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guardian.co.tt Sunday, March 5, 2017
Memories of a retired pan jumbie
There was a time when I looked
forward to Carnival as a child.
The excitement was in the air,
and you felt it. I was thrilled with
the music of the steel bands as
they prepared for the Panorama
competition. I made grapefruit
tins bawl for mercy. That was
my early adventure into the pan
I loved the Pan Am North Stars,
Gay Desperadoes, and Solo Har-
monites. I also liked the rivalry that
existed between the south bands and
the north bands.
As a boy, my loyalty was with the
north bands. I could never under-
stand why south bands came to town
in the early years with so much bands
and pans, only to carry them back
up the Solomon Hochoy Highway.
South bands were beaten so badly,
they were nearly disfigured...musi-
cally of course.
It took 19-year-old Lennox "Bob-
by" Mohammed of Guinness Cava-
liers fame to dent northern pride. It
was a musical scatter shot that sent
the pan world reeling when the Cav-
aliers won an early Panorama. Later,
flag bearers Steve Achaiba of Hatters
fame and Ken "Professor" Philmore
took the fight to northerners show-
ing that South was not only famous
for oil and gas. I still wonder how
"Professor" Pan By Storm was beat-
en out of first place throwing south-
erners into a depression which still
I remember seeing the pans of
the Guinness Cavaliers punctured
in Port-of-Spain, and knew there
were "haters" of south bands, es-
pecially the Cavaliers.
Today, I feel sorry about the de-
cline of the great south bands, and
pray like Pastor Cuffie for a revival.
I loved to hear the Forsyth High-
landers with their "Chinee Pan"
music, but I didn't appreciate the
label "Bobolee Band" when they
were given a bottle bath by the Fasci-
nators. The great Bertie Marshall had
to run for his life. Town say Bertie
could have made our Olympic Team
easily as a sprinter. I, myself, could
have made our Olympic team when
Tokyo rained bottles and stones on
Casablanca at the corner of Duke and
Holy Moses! Tokyo had some of
the best pelters as shown by the ear-
ly salvo, I did not wait to find out
more. When I reached home, I hid
under a bed for days. Since that time,
I have remained in panic mode. It has
affected my psyche so badly that I
often sleep under the bed as a retired
pan jumbie. I now suffer from Post
Traumatic Bottle Disorder (PTBD).
With this condition you don't know
if rain is falling on the roof or bottle
I have seen mas bands part like
Moses parting the Red Sea when the
San Juan All Stars were on the move.
Shades of go your way big horse. In
those days, you didn't mess with the
San Juan All Stars. The only messing
you did was in your pants.
In my early years, Casablanca was
the band where I gained experience
in muscle building through pushing
pan. The most brutal experience of
child labour came when I was stuck
with a six bass on a Carnival Tuesday,
after revellers fled the band. Only
God knows how I escaped a hernia.
As the years rolled by, my oppor-
tunity to play on the big stage came
when Casablanca played calypsoni-
an King Fighter's Pyjama Suit in the
sixties. I heard the Solo Harmonites
version of the song arranged by Earl
"Barney" Rodney and was blown to
smithereens. I felt we were playing
Instantly, my love for the Solo
Harmonites increased, and one of
my joyous memories as a teenag-
er was witnessing the Harmonites
coming down Frederick Street on
the J'Ouvert morning of 1968 with,
you guessed it, The Wrecker by Lord
Kitchener. Holy Moses! It was pan in
they 'rookung'. I never throw waist so
in my life. I surprised myself. Today,
it is just a half wine, and a half jook.
Uncle Ellis better than me. Noth-
ing, yes nothing, could beat sweet
pan in the cool breeze of dawn. The
Harmonites were the largest band
I have ever seen on the road after
winning a Panorama competition.
People like lentil peas. Remember,
too, Solo Harmonites had a "ton-
load" of pans and some of the best
players in the land.
Later, when Rodney left the band,
I felt sad for the Harmonites and re-
tired as a pan jumbie. I still cannot
come to terms with the decline of
the Harmonites and the troubles of
the band. I often wonder how such
a good thing could go so bad. I gone!
Keith Anderson was a former
cartoonist with the T&T Guardian. He
is now on retirement.
Massy Trinidad All
players during the
performance of Full
Extreme in the
Panorama Finals at
the Queen's Park
Spain, last Sunday.
ALL STARS IN FULL EXTREME
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