Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 26th 2013 Contents B7
Thursday, September 26, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
It s 2 pm in the afternoon on
Republic Day. I ve just woken up.
My wallet is soaked. Business cards
and photo IDs are strewn across the
living room table, drying out. Sod-
den clothes litter my bedroom floor.
My smartphone is in a bowl of rice,
drying out. I had kept it in my pock-
et at a wet fete. Why did nobody
warn me a wet fete would be
Some weeks ago in this column I
asked, "Don t You All Ever Sleep?"
It was a genuine query,
concerning when precisely you
Trinidadians and Tobagonians find
time to rest alongside your party
schedule. Now look at me, partying
til the sun comes up, wandering in
at 8 am after an all-night bashment.
I should feel ashamed, at my age.
But I don t.
Major Lazer was explosive at the
O2, Chaguaramas. The trio took a
while to come to the boil, in fairness.
For around an hour it seemed as though
the night might end up a damp squib.
Well, it ended up damp, but not a squib.
Major Lazer dropped big anthems
early on, but the crowd---who had pre-
viously been roused to fever pitch by
the MC---seemed underwhelmed. One
thing live music crowds here have in
common with London crowds: they
are hard to please. A lot of posing and
waiting to be entertained. But when
crowds here wake up, they really wake
up. In London a round of applause is
usually the most a band can expect.
The DJs played for three hours, by
my watch. My watch had, however,
become waterlogged so perhaps it was
stuck on the wrong time. If I could
have suspended time I would have, so
I could fully take in the scene, magnify
it and make a mental image.
When Diplo, the DJ/producer and
founder of Major Lazer, stripped, rather
immodestly, to the waist and strode
cross the top of the mixing desk hands
aloft, it was the cue that the party had
started. By the end, after Machel Mon-
tano, Bunji Garlin and a seemingly end-
less stream of dancers had raised the
temperature, Major Lazer was tearing
off the proverbial roof. Turns out the
DJs had merely been teasing the crowd.
Later Diplo got inside a giant see-
through beach ball and crowd surfed.
Exciting? Not half.
The volume rose too. At first, the
two speaker stacks either side of the
stage had felt a little insipid, when I
compared it to a Beenie Man dancehall
rave I d seen in Montego Bay, where
the immense sound system shook the
But forget Jamaica, how does an
event like this, WeTT Republic, compare
to events in the UK?
Really there is no comparison, except
perhaps the ticket prices, which at $380
were in the London ballpark. But in
England I would have spent another
$380 on alcoholic beverages. Here, I
walked with a $90 bottle of rum, which
sufficed. In London you cannot bring
alcohol to any ticketed event, full stop.
The exorbitant prices ($45 for a pint
of beer, $60 for a glass of spirits) are
how event promoters make all their
profit back home.
In England we would not be soaked
to the bone with water cannon. Not
unless we wanted to catch our death
of cold walking to the tube station
afterwards. Here it was a nice cool
down. I also realise now why parties
happen in the early hours of the morn-
ing. It s cooler then.
Chaguaramas it was a majestic sight.
Fluffy droplets of cloud blobbed the
sky over the ocean which was dyed a
pinkish orange hue. A world away from
the O2 Brixton Academy in South Lon-
don where you are met outside by
homeless alcoholics and a foreboding
urban dystopia. Incidentally, UK curfews
for concerts kick in at 11 pm and the
venues turn you out into the street.
The crowd at the wet fete was very
young. So young it left me wondering
whether there are age restrictions and
whether they are enforced at all. I saw
kids as young as 14.
Around me were scenes of debauch-
ery. In the VIP upper section it was
too packed to move. Girls were wearing
virtually nothing in the heaving throng.
Glow sticks turned faces incandescent.
Onstage the MC declared the time 6:30:
code speak for the shape the dancer
was throwing, touching her ankles her
body formed into a 180 degree straight
line, like the hands of a clock at half
past six. Epic twerking followed. The
running, jumping land into splits
brought a tear to the eye.
But while all this debauchery took
place without anybody batting so much
as an eyelid, as soon as a bit of swearing
was heard, the party was nearly shut
Diplo dropped Pharoahe Monk s tune
Simon Says. A raucous song containing
the "f" word. Within seconds, two uni-
formed police officers appeared onstage,
headed straight to the DJ mixing desk
and whispered into Mr Diplo s ear that
this really was not on.
The music stopped. There were a
tense few seconds when the crowd
thought the plug would be pulled. Then
the MC declared the DJs would play
no further songs with "curse words"
and the party started up again. Phew.
"It s a colonial thing," my friend told
It s really not though. In England
swearing (sorry, cussing) is just like
breathing. We don t even know we re
doing it half the time. It is certainly
not censored. I found it comical that
amidst such anarchic scenes an air of
conservatism still crept in. It s only a
word that rappers say, after all. Whilst
recovering the next day I watched Pulp
Fiction on cable television. Here too I
found the original script doctored and
overdubbed, removing cuss words. Bor-
I switched off and fetched a towel.
My mind was playing tricks on me, I
still felt wet. Actually I m beginning to
wonder if I will ever feel dry again.
Wet, wet, wet
A section of the
crowd enjoying the
WeTT Republic event
at O2, Chaguaramas.
PHOTO: DAVID WEARS
Chaguaramas it was a majestic
sight. Fluffy droplets of cloud
blobbed the sky over the ocean
which was dyed a pinkish orange
hue. A world away from the O2
Brixton Academy in South
London where you are met
outside by homeless alcoholics
and a foreboding urban dystopia.
Incidentally, UK curfews for
concerts kick in at 11 pm and the
venues turn you out into the
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