Monday, December 28, 2009

The 'Fridge

Everyone who knows me, will tell you that I’m one of a kind. I chart my own course and have never been one for following the crowd. I’m the maverick that will try things others will discover years later. I guess the older I’ve gotten, the more conservative I’ve become, but I can tell you – I’ve done some very crazy things that I don’t think I’m even ready to talk about – yet.

There is however, one story that needs to be given a wider audience, simply because it is so funny that I felt compelled to share it.

Ok, here goes. I’ve been quietly updating my home and it was the turn of the kitchen to get a make-over. I’ve drooled over pictures of kitchens for so long that I was quite dizzy from the decision-making process. Because I found a very good workman who decided to paint my cabinets, the money saved went towards stainless steel appliances. I wasn’t able to buy everything at once, but as each item was installed, I could see the kitchen coming together. I started with a hob, then the built in oven replaced the original one that was installed when the house was first erected. The last stainless steel item was the ‘fridge. I diligently measured the space where the new fridge would sit. If you’ve read my previous notes – you’ll know that I’m quite handy with a tape measure, not to mention a paint brush and am quite a dab hand when it comes to applying wallpaper. I can also name and use the gadgets in my well-stocked tool box.

Well, off I trotted to the store that I’d identified would offer me the best value for money to buy my stainless steel ‘fridge. I plonked down my cash and arranged a delivery date. Imagine my horror and disgust when the ‘fridge arrived and it couldn’t come through my front door. Calamity, what on earth was I going to do. Any Taureans out there reading this, will recognize that we don’t give up easily and there was no way that I was going to have the item returned to the store. I paid the delivery men and got to thinking on the best way to get the item into its designated slot.

After deliberation and me trying to get the hulking box through my small door, I had a brainstorm, “I could bring it through the rear of my building”. I went to the neighbor and obtained her permission to bring the ‘fridge through her backyard, over the fence and into my backyard. I elicited the assistance of my dear friend, J and Chuckie and rented a handcart. J had the job of wheeling this massive object on my street, round the corner into the next block and into my neighbor’s yard. The three of us hoisted it onto the chain link fence and eased it gingerly into my backyard. The first stage of the task was accomplished, but I had no idea of what was to come.

When I tell you the ‘fridge was big, I’m not exaggerating. This thing was so big, we could not maneuver it up the back-porch steps, it was just too wide. The solution, we’d have to hoist it up and lift it over the balcony railing. Easier said than done, is what we realized. I wish I’d had the foresight to have someone video our efforts which were nothing short of hilarious. At one point, Chuckie and I were standing on chairs, which in turn were resting on a table. I had the ‘fridge on top of my head! I felt my neck sinking deeper and deeper into my shoulders, but my stubbornness at accepting defeat, had my teeth clenched tight, even though the burden on my head and neck were unbearable. I felt like I’d lost at least 3 inches in height as the load of the fridge bore down. J was on the balcony, trying to leverage the pushing action of Chuckie and myself in an effort to swing the fridge over the iron railings. It was too much and that effort led to me bawling – lawd God, tek it dung, tek it dung, mi head mi head. Once the fridge was lowered to terra firma, I looked over to J and just burst out laughing, the cold night and his exertions had led to his bald head, shiny wet, emitting such clouds of steam that it seemed as if his head was on fire. Well, Chuckie took one look and collapsed on the floor. I don’t think he was over reacting, it was just so funny. I think also we were all just relieved at not having to carry the weight of the ‘fridge – especially me and my head.

Yes, we did eventually manage to get the ‘fridge in the house, but not before having to unscrew the hinges of the back door and lean it up to the side. We all heaved a huge sigh of relief as we trundled the ‘fridge to it’s final resting place. There was still more drama to come though, the space wasn’t big enough. Well by this time it had become personal – there was no way this ‘fridge was going to get the better of me. Good thing my workman knew how to chop out a piece of the wall. You can imagine my satisfaction when I pushed my nemesis into place – stepped back and was able to admire my handiwork. Those of my friends who know this story – know that it’s much funnier when I tell it and animate the actions of the ‘fridge on my head. But I’m asking you to use your imagination and at the same time be like me – not afraid to laugh at yourself.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Globilisation

May 21 2008 - Sheron Hamilton-Pearson

Globilisation, go eena foreign land
Saturate the market wid dem owna bran
What a ting pon wi developing country
Wen di sinting whe dem grow dash weh like Bounty

Likkle farmer an di whole community ah suffer
Saaka forein goods, tings ah get ruffer and ruffer

No likkle nutten can't get no bligh
No cho cho, no onion, no irish no baddah even try

Coz di foreign skellion cabbage an carrot,
Dis a saturate di local market
Ah way dis fada, dem ah tell we seh
Now we fi carry wata eena basket
We fi tell dem go weh!

