I’m in a calypso mood today. Can think about worse moods to be in. But seeing that the rhythms from ray-minor to soca have always been among my favourites, it is no hard thing for me to drift that way at this time.
Sorry, I can’t sing for you, and never will. But I have been listening to a lot of local stuff in the last couple weeks, and it has reminded me of how well art, in this case, the lyrics of calypso can capture the human condition. And in trying as per usual to find something of sense to put in this space, it came to me again that calypso over the years has captured in so many words, the happenings in sport, even the events of today.
Check this out.
“Speaking about football, I insist, T&TFA is the funniest,” sang Brother Valentino in his ditty “People are Funny.”
He added: “Go ask Everald Gally Cummings and he will tell you twice, that some people very funny, and others just ent nice..”
Valentino at the time was looking at how the Association in the Jack Warner years was handling its business. But even in these seemingly more benevolent times under Raymond Tim Kee, the shadow of those years still looms.
So as his administration struggles with an inherited debt and tries to pay off Brent Sancho and the 12 other 2006 Soca Warriors, Tim Kee sounds like Black Stalin, bawling:
“Better days are coming,
Better days are coming,
Sancho, Sancho stop yuh cryin,’
Better, better days are comin’.”
However, seeing as last week he and his mates were prepared to take the TTFA back to court, Sancho is clearly fed up with the promises:
“Ah, doh want to hear that same song again,
If ah hear it, ah might go insane...”
Poor fellow. One hopes that that matter will eventually be settled amicably and as soon as is reasonably possible. The Tim Kee regime seems to have the desire to do the right thing.
From a West Indies point of view however, that does not seem to be the case with those who carry the most weight on the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The big boys managing world cricket met in Dubai yesterday to discuss the disturbing draft proposals of its Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee which essentially will place more power and revenue in the hands of the already powerful and rich cricket boards of India, England and Australia. Save for a few amendments, the ICC’s executive board have basically agreed to “unanimously support” the proposals which still include the scrapping of the Future Tours programme which mandated full members to play series against each other in a set period of time. A vote on the final version of the proposals will not take place until February 8. But despite the public opposition to the strengthening of cricket’s status quo by South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and even minnows Bangladesh (not the ever-silent West Indies Cricket Board and its president Dave Cameron), it seems the big three will have their way.
It will be like the late Penguin put it:
“Bigness is what runs this world.
When you big you have control.
Little folks must know their place, never try to upset the race.
Never argue never fight...
When you big you bad, you is the hardest hard. Who doh want to humble, you could make
The WICB has evidently decided it is better to humble than to crumble; although the complete collapse of the Windies as a Test entity could still happen given the proposed new arrangements.
In the late 1970s, when the Kerry Packer revolution was disrupting world cricket, the West Indies Board towed the ICC line back then as well. It earned them Mighty Sparrow’s displeasure in the classic “Kerry Packer” in which the then president, the late Jeffrey Stollmeyer took a pounding.
But in the 2014 scenario, when Sparrow sings:
“I’m the man in authority. If I say you play, you play,
If I tell you nay, is nay,” the villain is not Stollmeyer, but Indian board big man N Srinivasan and his BCCI cohorts.
We ordinary West Indians, having experienced absolute and extended dominance on the cricket field can only lament and hope with David Rudder:
“Now they making restrictions and laws to spoil our beauty,
But in the end, we shall prevail
This is just not cricket, this thing goes beyond the boundary,
It’s up to you and me to make sure that they fail
Soon we must take a side or be lost in the rubble in a divided world that don’t need islands no more”
Are we doomed forever to be at somebody’s mercy?
Hope we all shall that the gloomy future that this emerging ICC scenario suggests does not become a reality. Even as we watch the NAGICO Super50 in the Queen’s Park Oval, at Shaw Park and on ESPN from this Thursday, lovers of the Windies will be hoping that the cricket will be good enough. If it is not, for the sake of the future, we must ask that Kieran Powell, and Evin Lewis, Nkrumah Bonner, Johnson Charles and Devendra Bishoo listen to the plea of birdie Sparrow:
“In the beginning if you do not succeed, doh feel you efforts were all in vain
A little more determination is all you will need, success only comes after heavy strain
Sometimes we have to do it over and over again before we begin to see the light
Difficulties are ever-present, just like the sun and the rain, but one day we goin to do it right
Till then we must try, try again, try not to complain, learn to bear the strain...”
I don’t think any of their captains or coaches could put it better.
Lyrics, boy. Lyrics.