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WILD COOT – Crop-Over and me

Harry Russell

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THIS IS Crop-Over time again, and for two days the impending bacchanalia will relieve the stress that has been impaling the nation for the past two years. Perhaps the anticipation of fete and the busyness with preparation has helped to defer the gloom that once again, after the first week of August, we have to bring sharply into focus.
I am not a masquerader, I have never been, am too self-conscious. I like to party, but in small groups. However I love to witness the revellers parading on the Crop-Over route. I take my camera and am in paradise.The trucks laden with food and drinks, and pulsating with music emerge from the stadium. Right there is not the best vantage point. The revellers are too sober and awareness of decorum commands a slow rhythmic wine. The sun has not yet made an impression on the exposed heads and the bodies are not yet warm enough. Moreover, the bands on the truck have not yet broken into their bawdy lyrics. The revellers are still to be inebriated with language and liquor.About two miles out of the stadium, the action starts. A “lady”, buxom and true, who had been shuffling along with a modest gait, suddenly unearths a “nip” from somewhere in the nether region and with a snarl that befits an elephant, stamps the ground and begins to prance. One would think that size would be an inhibiting factor. Not so. The rear section, bedecked with only a thong-like string and rippling with muscle and fat that alternate with contractions of upward circulatory and spinning motion, uncoils itself in spectacular convulsions. There is a gyroscopic movement that accompanies the halcyon parade. One swears that she is in another world.Three young girls, no more that eighteen years, take up the challenge. Obviously they are Bacchantes. They form a line and begin their own theatre. The top part of their body, healthy in pectoral display, and their parted legs remain motionless, the middle part spins clockwise in windmill fashion, almost pyrogenic. Then it stops, jiggles up and down, then spins counter-clockwise with mesmerizing rhythm. And to think that the rear section is dresses only in feathers. The crowd on the sideline applauds.Some young boys, not members of the band, unable to contain themselves, hypnotized by the galactose temptation, breech the security of the ropes and hook on to the three bumpers. The girls go crazy and an orgiastic feast ensues. So mesmerized are the security men that they let the show continue.Meanwhile the tempo increases. The sound of the music, the undiluted alcohol and the burning sun raises the ante and the movements of the revellers become similar to copulation. Dancers are now out of control and the security teams have their work cut out. Any policeman or soldier who happen to be within reach, will get his share of wine. Rules prevent him from responding, crowd reaction prevent him from arresting.Next to follow is the Walk Holy Band. The young in the band are tempted to jump, as one is wont to do at Crop-Over, but the head honcho is watching. Being there seems incongruous. Did not Saint Paul in his admonition to the Galations say “Come ye out from among them and be ye separate”. My father used to quote that passage to me often. I have always been “hard-ears”.By three o’clock I am tired. Driven by hot sun, soothing drinks, the call of nature and the surfeit of exposed flesh that tempts but does not satisfy, I leave the arena. I have sufficient footage to relive and relive the Crop-Over memory in the comfort of my home when I try to dismiss the perilous economic situation that was not our fault but which we must hasten to resolve as best we can.Has anybody read Avinash Persaud recently?• Harry Russell is a retired banker. He may be reached at [email protected]