Sunday, August 26, 2012

... time for a new sankey ...

... a joke making the rounds of late has the International Olympic Committee considering the adoption of a buzzer system to begin races at future events, having concluded that the sound of a starter's gunshot gives Jamaicans an edge in sprint events ...

... part of the reason this jest resounds, albeit uncomfortably, is that the scenario reflects a certain degree of plausibility to anyone familiar with social ills on the island paradise ... post-facto attention (a press feature this morning remembers folkloric criminal figures Sandokhan and Natty Morgan) and crucial pop-culture continuity, keeps a sensational eye on seamy truth ...

... self-satisfied images of Brand Jamaica out of the 2012 Olympics in olde London, a city shaped in all its tradition and modernity by influences from disparate humanity, have been breathtaking and stimulating, not only in the athletic realm, but also culturally ... Danny Boyle's dense opening ceremony set the stage with an admixture of basic acknowledgement, tapping touchstones from Windsor to Windrush ...

... this was indubitably a more colorful Great Britain on display ... a Jamaican aboard a double-decker bus in pre-independence London was more likely to wear a conductor's standard issue than the ubiquitous Cedella Marley urban-casuals of today ...

... The Games themselves, personified by characters like Bolt and Phelps, not to mention Walcott, James, Rudisha and homies Murray, Daley and Mo, proved both gladiatorial and gamin ... Shelly-Ann and the women surpassed suffragette city with historic heroism and hijabs, and through it all there was the sense of this being a threshold opportunity, for the consolidation of Caribbean cultural expression and sovereign self-respect ...

... predictably though, 'cos it's only natural and we've felt this way before, the lyric "back to life, back to reality" from Soul 2 Soul's mellifluous 1989 smash hit comes to mind when we try to assess where to go from here ... reality in life can be coldly sobering, particularly when highs are so lofty and lows so entrenched ...

... every day, since Jamaican runners reached their respective pinnacles, there has been post-mortem, with various pundits trying to extrapolate consequence from the collective plaudit ...

... analyses and tributes abound, in print, poem and song ...

... Tommy Lee, the latest musical spokesman to capture the spirit of youthful hype in Jamaica's virile dancehall scene, has revamped his current hit "Psycho" to lyrically laud sprint speed ... for him, any tie-in to the internationalization of Gaza-hands by Usain and his acolytes is surely not an unwelcome career filip ...




















... to my ear (and you may just want to accept ackeelover's word for this) the adaptive re-mix represents a positive shift away from the controversially graphic bravado of the original release, and Tommy's mad style is more than swag enough to fill the void left by the currently incarcerated Vybz Kartel ...

... the joys of nationhood and independence run concurrent with insidious indenture to the "shit-stem" (another Peter Tosh-ism), and, malaise related to perpetual poverty creates an identifiable dichotomy in the present-day Jamaican personality ... affable patriotism goes hand-in-hand with battle-hardened survivalism ...

... if the Bolt of lightning brightening our skies at this moment illuminates anything, it is that we will continue to "sing our own song" (as the upful, apartheid-era UB40 opus rolls through my subconscious) ... and, lifted by the breakthrough achievements of our talented brethren and sistren, we must look to adapt for the prosperity of the next half-century, and fly beyond ...

... it's time to sing that new sankey ...

JAMAICAN GLOSSARY
the "shit-stem" - the system
"sankey" - song (typically of the revivalist, spiritual variety)
"indubitably" - definitely not Jamaican, but I couldn't resist

2 comments :

  1. Another poetically awesome blog!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. After picking myself up off the floor from the Joke, I was able to finish this wonderful article. It’s been a while since my last visit but now I can relax and read what I have been missing.

    ReplyDelete

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