Glendon Morris Speaks

1983 'Man Crab' by Peter Minshall- Portrayed by Peter Samuel
1983 'Man Crab' by Peter Minshall- Portrayed by Peter Samuel

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I enjoyed playing with Minshall Reporters
Interview Recorded: April 25, 2005
Posted: May 15, 2005

I could talk and teach people about this sort of thing because I have been in it for a long time; it is what I do. Let me give you an idea about what I am talking about. When 'Man Crab' came out I was living in the States at the time, and I was coming home as usual for Carnival. My father was playing with Peter Minshall, and I think it might have been "River" that Minshall brought out at the time. When I arrived and they greeted me at the airport, they told me they had a problem. The problem was that Peter Minshall had brought a dead crab on stage. I asked them to explain but they told me I had to see it myself. It was the Preliminaries at the time, so I told them that I would go to the Semi-finals, and then I would give them my opinion. I went to the Semi-finals, and everybody in the mas camp was waiting for me to come back from the savannah to get my opinion. My brother, who is an artist, (went to Hamil Smith College in England and is presently teaching art in the Teachers College in San Fernando) thought he was an authority on the subject and said, "The best costume I saw there was 'Washer Woman'. I told him that Peter Samuel would win king of the band. They told me I was crazy, it would be "Washer Woman". I told them "Washer Woman" needs a washing machine. I stood up at the end of the stage, and believe me, when Peter Samuel got up on that stage, my hair stood up straight, and I told them the hair on the judges head will also stand up straight, and that the costume is either going to be first or last, and they cannot run him last, so he has to be first. They couldn't understand, but he won and "Washer Woman" didn't even make the finals. It was an interesting costume and it created impact. When Peter Samuel started moving the gundy, it looked like the dead crab was coming alive.

Another thing I wrote in my paper that I want to tell the Masqueraders in St. Vincent is to balance colour and so on; but you see when it comes to form, that is important. My best costume to date is still the 'Midnight Robber', and that is because it had no colour but the impact it created was incredible. That thing is still in my mind and I still get that certain feeling in my stomach when I see that costume. Even the song, and how he was going down with it, you just couldn't come close to beating that. This is what Carnival is all about. It has a lot of different aspects to good things and things that are not so good, and I have seen some things that are not so good.

One of my memorable experiences in Carnival was with Harold Saldenah's 'Crees of Canada'. I am fifty-eight years old, so people in my age group will remember that presentation. The other one is 'Gulliver's Travels', Starlift. That was actually an accident because I do not think they believed it would have created the impact that it did. If you remember, they tried to make a big Gulliver, which they did. Do you know what they did? The Masqueraders reduced themselves, and they really looked like little creatures. From a distance you could have seen the man and he looked like an ordinary sized man, which is how little people look. I do not think that they had really planned the image they created. I think it just happened to be good, and it was fantastic.

My most memorable year of Carnival was when I played mas with Peter Minshall's 'Danse Macabre' and that was the same year he played with 'Midnight Robber'. I was the most confused person at that time, because I played in the band, and I was ashamed. People were jeering at us in the streets. You would think that my most memorable moment would be something joyous or something, but it wasn't and I would never forget that year. I was so ashamed, and I wanted to get off the streets. It was terrible and they called us all kinds of names, and the people were saying things like, "Look what the white man give all yuh to put on, is back to slavery." It was a mess and we did not enjoy it at all.

I enjoyed playing with Minshall though. As a Minshallite, you did things not for yourself; you did things for the presentation. You went through pain, and you had to do things that Minshall wanted you to do, or expected you to do. People even used to say he was an Obeah man, but it was what he created. He was so controversial that he became interesting. I remember we were all sitting talking about Minshall's mas and saying that he didn't know what he was doing and that he was going over the bounds of the kind of mas he was portraying. An African guy was in our company and he said, "You know Minshall has created exactly what he wants, and it is the only thing you all are talking about." Minshall created controversy and that was it. Everybody was talking about it. It was only Minshall, Minshall, Minshall. What is he going to play this year, or what craziness he was going to come with? Minshall created that kind of thing. I would tell you how crazy we were. We were all sold with Minshall.


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