A bad week. A despairing week. Gunshots at high noon in
the heart of Port-of-Spain. Shades of 12.30 at Strand or
Royal but now in Bankers Row.
Past events seem to be coming back to haunt politicians
who thought they could control community leaders.
Now its talk about locking down parts of the island
and bringing back licks. The whirlwind is catching up.
We live in fantasy island. How else to explain the reaction
of the woman in last weeks Independence Square shooting
whose only comment was that she was sorry she missed her
How else to explain the lack of reaction, even from the
political opposition, to the PMs comment, as he watched
half a block of Port-of-Spain burn down from lack of water,
that he always knew there was a problem with the salt water
supply in the city mains?
There is a phenomenon known as TV replay. It
happens to all of us who watch sports on TV but it is common
to anyone who watches TV.
When you go to football and something happens, you instinctively
look up for the replay on TV. We seem to be unwilling to
believe what we see with our own eyes.
Constant exposure to TV can make you believe that, unless
you see it on TV, its not true. TV alters reality.
People can suffer tragedy and not believe it actually happened.
Until they see it on TV.
We must be TV people by now.
Who cant see must feel.
What to do? Where to go?
Go to a Trini wedding. A rainbow wedding. Nothing better
to lift your spirits. Plenty to maco, music like peas, serious
dancing, serious drinking, and old talk for days.
Where else are you going to see people dressed up with hat
and suit as if they live in England? At 3.30 on a hot, humid
Saturday afternoon, that is not easy. Big, fat men sweating
in tight double-breasted suits, pretending to be listening
to what the priest saying.
Women dressed up to be seen and to see. Most women walk
boldly into church, eyes all over the place, men following
The women sit down on the aisle, where they can see the
bride coming. The occasional insensitive man walks in briskly,
chooses his seat under the fan or near the western window
and its only after a while you realise the woman walking
behind is his wife.
Where else are you going to see two local whites getting
married, the priest is a red-faced Irishman, the bestman
is Chinese and the chief bridesmaid is Indian?
Last year only 15 Irishmen became priests. Is this one going
back? I suppose we will start getting them from Brooklyn.
Unlike most foreign weddings, you must have singing at a
Trini wedding and it must be done by a choir. Trini choirs
are truly special.
If its one thing thats going to keep us sane
in the turbulent months ahead, its music. Steelband
and choirs. Both should be taken in small intimate doses.
The only place where you can hear a choir properly is inside
a small church, where people sit quietly and where you can
almost reach out and touch the singers.
Where else can you see a lead soprano singing her heart
out whilst she lovingly carries her 18-month baby girl in
The guests in the church last Saturday broke out into spontaneous
applause as the choir finished the I Believe. The priest
approved and led the clapping.
The church was filled with humour, joy and that special
Trinidadian good feeling that makes you wonder why you ever
wanted to leave.
At the reception, young women strut around, still in their
high heels, convinced everyone is watching them. The men
at the bar are.
The bride and groom arrive to prolonged applause. Speeches
are made, picong passes from father-in-law to groom to best
man and back.
The bride seems lost in the confusion. No matter, it is
her day, she is the centre of attraction and the ancient
ceremony revolves around her, even if she does not know.
At one wedding, the bride changed out of her wedding dress
as soon as she arrived. The wedding ended quickly. Guests
upped and left. People want a little magic in their life
and a bride is magic.
Soon the dancing begins. Julio and Sparrow. Heels, ties
and jackets come off and older men with flushed faces and
glasses in their hands walk vacantly around the dance floor,
A circle of the floor and we are gone. The magic is soon
over. A fellow just gave me a bad drive.