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THE AL GILKES COLUMN – Placing my Crop-Over bets

Al Gilkes

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Crop-Over 2010 will soon be over and calypso fans are betting like crazy on who will win this and who will win that in the various competitions.Everybody seems to have a crystal ball and is willing to shell out various amounts of money, convinced that their choices will come out victorious, whether it’s in People’s Monarch, Party Monarch, Groovy Soca Monarch or Pic-o-De-Crop Monarch.Well, I don’t have any such crystal ball so I do not know who will win this and who will win that although, based on what I have heard on the airwaves and other places, I do have some gut feelings as the competitions draw closer and closer.Only last Thursday I got a call from a familiar voice challenging me to put some money on Gabby. The person said: “I know Gabby is your friend and you like he bad, so I want you to pull your pocket because I bet you that he can’t win this year.”The truth is that I didn’t even know Gabby was competing until Tim Slinger called me from THE NATION early last week to find out if I had a home or cellphone number at which he could reach him. I asked if something was wrong and Slinger told me he had heard Gabby was coming for judgment on Friday night with De Digicel Big Show tent and he was trying to find him to get the story.I, therefore, could not and cannot take any bets because while I have heard what many of the other semi-finalists will be offering on Friday night at the Stadium, I do not know whether Gabby will be singing Bah Bah Black Sheep or For He Is A Very Good Fellow because I am yet to see or hear him on stage this season.How I might be inclined to take bets would be if Gabby happens to be among those getting through to meet RPB in the finals and rekindle the old rivalry between St Philip and St Michael which used to pack the stadium to capacity on in days gone by.So, good friend or no friend, Gabby will have to prove to me this Friday night that he has the kind of material that it will take to remove the crown from Bag’s head and return it to this part of the world.The person who called me is not a party animal so when I challenged him, in turn, to a bet for People’s Monarch, he declined. If there’s anybody I am putting my money on at this point in time, it’s Li’l Rick to Guh Dung and win that competition.I, however, would refrain from doing the same on anybody competing in the Party Monarch. The reason is that that competition involves judges and I have always held out that given the current trend of anything going in this area of soca, nobody should be judged on non-existent lyrics or melody.I must say that Friday night should be very exciting giving the many big names, including several past monarchs who have been selected among the 18 to enjoy the cooling wind blowing across the Stadium from Waterford Bottom. Talking about friends, another long-timer, Richard Hoad, who prefers to be Lowdown on Fridays, should be happy to hear that I am now drinking his goat’s milk, having bought enough from the supermarket to satisfy my cereal and drinking needs over the weekend.I know that Richard will more than likely want to convince people that I am drinking his milk for other reasons, including the uplifting effects that he claims it has on older men, but I have no such need.  •Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm