Jamaica

As is Grace Jones.......

Honestly, there's a hell of allot of 'fierce' out there... that's why it's home to me. its a place of extreem which i adore, even if I disagree with it. You know I like my Ho's to look like Ho's my biggots to look like Biggots ... it's all out there.

As for your views on it all being stuck in the 70s I disagree. I think what you mean is that people are still saying the same thing about LOOK at the ghetto, look at the violence or rude bwoys. I think Jamaicas are incredibly proud of their identities its one of the few countries in the Caribbean that hasn't fully embraced American brands (McDonalds, Sean John, Hillfigure all failed in the country, but local designers and food chains thrive). I think in the JA visuals everyone wants to identify and their story to be heard as its a pretty much voiceless society really (people aren't all on the internet etc). What you see on those videos might be a cliche to you but that's life to the people there and these are Jamaican artists you are looking at and that's what they want to show THEIR story. Most commercial scenes are just one note. (And these videos are commercials they aren't arthouse for a reason they are selling products). I didn't think the Alborosie video was negative actually the sunsets the people kissing the kids and the vibe in the record store I felt all 'homesick' but then again that's me... some young fairy might see a video of some chelsea bar in full fagulocity and feel the same feeling for that (while I look and think oh so one note).
I get yer point.
Anyway, our Kassa is here next wk so u can nag him in person about it.
He's dying to do some REAL film work!!!
You make a good point A.N.
It is their culture.
I guess I have the same problem with Japan for example. It's like they never got over Godilla. Everything is just a sci-fi cliche with them.

Jamaica has always had a very fierce identity.
Very "upity".
It has such an interesting history -the Maroons, Marcus Garvey, Haili Salasi, Rastafarism etc.
Jamaica was the only colony as far as I know that fought back and essentially beat the Spanish, then the English. Jamaica just became a sort of "Iraq" for them.
(Jamaican history is VERY good reading BTW if you like that sort of thing like Hatches and I do. Check out the Jamaican Maroons and the Tainos!)

So I see your point A.N.
What seems like a cliche to me is really their culture.

It's just that sometimes this history of culture turns into a self fulfilling prophecy.
People stop thinking "outside the box".
It like the ghetto bullshit in this country.
Kids think they have to be a certain way because that's all they see on TV, in movies and in ads etc.
I guess that's what it is that bothers me.

I would love to meet Kassa.
I can bitch to him in person.
I think the dif with his work an allot of others in that genre is that his women in his vids aren't 'hos' they are sassy in control women. He never has guns in his videos or bling (unless the artist really insists, and they do!)

He calls me today to tell me about the many butterflies he's seeing today - four different colored ones in his apt already today! That's the kinda tinker he is!

As for the history you are right....
Annie Palmer is my heroine
And Nanny of the Maroons - she was an 18th century female warrior who fought off the British. She was believed to have supernatural powers. amazing woman
Am here in Kingston Town - as is my want from time to time when I need to get some grounding, when I need to re-ancor. One thing that I truly relish here is the need for people to talk to one another.... its a lost art in America. As someone who is verbally incontinent (as y'all know), its a treat for me to shuffle around town seeing ole an new chums and just - TALK. Talking in the US has to be around dinner, around an occasion or even around music or a tv. Here talking is just sitting, mainly in the yard or somewhere.

Yesterday, I stopped by the legendary Alan Skill Coles house. For those of u who don't want to google. He was the David Beckham of his era, (Played professional soccer in Brazil) he was also Bob Marleys ole manager and collaborator on many project. He's a fascinating well travelled, well read, humble, warm and loquacious man. Just to stop by that man's yard where he sat with two elderly rasta men and instantly be welcomed and talk for hours about poltics, Bob, the world and the consumerist society was a real tonic. I can never see how those kind of shared thoughts goes on these days in the US without it having to be a contrived set up meeting. That's what I love about it here. The pace and the exchange. Plus the vibracy of the people. Alans in some trouble right now and might face some jail time after they found a large amount of ganja in his house. I don't know truly what went on, but I hope he'll be alright.

Got drunk last night.... made some of those awful dialing when drunk calls (lawdhavemercy).

The hurricane might hit on Sunday so I might not get out... but at least I know I will be stuck with some good conversations!!
Hello Sailors it's your very own Motherboards correspondent from the Eye of the Hurricane!

Bunkered down in Kingston Town playing dominos drinkin rum and getting into cars with random strangers whats new eh...

Just come back from on the road... music is blasting there's a woman in full wedding dress walking down the road (!?), men playing dominos and drinking rum and slowly people are boarding up business fronts- But I mean SLOWLY. Everyone doesn't seem hyped up as the US. I was totally in a tearful panic these past 48hrs but now I don't give a shit. Everyone is "oh I will check u later" allot of folk have had to go get elders from unsafe areas. I just phoned Goverment blokie and they have a huge issue in that they think the main (very very old) jail might get hit real bad (Yikees).
I felt totally lonely before but am feelin a bit better since more folk are slowly checkin back in with me. I think am just used to being in the US where there are all these crazy plans for emergency and everyone having a job to do and planning and organizing... here it seems we all just wait 'lek nature take it's course" u hear them say real laid back.
I just nipped out to buy some of me fave supplies - Fresh peanut punch (ground peanuts with sweet milk, nutmeg and a dash of rum), Bullah (round hard dough pasteries with sweet spices), bun an cheese (fruit loaf with a slice of processed cheese in the middle) and of course a large bottle of Stones Ginger Wine. I think am set. I don't know who if anyone will check me or if I will just ride it out alone here. If anyone can be 'alone' in JA - I just walked from the supermarket and it was starting to get real dark in a gloomy way with heavy drops of rain. An old man in a flash car pulls up "mi names Shaggy" - course it is, i reply. Mi know yer a friend of Kassa' let me give u a lift yer at the Altamont hotel mi know... I jump in and he chats, offers me a spliff and drops me off refusing money. Kingston town,where everyone knows your name.

Pip pip for now... prayer mats out that one of the lads comes to keep me safe (cue coquettish giggle).
Cheers Seven!
Lovely to read Boards when I've felt a bit billy no mates here.

Post Script- I just took a look at the business card the taxi driver I just got a ride from gave me. A white card, heavy stock with a crudly printed old style almost Helvetica in red ink "Shaggy, celebrity taxi driver in Kingston ..." Now that really warmed the cockles of mi heart. Makes me remember why I love this place.
It's 12 noon and its getting closer and closer! I'm so giddy I just come from a drive! Bad weather, heavy heavy rain, wind just starting u feel it's going to pick up hard any minute...we drove up Jacks Hills (a fancy area on the hill) but couldn't pass the roads as power lines had fallen across the roads. There are huge mansion houses up there which i total worry could slide down that mountain (if huge pilons are falling now with no wind just water what else u know). But still outside Bob Marleys house at 56 Hope Road there's still a man selling the SUnday newspapers to passing cars! As u drive down (my mate has huge truck) waves surge high either side of the car. I doubt we will go on the road again now... but it was an exhilarating jaunt.
So many people are staying put in their homes. Crazy. But then again for so many it's all that they have. I'm terrified for the people on the little strip of land(its like fire island) called Port Royal... just terrified but they are all staying.
Anyway, the country is without power now, all electricity has been turned off island wide. But I have a generator here which stops and starts.
I'm also doing radio reports for the BBC (BBC Radio Merseyside who have tracked me down!) what a hoot!). Seems that most reporters are on Montego Bay so few in Kingston where it WILL hit!
Anyway, am giddy... sort of FINALLY enjoying being a Hurricane Virgin.
PS You will all be glad to hear I did my hair and make up and am wearing a very nice dress. I thought I should dress for this occasion, it was the English thing to do.
May or may not be able to post for a while.
Your very own Mother-correspondent!
We're all pulling for you A.N. and your little Island.
It's the "aftermath" that I'm worried about.
Looting, gangs etc.
If it's like New Orleans (and I think it is),
after the storm could be a lot worse than the storm.
Well, at least you know a celebrity cab driver.
I've known a few and they are always a good omen.
Ok so the trees are beggining to fall. The TV is totally off and all the poor banana trees behind my room are flat on the ground. I'm trying to 'rescue' the cats that are here but can't find them. Hope they got in alright. The rain is torrential and I think MIGHT flood my room but that's ok. Kassa might still bring his dog here but I thing at this stage those lads have the biggest challaces that they are smokin that they might not even notice. (The dogs name - Spliffy). He has nuff food there etc and is in the office with the lads.
U really feel it pickin up but the girls in the hotel just left an got into taxis to leave (Which is crazy). Everyone is very chill, its the US news that's over tabloidian. There's a curfew in this area too. I tried to reach my chums up at Mount Edge guest house (real on the edge of the blue mountains) but their phones are all off. Hope they are ok. Should hit any minute now... Rather drunk on Stones Ginger Wine (its an ole lady drink here but I luv it) and getting calls from Ras Kassa and the crew so waggons are in a circle - and of course all the staff at the hotel know me! LOL
I have that nervous giddyness... just pissed I dont have a radio for mi room (might stay up in the small reception area with me bottle of Stones).
Nuff respekt from JA.

By the way, I have now changed outfits to pants a low cut top and a jaunty hat. I plan on entertaining myself throughout this storm even if it is just me working me way through all those outfits I never got to wear. It's also crackin up the staff here who think am....well, nuts.
I must say I am LOVING this Hurricane... i know its terrible but we're all really riding this like a rollercoaster. It's now at the point where as I type i hear endless crashing of roof tiles and trees crashing. It's wonderfully wild in a majestic cinematic shipwrecked kinda way... the fine heavy rain just lashes against the windows like thick waves.
Of course the front desk bwoy is as camp as Christmas and squeels an clasps his hands after each crash. It's a small hotel so it's wonderfully funny sense of banding together. I just called Kassa.. he sounded sooo stoned it was a Robert Crumb comic.. he just was gruffly laughin but u could feel his just 'Irie'
Anyway, an Ackee tree just fell am gonna go check it out with the lads... all this in ballet slippers - quite amazing.
Thanks for listening.... am sort of bored/lonely actually most of the hotel is Jamaicans an they are all rather jaded about the whole thing... The dining room area has one wall open so a few of us have been sitting there watching the storm like its a big tv screen. It's marvelous and you get rather casual - too casual about it really. Its only when a huge piece of zinc roof the side of a front door comed hurtling into the room an crashes like a piece of tissue paper that you really feel the reality. The national anthem is on the local radio station in between some wicked Dancehall tunes. Only in JA during a state of emergency they are singing about Batty Riders! Madge Madison called and could hear the madness, course he also heard me DJing... whyte Selektor again. Had to stop DJing an move back to reception as I was getting soaked even in the back of the room that only has one wall open - the mists of water just had me soaked. So am back in reception with the bwoys here listening to the radio an hittin up the net. Onto mi second bottle of wine that I merrily carry around in one hand - dainty girlie purse in the other. I can's stay in the room am going crazy in there. Although it did hit a few minutes really really bad an I scurried in there (unfortunately the cat I rescued to stay in my room fled out). But it started up really really bad so I did find myself in my closet - literally with the wine in one hand and the ipod an speakers in another playing FULL blast Damian Marleys one loaf of bread tune over an over again (go to my myspace an u can hear it www.myspace.com/janeneen ) It's a good hurricane track... Daddy and Sammy Jo any good tips for DJing?
Not much trouble going on... just called National Security geezer. All good.
Just finished my dinner - "Mutton an Irish potato with rice an peas" delicious... only in JA kids. Ok must go as my two front desk bwoys are calling me (they insist on calling me by my last name Miss B not my first! it's classic JA formality which is a hoot) "ooohhh miss B ... we have some overproof rum for yer likkle medicinal"
Every ting Kris mon...
Thanks gang for listening an being there....
Billy no mates in Kingston Town
gawd ye of big faith... believe me nowt doin' for me here... although the generator is being turned off in a tick so we were just given a candle and a box of matches. That's perhaps when the real fun will happen. I just read MSN news they say the troops are patrolling to keep the peace... so I call National Security and they said "what!? Where do u get that idea from"
Amazing what shit is on the news.
Pray for a shag...for me oh an pray that all the people are safe.
Fashion note... have moved onto thick wedge shoes since the water is coming into my room and its tough to paddle in ballet slippers.
Took a wee nap - in my clothes ... am thinking I will be in my clothes all night. BUGGER! First night EVER in 20yrs of visiting JA where I sleep alone and with me kit ON! jeez
ok lights off now...
wee willie winkie
Waitin to hear you comin out the other side A-Okay.

