one to shirk the obligations of scribbling from the periphery
and with an eye for synchronicity, I sit, or rather slump,
on this glorious festival of boxes to write out the old
My first column for 2006 appeared on January 1, and my
symmetric kabbalistic self is pleased to note my last
is saved for December 31.
Hopefully, this means the sufferation of 2006 is fully
wrapped for disposal, and an ease-up is coming in 2007.
Following the spoils of Christmas Day self, the mini Levites
are hard at work battling with the Play Station as this
mornings turkey takes another turn in the oven.
The sorrel done drink out, and while I debate the wisdom
of cracking the sole bottle of Black Label rum, a pirate
Soca 07 CD me mother-in-law pack along with the roti skin
and black cake, just about keeping me on track.
Of course, if I were in Trinidad, all now I studying which
fete I heading for tonight to inaugurate my Carnival season;
or even more pleasantly in the present grey circumstances,
which beach to go lie upon and relax into the blue skies
above and the restorative waters a short sand schlepp
ahead. Ni pwoblem, compere, everything in time as the
old heads say.
And talking of old heads, Ive just been reading
Earl Lovelaces Wine of Astonishment alongside Patrick
Chamoiseaus Solibo Maginifiqueboth celebrations
of a disappearing or possibly disappeared Creole culture
and lifestyle that the arbiters of progress, or regress,
have been presiding over since Massa Day Done.
The new massas, political opportunists like Wines
Ivan Morton, installed themselves in the abandoned mausolea
of the departing colonists and continued with the good
work of the plantation: exploiting all and sundry; offering
the bitter sweet bribe of an education designed for self-denigration,
soullessness and slavish imitation.
What goes around must surely return to roost, so the contemporary
Trini land and mindscape of rampant violence, moral and
cultural bankruptcy does the new massa great credit.
No need to wait on Vision 2020; T&T awash with oil
dollars enough to make a sheikh blush, has reached the
heights of First World progress and learnt its lessons
wellwho aint got must take and preferably
Bling is d ting and some of us are more dazzled than others.
But I really didnt intend any polemics on this last
day of an old year; instead, Ill restrict my reflections
to a review of some of the higher spots of 2006.
First off, thanks and praises to all the Orishas, deities
and my Jewish Creole ancestors that the family my late
papa Maitre Levi bequeathed me all alive and kicking up
a storm in the kingdom of this world, and that my big
son Sam graduate from Cambridge and all now testing he
toe in the muddy waters of Mundo Grande.
Thanks, too, that the madam is in her last year at uni
and this means that in the now foreseeable future we can
ship ourselves back to the Caribbean.
Another special thanks to Ochun or the gwo anj who ensured
my non-payment of fees has so far passed unnoticed and
my Creole studies continueat least until I receive
a large advance for as yet unwritten manuscripts or I
dream the winning lottery numbers.
Its all good, and what isnt Ill have
to leave behind.
Outside the immediate family, other highlights this year
* a series on Caribbean music and calypso I broadcast
on Londons Resonance Radio, which Ive been
invited to resume in the new year;
* my first trip to Montreal for the extended musical feast
that is the African Nights festival, where I not only
bathed in the restorative rhythms and melodies of Africa
and the Caribbean, but made new friends and finally got
to eat in a Tibetan restaurant.
Back in the Big Fug, in the sanctuary of the now-freezing
conservatory of Casa Levi in leafy Forest Hill, Ive
been sustained by the likes of:
* Afro-Cuban jazz pianist Omar Sosa and his predecessor,
* the Malian magicians Ali Farka Toure and Toumani Diabate
(whose live concert with his Symmetric Orchestra goes
down in my book as one of the most sublime performances
Im ever likely to hear);
* Congolese rumberos Papa Noel and Kekele and my old partner
from Belize, the Garifuna musician Andy Palacio, whose
coming album Watina promises to be a major World Music
hit in 2007.
To all of these masters of inner and outer harmony, honour
and respect; may your melodies reach, soothe inspire and
unite all in the coming new year.
And to all you in T&T, walk brave and enjoy your Old