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Black Hole of Cut Corners

NOT SO LONG ago, you woke up some August mornings and you didn’t even have to look out your window, you could feel the rain that would soon be upon you in the air all around your bed. Mornings like that, if you could, you rearranged your schedule early and fast, to avoid going into Town at all, or to be sure you would be out of it before midday.

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Summertime Red, White & Blues

Sometimes I wonder what I’m a-gonna do/ But there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues - Eddie Cochran

WE’RE smack-bang in the middle of what we used to call “the August holidays” when I was going to school but few people under age 50 would even have heard that expression. For decades now, in furtherance of our tacit national ambition to become the 51st US state ahead of Puerto Rico, we have called what used to be the “August holidays” the “summer vacation”, just because that is what Americans call it.

It is impossible to underestimate how desperately Trinis have wanted to be American since England told us to firetruck off on 31st August, 1962. If we have any love of country at all, it comes on the rebound. As a nation, we’re like a small, barely ambulant child, who would climb up into Adolf Hitler or Hannibal the Cannibal’s lap and call him, ‘Daddy’ if he gave us a smile and a ‘currants’ roll; and, when Mother England dumped us, we threw ourselves at Uncle Sam.

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​1990, Please Make a Liar of We

It is strange, the more we change, rearrange/ Everything just seems the same/ 1990/ Please make a liar of me - David Rudder, from the song, ‘1990’.

YOU KNEW Bob Dylan was the American cultural thermometer from the first time you heard, “Blowing in the Wind”; and, you knew David Rudder was the Trinidadian cultural prophet 27 years ago, yesterday, when the good imam took up arms for Allah, and Denis McComie, Trinidad’s lonesome DJ, played ‘1990’, that anthem for our modern Trini times, for five days straight; and those opening notes, that eerie, creepy, prayer-like wailing, seem commissioned after the fact, not disturbingly prescient of them.

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Crapauds by Any Other Name

LAST WEEK, in either their wisdom or their cups, the mayor of Port of Spain and his partners-in-creativity renamed Queen Street to mark the 40th anniversary of Janelle “Penny” Commissiong, being crowned Miss Universe, sparking the kind of utterly meaningless debate Trinidadians love: we pontificate at a length far in excess of the actual worth of the thing being quarrelled about; no one ever turns a page in a dictionary when they could turn a phrase in a rumshop; and, no matter how the “debate” ends, everyone can claim to have been right all along.

For retaining the original street name while inserting the new one, the Mayor and City Council get my vote for the Neatest Attempted Sidestep of the Year. Had they simply renamed Queen Street as “Penny Lane” - which this Beatles fan would have supported I Wanna Hold Your Hands-Down - the historians and the cultural activists would have come to blows, the way they did over renaming King George V Park as Nelson Mandela Park.

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Not a Fete

This is not a fete in here/ This is madness – David Rudder

The hard part of an early morning walk around the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain’s open green space, is not the thick exhaust fumes from the cars speeding by on the roadway, nor the 70 per cent-plus humidity, even at 6am, that, after 200 metres, has you sweating like you’re swimming; no, the hard part is figuring out which of the people you pass are crazy.

A lot of early morning Savannah people are, no doubt, crazy about fitness; but many are just plain firetrucking crazy.

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