Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last Minute Shiz...



Don’t call it a shop or a store says Designer Robert Young of his latest venture The Cloth Propaganda Space.

Young says while merchandise will be on sale he envisions more for the space at 24 Erthig Road, Belmont.

Helping him achieve his goals is Lupe Leonard the Edna Manley School of Design and Parson’s School of Design graduate who produces under the label Asyiin, not to be pronounced.

The former printery of forty years has been transformed into a vibrant atmosphere that will house collections from both designers over the coming weeks.

Young says it’s a workshop, a laboratory and an experiment where he envisions a coming together of minds and energies that will be as well transformative.

The choice of location is deliberate and takes him away from the Woodbrook district that houses many other top designers.

The Cloth Propaganda space has been stocked with some of his staple designs along with new offerings. Ms Leonard is a craftsperson who produces artisan style accessories.

The store opened on Wednesday, December 21.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Sharing Time

So much has happened since I last blogged and even before. This is my medium, though, and it does not respond to all of the Current Affairs agenda. Like any good media outlet it is in that way independent. I have been busy with school and now exams while admittedly finding time to recreate in other ways. Two titles have been recently begging for exploration, Why I Hate Christmas, An ya Know What I Mean and this one.

It is the season of sharing though and I have been wanting to post. It actually feels good to blog, I may have said that before.

How can I hate Christmas? I told a friend of my intention to write about it and she said “you don’t hate Christmas!” I’ll say that in part I do. It’s hard to celebrate the birth of Christ when your thoughts on Him are not always faithful.

Hard to ignore all the good soca that has been playing since Crop Over as has been the case in the years since local artistes are producing for the festival. I wasn’t here for the Bajan Invasion but had my own version of it with Krosfyah when in New York. Meh trini cousin Karma's friend, who went on to become my friend too, was dating a member of the band and on Eastern Parkway in the late 90’s we could be found with the band. Can I say that to me the Haitian and Jamaican bands were characterized by a less than Bajan courtesy. Forgive me. Having covered Crop Over for many years consecutively I was also more aware of the selections earlier than most and would search them before the wave of music for Trini Carnival began playing. These days though Crop Over marks the start of the annual Soca Season.

This now competes with Christmas for air time and represents a conflict that is being Trinbagonian. Not until the late 70’s did I start to recognize local musical expression heralding the season. I swear if the internet didn’t in the main replace the posting of correspondence as in through the post, I’d go postal the next time I heard I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas, responded to in I never Had a White Christmas.

Can it not be said that this is a struggle for identity and valorization of the indigenous which I believe is eroded in some of the aspects of identifying with other than Nation, The United States is not exempt from a place with Africa and India in this regard, too England. They all continue to hold a dominant place in our narrative as spoken and heard.

Commenting on Soca last year took me to a new place. I wondered if I could have saidon the airwaves what I wrote in the posting? We’ll see how the breeze blows for me this year. I’d say here that Carnival holds no more comfortable place in my craw at times with all that separates it from Christmas. I can say that the rhythms of the music do make the medicine a little easier to go down.

The Partnership seeks to spread the message of its Live Up campaign. Does this compromise my independence or as was discussed yesterday blur the line of activism. Fact is in the last ten years at least four of my close friends have been diagnosed as Hiv+. The disease continues to spread, something to be mindful of we are oft reminded especially during the Carnival season even if we sexing down the place whole year. You know, like Christmas is Jesus time even if we live less than generously year round. Hmmm.

The NGO, though, seeks to get its material aired as a charity to the cause. On the other side though is the question, if your message is that important why not pay to have it aired year-round? AIDS is one of the most visible charity based causes, Breast Cancer runs second and I see Autism on the horizon. Of Hope, Love and Charity the Bible says Charity is the greatest. I sense some capitalism at play. I may be speaking from a cynical place but it wouldn’t be the first time. I mean even God? Can we say "yes" all the time "there is a God", faith requires that I believe, that is all faith asks. Yeah cause you sometimes have to fight to see the good amid all else that life is. Plato is responsible for the similarity in the two words Good and God.

Last year was a special Christmas as they tend to be. I have so far though resolved not to buy any gifts. I’ll let you know how that goes.

In essence Christmas is here and Carnival is waiting to take to the stage. I have one exam left. They’ve been enjoyable so far, apart from the anxieties which I don’t need a reason fto get. I went to a workshop. It was to sensitize journalists about reporting on HIV related matters, as well, we were given guidelines for terminology and explanations of key terms.

I have to hit the road and there is more to be said. Xmas is too a time for sharing of time and food and that’s good any time. I look forward to that, particularly preparing my own family’s meal as I do every year on Christmas Eve night, all night…hahaha! Yet to be decided what’s on the menu but let’s pray nothing burns or gets too much salt, they’re a hard two to please.

Did you know that from a Pagan ritual December 25th or thereabouts represents the ascension of the Sun into the Western Hemisphere?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

In de Gayelle

If I deny all that is foreign to me I might end up like Gayelle TV.

The media house has dedicated itself to 100% Trinidad and Tobago programming. It has struggled for that choice. Advertisers in this country don’t support Gayelle, at least so the story goes. In essence 100% local has not proven to be a winning business model.

It’s name, Gayelle (pronounced: guy-l), is taken from the name of the arena for stick-fighting, a blood sport that is decades even centuries old. Two men, usually, engage in a fight using a piece of wood taken from a tree, not one processed like ply or so, called a bois.

To extend on its meaning it can be suggested that it, too, means as an entity it is prepared to fight to the end in its defence and as is evident by the response to its agenda, with some offense.

My name, Sterling Henderson, is in the first part English and then Scottish.

As the story goes my first name was chosen by my god-father. I am my mother’s second child and she says the pregnancy felt so different to when she carried my brother that she believed she was having a girl. She decided on no boy names and when I was born it was then that a name was chosen.

The black Hendersons I have heard of hail from the southern states of North America and were freed after serving in the Civil War. Some of them settled in south Trinidad after migrating from the States, my father, Sylvan was from Belmont and before that I’m not sure.

Some might suggest that my name is not an African name and needs to be changed to reflect my heritage. I am Caribbean Roman Catholic. Some suggest that to really accept Christ I must be born again: now that I am older and aware I must consciously choose my savior and not accept the one given to me at baptism as a baby, I unawares. In Judeo-Christian tradition, though, the child follows the religion of the mother and so for now I rest comfortably like a vagrant outside the Vatican.

The story of Gayelle is one of determination in a sense and belief in self, too, of using the media to develop both in a nation, perhaps.

Abbott Joseph Liebling in a 1960 article for the New Yorker magazine wrote “freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one”. The title of the piece was Do You Belong in Journalism?

I write this against the backdrop of a world with a relentless agenda that reinforces through images, popular music and silence that gays do not exist.

All the music I hear speaks to male-female relations, some to inter-racial relations and some to praising gods.

What in my day in the media says to me you have a voice? What says I exist? Not much.

