Sunday, June 20, 2004

Gya: De people will Talk!

BY NOW, everyone is accustomed to Paul Keens-Douglas and his ‘tupidness’.

But no-one, it seems, was quite prepared for the riveting effect it would have when he and his ‘Talk Tent’ buddies shared the same stage with some of the finest in local theatre as happened last Sunday night at Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel.

There was not a dry eye left when ‘Short Pants’ finished explaining why Trinidad and Tobago didn’t make it to the World Cup back in 1998, in spite of having talented players like Dwight Yorke and Russel Latapy on the team. Or why, for that matter, he “want to dead.”
Former Commissioner of Police, Mr Laurie Lewis, seemed particularly partial to the little anecdote about the father who strongly objected to his daughter going steady with a guy named Chuck, all because he didn’t like the way it rhymed.

He could be heard repeatedly asking of friends…

“You mus’e name Chuck, nuh?”

And what can we say of ‘Short Pants’, who answers to the name Llewellyn MacIntosh and who, to this day, still believes that Trinidad would have made it to the World Cup in ’98, if only management had taken his advice and chosen players whose names rhymed.

The piece he did was ‘Paris in ‘98’, which traces the history of Trinidad football from 1998 to as far back as 1974, when, according to him, rumour had it that voodoo may have been responsible for the team not making the World Cup.
They say it was voodoo in ‘74

Bad luck in ‘90 when ‘Strike Squad’ didn’t score

They blame management for the team’s failure to go to Mexico, Spain, and Argentina But, USA ‘94 show me that the players names really is de key Ah watch Italy play Mexico

Ah see some things deah de coaches don’t know Simari pass to Berti…. Berti to Cassilagi…. Cassilagi to Madrini…Maldini to Albertini He loss the ball

An’ was Alvarez to Rodriguez…Rodriguez to Ramirez…Ramirez give to Suarez Suarez lace one to Sanchez
Among other pieces he did that evening were two vintage blasts from the past, namely ‘De People Will Talk’ and ‘Ah Vex’ by the late ‘King Fighter’ and ‘Mighty Unknown’, respectively. He also rendered ‘Ah Want to Dead’, which saw him take the Talkalypso title at this year’s carnival.

And why does he want “to dead”?

Well! He said is the only sure way he could get the radio station `fuh give he air-play’.

In opening remarks, Paul Keens-Douglas, who was the last artiste to take to the stage, had said that the whole purpose to having an event such as Talk Tent was to highlight the different styles there are in the oral traditions. At the time, he said, which was around 1974, there were no talk shows as such. “There was no place you could go to hear the talk artistes.”

He said that just as there are different styles of calypsonians, like Sparrow, Melody and Crazy, so too it is with the oral tradition where you have different styles of talkers, among which are the comics, comedians, humourists, satirists, story-tellers, dub artists, rapso artists; the carnival characters like the Pierrot Grenade; the Wild, Red and Black Indian; and the Midnight Robber.

“So, it’s not everybody that makes you laugh is a comedian. They make you laugh, but when you look at them, you see that there are different styles in presentation. And that is why I founded Talk Tent, as a place where you go to see the artistes perform in their own right as artistes and not just people you put on in between acts to entertain while you bring on the important acts.”

Today, 23 years later, he said, “Talk Tent is still here.”
And I miss that! Tonnerre!


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