So It Go

Ethnicity rules

Ethnicity rules

In the early 1990s, during the ‘mo fyah’ disturbances, a prominent Guyanese political figure called me in Toronto with the suggestion that I should write a song to help calm tensions .

Masters at work

Masters at work

Every now and then you run into people who are true masters at what they do .

Keeping the pot bubbling

Keeping the pot bubbling

Out of nowhere, sometimes from a complete stranger, sometimes from someone who knows you intimately, a chance remark will come to you and set you thinking about a subject you had not previously considered .

Passion ruling reason

Passion ruling reason

I approach the columns I write for Stabroek News appreciating that, among other things, they are likely to trigger discussion .

From Kaieteur to Niagara – on a bicycle

From Kaieteur to Niagara – on a bicycle

Approximately 15 years ago yesterday, a young man from Berbice arrived at Niagara Falls, Ontario .

Not so godforsaken after all

Not so godforsaken after all

Within a month or so of returning home to live, I found myself in a well-known lawyer’s office in town to have a document notarized .

We’re spoiled rotten

We’re spoiled rotten

I’m driving with this Canadian lady heading for “cottage country” in Northern Ontario .

Forgetting the forerunners

Forgetting the forerunners

This started with a comment from my friend Henry Muttoo, the theatre whiz, following a piece of poetry by Louise Bennett I had sent him .

Pictures without sound

Pictures without sound

I hate to travel .

You cannot teach talent

You cannot teach talent

When I formed the Tradewinds band in Toronto in the late 1960s, we played frequently at a small bar downtown on Yonge Street (the main drag) called the Bermuda Tavern .

When next you doubt

When next you doubt

I’m a big fan of the American evangelist Bishop T D Jacques .

Giving thanks

Giving thanks

About four years ago I travelled from Cayman for the funeral of my friend Bobby Clarke who had died in Castries after a tough two-year battle with cancer .

The past is over rated

The past is over rated

Hardly a day goes by without someone, in a private gaff or a public forum, waxing eloquently about “the good old days,” and how great things were then, and how unfortunate our young people  .

My songs

My songs

This may surprise you, but it has taken me a long time to realise how deeply my songs have penetrated the Caribbean culture generally, and particularly that of Guyana .

When they laugh, you’re done

When they laugh, you’re done

The progression of the prominent, the ones who appear before us as elected politician, social activist, business tycoon, etc, is intriguing for the different stages in the professional lives of these individuals .

Goats in Caribbean life

Goats in Caribbean life

Living in a generally benign climate, Caribbean people have a close relationship with the creatures of nature, but there’s a particular relationship with dogs (another subject for another day) and, to some degree, goats .

All men are not created equal

All men are not created equal

I’ve talked before about nonsensical ideas we repeat as mantra – “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me” and “Time heals all wounds” are two of them .

We determine the newspapers we have

We determine the newspapers we have

Election time will inevitably turn the temperature up on every issue under the sun, including lately complaints about the media displaying lack of veracity, lack of balance, and misinformation .

Chasing Caribbean fruits

Chasing Caribbean fruits

A friend of mine living outside, Alex Neptune, recently sent me a photo of the Caribbean fruits and vegetables he grows in his backyard in New York and remarked on the number of fruits we have in the region, and that we appear to have lost some .

History in the making

History in the making

It is part of the fulminations of life that nothing happens in isolation .

Going back home in your mind

Going back home in your mind

Getting inside a culture and unravelling it for someone is tough enough if you’re from that culture .

Lessons in Caribana

Lessons in Caribana

I was living in Toronto, 44 years ago, playing music full time with the Tradewinds band, when the annual Caribbean festival in Toronto known as Caribana was born .

You’re in the Caribbean

You’re in the Caribbean

I sometimes play this game where I ask persons to complete the following sentence: “You know you’re in the Caribbean when…”  You get some delightful responses and often surprises; you should try it some time .

Dogs

Dogs

My Caymanian daughter mentioned to me recently that she had not paid much attention to dogs growing up (we had several), but that now they’re a joy in her life .

Shiv

Shiv

There are athletes who naturally impress us with their magnificent physical achievements of power and style that leave us gaping at the display, but the ones whom we take into our hearts, the ones we come to feel affection for, are the ones who also show us their excellence as people .

The seawall goes to France

The seawall goes to France

In recent weeks I have heard vehemently from several persons, here and abroad, about the need for Guyana, in the midst of all the bad news, to be shouting about the positive stories that are around .

Go breadfruit

Go breadfruit

Joe Brown, the original bass player of the Caribbean Tradewinds band, would not eat breadfruit because it was “slave food .

Follow the chicken hawk

Follow the chicken hawk

A beautiful chicken hawk patrols the area behind our house .

When is it going to stop?

When is it going to stop?

Among the frustrations in modern life are things so ridiculous, so patently illogical, that when you run into them you are propelled to ask, “When are we going to stop this?”I have heard from several motorcar owners here of the local traffic police practice of pouncing on drivers who overtake on a double line .

Why is that?

Why is that?

We all do this .

Picking sense out of nonsense

Picking sense out of nonsense

There was a time – and not so long ago at that – when the mass distribution of a personal opinion was a very restricted process .

No game like cricket

No game like cricket

In recent years, with so many lacklustre Caribbean cricket teams frustrating us with their poor play, and particularly with the sad state of the once supreme regional team, you lose some enthusiasm for cricket, and even end up not watching some games at all .

The bang of the dialect

The bang of the dialect

So It Go

It’s the middle of the day .

Disagreement without rancour

Disagreement without rancour

So It Go

Visiting a country for short spells, no matter how frequently they occur, can leave you unsure if a social behaviour or condition in that society is entrenched or not .

Getting out of the crouch

Getting out of the crouch

So It Go

Given the fractured and dislocated conditions of our history in this region, Caribbean people have had a hard climb up the ladder of self-worth .

Uniquely Caribbean

Uniquely Caribbean

So It Go

I hate souse .

Mashramani upsurge

Mashramani upsurge

So It Go

Since I first saw Mashramani in 1968, the festival has had an uneven history .



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