People never seem to agree when I say I hate the world. Maybe I’ll struggle but hopefully they’ll understand if I say it’s really about embracing that which is like me and rejecting that which is foreign to me.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Side of Politics

I met Slava Mogutin when I lived in New York and he dated a friend.

My friend, is Jamaican. He once told me he "hates" his homeland and would never return due to it possibly being the most homophobic place on earth.

I have in recent times, more so, kept up with some of Slava's work as I try to make sense of my own voice as a poet and draw inspiration from his liberation which in a sense came after he moved to New York as he was able to express himself with impunity.

If you feel so moved to check out his website and photographic work, you may be offended. I find some of it disturbing but such is the nature of expository work. He captures what he describes as gay sub-cultures, to be honest for the most part they are white gay sub cultures, at least in genesis. This is not to say there are no fetishes in black gay culture but to my knowledge…lets just say to borrow a line from Langston Hughes who credits Berry “The ways of white folks, I mean some white folks…” you get my point.

The reality is though that there is no gay Caribbean identity. This may seem like a jump but it is in part what motivated this piece. The matter simply does not arise and when it does it draws heavily on the mores and trends of North Americans who live a different reality. I ask myself how we are at same sex union talks when we haven’t even decriminalized consensual anal sex, not to be confused with homosexuality but used interchangeably in the language of some. There is a lot more to be said about that but this is a blog and not me attempting to justify non-normative sexual practices, normative being for procreation in missionary style only.

In the Caribbean the only institutionalized rejection of institutionalized relationship models is the mistress, the outside woman, yuh matey. We never hear of parents advocating sex of any kind not even between them. We do though hear of that necessary deputy and are allowed to imagine that this is where men, the one kind there is in the Caribbean, get their pleasure.

It speaks to socialization which is really the bee in my bonnet as I write and which will take me back to Slava Mogutin.

In speaking with a former media colleague recently I asked her about what caused gun violence in her area. She answered by saying it’s rarely drug related. She said a lot of times its really minor matters like disrespect, basically men and more so young black men now express anger with the pulling of a trigger and many times the taking of a life. This has been said before. It's also been said that belying all that is a lack of a sense of power, which is natural to desire and so gangs form giving a sense of belonging to a disenfranchised group. Within this structure one is now able to experience a range of things among them power and the ultimate form being to take a life. For leaders of gangs the power to provide as we see with dons in Jamaica and so called so called community leaders in Trinidad.

This week in T and T a man was sentenced to 20 years, in real time, for a brutal and excessive rape. Story goes he showed up at a house, asked for the father of the girl who answered the door, he wasn’t there and he proceeded to rape her along with an accomplice. Strange.

One radio commentator, and contemporary, in addressing the issue on his show which has a black agenda, a man of Muslim faith he is, spoke of the absolute zero tolerance for acts of violence against women by men. Here I can add that feminist activists recently told me, albeit under the pressures of a press conference and one which they were using to denounce the rise on domestic violence and crimes against women since the start of the SOE, that domestic violence affecting women in same sex relationships is a minority issue, they said more women were being affected by the violence of that other gender making the matter more pressing. Ok. Back to the radio commentary though, it was the second Muslim I’ve heard say it’s ok for men to hit each other but reprehensible for them to hit or hurt women. This ironically does not jive with the misogynist label usually associated with the faith by feminists particularly.

I aint so brave to disagree, as they say, “15 million Frenchmen could not be wrong". I have been conditioned along the same lines. I on one level feel different when violence is perpetrated against women. From a purely academic p.o.v this is conflictual as feminists argue that any difference between a man and a woman in terms of strength, ability and the like is a nurtured difference and not a natural one. The paradigm is changing though. Rhinanna's Man Down comes to mind so too the movie Columbiana, which I havent seen but have heard features a lead female killer of sorts.

It does make we wonder though if the ideal of a world of no violence is possible if we look again at that message that we send young men: they will be violent and we accept that what we won’t accept is violence against women.

I don’t write without fear but I am comforted to some degree by some of those crazy white people who do things that black people don’t: Slap Peace

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fear - A work by Christopher Cozier

Christopher Cozier transcends decades as an artist but is always contemporary. One of his pieces which resonates with me is on what he sees as the commodification of Fear.

It is reposted with permission from Richard Rawlins @ Draconian Switch E Magazine.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Characters

If not Shango then Caesar say “he is one of us and we will save him”. Perhaps not until he stops saying he is the Christ’s. His trust in himself has been eroded and he will not come to us. He is as decadent as Ancient Rome’s abandon, can not deny his roots and knows life is a carnival, a testimonial. Does that make him lost, without grounding or identity?

He found comfort in the rhythms of the Pontiff of Sound. The Godfather welcomed him openly, invited him into his House, and shared his smiles with him. Many others of extraordinary talent continue to praise him for his manners, enjoy his manner and he waits for manna.

No time to teach him growth, they have and he does not realize its process. He believes his benevolence as he imagines a father, shaped by a mother, a brother too. Not lover, not hater, not anything. He feels himself a new creation and longs to belong, but where?

The mind of that boy is damaged some say. Others say it is without discipline. Some say nothing but think of him, not knowing what to think. So many icons and his choices are curious. Dark figures he knows not wholly but burns for a connection without knowing why, distracting himself from finding kinship when all seem different.

There are voices that calm him and torturous choruses he can’t escape; his own sound to him sometimes a curse to others a voice of truth, a thing to comment on. He masks. Turn to him and he will to you. Anything else clean as a new page upon which a story is told, made up, believed. Sanctus.

Like a well you spring, kinetic forces propelling a thing that is not to be owned or hindered. “ah just shit de”, it had to be said. Candido Moldanado was an old, classic New York cabbie. He’d often say “Candido Moldanado tiene un coolo cacado.” I'd rode with him many times.

He should be a boxer the man told my mother. Not Ogun? Yemanja? Not the giants who have walked before?

Orion's Arms

Mummy and I landed in New York in late January of 1991. It was winter and extremely cold, not just because I never knew such temperatures but because even by those seasoned in the seasons, it was said to be cold.

I remember crying as I spoke to a family friend living in New Jersey, calling from a phone booth in Bed Stuy. It was the day after we landed. Bed Stuy then was not what it is today. It bore none of the glamour of a neighborhood being developed through its changing upwardly mobile tenants. It was old black families that owned homes not of the same repute as the brownstones of downtown Brooklyn and Harlem but of similar architecture.

The Mc Donalds on the corner of Fulton and Halsey, the Crown Fried Chicken place a couple blocks down and the odd Chinese fast food joint summed up opportunities for dining, or at least eating.

It wasn’t until the Super Path Mark came to Atlantic and Flatbush, many years later would there be any semblance of a more than basic shopping experience. Wide aisles, greater selection, fresher produce, a deli section and even a bakery if I remember correctly spoke to what I would learn to be gentrification. Out-priced by the rents in Manhattan, others were now willing to live in Brooklyn, well at least those who were willing to live in Brooklyn.

Until then when you stopped a taxi in Manhattan and said you were going to Brooklyn they would many times drive off without even an explanation. The talk was that many would take the drivers across the bridge into the borough and then run off without paying. They would sometimes say they couldn’t get a trip back so it wasn’t worth their while to travel out of the City. The same was true for Yellow Cabs and Gypsy Cabs.