Kind of like being born no?

Reminds me of all the tornados I sat out in the mid-west. You just hunker down in the sump room in the basement as this sound of a train crash slowly moves down the street and most the air gets sucked out of the room. There is not a thing you can do but listen to the radio, the crashing and blowing up outside, and your own heartbeat while you wait. A person can't stay hyper edgy for more than a half hour so you tend to unwire in your muscles and get this 'what the hell' sense of calm tinged with an anticipatory curiosity. Force of nature sure makes a human feel inconsequential.

Give us a line when you can get your head up. You sound like your are doing just fine so far.
All good.... actually you get really blase about it all after a while. It was sort of like the sound of waves crashing or low flying air crashed coupled with tin roof tiles smashing, glass and trees. Allot of the tiles on the hotel roof have gone - next door the higher rise hotels windows smashed out. I went on the road and drove around and allot of traffic lights, telegraph poles and trees blocking the road but no major madness. It's all fine. Infact in comparrison to New Orleans - JA managed it much better and took care of its folk much better. No dead folk floating around for days ignored here.... People are much calmer and understand natures signs allot better. Chums kept telling me that they are seeing birds and lizards so they knew it won't be that bad as it came ... They knew the signs.
For me now I am just bored an lonely since most of my chums are either in industries (like government or construction owners) who need to be working emergency all day. Or they are pals who are way out of town where the water supply is bad. So I chose to stay here but it's means am isolated. But the electricity is back on so I have you guys on the boards.
Don't know when I can get back... but hope it's soon! I miss my tyke so bad.
You totally mad wild woman... the Eye just missed! Loved all the costume changes, like going to wedgies to keep your feet dry!

Dean is relentless, going after those numbered accounts in the Cayman Islands, then on to Mexico where it increases to level 5....

Stay safe!
And get some nookie.

