Only Stuart knows
By Al Gilkes | Sun, July 08, 2012 - 12:00 AM
I can’t remember many of the lyrics but way back when I was a little boy, there was a really popular calypso that was on the lips of every man, woman and child. I could be wrong but I do believe that the name of the song was Everybody Want To Know.
It was a simple composition and, in the vein of good traditional old-time calypso, it captured on a little page of words the essence of an event that had been the talk of the town and had now been turned into the song that was on every tongue in the country. Here is what everybody back then wanted to know: Everybody want to know, everybody want to know, How de man get cut wid de po.
Almost all the other words of the calypso have disappeared except for those above and those below that went something like: In de middle of de night when the lights went out, De man get cut wid de po.
Now, in case you can’t remember, have never heard about, or just don’t know what a po is or was, it is or was a white enamel container shaped like a bowl with a lip and handle (and you can find it in the dictionary) that you might know by an alternative name like potty, chamber pot or topsy.
A po, back in the day, was very much a part of everyone’s bedroom – before indoor plumbing became the norm – and was found under everyone’s bed. So just imagine the scene with a man and woman probably about to percolate and after blowing out the candle, smut lamp or whatever other mode of light being used, they start fighting for whatever reason or another and he ends up with his head “chop open”, not with the window stick, the clothes iron, the buck pot or the jucking board, but the po of all things.
There is another event that is equally as stuck to the tongue of every Barbadian rich and poor, white, black and in between, born and bred, naturalized or illegal. However, surprisingly, I have not heard any calypsonian – from RPB and Gabby to Contone and Pong – singing a word about it.
Yet every place I go, everybody want to know. They call me, email me, BBM me, Facebook question me, text message me, Whatsapp me and use any other means possible to ask the same question: “Al Gilkes, when it coming?”
When what coming? “The elections.”
How do you expect me to know that? My name is Al, not Freundel.
“Man, come off it. You up there in the know. You does hang out with certain people so if anybody knows when he calling it, it gotta be you.”
Well, believe it or not, I am as much at sea about when the Prime Minister plans to ring the bell as anybody else. Don’t even waste your time asking Chris, Michael, Adriel, Ronald, Richard, Steve, John, Stephen, Denis, David, Donville, Maxine, Darcy, George, Esther, Haynesley, Patrick, Irene, Jepter, Harry or my fellow St Lucyan Denis. I would bet anybody anything that none of them has the slightest clue. Not even my friendly and well informed fly on the Cabinet wall.
It would seem that only Freundel knows.
• Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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