Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 17th 2014 Contents A33
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Emma Thompson has revealed
her recent stage comeback in
New York was a "beautiful,
inspiring" experience that
brought her to tears.
"It was magical to be in front
of an audience again," she said
of her role in Stephen Sond-
heim s Sweeney Todd at the Lin-
coln Center. "It made me weep."
Thompson and co-star Bryn
Terfel will reunite in 2015 when
their production is revived at
the London Coliseum.
The semi-staged production
will have a limited run of 13 per-
Thompson said it was "like a
dream coming true" to be invit-
ed to bring Sweeney Todd to
London following its five-per-
formance run in New York in
"It was so terrible to think of
it ending," explained the actress,
who plays eccentric pie-maker
Mrs Lovett to Terfel s serial-
killing Demon Barber of Fleet
The 55-year-old, who has
won Oscars for both acting and
screenwriting, said she was hop-
ing there would be "a slight
improvement" when she reprises
her role next March. (BBC)
Emma Thompson 'wept' over stage return
In the kingdom of cloth, the
late Jimmy Aboud reigned
supreme. This year marked
the 65th anniversary of Aboud s
textile business. He survived dan-
gerous dips in the economy and
political coup attempts. He thrived
in a volatile business that unraveled
some of his most fierce competi-
tors. Jimmy Aboud the Textile King
persevered to become one of the
leading entrepreneurs in the
Some time after his 60th anniver-
sary in business, Aboud spoke about
his life in the textile business, but
he was hesitant to make the story
I don t think it s the right time
yet," he kept telling me.
I carefully guarded this story given
to me by Aboud in his office at his
store, so it was never published until
Jimmy Aboud started off like
many Syrian businessmen. In 1942,
he packed his suitcase full of cloth
and sundry items, paid his ten-cent
fare, and at 6.30 am, travelled east
by train with his father through the
countryside to sell in the barracks
of the sugarcane estates. They took
the last train back to Port-of-Spain
at 5.50 pm in the evening.
"I learned much from my pred-
ecessors---my uncle and my father.
I followed the steps of others, and
I always tried to excel," said Aboud.
But he wanted to own his own
"I still remember that day I walked
in the bank to start my business,"
said Aboud. "It was 1949 and I had
been working in Charlotte Street for
six months. I needed a loan to start
a business. I put on my coat and hat
and tie. In those days everybody
walked the streets in a suit."
At the bank, Aboud secured an
overdraft credit of $500. He was 22
years old, ambitious and determined
"In that period, business was very
competitive---especially among the
established firms. Only hard-working
people survived. Wages were five
shillings a week. Cheap cottons were
35 cents. When you crossed $1,000
a day for sales, you did very well.
Getting his own store was a dream
come true. And then came the Kore-
an War in 1951. The post-World War
II tension between the communist
world and the democratic west had
come to a showdown in Korea.
"I had the experience of selling
during World War II when goods
were scarce. This war, I thought,
would bring the same conditions."
Aboud bought cloth in bulk. He
needed to have stock for what he
thought would be a long war. But
six months later, a treaty was signed.
The Korean War ended.
"I was involved in overbuying,"
Aboud said with a frown. "I got car-
ried away---not only me, but most
of the traders. The goods arrived;
there was no market to trade, no
room to stockpile. I didn t have the
money to clear the goods and the
port threatened to auction what was-
n t cleared. Many people went bank-
Ambitious Aboud had to break
the news of his near demise to his
"They said, You are crazy, man.
You brought down so much goods? "
But Aboud s family stood beside
"I was saved by additional finance
from family members extending me
credit. During that period I had to
work longer hours, night into day,
selling goods at low margins---even
at a loss---to pay back my family."
Continues on Page A34
The king of textiles
Jimmy Aboud, right, gives
personal attention to Darryl
Merani in the Jimmy Aboud
store on Queen Street in
2007. PHOTO: MARK LYNDERSAY
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