Slide show --

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/20/world/americas/20cnd-...?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
Yesterday morning I spent from 7am until 8am on the phone with US travel agents who were just utterly hopeless. My hotel had lost power again so I thought I would walk up the road to the larger Pegasus hotel (the hotel where they found the dead cricket manager!). I popped inside and collected e-mail ...which they charged me $5 US !for (cheeky bastards). Then walked up to the air Jamaica office, being ever so careful to step over the power lines that were on the floor and the many downed trees. The clear up was fast and the locals were already out with chainsaws chopping up trees etc. It was really impressive - especially when u compair to how the US handled New Orleans. I arrived at Air Jamaica office only to find them without power and the staff sitting on the wall with note pads and cell phones trying to help. With help from my contacts (wink wink) I managed to get myself on a flight to Florida but I would have to leave immediately! Armed with just a scrap of paper with a locator (they took my credit card info on the phone etc!). I leg it back to the hotel throw everything into my bag, tell the team at the front desk since they couldn't check me out since their system was down we all had an honors system! The airport was chaos – masses of people in a panic to get into the doors and security staff being vigilant at the gates. Inside was worse as the power was down and no air conditioning and no computers but they were still trying to check people on! I manage to find the woman (irish woman) who was to help me and she got me a scrap of paper that confirmed me on the flight! Once inside the terminal it was bedlam just hordes an hordes of people in infernal heat with no relief in the dark. Thank God for my local cell phone since it kept me sane. There was one point were I thought I might pass out when I suddenly realized I hadn't eaten or drank since the night before and was still in the same filthy clothes that I'd slept in. (They thought another storm might hit in the night so I was scared not to be prepared). I'd not washed since we didn't have an water and I stank. Kassa called me frantic to check where I was since the Pegasus was on fire and there was no sign of fire trucks. I lay on the floor as the tiles were cool put my legs up on my suitcase and felt less dizzy. I put the ipod on an listened to Debussy then Joni Mitchell which seemed to really help.
It wasn't until 5pm that I got out of that place. People stayed calm and we all talked to each other, swapped numbers, made friends and cheers and applauded each time the lights went on (even though they seemed on only get these 10min bursts of power). I'm amazed they even got flights out. I'm amazed people didn't totally freak and fight an panic. I was happy too that as I lay on the floor I had some nice scenery as most of the guys in the terminal took off their shirts since it was so hot. At least I had that to be thankful for. But jeez I looked a mess.
By the time I reached Fort Lauderdale around 8pm I found a disabled toilet locked myself in like a crack head and stripped down for a sink wash. Yes dear chums it had to be done. I changed into the only clean clothes I had – a fancy frock and heels! And bought another new ticket on jet blue to Newark.
Now am here, in my business suit at work.
Please can I have another birthday... I think I lost this one.
Friends took me to the worst hit area a place called Caribbean Gardens by Harbor View in Kingston. As soon as I got there I wanted to leave. There was an awful morbid sense fo curiosity and I stuck out like a sore thumb. Homes just mashed up and looted, army was there but you could feel the tension in all the gangs and the loss. I was nagging and begging my chums to get me out of there and NOW cos I just felt totally unsafe (and i NEVER feel unsafe in JA but this was really different). I snuck one photo in from that area, this was it. But u realize why i didn't take any more shots.

Attachments

Photos (1)
So, am back in Kingston town. Weather is breezy 80s just warm and wonderful.
Just enjoying some warm welcomes from all the folks I know in the neighbourhood. I love the daily in yer face interactions here... a quick jaunt down the road and you will have spoken to at least seven people. And at least one will have remembered you from last time.
I am finally in size 10 jeans - no mean feat considering I've been the hefty hidaway gyal for a while... but considering the amount of eating I am doing since I've been here I might have to head back to Lane Bryant. For some crazy hormonal reason I can't stop eating all the great food. Cornmeal porridge for breakast (or peanut porridge) then oxtail or brown stew chicken for lunch (with rice and peas of course) and steamed fish for dinner of course with sides of festival (savory donuts). That coupled with a mix of Guiness and Red Bull and dont get me started on all the amazing Jamaican cakes!! Everything has rum in it for a start and is rich and moist and creamy! mmm mmm mmm
They might have to roll me umpalumpa style onto the plane!
Last night I went out and met this 'finance' guy here (hes funding allot of projects in JA) everyone told me he was this fancy guy from London. Turns out... he's from mi home town, Liverpool and as common as muck (or as ME). Funny as hell conversations we were having about typical "liverpool families" and how even at his wedding his brother broke a bottle and stabbed him at the stag party! ahhh and people wonder why I feel so safe in JA!! Great guy, great contact for me too.
Anyway,I think I have to take a nap now before director buddy comes to get me ... he's nocturnal and expects me to be too.

