Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Connect the dots: today the T'dad Guardian reports that Peter Minshall has decided not to design a band for Carnival 2004 (no link to the story, because the Guardian online archives are but a fairy tale):

Yesterday, Minshall's good friend, MacDonald "Mac" Ward, said he was disappointed with Minshall's decision, but added that a combination of issues led the veteran masman to take such a position.

He said one of Minshall's biggest grouses, and which probably weighed heavily in his making the decision, was the judging system.

Ward said Minshall found it difficult to understand how penalties are weighed against art....

He said Minshall was not happy about the quality of costume design in recent years.

Ward said all these issues led to Minshall deciding he should take a rest from Carnival this year.

Then, on the front page of the Guardian features section, Peter Ray Blood writes about Poison's 2004 band Retromania--specifically, about an "all-inclusive" section produced by Island Events & designed by Peter Elias, called "Jungle Fever":

Comprising renowned designer Peter Elias, Michael Khan, Jason Alcantara and Douglas Gordon, has turned to the genius of celebrated mas man Peter Minshall for inspiration.

Elias explains: "Because Posion's theme is Retromania, as required, I went back to the past. One of my most memorable images since my youth was Peter Minshall's presentation of 'Jungle Fever,' which I remember telling my mom then how much I loved it. It was not difficult to select this as our theme as it was the first thing that came to mind."

Elias said because the section is a tribute to Minshall, "a staunch critic of modern-day mas, especially the two-piece bikinis with sequins and beads," he and his colleagues tried to come up with a costume that would compliment Minshall’s mas aesthetic.

Please note what Elias says: his "Jungle Fever" is meant as a tribute to Minshall, who is "a staunch critic of modern-day mas ... the two-piece bikinis with sequins and beads"; Elias has "tried to come up with a costume that would compliment Minshall’s mas aesthetic". Then glance at the photographs accompanying the article, which depict a series of healthy young people modelling Elias's "Jungle Fever" designs. The costumes consist of bikinis (with optional shorts for the men), sequins, beads, & a token feather or two.

Just in case the point is not entirely clear: as a tribute to Minshall, the man who is arguably the greatest artist in the history of Trinidad Carnival, Elias & his associates have created a series of costumes that embody to the last square inch of spandex exactly what Minshall has spent his career battling against.

Since they're clearly too obtuse to realise it on their own, could someone please tell Messrs. Elias, Khan, Alcantara, & Gordon that they owe Peter Minshall an apology? They'll make a tidy profit from their handiwork, which on Ash Wednesday is all that will matter. Keep Minshall's name out of it. He deserves far more respect.

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