NAFTA,
Nort America Forever Tiefing Argument
Trade from higglerin caan even pay di rent
'Merican man eena di white house ah dead wid laugh
Fi him farmer get subsidy while pone fi wi own
Dem not even ah fart

Wen dem see how dem can decimate we crop
Because all ah rally back pon foreign stock
Dem sell wi chicken back whe freeze from 1940
No wandah di people dem stop feel hearty

Local milk ah run like blood eena street
and Cow ah walk more dan people
coz McDonald doan want Jamaican meat!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Legends in Concert Series


Friday November 27th at the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) Harvey Theatre, reggae royalty converged, the stars aligned and a new concept in concert promotion was born.

Third World, Marcia Griffiths, Gregory Isaac and the Inner Circle Band, all headline acts in their own right, came together at the behest of Jammins Entertainment to perform at the Reggae Legends Concert series. Music aficionados and people of a certain age waited in anticipation for the opening act, Derek Barnett and The Statement Band who went on to provide backing for Marcia Griffiths and Gregory Isaacs as those reggae icons performed medleys of their hit songs.

Irwin Claire, from Caribbean Immigration Services and Team Jamaica Bickle sharing MC duties with King Simon Templar, presented longevity awards to both Gregory Isaacs and Marcia Griffiths from the Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz. A nice touch from Marcia Griffiths who when presented with her citation, congratulated the organizers of the concert, for giving the accolade while she was still alive and able to appreciate it. The cool ruler was as cool as ever, though he seemed a little weary, perhaps from his rigorous touring schedule to promote his new album which continues shortly to take in parts of Europe before he returns to Jamaica. Reported to have released some 500 albums over his 40 year career, he shows little sign of slowing the pace and health permitting – continues to perform. Reposing after his performance, he was happy to talk about his new self-produced album Brand New Me.

Marcia Griffiths, shone like the star she is, graciously granting interviews and managing to convey wonder at her longevity while gratefully acknowledging the hordes of new fans that encompass an ever younger generation of new recruits to her positive style of music. When asked what advice she’d give to the new crop of female reggae stars, her words were concise and powerful “just stay positive, sing songs that will uplift, because only music can soothe the soul, no physician can do that”.

The Statement Band deserves special mention, for providing seamless backing for the two reggae legends and for encouraging the audience to share in their sense of fun on stage.

Working backstage, getting interviews from Third World who had just performed the closing set, Cat Coore high from the performance was eager to talk about upcoming plans for the group's 35th anniversary celebrations taking place primarily in Jamaica. It was quite apparent that he still has a love for performance that is perhaps what keeps this group at the top of its game after all this time.

As far as organization is concerned, this was an impressive line-up and a novel concept, to culminate the following night, with the presentation of the Soul Legends component with performances by The Temptation Review featuring Dennis Edwards; The Original Manhattans featuring Gerald Alston with Blue Lovet; and Rose Royce. These groups have provided consistent quality input in the world of American R&B over the past 40 years and I’m sure collectively can lay claim to being responsible for the proliferation of baby boomers all over the world. This writer was sorely disappointed that she missed the concert as by all accounts, this was the icing on the cake in the Legend series.

Book Review - Olympic Gardens



Andrene Bonner is my friend, she is also an author. Her latest offering, Olympic Gardens is a little gem of a book. The protagonist, Roderick is a lesson in resilience and triumph over adversity. The book touches on so many different issues, poverty, displacement, illegitimacy, literacy and education; and above all the indefatigable spirit of a child to look for and (in Roderick’s case) to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

This book should be mandatory reading for every child, not just Jamaican children, but every child - to show that the spirit and will to survive adversity is not an impossibility. The book is delightful for its technique of capturing a time and place in Jamaica when people were more innocent, optimistic about the life that lay ahead after a newly independent Jamaica set out to map it’s own course in history. A time when the music was positive, uplifting and spoke to all Jamaicans. A time when, a poor boy sent away because his very presence was a reproach to his mother, was able to find a fairy godmother and good friends to alleviate his pain and suffering.

This book is one that you MUST buy, if you are a parent, read it with your children, if you are of a certain age, read it and remember how you used to live, if you are a teen, tween or inbetween, read it for inspiration

Monday, December 7, 2009

Connections

So - I had my radio debut yesterday, thanks to Ian Forrest and his show Connections on New Yorks WBAI 99.5 on the fm dial.

Connections is the show that airs every fortnight (for those Americans reading this - I guess you would more readily recognise bi-weekly or every two weeks).

I've been fortunate to read the news for Ian for a while now and he's always encouraged me to take more steps as a radio producer/announcer. The interview was with Papa Michigan, half of the duo Michigan & Smiley whose popular song Diseases ruled the airwaves in 1981. Listen as Michigan drops his pearls of wisdom and tell his fans what he's up to these days. Yeah, of course I ask him about the current 'Gully/Gaza' scenario. You can hear his comments at http://archive.wbai.org/files/mp3/091207_030001mon3to6am.MP3

You'll also hear local author Andrene Bonner talk about her self-published book Olympic Gardens, the 2009 Winner of the Lorna Goodison Caribbean Award.

Connections for your link to the Caribbean, don't miss it!