The Saturday after landing I found myself in search of the Village. In search of that bastion of bohemia I had heard so much about. I first found myself on Broadway at around West Fourth right next to where the Tower Records Store used to be, MP3 buried that long standing landmark and floors of musical joy. My first purchase was at one of the many weekend markets that can be found around the city, a yin and yang pendant.

I would learn to dress for the cold while becoming as much a part on New York’s narrative as any other: lessons in acclimatization, assimilation and acculturation.

For me, personally, migrating was not about financial gains. It was about more and not that, I never thought of making it rich. I wasn’t able to have the career options open to everyone else as a below the radar immigrant. Living in New York though allowed me a space to be comfortable in other ways.

Many of my generation locally had migrated or were planning to. For some it was through football scholarships and others nursing scholarships.

I’m not sure any of us can say that the prospect of being somewhere else is not appealing. There doesn’t have to be a story. There usually is a motivator be it education, opportunity or a chance at a new start but the promise of the unknown and the mystique of the foreign have value, to me.

I’m trying not to get into the reasons I left not that they can be summed up in any priority. There is something about life that keeps me seeking understanding, rather to be understood. That too can have many reasons.

I could get into a justification based on the stifling nature of life in Trinidad and Tobago. Myth has it that it’s the curse of life in a small place, it is told through stories of small villages most times, limited opportunity, limited space so limited freedom of movement, protecting privacy is paramount and bigger is better. We accept these views and they have become our truths.

After my purchase and some browsing I made my way down past Washington Square Park and on to that strip where the fetish shops were. As fate would have it, hanging out at the door of the Pink Pussy Cat, the jewel in the sex shop crown, was a Trini from Belmont. I’m not sure how we started talking but we did and he was able to point me around. It was the beginning of the beginning. We went on to become good friends and part of a circle of young West Indians that would move as a unit for some time.

A lot would happen in the ensuing years I lived in New York. We went from Bed Stuy to Crown Heights, East Flatbush, back to Bed Stuy and eventually Clinton Hill.

I’d work primarily in the hospitality sector. To me it was invaluable experience. The tricky part is that an undeniable part of my experience in New York is a host of things I think many would wish I denounce. In coming home again my baggage includes contraband some may wish it didn’t. If they were to understand, though, that I can’t escape it and would prefer to rationalize it in a way that can bring peace to some and even love for others.

My Alien Registration Card is set to expire and the only way to save it is to just pack up and move back and go through the process of naturalization. My recently started degree represents both sabotage and salvation?

Migration is not without its problems. It can lead to a schism more so than as caused by a heavy diet of foreign media. I have heard the comment “I doh understand Trinis who does leave here and go Brooklyn and live with a set a Trinis. Why yuh go go somewhere else and not try to have a broader experience?” All I’ll say is that through the media we have assumed perhaps American values as a standard of sorts even on these shores.

I was one of those who immersed themselves in the wider society. Working as I did in restaurants and night clubs for years I was exposed to many and all types. My friends in New York are in great part of global origin, including Chinese.

As I forge forward at home, there is a struggle to establish a personal sense of a national identity, as one who has repatriated with hardly resolved views on my years away, in huge part affected negatively by what I believe to be Trinidad and Tobago values as espoused repeatedly. Part of me feels albeit slightly resented and mildly punished for having left. Too I think those around me would have had collective experiences that bond them.

Conversely I have a world of friends in another place with which I shared things that unite us, that keep me warm and are part of my joy. It’s not as win-win as it seems if it does at all. On one level my nationality saves me and the other my personality which is in part due to my nationality. At the end of it I might suggest that there are parts of me that I am valued for in New York that I believe are best left alone in Trinidad while my responsibility as a citizen, as I choose it to be, distances me from a considerable and meaningful time in my life, that spent in New York.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Humani Nihil Alienum

The first ringing of the bell signaled the official start of the school day. For five years I'd run around this community of mainly boys having what felt like a good time.

I'd say I missed the first bell every day but then I remember mornings having breakfast, making my first trip for the day to the supermarket next door, it would again be visited at recess, lunch and after school. I also remember the mornings I'd be there finishing or copying homework, usually Spanish, Maths or a Science subject.

Missing that bell saw me make many a Thursday afternoon detention. It was usually the same bunch of us and probably usually for the same reason, even though I do remember giving many opportunities to have my Thursdays booked. It was about choice and consequence.

It was in my first year at Hillview that I discovered my distaste for running. The last period on Fridays reserved for Physical Education and the making of men. We’d have to run the field at the top of the property, the name Hillview captured its only advantage. I'd bun early and never looked forward to the exercise.

It was also during PE that I began my relationship with football. I spent two weeks in a darkened room with a patch over my eye after a ball hit me full on in my eye, it came at me propelled with a force that may have lasted most of my life so far.

This is not to say that recreation was all bad, volleyball, table tennis, chess, the occasional game of cricket were all fun. I enjoyed my peers and it made competition different, it was always friendly rivalry.

I also developed my game of word-sport at Hillview. When you’re not a fighter, you have to learn to cuss and retort verbally. Many a heated debate, too, took place, especially about the popular entertainment at the time.

In my second year, I was voted class prefect. I guess after one year together my classmates thought I’d make a good something. We’d have to report on each other’s behavior, maintain discipline in the absence of a teacher and coordinate certain class projects. It was hard not to be biased I learnt.

I was made a library prefect in year three. It was because I had a good relationship with the Librarian and I think she may have even said it was a good way to help me to do good, rather than the chatter I was known for. I was also friends with her other stewards, we had stuff in common.

Arriving at my point after not being sure my self what it would be, school also teaches you about authority.

It is a hierarchical institution by nature with levels of students, chronological and otherwise and then there are the adults.

The authorities set the pace, to include both groups. They are influential and can be punitive. You begin to learn who you are, hopefully that self-concept does not come to damage you.

Not because I was a bad person but because I found my self on the outside of the preferred mode of behavior often, I also found my self in the Principal’s office often.

Bamboo patches lined the northern perimeter of the compound and so the legendary “bamboo” was born, a whip that was administered to those of us who were disruptive.

I was never one for violence but as most of us who grew up in that time knew, licks was normal.

I’d escaped it for the most part in primary school but became relatively familiar with it at Hillview.

I believe it was always justified and never felt singled out for punishment, it was just the consequence of me being me.

We would come to abolish corporal punishment at schools but not the idea of punishment or authority.

It’s been what seems to be a lifetime of trying to disassociate action and consequence.

It’s also been what seems to be a lifetime of a conflictual relationship with authority and rules. I’m comfortable with it in that at my core, I believe myself to be good, even when I do what some consider bad and deserving of punishment.

As the world goes green and we try to save the planet by going gentle I wonder if as humans we too qualify as nature and find ways to be nurturing and understanding of each other so that as we save the planet we also ensure that we protect its inhabitants, especially from those with authority.

