It's 11:30 p.m., the driveway next door is crammed with cars, as is ours. Who are all these people? I have no idea, they're all here for the party taking place two doors down. Hmm. The TV is just managing to compete with the DJ.
12:30 am - "Oh what a night. Late December back in '63, what a very special time for me, what a lady what a night!" Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons is all very well when pumping away on the elliptical but not so good after all long day and not enough sleep four nights running.
1:00 am - 'Yes people's, it's DJ Whomever, de hottest ting in tong! Go bwoy, go bwoy!" Hmm, erudite soul isn't he?
1:30 am - " I could bring it in a bottle, I could bring it in a glass - ah whant mih rum in de mornin', ah whant, mih rum in de evenin" - Look you could have it any damn way you please just don't feel that you have to bloody share.
1:45 am Hound barking hysterically at unknown person raiding the pile of possessions on the sidewalk from my recently dispossessed ganja smoking neighbours. I'm going to miss them, at least they were quiet after midnight.
2:00 am - Ah, moment of blessed quiet, can it be that they're making speeches. By Golly they are! And Happy Birthday to you too!
2:15 am- Head under pillow making whimpering noises, Hound disgusted draped across feet. Miscellaneous soca 2008 blasted at window shaking decibels. Where are the EMA when you need them?
Not being able to sleep in the wee hours gives you a lot of time to think about nothing in particular. Between the songs that I recognised blaring from the party, there were quite a few I could sing along to, none of them local. Not that I wanted to mind you, I just wanted to go to sleep.
I never cease to be amazed by the inanity of soca lyrics. A former avid mas player, I got tired of chasing obnoxious music trucks all over Port of Spain as I tired of behaving like a demented person to the pace of the music and gave up mas. These days soca reminds me of trance music, repetitive beat, nonsense lyrics, something to be listened with pleasure to only under the influence of drugs like X. That's why it works so well in foreign dance clubs. When I hear people asking why Sean Paul, Rihanna and other sundry Caribbean artists are so famous why not Trini, well it's pretty obvious. Even the most inane pop song does have some lyrics and while I may knock it, rap is about the human condition, bling and all.
When you compare today's soca songs, all a blur running one into the other without much difference, to the songs of yesterday, cleverly crafted gems, you have to wonder. Think Sparrow with Jean and Dinah or Congo Man, David Rudder's classic Calypso Music or even BLue Boy's Ethel. No I haven't lost my edge, but I'm tired of being told to wine, wine, chook, chook, chook or wave something. C'mon people, surely we can do better than that.
It's one thing to sing in the vernacular but unless your music or your themes touch someone else they won't be listening to you. I can't understand a word that Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn or Fela Kuti were saying but their music was brilliant. So don't be upset that I will not buy your CD, ask yourself why however, I will still shell out for Amy Winehouse, U2, Pat Metheney or any of the many artists I do listen to. Ask yourself why, when Marcia Miranda or Denyse Plummer do sets at events they always include some of those so called golden oldies and why people still get up and dance. Are we going to be hopping around to yours in fifty years. Maybe not, wining and chooking not exactly good practice when you're in a walker!