Travelling in the good old days

On the way back from a recent trip to Canada, it occurred to me that although there are still airline problems in the Caribbean, it is nothing compared to the headaches that used to exist. These days we complain constantly about the difficulties of air travel, in and out of Guyana, and the complaints are not bogus, but I remember a time when the situation was even worse. I had worked at Timehri as a young man with B. G. Airways, but when I left Guyana in the late 1950s to live in Canada, with the family of my late uncle Joseph Barcellos, it was the first time I had set foot on an international jet.  If memory serves, the aircraft was a Lockheed Constellation and it was full.

It turned out to be quite an introduction (I have mentioned it previously) because bad weather had closed the Toronto airport and we circled for a long time before it cleared and we could land.  We had been in the air for a long time; all the meals and the snacks had been consumed, and even water was scarce.  This was the time before jet ways which allow you to walk off the plane into the terminal. Back then, it was all stairways, even in Toronto, so the aircraft parked a good way from the terminal, and it was mid-December Toronto weather.  This unsophisticated country boy, dressed only in a gabardine suit, stepped out of the plane into the shock of the sudden winter cold. Nobody had warned me about this; it was my first time with winter and it took about 10 seconds for my brain to unravel that the weird feeling in my body and face was from being exposed to low temperature. I later learned it was 20 degrees. I felt as if I had run headlong into a wall.  My response was to take off running. The other passengers, in sensible winter gear, must have thought there was a madman among them, but my objective was “get to some shelter fast, buddy” and I made straight for the terminal…..


The hand of the mother

I’ve said it before; how much an influence my mother Zepherina, born at Hague as I was, had on me.

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A bow to Trinidad

Anyone who writes will attest that one direction leads to another.  In my So it go notebook, for instance, there is this one direction that deals with the origin of the word “soca” and the reminder is there for me because the explanation we frequently hear is that when Lord Shorty combined calypso and American “soul” music in this new rhythm with higher tempos and more emphasis on drum track in the recording, he named it soca from that “soul” American influence and from the calypso origin. 

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Lights dawning

Going back to the ‘30’s and the ‘40’s, an enduring message for young people growing up in Guyana was that the white culture was supreme. 

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We did not want to know

In an earlier comment about song-writing I made the point that while talent has to be there, the more critical quality is observation because that is almost always the ingredient that sets a song apart; the writer has turned a light on something in the society, or in an individual, that would have otherwise escaped the rest of us in the populace. 

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The heyday is gone but the sweetness lives

Calypso achieved popularity with the arrival of calypso tents in Port-of-Spain, particularly from the first commercial recordings in the 1930s, and from the spread of the tents after World War Two ended in 1945.

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