The fact is that modes of discipline are colonial retentions in many cases. This is not to locate this in a post-slavery context because orphanages, mental institutions and schools even in England provide many examples of how discipline is administered either in situations that require control or the exercise of authority.

I think of the Big Stick Policy of an earlier U.S. administration in its relations with the Caribbean Basin.

Its one thing to identify a problem but the winner is the one that comes up with the solution. I cant say that I have. Can I imagine a world where bygones are always and every time bygones? Lol! I can’t say that I can. God is punitive, being made in his image and likeness to draw on Christian teachings, is man then as well permitted to be?

Humani Nihil Alienum is the school’s motto. It’s Latin for “Nothing concerning humanity is foreign to me.” I left with more than good memories and as my old school read:Alma Mater) it will always hold a warm place in my heart.

I was punished many times in different ways that may have hurt more then than it does now but how has it shaped the person that I am and could I have been someone else, someone better had I not been through what I have? I can’t say. What I will say is that I hope it will always be true that Humani Nihil Alienum.





Monday, July 11, 2011

Who and Where

This may not be the time and space to discuss who and where, but this represents the crux of the matter. It’s no secret to some, but not all, that your environment influences not just your behavior but your feelings.

I usually think of this when identity issues arise. Maybe it’s just a theory but I feel a schism between my Trinidad and Tobago personae and my New York personality. The former influenced by nationalism and the latter by individualism. I seek to synchronize the two.

More recently I find myself applying the thoughts on who and where to my course of study. If you didn’t know I’m doing Post-Graduate Studies in business. Sitting in the class I find myself saying, this would be fine, were I not here. Needless to say I find issue with the hyper-capitalist ideology underlying a lot of what we have covered so far.

When I first heard Beyonce’s Run the World I found it difficult to relate to it on any level. Then the feminists started slamming it over its misinformed thesis. They sounded off on FB about the injustices women undergo and questioned the impact of countering such a belief.

What I have always felt is that she captures the essence of some powerful female entertainers like Shakira, MIA and even Alicia Keys without losing her own story of success.

Notably, more female leaders have been elected in the last year. Too we continue to see the world of Sports expanding both on the field and in the commentary booth.

Yes, there are still injustices but maybe its like saying because so much of the World is at war, there is no peace.

A friend was visiting from NY last week and that’s always a good excuse to go out. I sometimes need an excuse. We went to Elements 5, a Pride Party at the YMCA. Among the highlights was a cross-dresser performing the very, Run the World. I connected with the song in a way I had not before.

In the Caribbean we dance with our waists, call it wining, wukking up or wotlessness. The gender constructs allow for women to be more expressive than men in the dance arena. An overbeaten argument in some circles but one that is not worse for the wear.

It’s undeniable that heterosocial environments restrict some men’s movements. Lest you want to be thought less than a man then you only wine so much. In Barbados I think you’re safe from the attacks if you just make sure you aren’t in fact wukking up on a man. Not even I escape the entrenched biases against men’s expressions.

Before I lose my point the drag act brought the song to life in a real way. The irony of course being that it was a man performing. I fell in love with the song, though.

In this case, the environment allowed me to connect with the song without having to censor my movements and so I wasn’t oppressed and felt free and something that I had not in the past liked became a source of great joy. In essence it isn’t who but where.

Denzil Mohammed wrote on Naipaul in the Sunday Guardian this week.

My most recent thoughts on Naipaul came after the publication of his biography The World is What it is.

It has been commented on mostly for his admissions of spousal abuse, patronizing prostitutes, infidelity and its generally salacious moments. I wonder if living in Trinidad and Tobago he would have so easily divulged such personal and controversial details of his life?

This is not to question his commitment to the truth or his ethics but more how what is no big thing in some spaces is treated quite differently in others.

The challenge it seems is to, live your life, as some casually suggest, if only it were so easy.

Now mind you, any perceived threat to being who I want to be at any given point is more mental that material. We do know, though, that mental slavery and oppression are real and not things many of us escape. Believing that some do escape means that the who is in part responsible. We too know that travelling and reading, even movies can change our perspective and so again our environment influences who we are.

I do feel free but in a strange way, when I exercise my freedom, I feel as if I'm getting away with something and I have got away with a lot, at least until now.

Thanks for taking the time to read this attempt to create some space for myself in this place.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Not a single problem!

Moments of inspiration or a beginning for a piece are sometimes lost if not noted immediately or even explored. The words ‘not a single problem’ have been tickling my mind for sometime. It reads dually in that my penchant for worrying requires that I understand what a problem is. I also believe some of what I see as my problems stem from being single. So even as I see my singledom as problematic I sometimes say to myself …“self, you have no problems”.

I like many in our country, still live with my original family unit, mother and brother. My father is dead. I haven’t started a family of my own.

I once lived like a family with friends in that I spent more time with them and shared more of my problems with them. I don’t expect either my mother or brother to understand my problems. At my age too, I believe I should be in a position to handle them, and I mean my problems not my family.

In an ideal world though at 39, I’d be married and so have a partner with whom I share not only the story of my problems but the responsibility for solving them. Being single and the days of family like friendships long gone, its usually just me and my problems, a double problem.

What is life without problems? Who lives life without problems? Why worry?

Italy, I have heard has a culture similar to Trinidad in Tobago where generally, unless males marry they continue to live under the roof of the parent. In the report I heard high level executives in Italy leave the parent-run environment to head off to board rooms.

My mother, who I am quite close to and love dearly, has mothered me all my life, its her role. So she’s concerned about my health, my spending, my hours, me keeping my job, my bad habits, my associations, my future…perhaps all things she sees as my problems. Mind you my being single is never discussed, this being, to me, a big problem.

Now I can move out but then that presents its own set of problems. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting to live without problems. Some say their philosophy is to see nothing as a problem. My mother advises me to put them at the “feet of the Lord”. I like living with my mother, even though I feel that it’s in the main why I’m still problematically single.

One problem is that even if I move out on my own there is no guarantee that that problem would go away. I have friends in relationships, some divorced, others recently married and so I know relationships too have their problems. This is in part why I remind myself that being single is not a problem.

Coupling is fun. Marriage is an institution. Marriage is a right, a right worth fighting for. It’s also something that some will defend to the death. On one level it’s about securing a partner, making a commitment to be there for each other despite whatever problems may arise. For one party it might be about financial security, for another it might be about physical security. While on the surface it is about love, on a level it is about pragmatic matters like who’ll cook and who’ll mow the lawn.

I’ve been single, in my mind, for at least the last 14 years. The last time I considered myself in a relationship was in the mid to late 90’s. I loved. Both relationships ended. The friendship(s) continue(s).

Being single can make a person promiscuous as the need for physical relations can lead one to seek it at any point and engage in it when it presents itself given mutual attraction. Does it sound as if I want to partner to secure sex? On some level I do. This means that I must be sexually attracted to my partner. When you love like we do though, this can be a problem.

Something always takes lead in attraction and I don’t encourage judgment of that thing or at least try not to. How many times have we heard “she’s with him for the money”? Or I could hear a Trini ask “oh gosh is white man yuh like so?” “I just in it for the sex” is another one. As I said I try not to judge persons based on their choices. Attraction is complex and kudos to you if you can make a relationship work and last.

