What a week this last one turned out to be! Thursday night a fellow blogger, Evil Squirrel’s Nest, gave me the 2012 Best Blog of the Year Award. And yesterday one of my posts, Day 120 I’m Afeared, was featured on FRESHLY PRESSED, right here, on WordPress. All that, on top of you stopping by, reading my blog and taking the time to ‘like’, comment and share. Thank you so much. This is one heck of a community we’re part of. I’m so enjoying getting to know you.
I love music. Growing up there was always music playing in our house. My mother had a beautiful voice. My dad? Not so much. Me? I had a boyfriend who said he was going to start a group called Fransi and the No Tones. That should tell you everything you need to know. He silenced me forever. I don’t even sing in the shower any more. We all loved listening, though.
And of course, I still do. How do your tastes run in music? Mine are pretty eclectic. Soul. R&B. Blues. Reggae. Cuban. Afro Cuban. Some rock. Some folk. Some pop. Some classical. Some opera. Some country. Some jazz. Doesn’t leave much I don’t like, does it? Ahh, heavy metal. Thanks, but no thanks. No interest in ‘listening’ to a migraine.
Oh, I forgot. I love soca. In case you’re not familiar with it, it’s a style of Caribbean music (calypso), that originated in Trinidad and Tobago. T & T’s also famous for Carnival, an annual two-day long bacchanal held on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. People go from all over the world to
party, party, party.
As for soca music, don’t expect to sit still. It’s impossible. From the very young, to the very old, everyone jumps to their feet immediately. Toronto has a Carnival, too. ‘Caribana’ it’s called here. Held the first Monday in August, it also attracts about two million revellers from all over Canada, the U.S. and even the Islands. The first year I moved to Toronto a co-worker, whose wife was playing in a band at the upcoming Caribana festivities, convinced me to participate as well. He said he’d also be joining in.
Needless to say he was a no-show. I was there though, in all my feathered and sequinned glory. It was a blast, despite it starting more than three hours late. Despite having to stand there, in the BLAZING sun (90+ and humidity) in a costume made of garbage bags (our band’s theme was pollution). Did you know garbage bags stick to skin when it’s very hot? As in, you have to peel it off, taking a layer of skin with it. Well, now you know. Ouch!
Despite having hundreds of itsy bitsy, teeny tiny ‘sparkles’ added to the make up you wear, on your face, arms, hands, legs. Any exposed skin, actually. And during Carnival or Caribana, let me tell you, there’s a lot of exposed skin. And the hotter you get, the more the sparkles feel like shards of glass digging into your tender flesh. More ouch!
Doesn’t sound like much fun, but it is.
Of course, those in the crowd who’d been through it before, knew to bring flasks of rum or rum punch with them. And you know it was over-proof, direct from the Caribbean. Which they generously shared. I was a ‘newbie’, though. What did I know?
No surprise they didn’t mind the heat. Or the costumes and sparkles. Or the long long, long wait. No doubt the other things they brought along also helped to loosen them up’, helped them to ‘relax’ and ‘go with the flow’. Not that you couldn’t get high just breathing normally. There was enough ganja around to sink a ship. The air was heavy with it. “Hey, no problem. Is island time, know what I’m sayin’. Chill. No hurry. No worry.”
It’s a long, long route. Hours of ‘wining’ (traditional form of dancing), involved. No ‘whining’ though. I didn’t make it to the bitter end. I got most of the way, but finally dropped out (before I dropped dead) slightly more than two thirds of the way through. You should have seen the looks I got on the subway going home, still dressed in my regalia. With my hair wild and curly from the heat and my face so red (from the heat, the sun and the non-stop dancing) it was purple. And from my cleaning lady who spent weeks trying to vacuum up all the sparkles I’d shed all over my apartment. As I recall, I lost sparkles along the entire route home. I left a trail everywhere.
If you’ve never experienced it, you should go. Even as a spectator. It will lift your spirits like nothing else. No inhaling necessary.
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain”. Bob Marley