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Return to Forever

IN 1976, after repeating my O’Levels in Somerset, I did my A’Levels at a “sixth form crammer”. Bedford Tutorial College had multiple advantages over Taunton School: I could go to bed when I wanted; smoking wasn’t banned; you could have girls in your room; and London was 20 minutes away by fast train, almost eight times shorter than the trip from Taunton.

I often went to London for the weekend.

Until I turned 18, my guardian in England was my father’s friend, MacDonald Bailey, the now-late athlete. When Mac and his wife Doris returned to Trinidad, their elder son, Robert, a founder-member of and keyboard player for the Afro-Caribbean fusion band, Osibisa, became my legal guardian. His younger brother, Richard, was a drummer of rare talent.

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GW26: Double or Quits


An advice column for the bottom seven million Fantasy Premier League managers

For another week and against increasingly mounting odds, my Fantasy Premier League team, BC FC, has, like Boris Johnson, somehow managed to cling on to the top spot in our ten-team family & friends mini-league; and I didn’t even use a Latin phrase or an FPL chip.

My most serious threat in the mini-league comes from my wife’s Most Handsome XI, for whom getting up to second was down to replacing Tammy Abraham with Jamie Vardy two game-weeks ago. (She has apparently forgiven Vardy for the spouse whose inherently annoying nature had hitherto precluded his selection; doubtless a lesson learned at home.)

Her brother’s Toss the Salah (whose intention, in defiance of the team name, is to retain the Egyptian until GW38) is a clear 20 points below BC FC and constitutes the major threat to BC FC, since his team is drawn from the full Premier League player roster, not just the ones deemed sufficiently handsome from week-to-week.

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(Almost) Forever Young

MY MOTHER turned 86 on Wednesday.


Almost all my life, my mother has always seemed young to me. For a period of a decade or more, between the grey hair and receding hairline (and the cigarettes and rum) that aged me and her redoubtably unfading natural beauty, if we went into a restaurant in another country together, people assumed we were husband-and-wife, not mother-and-son.

Even with my own creeping decrepitude nowadays, they don’t make that mistake any more.

She’s a great-grandmother now, my mother.

My old lady has become an old lady.


My brain understands we all age; and I only have to look at the mirror if I doubt that it applies to us all.

But my heart wants to rebel.

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GW25: Leeds Us Not Into Temptation...


An advice column for the bottom seven million Fantasy Premier League managers

Somehow, although two managers in our ten-team family & friends Fantasy Premier League mini-league used their free hit chips to cash in on City’s and Everton’s double game-week, my FPL team, BC FC, managed to hold on to the number one spot. My hip-hop loving son’s Steez FC scored highest with 103 points and my brother-in-law’s Toss the Salah (which does anything but) returned 88 points. Without playing a chip, BC FC’s 88 points were just enough to see off the threat.


There are now only eight points between BC FC and Toss the Salah. Steez FC has risen from number ten to number nine; my son has clearly inherited my penchant for the game. I happen to be at the top, at the moment, but my enduring natural place is at the bottom.

I feel like I imagine Donald Trump would have, if he’d just somehow managed to get Mike Pence to overthrow that election.

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​Weight, Andrea,Weight (Songs in the Key of Death)

THIS TRINIDAD, these dis-United States; eventually, one of them will kill me, figuratively, the other, perhaps literally. Fat Abu Bakr on impeachment trial again in Washington and, in Port of Spain, another family’s daughter slaughtered.

And David Byrne & the Talking Heads swim into my head, for one hundred thousand times in my lifetime, the groundbreaking video accompanying the foot-stomping song. “Letting the days go by/ Let the water hold me down/ Letting the days go by/ Water flowing underground/.”

Trinis, for once in a lifetime without their Carnival, but never short of bacchanal, chattering empty-heads lip-syncing the words of the Talking Heads song they never heard, all in the name of Andrea: “And you may ask yourself/ WELL, HOW DID I GET HERE?”

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