So I continue to live at home, I’m single and I may even be promiscuous none of which will change unless I take action on them. This having been my reality for as long as it has, though, may make them hard habits to break. Even when I consider these and other situations in my life I am thankful that I find it hard to forget that despite it all I may not have a single problem.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Destination Hardbargain

My whole life I have been, to say it euphemistically and standard, inquisitive. In local parlance, I find it difficult to mind my own business. That may or may not be true but it’s at least characteristic, you’ll see.

I have been trying to manage some information: I, who in a sense bastardised the Soca line “no behavior we winin’ with no behavior” and came up with “full disclosure we winin’ with full disclosure”, this week began Post Graduate studies. The excitement was fleeting but real.

I have embarked on an International Masters in Business Development and Innovation at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business, University of the West Indies. I have never had an interest in studying business.

I like many who grew up in the 80’s thought Corporations were the enemy. True to form we as a world, in the main are now united by brands, be it Puma, Sony or Apple. They have come to speak for us. Puma with its developing world chic, Sony as the original East meets West bridge or Apple as a singular statement of modernity and beyond. The point is that globalization is in part facilitated and achieved by global brand identification. It is unifying and that is good.

Big fish eat small fish, though, and in the idealism of adolescence as we all sought to define and express our individuality anything that threatened that was the enemy. Business is in part about negotiation and as the years have worn on, some of us would like to think that finding that Nike that no one else has or using our technology on our own terms means we too win even as these mega corporations become as visible as they want to be.

So yeah, I’m doing my Masters in a field I have little formal knowledge in and one that has always felt foreign to my sense of self. I’m arts and letters not science and numbers.

After ten years on the airwaves and no interest in Business Journalism as a specialization I feel very confused, that’s the truth.

You have such a great voice they say, a reminder that folks are comfortable with me being on the radio. On my end I must admit to feeling as if I have a relationship with my network’s listenership, its an inherent part of the job. I wonder if this marks the beginning of our end, not knowing where this course of study will lead. It causes me anxiety, not a matter to be taken lightly.

The possibilities are endless really and promising. I think of qualified architects who transition so well to the career of fashion design.

As I admitted I have trouble minding my business, maybe this will make me perfect for consultancy.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Why blog?

A friend last night said that questioning our motivations is important. It was in response to my response to his question on why I’m blogging.

He also agreed that it should be primarily for me and while developing a following was important it should happen and not be the driving force behind why I do it.

In part my blogging was inspired by repeated calls for more Caribbean voices to be online, too the freedom of an autonomous place for expression can be nice.

My raison d’etre is also fuelled by my like for writing, the belief that I have a point of view worth sharing and a way with words.

I recently read what can be termed two subversive books: Apocalypse by DH Lawrence and Theatre of the Oppressed by Augusto Boal.

They both are quite frank and critical in their analysis of life A.D.

I am marking my ten year anniversary of treating Clinical Depression this month…TMI? Maybe. The diagnosis at least gave a name to an unsettling disquiet in my being that does wane but at worst obscures my view of what I believe is a beautiful world.

Popular thinking says that life is fun, life is easy, dreams can come true and I am perfect. This has not been my experience.

I started believing I was carrying too much inside, despite years of therapy. In a search for truth I engage in psychoanalysis and talk therapy that allows me to voice the noise of my mind in a safe, neutral environment.

Scott Peck in The Road Less Travelled, like Lawrence says all man has come up with is temporary respite from the anguish of life in the form of yoga, biofeedback and other techniques. Peck’s opening line is “Life is difficult.”

Blogging in part is an attempt at easing the pain. Apart from being entertaining, provocative and honest among other things I aim to do like some other things in life, provide an opportunity to perhaps unite in thought with my reader and dare to believe I have a right to express myself even if what I produce does not align with the preferred order.

The double edged sword is that from what I’ve read there is no panacea for life’s pains and too there is consequence, so by baring my soul even if in metaphor it can have possible unwanted results, cynical yes I know.

Most of what I have read recently, though, says the troubled condition of modern man is inherently linked to the dominant institutions that we have built and sustain.

Bob Marley says “…total destruction the only solution…” 3Canal sing in their song Blue “…turn the whole world upside down…”. While I cant say I have such ambitions I must say I do find the sentiments inspiring.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Prayer of Saint Teresa of Jesus

Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you.
All things pass. God does not change.
Patience achieves everything.
Whoever has God lacks nothing. God alone suffices.

God has no body now on earth but yours; no hands but yours;
no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes thorugh which the
compassion of Christ must look out on the world. Yours are
the feet with which He is to go about doing good.

You are the hands with which He is to bless His people.
Amen.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Taylor Made

Standards improve, including those of beauty. The progress in it is that it becomes more inclusive. It can be said to be universal only in that all societies have established ideas about what is beautiful. Therefore, the idea of a fixed sense of what is beautiful is true to all civilisations and societies. How it is rewarded is too sometimes the same.

The fact that we dont agree as a hemisphere, as a nation, as a race or whatever demographic and its resulting dialectic is what moves the idea of what is beautiful forward or around as it can prove to be cylical and trend driven.

What we must accept in discussing beauty is that disagreement and division serve a purpose. It is my view that it serves to advance ideas about what beauty is. There is irony in beauty, tragedy can even be beautiful. So can bounty and the finite. There is beauty in the extremes and in the moderate.

One of my favourite puns can be found in the statement "beauty lies in the eye of the beholder".

Rational

More important to me than form and convention is expression. While the former are important context and expression take thoughts and ideas out of isolation and so they become objects and not subjects.

Writing from where I sit/stand, though, is political on one level but too about my individuality and the uniqueness of my being. ALready bound by my human form, color, appearance, nationality and history: individual and collective I create on one level to create a place for myself and my work. This after reading a very good, beautiful poem by Christian Campbell, Bahamian. It was in an interview done by my very good friend Lisa Allen Agostini in the now online Caribbean Review of Books. Im outside of all of that as a writer I think.

Forcing. Forging. Its as basic as anticipation, I might as well be tha thing.

Bananas

Sitting in the developed Atlantic Plaza having just had an ice cream with an all too subtle hint of banana, the named flavour. I know banana can be overpowering, scent wise particularly but that's part of its charm I think. It doesn't stink it can just be overwhelming. Moreso when over ripe but then think of how well they blend into a punch at that point with their sweetness and aroma at their height. Also good for breads when past ripe. The yellow skin now blackened. Its flesh being held together more by will than potential for growth, the skin gets thin and fragile and its more likely to attract flies, sour or otherwise. 'Waste not want not' leads to punches and breads.

I also just purchased my first Carol's Daughter hair products. Left to be seen if I develop a regime or how well they work. With my limited funds it felt good to make a "conscious buy", all or most of its ingredients are natural. Its also very Fubu. Trying to balance cause God knows its still a very multiple make up mine and I try to live in grace.

