Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Wednesday 29th March: Trinidad Carnival 2017 - Panorama

Just like Notting Hill Carnival, there is a night dedicated to the Steel Pan bands called Panorama.  Here are the small bands parked up infront of the Savannah stadium ready to practise before pushing themselves up to the stage.  I thought these were the main event and watched them each take their turn.  Then I got home late at night and realised the competition of the large bands had only just begun as it was being televised ......... all night. 
 If you can't make it down to the actual fete, the whole thing is aired on TV!  
See my Instagram movie clip here.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Tuesday 28th March: Trinidad Carnival 2017 - Saturday

 The cuteness of "Kiddies Carnival" continued to the following day with the official start to the main Carnival.  Now the parade's route went via the main "Savannah" auditorium which is the purpose-built arena for Carnival of terraces for spectators and judges.  Its absolutely massive with a central stage to act out the main performance mid-way between the entire day's journey across town on foot.  
I have no idea how the tiny little ones can keep up with the hours on the road or indeed keep on their costume.  Some toddlers are carried thru asleep in arms or pushed in decorated prams.  It's too cute, I can't cope.
Here in my snaps from the side streets, you can see girls with fish crowns on their heads.  One has hers on backwards and the other has taken hers off completely.  I wish they had turned profile so you can see the whole fish on a wire.  It's genius.
I've also captured the braids of the girls in the crowds for the multi-colour plastic beads that decorate the detailed plaits.  Everyone is in party mode, on or off the floats. 

Tuesday 28th March: Trinidad Carnival 2017 - "Fantastic Friday"

Here is my story of recording the Mas (costume) at Trinidad Carnival from the very beginning of my encounters - Fantastic Friday.  There are parades on different days in different towns at different times, all around the clock ........ but this was the first that I came across.  I was in the capital city of Port Of Spain to see a Soca concert for a taste of 2017's fete soundtrack.  (This included a live performance of Ultimate Rejects - "Full Extreme" which became THE MOST PLAYED song for the next week, so much so, that it was permanently in my inner ear even when I was asleep!).  We walked across town, following trails of children in half costume holding their props and headdresses.  This all made sense and came together at an intersection where the procession of bands were going thru a judging panel.  This is why they appear to be in line in these snaps, waiting to cross the line to begin their choreographed routine.

These are traditional costumes, top to bottom: Moko Jumbies (stilt walkers), Dame Lorraine, Baby Dolls,  Grenadan Short-Knee, Fancy Indians, Sailor Mas ........... some of these themes you'll recognise reoccurring over the consecutive days....... 

........... to myself "playing Mas" as a Powder sailor on Tuesday.............. but this moment on Friday was a real highlight and magic memory, as I had finally found myself at Trinidad Carnival seeing the real thing!

Friday, 24 March 2017

Friday 24th March: Trinidad & Tobago

Last month I travelled to Trinidad & Tobago in the Caribbean to witness the original Carnival as research for my position as patron to CAMF (Carnival Arts & Masquerade Foundation).  I'll be following this up with my photos of all the costumes from the parades but here is a quick intro to the general vibe of the trip.  The place is FULL of colour from the flora & fauna to the way the houses and buildings are painted.  We finished our adventure crossing from Trinidad to Tobago for a beach break after the city for Carnival.  Here were humming birds in the trees and soca being pumped out of beach bar soundsystems and carried over the thermals of the sand.  BLISS

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Tuesday 21st March: CMMNTY

I've discovered a brilliant new platform for finding direct access to international artist's work, like this Mr. Penfold t-shirt.  I've admired his graphic style for a long time and now there's a gallery to purchase limited edition t-shirts and prints like his.  He's part of an online collective community - "CMMNTY".  It's been set up with a socially conscious mission as an active enterprise to support homeless charities.  Artists have come together to join their creative output in order to make a difference.  5% of each sale goes to a network such as Emmaus who offer a stable home and work in the community for those who are suffering homelessness.  I'm not only pleased to discover this kind of revolutionary fundraising e-commerce but also glad to have learnt that this kind of charity exists.  Homelessness is evidently an escalating issue, present as soon as we walk down any street and I wonder how far away we all are from experiencing it.  I personally feel immensely effected with sadness on a daily basis and totally useless to help each individual case in my neighbourhood, especially living in a city as divided as London.  So its heartwarming that the artists of CMMNTY who feel the same way have invested their own time to engineering this scheme.
Head over to the site to see all of the names involved and check out the exclusive merchandise available.  T-shirts are ethical organic cotton and prints are on eco-friendly bamboo paper, produced with green energy.  See more on their Instagram here to find out about upcoming events and news.

(Thanks to Mitchell McGillvary for the photos, taken at The Science Museum in the new Zaha Hadid Mathematics Gallery)    

Monday, 20 March 2017

Monday 20th March: "ROBOTS" at The Science Museum

"Robots:  The 500-year quest to make machines human" is the new nerd-tastic show at The Science Museum.  I collect retro toy robots so this section of the exhibition was my personal highlight!  This Bladerunner era is sandwiched between the origins of automated clocks, astrobes and armillary spheres all the way thru to the latest human social robots.  It's amazing to see the evolution of robotics including amateur enthusiast models made at home from wood, string and chip boards.  The future is also up for question and whether human labour will be replaced by mechanical arms.  This notion is scary in times of unemployment but a positive flipside is represented with robot "carers" who can assist immobile and infirm patients at home on their own.  The collection of machines covers many aspects of research and development in recreating the perfect human ........... go to investigate yourself til 3rd September.