So It Go
It happens without fail: every time I come or go from our major airport at Timehri, I’m caught up in a memory of the time in the mid-1950s when I worked there as a youngster .
From a youth in Saints, dealing with Mr Singh and Mr Stanley Fernandes who taught us English, I was drawn to the intricacies of words and the shades of meaning that one could extract merely from word choice .
Somewhere in the early ’80s, Tradewinds came to Guyana to take part in Mashramani with a substitute bass player, Burman Scott, from Cayman .
When I lived in the Cayman Islands, I became friendly with a young businessman there largely based on our interest in Caribbean culture, personalities, social movements, etc .
Guyana is up in arms this week over news that the Chinese are building a Marriott Hotel here but not employing any Guyanese in the construction work, and that we’re also going to have a Chinese TV channel; yes, Sumintra, a Chinese TV channel in Guyana .
In recent weeks, probably propelled by fading hopes for “a new day” with our new Parliament, we have seen some stirring letters to the press citing Guyana’s diverse difficulties and calling for the citizenry to become more socially active .
In just a few months from now, the regional airline LIAT will begin using the expanded facilities at Ogle Airport ferrying passengers to and from the Caribbean .
Anyone who knows anything about my work in music will know of my commitment to Caribbean dialect .
On civic matters in Guyana, while there are often opportunities for discussion or exchange, we have a marked tendency to eschew that route and simply make pronouncements .
Wherever we happen to live, our end-of-year diversions usually include the media interest in New Year resolutions .
From the start of Tradewinds, I’ve always had a thing with ‘dem Bajans .
Good musical sense is the ability to know, without being directed, what to play and where to play it and, just as importantly, when not to play at all .
Ever since I can remember, I’ve had this interest about understanding how things work, about the intricacies at play, about the skills involved .
Among the many admirable qualities in mankind, probably the most galvanizing is the willingness to say, “I was wrong .
Sorry to disappoint you, but the widely popular notion of art as being the result of a spur-of-the-moment inspiration, of a bulb lighting up, is one that is generally false .
Many of us in the Caribbean have it in for the USA – the interference in the affairs of other countries; the deadly machinations of their agencies such as the CIA and the FBI; their massively corrupt system of lobbying government running in the millions of dollars daily; their opiate problem – the list goes on – but there are times when you simply have to hand it to America .
Anyone with even basic awareness must be conscious of the many difficulties we face dealing with daily life in Guyana .
It is a part of human nature here and elsewhere that we sometimes deal with contentious issues by adopting a position of delusion, so as not to deal with the unpleasantly real factors involved .
I’ve said it before .
Many of us grew up in a Caribbean where the frequent message, ranging from gently implied to pungently expressed, was that we were a second-rate people .
Sports on television and radio is part of modern life .
Nothing in history, not even the Industrial Revolution, has produced anything remotely like the staggering level of change that has descended on the world with the technological revolution now spinning faster and faster around mankind .
Newcomers to driving in Guyana, either born here or recently come here, are at some disadvantage with the material given to them by the Motor Vehicle Licence Office .
I’m a bit of a romantic – some would even say quite a bit – so I’ve always been fascinated by the approaches men take as they set about, as we used to say in Guyana, to “trap a binny” .
This is my 50th year in the entertainment business, and along the way there’s been much to be grateful for .
We tend to read or listen to the writers or pundits with whom we agree .
There are times in our lives when we’re concerned about some condition around us, but we get caught up with more pressing matters and the concern fades for a while .
Many of the persons with a creative bent I know have this inclination to notice things in their societies that seem to escape most people, and not only notice but become irritated at the negative ones and take delight over the positives .
It could be the country boy in me propelling it, but it takes me quite a while to latch onto new trends .
It’s not obvious – in fact it’s often completely overlooked – but the truth is that in every high quality performance in the arts, including literature, the writing is the key .
Folks who come back to Guyana, even for a visit, are hardly off the plane before they suddenly become experts on what’s wrong with the country .
There are all sorts of strange tales about my song Not A Blade O’ Grass .
As much as we talk about “the region” in one context or another, as a kind of given, and as much as some of our political leaders – Forbes Burnham, Owen Arthur, Ralph Gonsalves, etc .
One of the best examples of what can be described as “cliché thinking” is to be found in the frequent diatribes against well-known artistes, particularly popular singers, who are lambasted these days for leading the public, more especially youth, into various negative social actions .
With the explosive running performances in its recent Track and Field Championships, Jamaica is again in the world press for the world-class calibre of its athletes .
I know I’m not breaking any new ground here in my assertion that while there are surely many men who are standout human beings, men, as social beings, are generally jackasses .
It comes with the territory; when you achieve some sort of prominence in the arts, people are naturally curious about the process .