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From Hummingbird to Dying Swan

In 1990, Judy Raymond, considering Minshall’s King of Carnival, Saga Boy (I think it was), wrote: I knew it was art because it made the hair on my body stand on end. A generation later, mas man Peter Minshall, declining to politely fade into the background, allowing the lesser lights their lime, set the 2016 Carnival ablaze with his king, “The Dying Swan: Ras Najinsky in Drag as Pavlova”.


Quite in St Philip, Barbados, watching footage shot on a cellphone video camera, every hair on my body stood to attention and shivered in salute. And I wished I could have been in the Savannah, to see it with my own eyes – and to hear the collective gasp; not since 1980’s Midnight Robber has a mas blown me to firetruck away like this.
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​ Trinis Fall Apart

Turning and turning in the widening gyre/

The falcon cannot hear the falconer/

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold/

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world –

WB Yeats, The Second Coming

EVEN BY Trinidad’s day-to-day norms (which would amount to certifiable insanity anywhere else in the world), even in this very “special” place, where men pee at midday into the road, women carry their newborn babies to all-night Carnival fetes and motorists don’t hesitate before driving the wrong way down 500 metres of a one-way traffic system, the country went crazier than usual this week.

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Find a Party

YOU CAN tell you’re a Trinidadian in many ways but the most reliable indicator is that you arrive everywhere a day late and a dollar short – and it’s been that way ever since the people who used to tell us what to do left our shores, and left us high and dry. (It’s also true of most of our West Indian neighbours: from Jamaica to Guyana, we’ve destroyed any semblance of civilization we had.)

Now things were never rosy for almost all of us. The earliest inhabitants of these territories fared the worse, being actually killed off swiftly either by European diseases or the Europeans who brought the diseases here. In Dominica and Guyana you may find pureblood Amerindians but most of the people pretending to be Caribs in Trinidad could more legitimately claim to drink them.

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A Modest Hunting Proposal

In yet another transparent attempt to use the national patrimony to bribe a few extra voters towards the People’s Partnership With Only One Partner In It, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar this week announced the lifting of the ban on hunting, a move she hopes will turn the wild meat-men wild about the United National Congress. It’s another shameless fillip to the fickle, like when the UNC rushed Tobago self-rule legislation through Parliament in the hope of improving what turned out to be their rout in the Tobago House of Assembly elections.

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Kamla Get Orn

IN WHAT MAY prove yet to be her political masterstroke, containing more grace in the coup than even her ejection of Basdeo Panday from the leadership of the party he founded, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar sacked almost everyone she could see (and a couple she couldn’t even hear) from her government on Monday night; and time alone will tell whether firing so many Cabinet members in one sitting was enough of a splash to distract us from what we should really be doing: wondering whether the ex-AG should be behind bars (and if he will meet House Speaker Wade Mark there) and following those developments, or lack thereof, closely, not the red herring of whether Police Complaints Authority chair David West should resign.

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