BC Pires


Firetruck it All

edge

Thank God It’s Friday

A Hope in Hell

Conclusion; or perhaps “The End”YOU DON’T HAVE to be intelligent to stop believing in God, just open-minded. Once admitted as a possibility, the idea that there is no God takes root and blossoms, eventually, into the rejection of even well-intended superstitions.What’s more, there being no God explains everything in a complete way that there being a God cannot. The non-believer does not have to agonize over why God would allow bad things to happen to good people; he can simply go to work to make the world even a slightly better place; give a thirsty read more...

​Holy Smoke & Mirrors

Part II of A Hope in HellFROM THE TIME we grasped that to be born meant having to also die, we’ve not been happy with the concept. William Saroyan, the great American short story writer (he is to O. Henry what backgammon is to ludo, or vintage calypso is to modern soca), said it best: “Everybody has to die but I always believed an exception would be made in my case”; if there were a God, surely She would give William Saroyan a break for that, precisely because it is literally deathly funny.We have to die, we have to die, we have to die and God knows there’s no read more...

​We Haven’t a Prayer

Part I of A Hope in HellTHE WORLD IS going to Hell in Donald Trump’s hand-basket and our trouble isn’t that we haven’t a prayer, but that we have far too many of them. The great challenge we face, as a species, is not Islam, nor radical Islam, nor even radical fundamentalist jihadist Islamic terrorism; no, the great challenge we all face is religious belief itself. Faith taints everything. But I’ll come to that dead end by the scenic route, probably two Fridays from now. (Coming from Trinidad and being raised Catholic, the power of threes has always held me in its sway.)Because it is the scientific requirement – it is impossible to know read more...

​Plight of the ISIS

OUR FIRST PRIME minister, the late ingrate, Dr Eric Williams, gave the “nation” three watchwords, “Discipline, Production, Tolerance” – but, since Independence, Trinidadians have honoured only one. From the ruling sector (who uphold all the pomp of office and none of its dignity) through the middle-class patriots (who scrabbled with Haitians for refugee status in Canada) to the working-class women brawling over fried chicken or bony men, as a nation, the only thing we have ever produced with discipline is empty melodrama.In tolerance, though, Trinis excel: we’s put up with every-firetrucking-thing. We do not protest even matters of life & read more...

(Con) Men of Letters

ANYTIME Trinidad threatens to out-Trinidad itself – like when the PNM spends its first year in government proving that it doesn’t grasp the concept and Tobago promptly resoundingly votes them back in – I cheer myself up by diving into my “mails-bag” for letters to the editor which never got printed in the newspapers.A rudimentary recollection of the law of copyright forces me to confess I stole this idea from the National Lampoon, the American satirical magazine that, though very funny, had no choice but to fold, because satire has no place in a modern American reality that actually elected a joke for a president. (How the firetruck does anyone satirize that?) As always, I certify these letters are 100 per cent authentic because I made them up myself. It being “the season”, read more...

Firetruckery of the Day

The Poui Tree Firetruckery


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.

Feeling Flushed

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.

Char Siu Shaitanic

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.

Dull-as-dishwasher Ted

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.

Show more posts

Trini to d Bone

The Arima Kid - pt I

You’ve been involved in media and culture longer than most people have been alive?Since 1946! I should say a little before that because, as a child, I wrote little things to the Guardian’s Tiny Mites. I suppose I had that desire to be in the limelight, that vanity. My parents gave me the Read more

The High Cost of Living

My name is Robin Foster and I’ve found out that, to go about the business of living, you have to accept your own death.If you look at my face good, you go see Pelham St and the Circular Road running right through it. I’m from the Belmont that David Rudder sang about.Myself and Trevor Read more

BC Pires

is a barrister by qualification (class of 1984) but, for the last 28 years, has done nothing but write to earn a living. His flagship column, Thank God It’s Friday, has appeared in either the Trinidad Guardian or the Trinidad Express since Ash Friday, 1988. He has written about film from an informed lay perspective for the same period and is as close as the cricket-playing West Indies gets to a film critic (though he refuses that label). He has written for many publications, including the London Sunday Observer and the London & Manchester Guardian. Since 2010, his personality-based feature, “Trini/’Bago to D Bone” has been appearing in the Trinidad Guardian. Since 2002, he has been the editor of Cré Olé, the Trinidad & Tobago annual restaurant guide.

Sitar Satire

My name is Ravi Sankar and I don’t play the sitar but I love Trinidad & Tobago music.I know they have a man, Ravi Shankar, and his daughter, Anoushka, who are famous for playing the sitar. I will tell people my name and normally I will get a little tease in-between. I don’t really listen Read more

The World of Trinidad & Tobago

My name is Anthony Collymoore and I recently retired after teaching at Morvant/Laventille for 27 years.I’m from Cascade. That “nasty white boy” area.I married twice, first to Fay Lopez, back in 1985. We have two children, Jacob, now 30,m and Justin, 28-ish. And now Debbie Read more

BC Pires

is a barrister by qualification (class of 1984) but, for the last 28 years, has done nothing but write to earn a living. His flagship column, Thank God It’s Friday, has appeared in either the Trinidad Guardian or the Trinidad Express since Ash Friday, 1988. He has written about film from an informed lay perspective for the same period and is as close as the cricket-playing West Indies gets to a film critic (though he refuses that label). He has written for many publications, including the London Sunday Observer and the London & Manchester Guardian. Since 2010, his personality-based feature, “Trini/’Bago to D Bone” has been appearing in the Trinidad Guardian. Since 2002, he has been the editor of Cré Olé, the Trinidad & Tobago annual restaurant guide.