Trinidad & Tobago, W.I.
G-Pan giving me a gripe
Let me make myself clear, all the facts are not in so I won’t rush to judgment. As the old people would say, I won’t drink my coffee hot. But surely the Pan Buzz will raise a few things that have weighed heavy on the mind regarding the G-Pan and its funding fallout now sweeping the Pan world. (pictured: NSSO (National Symphony Steel Orchestra) G-Pans at the launch of the Steelpan Museum, Port of Spain)
I am not afraid to say that is years I have been urging governments (past and present) to get involved in Pan technology, which I call Pan’s final frontier. Now former Prime Minister Patrick Manning take the basket, not because of Pan Buzz hailing him as the greatest non-playing captain of the steelband, but he recognized the need to brand Pan. Now If every Tom, Dick, Harrilal and Dhanolal want to claim Pan as their own it is fine by me; Trinidad and Tobago will always be the Mecca and mother of the steelband, fullstop.
One thing I hate is to get into petty arguments about Pan’s sovereignty...or ownership. Pan is the world thing. However, when I heard about the University of the West Indies team developing the G-Pan, I was happy like a posey. I jumped up and down like a frog. I endorsed the project with a capital E. When the team set to work, there was some talk in the listerine world of the steelband about who tief (my word) who Pan design. I say not me and that lacouray. Then the project, funded by ’Panman’ Patrick [Manning] took shape and was completed. I said Bravo, Bravo, although there was grousing by Panmen and tuners about the G-Pan.
I say I am not taking on the lacouray. I have my wife to take on, she only beating me up. My hands were tied behind my back. It was licks like lentil peas. You talk about licks. It was licks from she and the sweetman until I get black and blue and turned purple. I had to run and hide under the bed that they was making love on. That really hard. However, the Pan was launched with all the political and social fanfare, excluding trumpets, and people said their tah-di dha, and so on. The G-Pan had arrived.
Try as hard as I could to find out, there was always something secretive about the funding, some 34 million TT smackers, because anything Panmen have to get, it is judged against what other cultural arms get; then is bacchanal in bacchanal country.... I lie? Sat Maharaj bound to say something. and people with listerine breaths who hate Pan and the Panman… For them, Pan is a noisy instrument.
I often wondered how the money was disbursed if en grappe like coconuts, or like a roti shop. I often wondered if there were bills for the expenditures. I knew some skills would have to be bought by agreed prices. Were there invoices, or the age old payment system "hey pardner hold this." You know how Trinis do business.
Now I am not making joke with my grandchildren money (The Treasury). The same way I intend to defend Pan. So accountability and transparency are priorities. I want to see bills, bills everywhere. So you think is only deceased Arrow could sing about bills? Look, don’t get me blasted vex!
Now the Pan bacchanal big like Minshall band on a Carnival Tuesday, you hearing all kinds of things. This one saying this and that one saying that. Man running in lawyer office and thing, when all they have to say is: "I have Bills (invoices)," and not trying to muzzle voices. You see the Buzz intend to wait, because I want to know who get what for what; and who get what. Up to now I haven’t called anybody name. All I saying is Fie fie foo fum, just let me know what’s happening with my grandchildren money. My arse done old I could dead anytime.
I am sure there are people in the Pan World who want to spit (hawk thraw) a green cold on the Pan Buzz grave, but tell them I intend to live for 1000 years, and you know who vex.....lorse. I getting a gripe with this G-Pan thing, and the Percussive Harmonic instrument thing (PHI). I feeeling (my word) shame.
Now you noticed I am yet to deal with the crux of this matter the PHI (pronounced fie) at the centre of this storm. Now comes a letter from a UWI post graduate student, that when he worked on the two projects, he thought he was, now hear this.... serving his country and the university. Is there some deception here....somewhere, as PHI Pans are now being offered for sale? (More on this next week).
THE RETURN OF THE KING
Now I am one man who don’t get involved in steelband argument. You see that, religion, politics, calypso and a red woman - is real trouble. But one of the questions often asked is “Will Earl “Barney” Rodney, Point Fortin’s favoured son, ever return to the Solo Harmonites?” Don’t ask Hue Loy, Harmonites unrelenting foot soldier. He does not have the answer, but he will love for that to take place and seal the deal... the final chapter in the reunification process. I, too, will like that like a curry goat and dhal. Before people say I does only talk about food, let me say yes, as long as I am not eating anything cooked by they mother, I cool. Nothing will please me more than to relive the memories of the late sixties when Solo Harmonites streamed across the Queen’s Park Savannah stage with pans like lentil peas. When “Barney” leggo on them, All Stars, Despers, Starlift and South Stars panmen used to run and hide... Hatters too. Now you must understand why this feeling of nostalgia overwhelms me. I am an emotional guy, I cry at weddings, funerals and when a hornerman getting licks. But on a serious note, time is right for a Rodney (pictured) return in 2012. The King of the Seventies can lead the fight from the east. He did it in 1968 (Wrecker), Play Mas (1971), St. Thomas Girl (1972) and Jericho (1974). He can do it again, can someone convince him?
People always digging up in my business. They always bad-talking the Pan Buzz. What they ent say, is because they forget to say. Now I does write this column from Houston, Texas; where I am taking a little breather with my only daughter, Tamu. I want a next one, Mia, but I don’t know if I’m able at age 60. The will is there; but not the equipment. Anyhow, I forget to tell couple people and they vex with me. Trinis does get vex for nothing, eh? I am at the age where forgetfulness could happen, I could forget to put on my pants. Since I am here, I lick down two shrimps roti already at Mohammed’s Curry Spot in Pearland. Now hear this, Mohammed does make poulourie big like golf balls. The United States could use them to pelt the Taliban in Afghanistan. They more effective missiles than roadside bombs. This weekend if she is spending the money, I intend to cuff down a goat with slight pepper, oh sh-t, not the animal, the roti. Talking about lick down, my daughter lick down too (almost)......a pedestrian.
Ha, Ha, Ha; until next week, keep loving up The Pan wherever you are in Pan’s Diaspora, Bless