A place of so much

Republic was the first restaurant I knew of that did communal seating. I now sit at Flatbush Farm, in its garden. In a post 9/11 New York it represents the response of people to events beyond their control. Meaning, I can smoke with the reminder that sharing space aids in the development of community.

The menu boasts of locally grown ingredients. They all come from Upstate New York and the relatively neighbouring State of Pennsylvania. Its a statement on the eco-conscious thrust which encourages shorter travel distances for produce while supporting local farmers.

I am enclosed by a four storey high exposed red brick wall building partly covered by vines. Its an apartment building of which the establishment forms the ground floor. A fire escape acts as a metaphor for part of the reason I sit here. A friend once said to me she felt as if she escaped Trinidad. I break it up and it means in part the place was too hot, you can take that as you like.

Its approaching Fall in the City and at least the temperature is cooler. I think to myself, sitting alone I can do all the good I want and still feel bad. Doing all the bad I want doesn't make me feel good though. Its all I desire though. In this place of so much I want nothing more than to feel good before, during and after.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The duality of duelling

In the community, there are two important processes that are served by the various forms of storytelling. First…as a form of confessional to achieve catharsis. Second, telling a story increases self-discovery and self-insight. Sharing stories with a group benefits both the teller and the listeners. – John L. Johnson


A friend recently gave me a copy of Seth Godin's Tribes: We need you to lead us! As is often the case when she and I part company I was spent in the aftermath of two humans feeding and feeding off of each other.

I took a seat this time unlike the last time when I just kept walking away from her house unsure about what I was feeling.

I sat in a familiar yet new place: it was a bench outside a health facility where my mother worked for years, I spent many hours there too after school waiting for her to get off shift, sometimes at ten at night. My brother and I would sleep there, run around its yard, fraternize with patients, some of them lepers, some paralysed, too interacting with the staff of nurses, pharmacists and attendants among others.

The place I sat, was too on the road to my High School, Hillview College which on my way to every morning it seems, I was late and when leaving in the afternoon amongst a group of friends in a babble or the quiet brood of a group of young men, I suspect it was more often the former.

Anyways across from me as I sat was advertisements for Ginseng Up along with other less natural booster drinks. The tag line on the poster said: The Root of all Power. It referred to the root ingredient of the drink, Ginseng.

In my post-deconstructionist mind too adled by what I term ‘G'ism’ i.e. the perhaps Hip Hop influenced reclaiming of the ‘G’ in every man, be it God or Gangsta, either which way a shot-caller or shotta. So the ‘G’ stood out as did the U as we no longer have time to write the word "you" either for lack of time as we hasten to…or to communicate something other than its established meaning.

I then go back to the tagline and the ‘G’ principle that you can forsake your humanity and claim your ‘Godly’ as a source of power. It is problematic for many raised Christian. Its an attempt at holding on to our spiritual selves without losing our respect for each other and our world, the fear being that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

But its natural, no less conflictual as we call it conscience and science calls it the super-ego. The great challenge for many of us is embodied in this revelation I had sitting here. This after adding another to the list of books to read, she insisted.

From a Christian perspective the idea that we are all God’s children yet Christ is the Son of God proves troublesome for me. There are heaven and hell yet there is much anguish over actions and fear of judgment so we sin as we are born to sin but then we guilt and feel shame and inhibit our worst impulses and we prejudge our actions and suppress what we would be naturally prone to do. It’s the flaw of any over arching ideology though. Patriarchy assumes a position of power that undermines the rights of women, while feminism rarely allows for men to be operating from any other place than that of a position of authority.

In relation to a big place, a small place is assumed to be quaint, relaxed, less modern even, than the former. The dichotomy of life is a repeated metaphor that suffers from the advantage of size. We admit that dusk and dawn are beautiful but still say that there is light and dark in the presence of day and night. Its either love or hate, no complexity no room for feelings that words pale as we again tend to the absolutes of the two extremes.

I am not beyond the trappings of polarity but I can think of there existing an alternate system of thought that allows for an escaping the dual that provides too, rest from the call of the wild and the sterility of the sacred, so to speak.

Back to the title of the book though and why I hesitated. If seeing is believing, what of faith? As we strive to achieve unity on the micro and macro the responsibility of establishing the code of conduct, the right and the wrong, battles I intimate many have won, we are left without a means of harnessing the energies and impulses of at least the portion of the billions of world citizens that fall within our particular demographic be it geopraphic, racial, sex or online community.

We need you to lead us, unfortunately reads two ways, either by stressing the ‘we” or by stressing the ‘you’ both cause me anxiety.

Even Gibran advises to be as the strings of a lute, part of the same instrument but making music from separate set places that run parallel.

Not sure if I have digressed but the duel of the dual is where the question lies. Rasta no deal with no ‘ism-schism’ and I’m no Rasta but I am one robbed of any true allegiance to most things.

There was so much I had intended to say in discussing this idea which came as I sought to reconcile the idea of the God in me, with the Christ I serve at times. While I hope my admission does still amount my faith to more than that of a mustard seed I also bid you Namaste as I end, an acknowledgment of the Divine in all.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Is it a crime?

I have been known to defend my infallibility, albeit implicitly. This is not to say that any view is beyond challenge.

Again the issue of the media's treatment of crime is raised in the context of concerns about the image of the nation, particularly in the eyes of those interested in doing business or wanting to visit.

It is believed that putting crime on the front page scares away potential visitors and so impacts tourism levels and too opportunities to make foreign exchange.

What if though, it sent the signal that we care about crime; if you are a victim here we will not sweep it to the middle of the paper but highlight as something important and not to be tolerated.

I have long felt though that crime is a poltical football used to embarrass administrations who seem unable to control the country.

This puts the media in a dubious light. Highlighted too in its handling of reportage on the so called Hanging Bill.

The Opposition oultined during debate why it would not support the Capital Offences Bill. There is then an outcry following the voting about disappointment and a lack of caring for escalating crime.

I am not is support of hanging, already haranged by life in this town I cant imagine what the drama and pagentry of a centuries old barbaric practice would do in terms of the debate and the resistance. Id hate to think of hanging parties and cheers as necks are "popped". This is all meant to show caring though. May be my low order being takes these things on without an understanding of what they really are.

So to show they care the Government proposes a return to hanging. The Opposition says we support hanging but the legislation in this form is flawed and we wont support it. The ensuing criticism is about a less than caring Opposition and a Government being frustrated in its efforts to rid the country of crime. I mean am I really misreading this?

They say dont shoot the messenger which in this case is the media, but as the peace-loving, fun-loving care free people that we are may be we should just hang people and plaster it all over the paper. Im sure from all that has been said on these matters it would not be a crime.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Certified Dead

The death of Daniel Guerra again leaves me at a loss as to what is the appropriate emotional response.

An initial autopsy says the 8 year old drowned.

When Norris Deonarine died of a heart attack last week I was too torn. Mr. Deonarine and I had many mutual friends and while we socialized in the same circles at times I wouldn’t say we were friends despite being friendly.

His death came a day after a violent attack on farmers in the Lopinot district.

