Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 19th 2015 Contents B7
Thursday, February 19, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
It s approaching midday in London on Carnival
Tuesday (aka Shrove Tuesday, aka Pancake Day)
and Trinidad Carnival Diary Facebook page has,
understandably, been posting like mad.
"For live coverage from the Queen s Park Savan-
nah, Harts is about to cross stage," is the latest
status, complete with a link to the NCBA s live
I m sitting at my desk, in my office, at work.
The sun is streaming in through the window and
I m next to the radiator. London s blue sky has
just a few fluffy clouds, but other than that, it s
glorious weather (if only it were 20 degrees hotter.)
My eyes drift back to my PowerPoint presen-
tation, my shoulders droop and an involuntary
sigh is released from my body. Is it my soul literally
dying? I Google it to see if there s any scientific,
ontological or philosophical way of knowing.
I find a Stanford University paper which describes
the ancient Greek understanding of a person s soul
as referred to in Homer s poems: "The
soul is something that a human being
risks in battle and loses in death. It
is what at the time of death departs
from the person s limbs and travels
to the underworld, where it has a
more or less pitiful afterlife as a shade
or image of the deceased person..."
Yes, I decide, it must have been my
soul escaping to the underworld. It s
probably disappearing into Goodge
Street tube station as I write.
I hit "send" on an e-mail to my
sister entitled, "How do you make
pancakes?" and wait for the response.
Eventually her response comes back:
"Make some batter (eggs, flour, milk),
put it in a pan and flip it."
Sounds easy enough, but then
there s the dilemma you re faced with
when you unload it from pan to plate:
lemon juice? sugar? butter? jam?
syrup? Nutella? Something exotic,
like bananas? It s basically an exis-
tential crisis---making pancakes. But
at least it s something to look forward
to this evening.
I have my lunch. Last night s left-
over spaghetti Bolognese in a Tup-
perware container heated up in the
microwave. As I munch away, I pre-
tend I m eating pelau or dosti roti
from the Indian woman on Western
Main Road, St James.
Then it s back to the prison of my
desk. Unlike Foucault s Panopticon,
however, I know I m not being
watched. I m in the corner seat, my
laptop is still streaming as band after
band crosses the stage. I borrow a
colleague s headphones and things
suddenly don t seem so bad after all!
This is like an open prison if anything;
there s no shackles or punishment
beatings (although at one point I am
required to attend an hour-long work-
shop on recruitment, which I suspect
was put in my diary as some kind of
psychological torture method). There s
labour, of course, but here in my win-
dow seat, it s a little bit like solitary
confinement---in a good way!
I m hearing Machel Montano s Like
Ah Boss for about the 30th time today
and resisting the urge to jump up on
my desk to mime playing a trombone
DAH!" and urging my workmates to
join in the call-and-response routine
like the Power Soca Monarch at the
Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Four days previously, on Fantastic
Friday, we had attempted to have a
soca party at my tiny studio flat in
North London, paying the US$12 sub-
scription for the live pay-per-view
event. In the end I crashed asleep at
3 am, just after watching Destra throw
away her shot at the title by failing
to get "loose."
I m intermittently woken by cries
of derision and whoops of excitement
from the living room where my girl-
friend is displaying her stamina, fight-
ing off fatigue and skyping her mother
in Trinidad and best friend in New
York. The benefit of her three-hour
pre-ISM nap had clearly kicked in.
At 6.30 am UK time I blearily watched
Machel drive onstage in a racing car
and deliver a sermon to the people.
That late night, or rather early
morning, impacted slightly on Valen-
tine s Day as a romantic brunch
became more of a "brinner" (brunch-
dinner) served up in the early evening
as the light was beginning to fade
and we emerged from slumber.
As J Ouvert kicked off on Monday
morning I was putting up my umbrel-
la at the bus stop as the rain grew
By Carnival Tuesday, tabanca had
turned us slightly demented.
"Put on your Carnival costume and
head piece, turn up the heating full
blast and play a mas in the flat," I
dared my girlfriend by text. She
couldn t resist it.
Another friend, locked in tedious
jury service in the London suburbs,
suggested (over-optimistically) that
it was sunny enough to go outside
and play a mas in the park. The fear
of arrest, however, prevented any fur-
"Idris Elba is here!" messaged my
friend from Port-of-Spain, and I
opened the window to let what
remained of my inner spirit fly into
the fading light of evening as I
watched the clock in the bottom right
of my screen count slowly down until
"Close the bleedin window!"
somebody shouted. "It s blinkin
And it was, so I did.
I'm hearing Machel
Montano's Like Ah Boss
for about the 30th time
today and resisting the
urge to jump up on my
desk to mime playing a
my workmates to join in
routine like the Power
Soca Monarch at the
My Carnival tabanca
Patrons enjoy Jus'Maxx
Valentine's Day experience---B26
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