Thursday, April 18, 2024

EVERYTHING BUT . . .: Yuletide yarn


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To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. – Ecclesiastes 3:1
THERE?HAS?BEEN the recent trend of commercial houses advertising their Christmas wares – in glossy newspaper insertions – as early as October. And those of us – most of us – offended by the practice have simply and contemptuously thrown them away.
Others more civil, or wishing to be politically correct, set them aside to review them much later: when the Christmas spirit truly sets in – in December.
At least, there is a measure of control in that we are able to determine we will not be assaulted by reading material that seems out of place: out of season.
October is about when we breathe that sigh of some relief, tempered by the best will that we make it safely past the hurricane season.
November is when we look forward to celebrating Independence – those of us left with any patriotism.
We get into our ultramarine (or deep blue), our gold (or rich yellow) and a sinew of black, showcasing them in our wear and in the wrappings around our houses and commercial buildings. Whom am I fooling?
You don’t see buntings in our National Colours any more now beyond the Parliament Buildings and sparingly on a few other Government edifices and their railings – and apologetically outside some stores.
Some buildings obscenely have their Christmas lights up already – with few blues, hardly a yellow, and definitely no gold.
Again, nothing you or I can do about it, except to cringe at the national insensitivity. Pulling them down will only put us before the courts.
As to national radio, you would think some of our Bajan stations are instructed by New York or Kingston, or are penetrating aliens oblivious to local talent.
Those presenting authentic Barbadian music in abundance – done only in November each year –  do so at times apparently under some stress, even though their brief may be to give us the quintessence of what is Bajan.
Take for example a programme presenter talking about Barbadian fare like fish cakes and bakes, conkies and the like, and then topping it all off with Charlie Pride’s Crystal Chandeliers.
Surely, to everything there is a season.
Truth be told, the season for Barbadian music ought to be all year round – not calypso at Crop-Over and the rest in November.
There has been this nonsense argument put forth by the musical programme gurus of this country that there wouldn’t be enough Barbadian music to play all year. They mean to add: without boring people.
I have heard the same oldie goldies played every Saturday for years by the same deejay. And he didn’t think it was boring.
Larry Mayers has pushed his favourite oldies – the same old – for months on end every morning and he never got bored.
There is nothing wrong with oldie goldies per se. They have some of the most melodic structures and painterly lyrics I know, but they cannot take pride of place in a programme promoting the traditional high values, norms and fare of indigenous Barbados.
If our music cannot be at the centre of such a presentation, what indeed is Mr Mayers saying about us as a people?
Then lo and behold yesterday, Larry adds to the conundrum: Margaret Bovell, Natahlee and Jadu singing Christmas music – in the heart of Independence Month.
There must be a time to every purpose under the heaven!
Mr Mayers preaches good manners, the saying of good morning to people one meets, tidiness, respect – all symbols of appropriateness – every early day, yet falls down on what is appropriate himself.
Christmas music in our Independence Month just does not cut it, no matter who does it.
That impatient advertisers feel they must regale us with their commercial Christmas messages is no good reason for Mr Mayers et al. to grate the sensibilities of those of us who would separate November 30 from December 25.
We will not be shaken from the mantra that to everything there is a season.


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