"Within the Caribbean, differences of history and metropolitan affiliation intensify local divisions; Guadeloupe and Martinique are no less West Indian than Barbados and Montserrat, but the two groups differ so sharply in consequence of their historical metropolitan affiliations that is illusory at this stage to postulate their common cultural or national identity."
The Plural Society in the British West Indies by Michael Garfield Smith (via caribbeancivilisation)
Or, why I will judge you forever and ever Amen when you assume I’m Jamaican.
"The Caribbean as a beautiful paradox: insular and cosmopolitan, ancient and modern, radical and conservative, accommodating and unforgiving"
"No self respecting Caribbean person holds allegiance to any other spirit. It’s the first thing you learn to drink.
After all it is in your blood. Rum flows in the veins like rebellion. It is strong and bitter like cane burnt in anger.
It is what is left after the sweetness is taken out.
But hold on.
Before you take a sip. Before you burn the tip of your tongue and feel your whole inside go golden from the heat of liquor coursing through you.
Before the feeling goes to your head and your tongue gets loose and your waist begins a barely perceptible oscillation.
Open the bottle of rum and pour a libation. Spill three drops on the ground. You do this for those who are not here to part take of the drink themselves. For those who have gone before.
For ancestors whose names we don’t remember.
For Gods whose names we were forced to forget.
For blood spilt and lives lost to make someone else rich.
Rum is the drink of forgetfulness for some. I believe that it started as a drink of remembrance."
Excerpt from a specially commissioned piece I’ve written for the Museum of London Docklands. Reading it on September 26 at The Real Rum Do
"this is a full-throated medley about identity and independence; love and community; the “selling of dreams” and the “wind of sadness”; about Trinidad, steel-pan music and the towering figures of Carnival, the “stickfighters and the masquerade players, the dragon and jab molassie, the Midnight Robbers, King Sailors and moko jumbie, all those maskers who come out of nowhere to speak for who we are, the caisonian and the creators of the steelpan, the dancers of Orisha and the Shouters."