It’s December 26, and the neighborhood has been sunk in soporific mode since morning. Some Kingston citizens will no doubt rouse themselves from the post-Christmas Day torpor later today and toddle off to a soca party or dancehall session, and the noise level will rise. But for now…it’s “as you were.”
Having just dined on leftovers (which always seem to taste better than the original meal) I came across a few tidbits – or “odds and sods” as we used to say in the UK – which often rise to the surface on Boxing Day. Some ridiculous, some troubling…
- There was the Annual Christmas Cake Fight at a specific Kingston supermarket, known to many. This emporium sells a particular Christmas cake (a regular dark fruit cake Jamaicans are very fond of), which is much in demand because of its flavor and value for money. If you put this cake in your trolley and take your eye off it for a second, it will disappear while your back is turned! Well, things got heated on Tuesday this week, when some women got into a tussle. According to one report, things got nasty. A police source said: “A man called in to say that his wife was bitten by another woman in her breast and it sink way down. After that, they called back and said that the police shouldn’t bother to come because they resolved the matter by themselves.” I wonder how they resolved it.
- Global warming – or burning? Meanwhile in Bournemouth, UK sunlight refracting through a snow globe in a Bournemouth shop window ignited some fake reindeer food (!) and fake snow and set the place on fire. Oops.
- And on the English football field, the “sexy Frenchman” and Arsenal Football Club striker Olivier Giroud suddenly flipped and head-butted a Queen’s Park Ranger during today’s Boxing Day match. Of course, Nedum Onuoha went down as if he was pole-axed. Gee, thanks Olivier, a red card was just what we needed. Arsenal struggled on to win, mainly thanks to two little dynamos, Alexis Sanchez (masterful) and Tomas Rosicky. Elsewhere, Emile Ivanhoe Heskey, who will be 37 years old very soon and has had a checkered career, scored a goal on his debut for Bolton Wanderers, commenting afterwards, “I was a little bit surprised…” Weren’t we all.
Some bizarre news emerged today. The charming and popular uptown bad boy and dancehall singer Sean Paul Ryan Francis Henriques (Sean Paul for short) has received an online death threat via YouTube from an Islamic militant group – it’s not clear who they are affiliated with, apparently. The group doesn’t like him performing at a New Year concert in the Maldives. The Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb invited Sean Paul, it is reported. So he must be a “major disbeliever” too, despite the group’s assertion that the Maldives are “100% Muslim.” At this point it appears the concert will go ahead, but we shall see whether SP will be there.
Back in Jamaica the dancehall scene, seemingly craving for something new and exciting, has been agog about a new deejay called Gully Bop for the past few weeks now. Mr. Bop is due to perform at the annual Sting stage show tonight and one hopes that he will manage OK (patrons at this show are prone to throwing bottles at those who don’t meet with their approval). He became popular through one or two YouTube videos, I understand. Meanwhile a visiting dentist from New York has offered to provide Mr. Bop with treatment for free. “The fact that Gully Bop is a lyricist, we would want to design a partial denture or denture that he could get used to quickly, so that his lyrical flow is not affected,” one of the dentist’s colleagues observed sagely.
- And the negative forces have been busy over the holidays. They never take time off. The Turkish President has decided to lock up a bunch of journalists and a sixteen-year-old boy has been put behind bars for insulting him. But… “Nowhere in the world is the press freer than it is in Turkey. I’m very sure of myself when I say this,” says President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. I’m not sure that anyone else is sure. Elsewhere in the world, Egypt’s censorship board has banned the film “Exodus: Gods and Kings” because of its “historical inaccuracies.” But quite honestly, can one regard the story of Moses as historical fact? (Please don’t bash me, fundamentalist Christians!) Is that a good reason to ban a film anyway? Vladimir Putin is worried about the cost of vodka and has declared NATO as a major military threat. I think he didn’t have such a good festive season – and he has canceled his ministers’ holidays, so they must be miserable too.
But closer to home, delightfully, an Argentine court has ruled that a 29-year-old orang utan named Sandra, who has been trying to avoid the gaze of human visitors to a Buenos Aires zoo for twenty years, should be granted some legal rights. Sandra’s lawyers argued that she is a “non-human person” and want her to be transferred to a much less restrictive environment in Brazil. Good luck, Sandra.
- An unexpected Christmas Day musical delight was a BBC World program “Africa Beats” (only half an hour long, sadly) which featured, among others, Tumi – a poetic rapper from South Africa; Aziza Brahim from Western Sahara, born a refugee in Algeria; the gentle Songhoy Blues, who fled from Islamists who invaded northern Mali; and the awesome Lala Njava, who sang in a stunningly bluesy voice about the destruction of the rainforest in her native Madagascar. You can find clips of these wonderful musicians on YouTube.
- Among the many images we were bombarded with over the holidays, the one below from the West Bank struck me as ironic. If you want to go through some more 2014 photos, Time Magazine’s Top 100 photos are worth looking through; brilliant photos but mostly quite depressing. Let’s hope that 2015 will be a year of sweetness and light. Somehow I doubt it will be.
Meanwhile, it’s back to the leftovers… I’m heading for the fridge.