While there was no scientific link made, he was said to be stressed and frustrated by the situation.

Mr. Deonarine was an activist and fighter and may have died in battle.

Young Daniel may have been a victim.

The possible involvement of a senior police officer in his death in my mind, brings the cause of death given into question.

The death of a friend years ago, first raised questions about the veracity of autopsy reports. It was suggested then, that attempts to control the statistics on some types of deaths led to dubious reasons being given.

This is not to suggest that the young man did not in fact drown but that there may be more to it than obvious to the eye.

In the immediate hours following his discovery, there were cries against child brutality and those outraged are perhaps placated by the official findings for cause of death.

It speaks to a larger problem though, one of trust.

To me the authorities have our trust and maybe not deservingly so.

Too with so much going on, Carnival included, I’m not sure we have reacted to this as we usually would have as a society, either death, myself included.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Today's nature...

On my way to work today I saw my first poui, albeit a bit early, and smoke coming from the hills. It means the dry season is upon us and the rainy season is ending. It also rained today.

What was most startling though was a tree by the Aranguez Savannah. Based on how my mind works all I could think was that I love God, particulalry His sense of humour.

I first saw one fat, juicy caterpillar munching on a leaf. Then I saw another and another and another only to realise the tree was covered in black and orange creepy crawlies, no leaves, just branches and caterpillars with filled bellies. I hope they were catepillars otherwise it wouldnt be so funny after all. It was ironic in that as natural and as harmless as it was, these feeding creatures, had stripped a tree of its foliage. It was stark and scary. If they were in fact catepillars and one day turn into butterflies, would they then be beautiful?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hein Sight



HEIN SIGHT

Is the artist a liar
Or is he of truth
Meek on the surface
But beneath a brute
On surfaces flat
Much like a braid
Strands become one
Chaos now staid
Keep up if you can
Appreciate comment
Gentle and strong
Cross borders of class
Bones and sketches
And plaster of paris
The world keeps on turning
Through his work
At night he interprets
By day maybe… he's a clerk
Is the artist a liar
Or is he of truth
His work so meek
With the strength of a brute

I do believe that the work of the artist is to make beautiful what is not in this world. Beauty is however subjective and so the artist is then entrusted with the responsibility of justifying their work so that innocence then softens what may sometimes be less than gentle, or cohesive or symmetrical or any of the other qualities academically ascribed to beauty.

Having met Bahamian artist Heino Schmid I encountered a gentle soul. This does not however rob him of his humanity which is complex and goes beyond the ethereal.

Soft spoken and very considered in all that he does Schmid is consequently able to execute his vision with such ease that it renders it ironically seemingly artless.
His gaze is usually far even when engaged in conversation about his work, his life and the world.

A trained artist and curator, Heino is not only qualified but experienced. While these may seem like lofty descriptives the contradiction of the man is that his feet are evidently and purposely planted in the same place that every other person walking this world’s are.

In his external world there is a feeling that not every thing need find its place and not everything need be in its place. This manifests in his work in a real sense as he tries not to create surrealistic or fantasy type work but draws on the seemingly mundane and overlooked applying to them concept and narrative that again read as easily as the proverbial sands through the hour glass.

Speaking with him on a random afternoon at Alice Yard where he was in residence for a number of weeks in 2010 revealed how his daily journeys informed his work not just with physical material but as well thoughts that layer his work in sublime and sometimes invisible ways.

Heino came across a yard in St James where he found the bones of horses and saw value in them. They would eventually form part of his final night exhibit.

Like many of us, Heino focuses on that one moment, that one great love, that one point of success. At the end he realized that all that he saw as incidental came together to form that point for those who experienced his exhibit. He moved on, perhaps not sure that he had done any work other than what had been on show. His gaze again fixed far.

Art in many spaces is the stuff of galleries and musea but where does it come from?
While liming at one of his favorite spots in Trinidad, the seemingly always open Smokey and Buntys he became captivated by the spontaneous architecture of the nameless probably homeless artist who used the friction and grooves of discarded bottles to attract the motley crue that frequents the Western Main Road landmark while also attracting a couple dollars.

While I too have marveled at the ability of this urban sculptor Heino was clearly moreso. It became a starting point for his most deliberate creation while here, the looped video of his attempts to have two bottles find peace, one balancing on the edge of the other.

He tried to explain to me why he had just a little bit of water in one of the bottles and what that represented in terms of it being a horizon transformed into something else as the failed attempt to balance the bottle spilled the water as it rolled down the slanted surface he mounted it on in the studio in which the mini film was recorded.

The point being that as we try to understand the artist, his work is too about him trying to understand.

He wondered out loud about why he found himself drawn to places like Smokey and Bunty and the abandoned lot that would have been the burial ground of horses perhaps recently or in a more romantic sense some many years ago.

Over a beer and cigarettes we would talk of the Bahamas. His wife would come up, the house they had built, the art scene on the island, his work as a curator and teacher and too a lot of questions. His work is in a great deal about investigation, discovery, internalization and creation.

It may be clich├ęd and even unnecessary to place him within the confines of the temporal continuum of art as Heino clearly inhabits a place all his own but the post-independence regional politics and dare I say post-millennial artistic sensibility are evident in his work.

Trained in the traditions of the Europeans, Schmid recognizes the value of the world in which he lives, the Caribbean that is, and seeks to re-present it and represent without apology and too without locating it anywhere but in the now.

His academic thesis, which recorded the journey of his finding a set of teeth and his attempts to find the owner, led to him finding a place for the work at a museum dedicated to dentistry, something he never foresaw. Again I see here how the journey is as important as the destination.

He left Alice Yard to go on to prepare to exhibit somewhere in the United Kingdom, the details escape me.

While it may be said that his work here is done it may provide a launching pad for what he will next present to the world as his art.

Heino one day said he had worked on one piece in 30 different ways before feeling that it had reached where it was meant to go.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

No Minor Matter

In the melee of fiery selections for Carnival 2011 two tunes have struck this listener in a really nice place. Me Alone by the Black Spaniard, Bunch ah Garlic, De Girls Dem Darling…Bunji Garlin and the other a duet Feel to Wine, featuring Destra Garcia and Super Jigga T.C.

Both songs capture I believe, using minor chords, a warm, almost plaintive groove that is not only evident in the music but the lyrics of the songs.

Bunji’s draws melodic inspiration from Coldplay’s Viva la Vida and shares title with a little known selection by Jah Vinci from last year.

The song evokes the singularity but not loneliness, of its protagonist, who finds content throughout the Carnival despite being by them self, much like the character in Benjai’s Wine to the Side, who makes the best of her experience having been put out and not let in.

The duet it is a ‘sweetish’ sentiment expressed in a season when some say “why bring sand to the beach?” and maxims like after you exchange presents at Xmas you break up by New Years as Carnival is no time to be in a relationship still are heard if not adhered to. This is of course assuming that the “man” and “gyul” referred to is a steady and hopefully not one met during the two days of druken…oops…I mean wanton revelry which would be fine too especially if you don’t want to be alone. I mean if the wine goes well and well past Ash Wednesday then fine but otherwise a wine is a wine!

