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Under House Guest Arrest

Part I: The Ground House Rules

UNLESS YOU WERE born too rich to stay anywhere but five-star hotels or too poor to travel anywhere but Port of Spain, when you’ve gone away, you’ve always depended upon the kindness of friends – especially if you’re young and just starting off professionally or old and have spent a lifetime working for newspapers. Because we’ve all been or had a house guest, then, certain practices have become standard. Follow these BC International Rules of House Guesting and you’ll be invited back for Christmas; ignore them and you’ll pack your friendship into your suitcase with your dirty laundry when you leave.

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London Crawling

LEAVING the weird, new, nearly all-glass Tottenham Court Rd tube exit all alone (with a million American tourists) and there’s something in the air odder than the geography. Building works at Centrepoint, the West End’s original skyscraper, have changed the intersection’s appearance hugely but it’s nuance I’m missing. More than 30 years of unconscious habit kick in and I cross Oxford Street, pass Mickey D’s and swing right into the Virgin Megastore– to find lingerie! G-strings instead of CDs, D-cups instead of DVDs!

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(Obeah) Man of Letters

ANYTIME Trinidad threatens to out-Trinidad itself – like when the entire executive hierarchy, President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Commissioner of Police, go away on holiday, but the bandits and murderers work overtime at home – I feel like evading Trinidadian reality for a little while; kind of like everyone who copes with life’s challenges through ganja, rum or beating their children, except that comedy doesn’t do permanent damage.

On days like this, I go into my “mails-bag” and bring out some of the letters to the editor which, somehow, never got printed in the newspapers: I feel I have a duty to publicize them, partly because they reflect significant opinion on local and international matters, but mainly because I made them all up myself.

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Waiting to Implode

HOT SUMMER night. (Ghost of Keith Smith in ear: “What “summer” Trinidad have? Is “the long vacation”! “Summer” your mama!). Hot August holidays night and sweat trickling into every crevice, searching out the most uncomfortable quarters. Leaving no stones unturned.

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