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TGIF columns are in order by date from the most recent.

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​Shane! Come Back, Shane!

WHEN WE were small children, my father’s job took him outside of Trinidad very often. One year, he was at home for only two weekends, those of his annual vacation. Consequently, my mother took us to the movies.

We loved drive-in cinemas. At $2 a carload, neighbourhood children would pile into our big rambling Viscount and we’d be having a ball even before we left our driveway.
My father would never have been in that. He hated leaving home once he got there. If forced into going to the cinema, he embarrassed my mother in box seats at De Luxe with his rasping snores before “Directed by” came up. He hated the drive-in more, probably because he couldn’t fall asleep with the steering wheel jamming his belly.
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​The CT Could B’un Down

MY TREATMENT for the tumour in my gullet, which was diagnosed last September 19, ended on May 3, after four bouts of chemotherapy from last September to November, surgery to remove the tumour on 10 December and four post-surgery chemo blasts starting in March.

A CT-scan in June showed me to be cancer free.
Regrettably, a CT-scan last week did not turn out as well.
The cancer is back.
I was cancer-free for three months; perhaps less.
On the upside of this very downward turn, the cancer is limited to my peritoneum, which I tell everybody is near Fyzabad; it’s south of my navel at any rate.
But it doesn’t matter so much where the cancer is as where it is not.
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​Denis and Denyse

PLAIN TALK is bad manners as every Trini knows so I declare, rudely, but right up front, that the headline above should probably be, “Denis (and a little bit about Denyse).”

This is not to diss the calypso queen who, like the linguist, writer and thinker, Denis Solomon, died this week, only to locate Denis properly in his influence over me. I loved Denyse Plummer’s singing as much as the next culture vulture but Denis Solomon was belligerent – and kind – enough to wag his finger in my face when I needed it most, and there are precious few people in the Limer’s Republic who can and will do you that favour. Repeatedly.

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​Freetown Collects UB40

EVEN BEFORE I heard their smoking cover of Neil Diamond’s Red Red Wine in 1978, a version even better than the Jamaican ones I knew (because of the chant in the middle eight), even before they began selling 70m records and staying on the British pop music charts for a record four years-plus, even before I found out the original Birmingham-based lineup had English, Welsh, Irish, Jamaican, Scottish and Yemeni parentage – they were diverse 40 years before it became a thing – even before I bought their first CD, I liked UB40, purely because of their name.

Those were different times, as Lou Reed observed, a world few young people today would recognise. What we then called First World countries understood clearly that, unless they helped solve the problems of the “Third World,” the former would be overrun by refugees fleeing tragedy in the latter. The world was so much of a fairer place that there existed a magazine called South (I applied for a job) which represented the interests of the global less developed countries.
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​Which Hunt?

MY WIFE never understood why I never missed The Apprentice in the mid-2000s until I explained that, once a week, I genuinely felt superior to a billionaire. He was so poor a businessman, so dreadful a judge of anything of quality, so helpless a boss.

This week, I’m back to where I started with Donald Trump: almost feeling sorry for him.

He probably wasn’t a billionaire back then, just the compulsive, self-aggrandising liar he still is, but, when he revealed his idiocy and deep moral flaws every week, I felt pretty good about myself. The shameless way he used his adult children as props for his vanity, eg, reflected my attempt to raise my then small children, not crush them under my own desperate need for validation.

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