I might group them as Groovy but last years Murdah while groovy plays on a social reality that does not evoke the plaintive or the groovy. Too 2007’s Heart of a Man is fast paced yet civil, for want of a better word.

When showing off your stuff, chord change is no minor matter.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

If you know your party's extension...

I found myself oddly dressed at WASA fete last weekend, but so did a lot of others by my estimation. Such is the nature of doing what seems like something new. For me a hat as an accessory and not a thing of function is a new direction. It wasn’t just any hat though, its an almost Legionnaires shaped felt number in green that only fit on my crown, worn with a voile The Cloth shirt with green embroidery and dark jeans with red leather sneakers. I imagined myself quite a site for the sore eyes of those who don’t usually see men so fancily attired.

Well its Carnival and so in the context of the season the majority of attendees were as well appropriately dressed despite the fact that it was to me noteworthy.

Men seemed more interested in expressing themselves through color. Apart from the sneaker revolution being witnessed the also popular close fitting pants and shirts were not as obvious as they are on the streets.There was though a paring of turquoise and purple in a shirt and jeans respectively that stuck with me. Another standout was my man Eniola, in a khaki-green one piece coverall, green army hat and 3Canal I AM Re-evolution tee.

Given the nature of the party I was not surprised by the men’s attire as it called for a more practical than peacock approach. Most at WASA go to get on bad, not to pose.

Women are being quite creative with their hair. Those with weaves and extensions had shocks of color that stand out against jet black and sleek mostly short styles. Not much of what is being called the ‘the hump’ where the crown is elevated by the weave or another material underneath the hair giving it a height and curve that can withstand the hardest of jamming.

The dreadlocked set have been wearing a new tucked style called ‘petals’. It’s a soft folding of the strands of the locks to create the shape of flower petals.

In terms of the garb a lot of and I mean a lot of females were wearing fish nets under their shorts, some more eye-catching than others. Mostly thick body girls with them cut ¾. A lot too seemed to have come prepared for the rains that did come, bikini tops with short-shorts and yes…stockings beneath.

The color of the night was definitely turquoise, one of the official colors of the utility, followed closely by purple which seems to have saturated the world.

If you ever miss my voice you can call WASA to be welcomed by my “dulcet” tones!

A Phabulous Friend Circa '97






















Of course the beauty of present circumstances and situations, the now, always seem to be the ultimate, the most intense or profound experience in comparison to the experience that may have taken place before. Whenever extreme emotion is expressed all else becomes inconsequential. What's my point? The feelings created by this relationship are not feelings that haven't been felt before (reality). This is the first time though that they are being experienced with these factors. In retrospect my life has been dotted with romantic equations, at their least challenging, at their most impossible. It can be easily said the challenge is a great part of the motivation that keeps it alive. I feel focused on. He is beautiful, absolutely. A sheltering stature and a calming energy. Beyond that I feel needed. His feigned naivete, boyish charm and innocence, humility and sense of humor make for a most wonderful man. What does he get out of this though? What keeps him around? Not being self-deprecating but it would be nice to know, to not guess or speculate as to what he sees. I'm not sure he levels with me. I know very little about him, about the past, the experiences that have helped shape this man I love so much.

Some of the past



Visiting photographer Carrie Stark asked to take some pics. I had no Idea what she had in mind but she asked that I shave my head. These are two of the shots from that day at CCA 7 In Laventille, once an international hub of artistes and personalities , now home to the likes of The Cropper Foundation, Embah, Che Lovelace and Above Ogilvy among others. No dis, just cant remember some of the other chic little operations in the building. Also good for a good home style lunch on weekdays!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Soca Woi!!!!

So Soca season is upon us, for many that’s a bad term as they believe it shouldn’t have a season and maybe one day it wont but not until other things change. If more artistes do albums there will be other releases to be played through out the year. The heavy production values in the music make it impactful and rhythmic and so most appropriate for Carnival. There has also become a rhythm associated with the industry in terms of releases being done just before Christmas depending on when the dates for Carnival Monday and Tuesday fall. In recent years some, namely HD Family, have been releasing music for Cropover and so there has been new music as early as August on these shores. Also the touring schedule and roll-ot of other festivals globally as the year progresses takes the focus on Soca away from its home.

Already its being said that this year’s music is this, that and the other. After last year I can say a good music year is not to me an anomaly, a bad one, though?

Benjai with his two selections, Trini and Wine to the Side was first declared as best in show. Lil Bits was too riding high on the early wave with Sweetness.

I might get jack-up for saying so but people not feeling Boy just yet. After a year off the scene, it was said to be for stoc-ktaking but I heard something else proffered recently that made me wonder if I was high.

The man of the moment is Dieffinitely Kes and it cant be said without noting the contribution of producer Kerwyn Du Bois. In a seemingly new found mainstream status, Wotless is inescapable. Some say he has broken away from his “ey ah red and from South singing soca” image and is now as “Trini” as either Promenade and the Espanade. It’s left to be seen if he will compete or just spread the gospel with Kess the Band. I last year said to a colleague that Kes doesn’t care to win competitions he wins hearts but if he decided to compete would many be broken as a less than genteel heartthrob emerges?

Consider it Done By Fay Ann (Lyons) Alvarez is one of my favorites. She is to me branding herself with a sound that marries arrogance and confidence under a coconut tree somewhere on the sister isle.

Her partner Bunji Garlin, still blazing, seems to have accepted that "two man-rat cyah live in one hole" and so while his offering, Hold a Burn represents him well, unless he comes with fresh fire I’m not sure he would get anything won.

Post-motherhood Destra Garcia is as prolific as always and doing a number of collaborations in her offerings which will keep her busy over the coming weeks. In terms of the Road March race Ms Garcia seems more like a proverbial bridesmaid and we know how that goes. Will she be a bride this year?

Nice that Saucy Wow has an early hit this season with Dingolay, for a dame as grand in the game as she is I look forward to hearing more, please Saucy please!

Also undeniably in the room is Blaxx. The infectious Tantie Woi lacks the usual strong narratives that I associate with his songs but hey! is either dance or sing come Fantastic Friday so we’ll see what happens.Its hard to deny once it plays, though.

Yes these are some of the big names and some of the big tunes with a lot more happening on the airwaves, with the pirates and even the older bards.

The guard has been changing and while me blogging about this may also be indicative of a change,life has proven there are no guarantees.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Giovanni

Because you dont know. Because you'll never know. Because you are to me all that you can be. Because you are all to me that I want you to be, always. Because you are all to me. Because you believe me. Because you believe in me. Because you never make me explain, because you always understand. Because you protect me. Because you make me feel safe. Because you make me believe in me, that there is a me. Because you show trust that trust and love are real, I will never say goodbye.

For the lion cub sleeping with the crab I wont even cry in moments of absolute tragedy. For the lion cub sleeping with the crab I wont even fear in moments of despair. For the lion cub sleeping with the crab I'll be one thought away. For the lion cub sleepng with the crab I'll always be here. For the lion cub sleeping with the crab, I'll always be me.