Sunday, September 7, 2008

Is there life after Carifesta? Wednesday’s Ramblings

Wednesday’s Ramblings
Stabroek News. September 3, 2008 @ 5:02 am In Daily, Features | 3 Comments
Is there life after Carifesta?

And so we come to the end of Carifesta… the curtain comes down on a spectacular ten days of art and culture and we bid adieu… Aaaaaagh! Aaaagh! It’s over (sob, sob) Please! Please! Carrie, don’t go! Don’t leave us! We’re sorry we made fun of your song… it really has the most original lyrics, and the chorus line is not a form of psychological terror! Look we’re going to sing it for you! “Carrrrieee! Carrrieeeeeee Festa! One people, one leader, one Leader! ”Sorry, we could not help it; we got you confused with Bharratfesta. Don’t go! Don’t go…. Oh no, she’s gone… Carrie… Carrie… (Sob, sob) we’re all alone, all the artists, the dancers, the musicians those beautiful happy people have gone and left us on these mudflats. Even the worm-eating Amerindians in their luxury $20 million village have gone home to their real village made out of the same material at a fraction of the cost.

And now, it’s a grey Monday morning… what now dear leader? Oh wise one, guide the people as to what they must get hysterical about next. Let’s go through the list: CWC tick, VAT tick, TIN tick, Numerous criminals with ridiculous names tick, Global Warming tick, Grow More or Die tick, the EPA tick… uh oh the list is exhausted. They need something big, something they can all get involved in.

Some fast-moving tropical disease, perhaps? Something that will demonstrate the astonishing capabilities of this government. We only hope the Berbice bridge opening will allow for a week of government-sponsored wine down.

Just tell the people and they shall follow. Order them to go en masse to the national stadium and watch the grass grow (have it sponsored by a fertilizer company). The Chronic would call it spectacular.

What did you say at the closing? We must return to the mundane task of nation building. Mundane? Oh no… no sir…we beg to differ, Guyanese are excited, filled with a new purpose and a massive hangover to begin again building this nation, one broken water main, one serially pot-holed road, one newly built collapsed bridge at a time. No task is beyond this nation’s reach as long as it does not involve electricity, education and crime. Fetes, international sporting events…they’re a snap.

So please, El Presidente could you arrange just one more week of freeness, dancing and drinking? You know as a Moscow trained economist that this splurge of government spending, (you take $500 million of taxpayer’s money out of the economy and send it right back in) is not the zero sum game it would appear on paper. It multiplies throughout the truly long lasting, productive sectors: beer, rum, hair salons, boutiques and Red Dragon.
And what a shining example of public/private partnership, the mega concerts were. For example, you invited the company that imported soda pop/beer to hold a concert for which people had to buy the same soda pop/beer to receive a ticket. This demonstrates how even-handed you can be even as your investigation into the customs scam grinds to a halt.

The performers stay in the hotel you helped finance with our money and thereby reduce the hotel’s interest-free loan in a way that is impossible to verify.
Then you get the newspaper whose owners your government gave illegal tax concessions to, to join an unquestioning cheerleading chorus for Carifesta along with your personal TV and radio stations.

Let’s not even mention the Chronic, which ignored everything else in Guyana for ten days as it entered the magical world of Carifestaland. Not even the killing of those criminals – what are their names again? - could crash their party.

No wonder it was a success. You proclaimed it was a success, the biggest ever… like your budgets, your tax revenues, and you were everywhere, omnipresent: you quarrelled with Walcott, avoided auditors at the Grand Market, addressed the gospel fest, declaring the country was in safe hands …you meant your hands of course, not God’s. Ha ha silly us!

And the crowds! The multitudes came out for you, for your country. After all 30,000 people at the Banks Ultra Mega Concert-to-end-all-Concerts can’t be wrong! And in the process, they made the PNC look like fuddy-duddy party poopers.

The bourgeoisie carped about the poorly attended symposiums, the near empty visual arts exhibition, the cancelled performances. But all that arty-farty stuff meant nothing. The stadium was the true reflection of what culture is in the Caribbean, why fight it? Why lament its so-called decline? Decline from where? Elitist European standards? Why try to raise it? It is what it is.

Especially when a superstar with roots deep in the Caribbean, Akon, can come to reinforce the apparent new values of the region: being locked up and bootylicious. (In passing, he has greatly embellished his criminal record claiming to have been locked up for three years as part of a “notorious” auto theft ring that stole luxury sports cars. In fact, his only conviction was three years probation for gun possession. He spent five months in a county jail for driving a stolen BMW but the charges were dropped.

See this article [1]
So what a fitting end: a lip-synching serial fabulist makes everyone wait until daylight (He was so late he ran into children trying to make the first day of school) to hear songs with such traditional Caribbean lyrics as:

“Girl and while you’re looking at me I’m ready to hit the caddy right up on the patio move the patty to the caddy, baby you got a phatty the type I like to marry wanting to just give you everything and that’s kinda scary, cause I’m loving the way you shake your ass, bouncin’, got me tippin’ my glass…”

Or this: ‘The way she climbs up and down them poles Looking like one of them putty-cat dolls Trying to hold my woodie back through my draws…”
Now that’s real poetry! Real culture!

Let the old poet grumble about development and hotels. No one can hear him. The music’s too loud.

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