I miss mi JA bwoy back in NYC .... madge will u keep him busy for me!!
Welcome to Hell(shire).



Hellshire, Jamaica is a local beach not far from Kingston town; rougher rugged ramshackle kind of beach, what it lacks in beauty it well makes up for with personality.

"Ice Cold Beers! Cigarettes, Wata!" the lanky toothless man hawks, "Wata! Hygrade! IceCold Beers!" the local word for herb was carnival barked like a brand name with a smirk. Welcome to Hellshire!

Small crudely constructed huts with corrugated zinc roof, painted in brightly chipping paint litter a yard from the tide. Between this maze of huts cars drive and park jazz style, sand covered kids play in their underwear; people sell all matter of goods while hard pumping reggae keeps the vibe.

My blokie and I wander the maze of huts and shadowed corners reading the rough hand painted signs "Steamed Fish, Fried Fish, Lobster and Festival". This is where the lines of Jamaica and Africa become blurred. The energy here is more African than Caribbean to me, more of a jarring edge than a laid back breeze.

"Mi a get di steam fish an mi wifey av di fried" my blokie says to the dark dread. I smile a warm grin as I hear the strong sing song Jamaican accent that my blokie has when he's back home. I am sure I'm the same in Liverpool (or as we say in ˜da pool dee doo do don't dee"). "don't forget festival" I said as I saw the long tasty savory stick˜donuts' frying in his pan. We chose our fish that the fishman had just thrown into the old cooler box. I chose a vivid blue faced parrot fish while blokie chose two huge fat red scaled snapper fish with comical buck teeth. They carry the fish to the back kitchen which is the area sectioned off with chicken wire and the cooking is on a huge open flame fire.

Being Jamaica each primitive hut has an impressive full bar. I'm somewhat concerned as my blokie seems to be the Pope of Hellshire as he's given full reign to help himself behind the bar. A few ice cold Guiness and Ginger Wine bottles later I begin to wonder if it's because he's really bad or really good that they give him such respect?

A short moon faced man wonders over with a dirty bucket and a purple wash cloth. He slams the bucket on the table for my blokie and says "12 or 24? Sweet or hot?"

"Mi waaan two dozen but lemma see di bokkles". At this point the moon faced man pulls out a few plastic water bottles with pierced holes in the top each one seems to be filled with twigs, peppers, garlic, onions and topped with vinegar.

Removing the lid from his plastic bucket he starts fast and furious shelling these tiny barnacled oysters as blokie devours each one after shaking the hot vinegar mix at top.

At this point it's a full on orgy of taste, sound and smells. The rough lyrics from Kingstons new ghetto hero Movado blast the speakers, blokie dances with his Guiness and his tall stick of ganja as two huge army men carrying automatic weapons walk in. My heart sunk as my English reserve told me that this would only mean one thing - a raid with immediate arrest for blokie with the illegal drugs. Welcome to Hellshire! Both of the men start dancing their weapon cocked up in the air as Movado sings "mi an mi dogs ever strap!" knees jerking upwards in dance in their army camos and full metal jackets. They too help themselves to a Guiness and sit down at one of wooden planked tables weapons laid flat next to their steaming mounds of fish. To make things even more like the star wars cantina two young foppish guys come in dressed like the panto version of the Little Rascals and proceed to camp it up and dance foolishly in body contorting bawdy fashions. The small crew watching clap along so they stretch out the show to the point of one of the men walking around the shack crab style as everyone laughed.

Our fish arrived and it was perfect, fresh melt in the mouth morsels, crisp on the outside, moist and flavorful. The festival was so delicious and the Guiness icy cold! I dream of this meal now every day.

"Ice Cold Beers! Cigarettes, Wata and Hygrade!" the salesman returns.

"Welcome to Hellshire" my blokie says "Welcome to Jamrock!"

Attachments

Photos (1)

Add Reply

Likes (0)
×
×
×
×