Thursday, March 4, 2010

... karaoke and the cricket ...

... this is no secret or revelation ... most of us wish we could belt out a tune ... and, as we all know, there's an app for that! ... it's called karaoke, a word I don't recall hearing before it took the world by storm some decades ago ... everyone wants to be a SingStar ... take it from me, most actors would love to be singers ... in the same way that so many singers want to act ...


... often seen in a corny mood light, gifted pipes can turn karaoke into a fine art ...

... to others fantasy and fun is all that matters ...


... skip a few connecting thoughts with me as I leap from karaoke to the more crucial consideration of the sport known throughout the remains of the British Empire as ... cricket ...

... now, having alienated most of my readership with the very mention of these two scintillating topics ... in one devil-may-care post no less ... I continue in the knowledge that if you're still with me you've probably been to Barbados, know a few Bajans, or are from this reef-ringed, easternmost island of the Caribbean ... a place where karaoke enthusiasts abound and a constellation of cricketing superstars had their beginnings ...

... the Best Of Caribbean Tales Film Festival which opened with a screening of A Winter Tale attracted a vanguard of attendees to Barbados last week, surviving technical challenges to augur well for the future of filmmaking in the region ... those of us visiting couldn't miss the indelible nation-building stamp of larger-than-life players from the consecutive golden eras in West Indies Cricket history ...















... the triple-headed memorial to "The Three W's" (Frank Mortimer Maglinne Worrell, Clyde Leopold Walcott and Everton DeCourcy Weekes) at the UWI Cave Hill campus is a testament to favourite sons with great career stats, knighthood and a last initial in common ... when you add uber-cricketer Sir Garfield St. Aubyn Sobers, whose statue graces Bridgetown's showpiece Kensington Oval, and a host of other native greats you get the picture ... modestly put, this ground has been walked by some of the finest ...













... fast-forward to the present day and we find endemic underperformance within contemporary Caribbean cricket ... while listening to a shamefaced radio post-mortem of a Windies capitulation to unregarded Zimbabwe in a recent 20/20 match I was reminded of a standard Cowellian reproach to many an auditioner on American Idol ... "that sounded like karaoke," he's been known to say, when faced with soulless mimicry where authentic virtuosity is required ...

... in Barbados the pervasive pride in sporting achievement exists in tandem with respect for recreation ... typically, after a day of beach and required activities, we head out in search of food ... the colourful gazebo at the food village in Oistins is a popular spot which invariably has a karaoke set-up, complete with mellifluous DJ, interactive entertainment, good natured and light ... nary a boo nor bottle thrown ...














... a Wednesday night at Hal's Bar along the cosmopolitan St. Lawrence Gap strip provides unexpected entertainment ... there's Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, a superb Otis Redding, two Teddy Pendergrasses (Pendergrassi?) ... Marty Robbins, Waylon Jennings, all The Platters rolled into one man, some requisite rap-aoke ... and an unforgettable Tom Jones ...













... Bajans are also genuinely proud of their pop princess Rihanna ... right now she has many imitators-at-the-mic and may yet get a highway or round-about in her name ... might we even see her face on the money like the cricket gods? ...











... that's Sir Frank (who broke the colour barrier in 1958 to captain the West Indies team) on the fiver, partial and defaced to thwart counterfeiters ... but, the cricket world prays for current players to copy the example of excellence and translate it into something viable, in the tradition of the more interesting karaoke acts, who may lack in originality but can approximate or bring something bright to a performance ...

... we cling to the faith that a phenom or two will eventually come along, both in the music field and on the cricket pitch ... still, I know I'd be happy if in the meantime some young batsman/bowler/all-rounder could do a credible impression of Gordon Greenidge or Vanburn Holder or Keith Boyce, in the same way someone always does a spirited approximation of Billy Paul's "Me And Mrs. Jones" wherever there's karaoke ...

... well, why not? ... sure these are tough acts to follow ... but, as a case in point, there will always be Michael Jackson impersonators riffing on the Thriller's genius ... more often than not they'll be as blurry in their tribute as I am with my drive-by photography ... yet still, we do love 'em for trying ...

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