Thursday, April 25, 2024

BC’S B’DOS –Crop-Under


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TWO WEEKS and one day ago, I was excited about my first Crop-Over; by two weeks and 23 hours ago, disappointment had set in as firmly as Dessie Haynes facing Canadian change bowling on a flat pitch. Crop-Over was seriously underwhelming. Except only for the Landship band, it’s difficult, based on what I saw, to understand why anyone would want to take part in “Crop-Under”. Having played mas’ in Trinidad, I can see the appeal for the person in costume – but the price band members pay for a bathing suit they would refuse to wear at the beach, a handful of sequins and glitter and the licence to behave licentiously is far too high. For a lot less, they could put on their own, properly fitting bathing suit and wuk-up waist to their conceit’s content at Accra Beach or Harbour Lights (or Browne’s Beach or Club Xtreme, according to complexion).I’d heard Bajans were even more scandalous than Trinidadians, would show more skin and less restraint, would go down lower, physically, and abandon standards of behaviour entirely; I’d thought the reports had to be wrong; I was wrong. Bajan women don’t go near-topless, as the most beautiful, most empty-headed Trini women have been for years now, but they compensate by lowering the age of sexually-explicit dancing. I saw children barely into puberty who looked like they were in hip hop videos. No wonder young men refer to them as “bitches”. Most disturbingly, their parents must have paid for their costumes. If there was precious little in Crop-Under for the “masquerader”, there was nothing at all for the spectator (though a great deal for the voyeur).I parked near Atlantis submarine and walked past Carlton Club before I saw a band – and that consisted of a few hundred, very drunk, partially undressed people. Their behaviour might have been something to remark upon but their “costumes” were nothing to look at. There is even less thought going into Bajan costumes than Trini ones – and Trinidadians settled for decoration over design 30 years, a full anthropological generation, ago. Only the Landship band seemed, to me, to have anything to do with Barbados at all. Nothing else I saw spoke of Barbados or Crop-Over’s roots. Mind you, I did not look for long; I know when to fish and when to cut bait. I could not think why people would leave their homes, park at a distance and walk in the hot sun for what I saw.Because what I saw was Barbados copying the worst of Trinidad with a diligence that would be admirable if there was a single positive aspect of it. It’s not the half-nudity – I’m all for full nudity myself. It’s not the “bad” behaviour – I’ve been advocating rebellion (or at least reflection) all my working life. No. It’s the vast, complete, frightening emptiness.It’s one thing to be so close to joy, naturally, that you don’t need a reason to celebrate; another thing altogether to celebrate being nothing and dance at your own wake. • BC Pires feels he’ll be charged with treason.

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