Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Black Blog

Since my last blog things have been even more hectic as it is now confirmed that I will have to go to Jamaica for the funeral of Aunt Lucy. I am still saddened but I have not been home in a while and I am sure a little sunshine and fresh Caribbean food won’t hurt :0). Amidst the tears and grief I will find the time to breathe fresh tropical air and hug every single person in my family cause I miss them so much!!! I will be in the beautiful town of Port Antonio for most of my stay but before I hop back to the UK I will also visit the tourist towns of Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. Strategically my visit to these places may hold secrets I can use to write further essays, coursework or even my dissertation. There’s also a conference in Cuba on Educational Tourism and its sustainability and I explored the thought of going to the 2 day event to get some information and professional exposure in this area, but not sure how that will pan out just yet.

My ticket was booked yesterday at a cool 400 quid; usually my ticket costs at least £1000 because I prefer to travel in premium economy where it’s quieter and the flight attendants aren’t grumpy and jetlagged. I once heard one of them hiss and raise her voice at a passenger and I was flabbergasted! I guess in light of all these industrial disputes some of these companies are going through, our expectations should be lowered. Good essay question for my Tourism Management course... maybe I should approach one of my lecturers with the hot topic. On another note, I have a 3000 word specimen due on the 25th and all I have so far is the title. With everything happening I guess I can’t focus and I hope my sad little trip to the island may bring back some sort of new perspective on life.

Listening to the radio on my fav reggae station just now, I heard that one of our musical greats has also passed. RIP Gregory Isaacs. He was very influential in reggae music, and one of the few to break into European scene on a large scale. The months of October and November seem to be the months of doom; they both have unusually high death rates in my observation over the years. My cousin’s boyfriend aged 26 passed in his sleep recently and so did the connections to about 5 other people I know.

Life is short and sometimes we have to accept that God has taken back that which is his, but it still hurts to the core. It will hurt even more when you see the cold body lying in state; you wait for their chest to rise or for their nose to twitch but it never does. Life, the spirit, has left the body. I don’t celebrate Halloween being quite unfamiliar to the tradition as it’s not something done in the Caribbean. I always thought it was comical to promote death and the other gory subjects of life because it’s so final and so hard to come to terms with. Some people love the costumes and the parties but if you think beyond the surface or if you’ve ever lost anyone there’s nothing to be happy about it.

So wish me a safe flight to my Port Antonio, will be sure to take loads of pics of my country, maybe I’ll bring you back a bottle of Jamaican rum (if you show me your ID first lol). See you soon folks!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Live And Let Live

“Tears on my pillow, pain in my heart, you on my mind” words from a famous song that comes to my mind when I think about Aunt Lucy. I lost her to cancer yesterday and it’s been an utterly painful experience. Death is such a cold arm and brings us closer to the realisation that one day our souls will leave our bodies. Crying helps with grieving by physically taking the stress and strain away from our hearts, even if it’s momentarily. I am also making plans to take part in the funeral so I can pay my respects properly and say goodbye to a wonderful woman who embraced me with so much love. Overall the last few months have been very hard for me in a number of ways and with the sun less and less present, my depression is elevated.

Today’s blog will be quite short as I am overwhelmed with a number of issues at the moment but it’s been a great start to university and year 2 for me is no joke. It not only counts to the final degree classification but the subject material is a lot more intense and in a lot of ways more edifying that the basics of last year. I am not a big fan of group work but I am pulling out all the stops in hope for a successful year. Everyone is fantastically anxious to do their best and I can sense it in the attitude of most of the second years. For the most part there’s less chatting and giggling in the lectures and there is nowhere to hide from the ever present name register. As they say, the only way out, is in.....

I managed to get a glimpse of Mr. Depp as well which was an awesome honour. He is well loved and admired by thousands of people and recently I have confirmed that he is in the top 5 most talented male actors to be found. I watched interviews with him and his humility cannot be understated, such class, charisma and influence but not a single breath of presumption; even though he’s one of the best to ever do it.

