until one of my friends asked a gentleman in a Spice Tshirt where she could get some water and was told ‘it have a standpipe over dey.’ Spice officials, please keep your staff informed of basic information so that they can provide same to masqueraders. Not everybody knows who Anya and Rocky are if they need information.

Carnival Tuesday, after choosing not to run down the truck, and buying beers and water from a vendor around the savannah, we approached QRC grounds. Judging, from our experience the day before where there were NO drinks available in the rest spot, we went straight to the drinks trucks parked outside only to be informed by an attendant that the drink trucks were closed for lunch and restocking. Yet we noted that some of the bar attendants were giving bottled water to Spice staff members. Again, why is staff afforded better treatment than masqueraders who paid for advertised services? On the inside of the grounds there were two tubs with hot water, monster and red bull available for masqueraders to drink. As we sit to eat, one of my friends discovers that her macaroni pie is smelling foul (SPOILT), two seconds later my cousin discovers her Arabic rice is also SPOILT. We then overhear a group of other masqueraders complaining about their food as well. We decided, we will get something better to eat, all we need is some alcohol in our system and we will be alright. Head to the drink truck, ask for a Rum and Coke, to be informed by the same attendant, “All de Rum done.” But wait nah..... The trucks were closed for restocking ..... RESTOCKING!!! Where could the Rum have disappeared to??? How unfortunate we could not have gotten drunk like all the committee members did.... We’ll leave the matter there. Needless to say it was at this point that I decided that I had had enough and I went home.

All in all SPICE, according to a good friend of mine, we played with you three times: FIRST, LAST and NEVER AGAIN. Your missing ingredient proved to be Customer Service and though I am sure you will succeed in the future, these are thirteen masqueraders you can definitely kiss goodbye.

You Don't Say!

Which dynamic design duo is allegedly taking a sabbatical from Trinidad Carnival for the next year? 

If this turns out to be true I am VERY curious to see how certain bands will fare for the Trinidad Carnival 2011 band launch season, because their touch was seen in MANY bands, including TRIBE (headpieces, frontline tails, collars) and they were also responsible for complete designs for Spice; all but one section!

Interesting news indeed coming on the heels on the fact that  sources have told me Spice seems to have  been dubbed  "new TRIBE" and were all but patting themselves on their back for the job well done this Carnival season. Not to mention that this design duo were looking forward to fabulous designs for the Savage Amazon/Amazoni Savage (sounds like warriors eh?) theme that Spice is working on .Who is going to design the band now? Why are these designers now on hiatus? It seems way too curious for me NOT to be suspicious of these latest developments!

One thing I know, I surely cannot wait for band launch season to see what is in store, counting down to July!

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