Thank God It’s Friday
Firetruckery of the Day
Over-hot and bone dry as Trinidad is today, even with the immediate slight greening of last Thursday’s single April shower, Port of Spain’s Queen’s Park Savannah still remains beautiful, at least on the edges, where poui tree leaves are falling. That gorgeous yellow carpet spread at the feet of a gnarled old tree always takes your breath away. Can there be anyone in Trinidad who does not stop and stare in wonder, and be grateful just to be alive to see such a thing? Well, yes, there are. A large group of people, in fact, and I was myself one of them, 30 years ago.
Yes, while the rest of the country is thrilled to see poui in bloom, students at the St Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies hate the sight. Trini secondary school students don’t make the same connection because their academic instruction runs almost to the end of the third school term in July, but, when I was there, doing my LLB in 1979, it was the first thing second-year students passed down to freshmen: they nodded up towards the Northern Range, in the foothills of which the campus sits, and warned you, “If you see the poui in bloom, and you’re not ready for exams, you’ve failed!” Even in poui flowers in Trinidad, it have fuckeries.
It’s sparked off Friday’s column, for sure, but it just might be the most outrageous piece of modern sculpture in a modern sculpture world gone so mad that a dead cow in formaldehyde or an unmade bed (complete with used condoms dropped on the floor beside it), can sell for many millions of dollars. Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan will soon exhibit at the Guggenheim in New York, as a piece of art, a working, solid gold toilet that will be connected to the museum’s plumbming. You will be able to take a dump in it and flush. And it is art. And that ought to give the most jaded cynic pause. It may be the most complete statement of the modern world I’ve ever encountered. This is a work of art that is literally meant to swallow shit whole. Just like the people who will pay $11Bn for it; and just like the rest of us, who will go to the Guggenheim and gape.
The Sunday Guardian’s lead story is about Trinidadian jihadist – I’m betting there are none from Tobago – returnees from the Shaitanic State’s war in Syria/Iraq. The current Minister of National Security doesn’t quite deny the 400 number Opposition MP Roodal Moonilal and other Trinis have been gossiping about for nearly two years, but has “authenticated” a list of 100 who have “travelled to Syria”. (Notably, the words, “and returned to Trinidad” do not appear.)
Clearly, anyone motivated, and dotish, enough to fly halfway around the world to kill on behalf of the Shaitanic State, is a serious threat to Trinidad; we could easily have another attempt, more fully-baked this time, to set up a local caliphate.
But all this current jhanjhat and ratiray stem from an internal mistake during the 1990 coup. My pardner Morris had a solution that would have defused the whole thing: after three days, and with the jihadists’ bellies grumbling, all we needed to do was send in boxes of Chinese lunch specials: char sui kai fan – barbecued pork meals – in they nennen! Them rebels, said Morris, were Trinis first and jihadists second. The caliphate would have collapsed at the first lunch.
And we wouldn’t be dealing with the firetruckeries that we are today.
You know things are bad when, from Bahrain through Burkina Faso to Barbados, nobody was watching anything last night except the American Republican Great White “Stop Trump” Hope Ted Cruz on CNN’s Town Hall show. You know things are worse when you find yourself hoping that, somehow, the dull-as-dishwater Ted Cruz could trump the bumble-into-the-limelight Drumpf. You know things are as bad as they can get when you realise that stupid Americans will base their vote on how candidates look on TV, and even the cute Cruz daughters were no match for the seasoned apprentices of Donald Jnr & Ivanka.
And you know, with a heart sinking ever lower, that what seemed ludicrous six months ago, slouches that much closer to Bethlehem every day.