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TGIF columns are in order by date from the most recent.

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​Two-Gun Chemo Kid

ON TUESDAY NEXT, if all continues going well, I will restart my final four cycles of chemotherapy as a hedge against the possible return of cancer. My body will be pumped full of toxic chemicals that will kill everything they touch.

Some guys just know how to have fun.
I’d say, “Eat your hearts out” but it would be too close to home, since my cancer was oesophageal. (A knowledge of Gray’s Anatomy, the med school text, not the TV show, might be required to catch that joke.)
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​Freeing the Panday Two

ON MONDAY, the Director of Public Prosecutions withdrew the 2005 Piarco Airport construction corruption cases against former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday and his wife Oma, former Minister of Something or the Other Carlos John and Still Very Rich Man Ishwar Galbaransingh and, in the slave ship-level overcrowded Remand Yard of the Port of Spain Prison, young men rejoiced as one, although they were crammed 11 to a cell built for one.

Because, if it took only 18 years for a prosecution unlikely to succeed against some of the most powerful individuals in the country to be withdrawn, there emerged this week a slim chance that those Remand Yarders might have their own potentially dodgy prosecutions nullified and, ergo, might get out of jail before they were entitled to claim the state pension.
There’s a page one story waiting to be written about the number of young men accused of crimes who have now spent longer behind bars waiting for their cases to begin than they would have if they’d served the maximum sentence, had they been convicted of the crime with which they’d been charged. (I would write that story myself, because I think we would all be shocked by it, but I still have PTSD from the day, 20 years or so ago, that I rang the Commissioner of Prisons, then Michael Hercules, who was at Hugh Wooding Law School with me in 1983, to find out how many prisoners there were on Death Row, a stat I needed for a single sentence in one of these columns; Hercules was not in the office and the officer I spoke with, on hearing I was writing for a newspaper, flatly refused to tell me, claiming the figure was a matter of national security. “How am I supposed to find out, then?” I asked him. “Come down and count them if you want!” he snarled; and hung up.)
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​Watermelon Man

AFTER MAJOR surgery to remove a tumour from my gullet on December 10, and with two-thirds of my stomach removed (against the spread of my oesophageal adenocarcinoma), I had to eat much smaller portions of the few foods I was permitted.

Overnight, Christmas excess became Ramadan moderation. On Friday, the day before surgery, I could have piled a plate high with chicken curry, paratha, channa-aloo, chataigne, pumpkin, bodi, mango all soaked in dhal, and cuffed it down like a Russian soldier meeting a Ukrainian civilian in Donetsk. On Sunday, I was in ICU and in hospital for six more. Thin soups were as rich as my meals got.

It was close to Christmas before I was allowed soft mashed potato. Dieticians and gastroenterologists add new items to a patient’s diet as if they’re adding phosphorous to water and all solid food is one big vat of nitroglycerine to them. I was out of hospital for two weeks before I was allowed a piece of toast with my one scrambled egg: what was left of my stomach just couldn’t take it.

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​Kathryn the Great

KATHRYN STOLLMEYER WIGHT died last week and no other human being in my direct or indirect experience has ever been more widely and deeply loved. Forget David Bowie, Black Stalin, Prince, Nelson Mandela, Robin Williams, Princess Diana your granny and all the popes. Only Bob Marley and John Lennon provoked an outpouring of love and appreciation from as widespread a cross-section of people as Kathryn Stollmeyer Wight.

And Kath never wrote Imagine or Is This Love.
Since she slipped away from us last week Thursday, our newspapers and social media have been filled with stories about a woman with almost no public profile. She once managed one minor politician’s election campaign but, otherwise, she was a genuine nobody.
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​TGI Carnival F

CARNIVAL FRIDAY in the Land of Calypso (even if watered down to modern empty soca) and Y’Boy twisting and turning in he bed like a British prime minister in he policies. Y’Boy been conflicted ‘bout the national festival for so long now, he’s feel like a double-agent sometimes.

Y’Boy done know that the onliest thing that sure in life is change and Y’Boy does welcome it. After reading a persuasive scholarly article in Harper’s magazine, Y’Boy did even accept the they/them pronouns he did war against on grammatical grounds for years. Y’Boy never want to be one of them older tesses in Phase II panyard in the 80s, who steady muttering to one another and wishing the 60s could come back and it wouldn’t have no rift in Starlift.

But what to say about this modern Conny-voll, whereby the onliest thing that ent get completely mash up yet is pan. Y’Boy pores raise when he watch the video of Renegades’ performance of The Black Man Feeling to Party ‘til he wanted to cry and all, just the sheer awe-full beauty of the thing! How that must have sounded on the Savannah Track!

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