Monthly Archives: November 2012

Tightening circles

Every day this Government is finding itself with less legitimate room to manoeuvre. The citizenry is creating ever tightening circles, restricting the movement of agendas detrimental to our nation. Many say the reason Trinidad and Tobago’s citizens don’t mobilise against crimes committed against us by political and capital elites is because we’ve never fought a war for Independence. Nobody ever spilt any blood… We never had to organise an army to battle for the soul of our Republic. Because of this we’ve never been invested with the passion, sweat, sacrifice and organising principles that come with knowing the enemy will not grant us freedom until somebody in this gayelle is dead…

I’m saying this country has now arrived at that place. That in the last 12 years we’ve been fighting the war for our Independence—and are now possibly approaching the climactic battles…

Wayne Kublalsingh’s incredible hunger strike marks the second time I’m witnessing a citizen put their life on the line for this nation. The first was Pat Bishop—who paid the ultimate price in defence of our country. Read the rest of this entry

What really matters…

Last week Wednesday the Artists Coalition of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT) launched The Guild of Masters under the patronage of President Prof George Maxwell Richards with the unveiling of a 30-foot Cedros hosay tadjah at OWTU on Henry Street. The guild is an institution created to rescue disappearing traditional local skill in a period where we’re experiencing the death of our Golden Age generation.

We’ve lost more than 18,000 of 20,000 genius elders in the last 10 years. Because our political leadership hasn’t seen it fit to document, collect, curate, and transmit T&T’s legacy, dozens of traditions disappeared in the last decade.

ACTT estimates there are 144 traditions in danger of disappearing. These include skills like the engineering behind the best carnival King and Queen costumes pre-1985. There’re about four artisans who have that knowledge left. A casual glance at the quality of our current king and queens is evidence of the collapse — not only in imagination but artisan skill. This is a direct result from our nation’s refusal to institutionalise Legacy. Read the rest of this entry

Creation of 30 ft Cedros Hosay tadjah

First principles

“You can’t build a brontosaurus rex—or a Ferrari—from a pompek skeleton,” I tell my film-writing class. The lesson is about “structure”. There’re laws of structure. Laws of causation and resolution. Like the laws of gravity— they cannot be disobeyed. How you start will determine how you proceed. In your beginning is your end. A “first principle” is the ultimate starting point. It’s the one principle that cannot be deduced from any other. First causes. The prime mover. The unmoved mover. It’s about origins.

In art and culture it’s about the immortal mythical laws that make up art and craft. The building blocks of an artifact, a tradition, a civilisation… It’s why a musical note possesses a certain character; why sequences of notes affect you a certain way; why certain narratives bring you to tears… It’s the foundation upon which beauty and great art is built. Spoiler, Tagore, Fela, Bruce Lee, and Frank Lloyd Wright understood this. In their cells. That’s why they’re genius. Get it right in the beginning. Ensure the enterprise is built on fundamental truth, on tradition fully understood… That’s why things that are genius work: as extraordinary as they are, they’re simply evidence of “first principles” at work, excellently… Read the rest of this entry