Further on, the news, strikes and budget cuts are simply dismal; not that the new tuition fee will affect me, I am already an international student, but I cannot bear the fact that we are on high alert for a terrorist attack. Where I come from news of this kind is nonexistent, maybe because we live in a constant state of emergency there anyway (hehehe). But there are no bombs or mass destruction weapons there though and the kind terrorists prefer to pay attention to large number of people in frequently trafficked areas. But to be honest, whats the point? Why cant we all live in peace and get along? The frightening scenario with hundreds of lives wrecked due to pointless feuding is not what we need in 2010.

In light of all these issues, be prepared to live life to the fullest if you haven’t started to, pressure busts pipes or makes diamonds, you decide. Again, welcome to all the Fresher’s of 2010, hope you all are sober enough to make classes after all the partying!!!

Good luck.

Monday, 4 October 2010

The Universal Healer

I’m not talking about laughter, I’m talking about music. Some say its other things like water but for me it’s the bass, the song, the rhythm and talent – music. While I’m not quite big on X-factor I do pride myself in the fact that I am able to appreciate all genres, except one of course. Country has never ever appealed to me, I think it has something to do with my maternal grandma playing it at very high volume on Sundays and there was nothing anyone in the family could do about it. So I was left traumatised and decided when I grew up I would not be touching it with a long stick and I’ve been shielding myself ever since. The drawl and the cowboy feel was simply too overwhelming for me, Elvis offends me and I never understood the whole scene of sequins and 10 kilos of hair gel. Maybe one day it will dawn on me. This is however my personal sentiment and if you were born with the secret gene that enables you to understand and love these elements, I lift my hat off to you, heehaw!!

I get gospel, alternative, acid jazz, hip hop, opera, retro music but I have never managed to put on a country tune without slapping myself in the head after the first 5 seconds. David Bowie, Mark Ronson, The Who, The Killers, Bounty Killer, Vybz Kartel, Faith Evans, The Kinks, you name it, if it isn’t country I love it!!!

Music soothes me just as my mothers voice can. It stabilizes, energizes and reassures me and whats better than knowing there are a million different songs to choose from at any one time. Mind you, reading is my next love but nothing brings me to tears like Jeffery Osborne's , Hello or cause me to burst into happiness (and occasional dancing) in the most random places like Mavado's song, I'm so Special. Being Jamaican some people assume that I may only like reggae; Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff are iconic artists but the world of music is very colourful and vibrant and holds man other special treasures. I find the history and creation of the art and artists themselves quite interesting too. I spent much of my rainy weekend indoor watching documentaries of a few of these precious souls who made, lived and died music. The bass guitarist from The Who and Jimmy Hendrix fascinate me with their ability to transform a piece of wood and strings into impeccable mastery. I looked at myself as I have a number of times before, wondering if I was too old to pick up an instrument. Truth is, I probably am but my ears will never grow tired of loving the rich talent and melody and inevitable contentment music provides.

You may not have given it much thought but music intertwines itself with our memories, that's why so many of our ceremonies have the symbolic treat, think about any wedding, funeral or sweet 16 party you’ve been to. At points in our lives we hear a certain song and it takes us back to that place in time, a déjà vu moment; and that's such a beautiful thing.

Heaven had a choir for reason, music was pivotal in the way worship was offered. It is alive, assertive and unapologetic. If you don’t like it all you can do it turn it off... you cant stop it. In a world where I have little friends music provides company and solace. As I write I listen to Eryka Badu and her smooth meditative voice and metaphoric lyrics. Just what i need to help defeat my flu.Take a deep breath today when you have some quiet time, dim the lights, inhale your favourite music and see how it frees your spirit and puts a smile on your face... : )

With uni studies started I know breaks like those are going to be exactly what I need to put me in the right mind frame at the end of a long day. Express yourself, explore this medicine, music.