PARTLY BECAUSE he turned 70 on Wednesday, but mainly because I really “ent able” to think too deeply about this week’s shipload of Trinidadian, British & American firetruckeries, I want to pay a TGIF tribute, today, to Stevie Wonder, President Barack Obama’s favourite musician.
To honour him — if you can honour a great songwriter by firetrucking with his lyrics — I’ll imagine what some of his best known songs might have come out like, if written recently, under lockdown in Trinidad, the UK or the USA. To help readers with memories like mine, ie, with more leaks than the current White House, I’ll set out a bit of Stevie’s version before my rewrite.
Superstition, Stevie, 1972. Very superstitious, writing’s on the wall/ Very superstitious, ladder’s ‘bout to fall/ Thirteen-month-old baby broke the looking glass/ Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past/ When you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer/ Superstition ain’t the way/ Hey, hey, hey.
So Suspicious, BC, today. Very so suspicious, letter from Young Stuart/ Really so obvious, travel bans don’t mean a fart/ Half-a-dozen Venes roll through Piarco/ Making as eef and deals, on behalf of Maduro/ US embers see but Stuartie jest don’t know/ When you espouse principles you really don’t believe, then you grieve/ Morals and consciences, they don’t have them/ In the PNM.
Living for the City, Stevie, 1973. A boy is born in hard time Mississipi/ Surrounded by four walls that ain’t so pretty/ His parents give him love and affection/ To keep him strong, moving in the right direction/ Living just enough, just enough for the city.
Brexit Without Pity, BC, today. A man tells lies to country and queen, no pity/ Aided & abetted by a woman misnamed “Priti”/ And an upper-class twit, Rees-Mogg, who’s really deeply shitty/ A pound-shop, bleached blond Hugh Grant, who learned the common touch at Eton/ His conviction is that anger and lies cannot be beaten/ If you can’t win using reason/ Teach people how to hate, or else it’s treason/ Works well enough, if you can limit it to Brexit/ But even virulent hate means nothing to pandemics/ Giving just enough, just barely enough, to the NHS and city.
I Just Called to Say I Love You, Stevie, 1984. No New Year’s Day to celebrate/ No chocolate-covered candy hearts to give away/ No first of spring, no song to sing/ In fact here’s just another ordinary day/ I just called to say, I love you.
I Just Called to Say I Hope No One Will Shoot You, BC, today. No brains, no heart, but with a born filthy rich kick-start/ Near illiterate, with tiny hands and a tinier other part / No friend at all, no sacred value you wouldn’t slaughter/ And with a worrying predatory aim at your own daughter/ The Ku Klux Klan, makes you warm & fuzzy, not bitter/ No clue, you fool, viruses are just not afraid of Twitter/ No mask, jackass, you should end up just like Boris/ But you deserve a fate that, for you is even wor-orse/ I just called to say, I hope no one will shoot you/ And save you from your just due/ I just hope Putin will not protect you/ From the November cut-ass booked in true/ I just want to see the last of your scared orange tail/ And I hope you get a cellmate named Bubba when you finally make your jail.
I Wish, Stevie,1976. Looking back on when I/ Was a little nappy-headed boy/ Then my only worry/ Was for Christmas, what would be my toy/ Sneaking out the back door/ To hang out with those hoodlum friends of mine/ Greeted at the back door/ With, “Boy, thought I told you not to go outside/ Trying your best to bring the water to your eyes/ Thinking it might stop her from whooping your behind/ I wish those days would come back once more/ Why did those days ever have to go? Cause I love them so.
I Miss, BC, today. Looking back on when I/ Could just catch a plane and fly/ Boy, could it be really/ Just two months alone/ When my only worry/ Was for birthday, would I get a new smartphone/ Going to the grocery/ An unnoticed liberty/ And KFC and movies, too besides/ And when I was out driving, giving people drops and rides/ Now I tell my son, “Boy, thought I told you not to go outside/ Trying your best NOT to bring your hands up to your eyes/ Running like Usain Bolt, if somebody cough only take you by surprise/ Scared to touch a counter, or buy a doubles at a stand/ Love thy neighbour theory, in practice your enemy is every man/ I miss those days so much, my heart is sore/ People don’t realise yet, they’re gone for evermore/ From now on, and for every nation/ Jumping up in steel band/ Will have only one interpretation. I miss those days/ So much/ My heart is really sore/ I miss those days/ ad lib/ etc/ FADE.
BC Pires is Mistra Know-Nothing-At-All reaching for Higher Ground