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THE LOWDOWN – Win-win time


Richard Hoad

THE LOWDOWN – Win-win time

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I love comedy. Laff It Off is my cup of tea. I spend hours on the Internet watching Jamaican H’Oliver, some Trini fellows, Flip Wilson, Jack Benny, Buddy Hackett, many more.
My generation grew up with Joe Tudor. We heard him on radio, saw him at theatres. Years later I would be in the backing band for his shows at Paradise, Sandy Lane, White House Inn.
And, for me, the calypso tent MCs – KB, Mac Fingall, Trevor Eastmond, Brother Daddy, Roy P. Byer – make the show.
I’ve seen a lot. But for sheer comedy at its best, nothing even comes close to a performance at The Gymnasium some years ago. The audience literally went wild.
This was Celebrity Tent in its heyday. The crowd settled in to enjoy the calypsos. I was sitting in the back with my family. Four rows further behind was a lone fellow with an umbrella. Keep your eyes on Umbrella Man.
Celebrity opened with Olutoye Walrond doing stand-up comedy. He pretended he was talking to Ossie Moore on the phone. Most of the jokes were late 1940s vintage. (“Ossie, they found a dead chicken in St Philip. Police suspect foul play.”) I enjoyed them immensely.
No one else did. In vain did I argue with those around: how can you say a man is “too dry” while calling him a “wet blanket”?
Alas, the murmur of disapproval soon swelled into a crescendo of catcalls: “Get off the stage!” “Leave the stage!” The roaring crowd was on its feet.
Umbrella Man was suddenly transformed from peaceful patron to raving rebel, brandishing his instrument aloft, jumping and screaming:
“You’s a iddi-it! A iddi-it! Get off the stage!”
“Leave him be!”
Did I save Olu’s skin that night? Did my emollient cries of “Leave him be!” “Brave-O!” and my favourite, “Olé, Olu!” soothe some raging passions? And restrain Umbrella Man from raining actual blows?
We may never know. Olu abandoned Ossie and beat a hasty retreat to a rapture of applause not heard since Collis King’s 86 at Lord’s in 1979. But isn’t it ironic that Olutoye now wants to crucify the one stalwart who stood with him on that fateful night?
Cuddear, Olu, we live in a civilized, democratic country. We’re entitled to different opinions. No need to rub me into goat manure. The promised referendum, if it ever comes, will determine whether we remain a monarchy or venture into republication.
Says Professor David Flint: “The fact is that Canada is a constitutional monarchy . . . as Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Barbados, and about 15 per cent of countries are.  And, on all measures, they are among the best.” Feel free to disagree, Olu.
But I would go further. In Frank Worrell – A Biography, Ivo Tennant says that the tied second Test of the 1960-1961 Australia tour “has been described as the greatest cricket match, even the greatest game ever played with a ball”.
Wow! Yet, amazingly, no side won. Or, to put it better, both sides won. And wherever in a democracy we can come up with a win-win situation, I say, go for it.
For instance, some Bajans wanted Nelson’s statue out of Heroes Square. Others didn’t. Minister Steve Blackett (I believe) came up with a win-win formula: instead of taking Nelson out of Heroes Square, he took Heroes Square out of Nelson (or rather Trafalgar Square). Beautiful!
So, too, we can have a Bajan monarchy with a Bajan head of state and everybody happy. It would be a unique way to go. But, then again, we are a unique people.
Enough of this foolishness. I can’t believe I let myself be distracted into what nearly all Bajans consider a non-issue while columnists Al Gilkes and Wild Coot are doing dixie with premarital sex. I want some of that action too.
Sad farewell to Lloyd Alleyne, a generous benefactor, who was also into goats.
 
Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator.

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