Thank God It’s Friday

What the Twilight Didn’t Say

Picture courtesy Rollingout.comEVEN THE NUNS who ran my primary school, who knew they could whip anyone into any shape, knew better than to try to teach small children during the last period of the school week, that Friday afternoon time slot in which even well-behaved kids went stir crazy. Instead, wisely, they constructed the ruse of “library” class: reading story books.That dubious library class led to the first certainty of my short life: aged just nine, I read my first William book, one of 38 collections of “William” short stories and one novel written by the English spinster, Richmal Crompton, who, for nearly read more...

Letters of Comfort

ANYTIME Trinidad begins to out-Trinidad itself – like when a murdered policewoman’s cadaver is tossed in the mangrove and the environmentalists seem more distressed than the police – I cheer myself up by printing a few letters from the editor. For most of the last 30 years, I might have had to lighten my mood with one of these “letters” columns every two years or so; this is the second one I’m doing for 2017 and we’re still in the first quarter!Not so long ago – specifically, in January – I felt compelled to admit I stole this idea from the National Lampoon, the American satirical magazine that no longer has a read more...

Battered & Broken

WEST INDIES playing England at Kensington Oval as I type and, at 248 for 3 in the 41st over and Joe Root following Alex Hales in scoring a century, it’s more like England toying with West Indies.A-gain.You’d think we might win a dead rubber, having lost all the other tour games, but we’ve had more sixes than wickets; and we won the toss! And the agony won’t be over when the bowling stops, because we can’t just toss them the trophy in the interval; no, those sadists at the ICC require us to pad up and chase a score or more than 300, probably, at which point it will be difficult to say which read more...

Watch Y’Self!

THE BEST– and most succinct – film review I ever heard came from a Rastaman leaving the National Cinema II pit after a 12.30 midday movie when I was at St Mary’s College in 1973.Back then, West Indies Test cricket was good enough for secondary schools to give half-days off for boys to watch theoretically interesting games at the Oval. My dead-end friends and I, though, didn’t waste half-days on New Zealand padding away 500 deliveries to force a draw; we went, far more eagerly – and left far more satisfied – to “sex doubles”; if you want to make a Trini man over-50 smile, read more...

A Hope in Hell Conclusion; or perhaps “The End”

YOU DON’T HAVE to be intelligent to stop believing in God, just open-minded. Admit the possibility that there is no omnipotent, omniscient, caring Creator, deserving of worship and capable of intervention in our lives, and the idea takes root at once, is watered heavily by the available evidence and blossoms into the rational rejection of even the most well-intended of superstitions.What’s more, there being no God explains everything in a complete way that there being a God cannot. The non-believer does not have to agonize over why God would allow bad read more...

Firetruckery of the Day

The Poui Tree Firetruckery

Over-hot and bone dry as Trinidad is today, even with the immediate slight greening of last Thursday’s single April shower, Port of Spain’s Queen’s Park Savannah still remains beautiful, at least on the edges, where poui tree leaves are falling. That gorgeous yellow carpet spread at the feet of a gnarled old tree always takes your breath away. Can there be anyone in Trinidad who does not stop and stare in wonder, and be grateful just to be alive to see such a thing? Well, yes, there are. A large group of people, in fact, and I was myself one of them, 30 years ago.

Yes, while the rest of the country is thrilled to see poui in bloom, students at the St Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies hate the sight. Trini secondary school students don’t make the same connection because their academic instruction runs almost to the end of the third school term in July, but, when I was there, doing my LLB in 1979, it was the first thing second-year students passed down to freshmen: they nodded up towards the Northern Range, in the foothills of which the campus sits, and warned you, “If you see the poui in bloom, and you’re not ready for exams, you’ve failed!” Even in poui flowers in Trinidad, it have fuckeries.

Feeling Flushed

It’s sparked off Friday’s column, for sure, but it just might be the most outrageous piece of modern sculpture in a modern sculpture world gone so mad that a dead cow in formaldehyde or an unmade bed (complete with used condoms dropped on the floor beside it), can sell for many millions of dollars. Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan will soon exhibit at the Guggenheim in New York, as a piece of art, a working, solid gold toilet that will be connected to the museum’s plumbming. You will be able to take a dump in it and flush. And it is art. And that ought to give the most jaded cynic pause. It may be the most complete statement of the modern world I’ve ever encountered. This is a work of art that is literally meant to swallow shit whole. Just like the people who will pay $11Bn for it; and just like the rest of us, who will go to the Guggenheim and gape.

Char Siu Shaitanic

The Sunday Guardian’s lead story is about Trinidadian jihadist – I’m betting there are none from Tobago – returnees from the Shaitanic State’s war in Syria/Iraq. The current Minister of National Security doesn’t quite deny the 400 number Opposition MP Roodal Moonilal and other Trinis have been gossiping about for nearly two years, but has “authenticated” a list of 100 who have “travelled to Syria”. (Notably, the words, “and returned to Trinidad” do not appear.)

Clearly, anyone motivated, and dotish, enough to fly halfway around the world to kill on behalf of the Shaitanic State, is a serious threat to Trinidad; we could easily have another attempt, more fully-baked this time, to set up a local caliphate.

But all this current jhanjhat and ratiray stem from an internal mistake during the 1990 coup. My pardner Morris had a solution that would have defused the whole thing: after three days, and with the jihadists’ bellies grumbling, all we needed to do was send in boxes of Chinese lunch specials: char sui kai fan – barbecued pork meals – in they nennen! Them rebels, said Morris, were Trinis first and jihadists second. The caliphate would have collapsed at the first lunch.

And we wouldn’t be dealing with the firetruckeries that we are today.

Dull-as-dishwasher Ted

You know things are bad when, from Bahrain through Burkina Faso to Barbados, nobody was watching anything last night except the American Republican Great White “Stop Trump” Hope Ted Cruz on CNN’s Town Hall show. You know things are worse when you find yourself hoping that, somehow, the dull-as-dishwater Ted Cruz could trump the bumble-into-the-limelight Drumpf. You know things are as bad as they can get when you realise that stupid Americans will base their vote on how candidates look on TV, and even the cute Cruz daughters were no match for the seasoned apprentices of Donald Jnr & Ivanka.

And you know, with a heart sinking ever lower, that what seemed ludicrous six months ago, slouches that much closer to Bethlehem every day.

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Trini to d Bone

BC Pires

is a barrister by qualification (class of 1984) but, for the last 28 years, has done nothing but write to earn a living. His flagship column, Thank God It’s Friday, has appeared in either the Trinidad Guardian or the Trinidad Express since Ash Friday, 1988. He has written about film from an informed lay perspective for the same period and is as close as the cricket-playing West Indies gets to a film critic (though he refuses that label). He has written for many publications, including the London Sunday Observer and the London & Manchester Guardian. Since 2010, his personality-based feature, “Trini/’Bago to D Bone” has been appearing in the Trinidad Guardian. Since 2002, he has been the editor of Cré Olé, the Trinidad & Tobago annual restaurant guide.