Thursday, October 19, 2006

How much more than the rest of us, do these people with noise for vehicles pay to license these vehicles? They must pay several hundred times as much as the rest of us to have the right to go about, through the day and through the night, through town and through our lives, with music booming, promising doom.

They must pay much much more than the rest of us to express such extreme stupidity – than we contained in what being sensible and law abiding confines us to. Why are they not limited, not restricted to sense and respect for others like the rest of us?

How much and who are they paying, over the table or under the table, to get away with causing the earth to shake, our houses and our business with customers in them to vibrate as if we were caught in an endless thunder storm?

Obebiah Michael Smith, 2006
10:26 a.m. 17/oct/06
Apart from Abbie LaFleur, what an embarrassing debate on Art, engaged in by Steve McKinney, host of Immediate Response, his guests, LaFleur, Nita, Spice and those who called in yesterday, Thursday, October 12.

As usual, I got to watch rebroadcast on TV 13, which began half-past-eleven, following the late night news. Unable to call in to contribute to a recording, I make my input here and now.

This though might be a totally different debate. Debate might not have been their aim. Are these talk shows representative of the nation debate on these issues they raise or are they just shows – talk to throw away? If this is the case, why is the national debate instead not located centre stage?

Coca-Cola bottle shape; getting hit on; drawing a crowd by how much body you bare; born again and not born again I found insulting - nonsense and annoying initially. I was about to shut off this show I usually turn to, to be informed, to keep in touch and usually drink all of. I did hang in and I did, after all, drink all.

Such a debate needed to be fixed upon and centered around, not the nonsense giggled about, petty complaints and concerns which took up most of the two hour show, but craft, instrument, art. Abbey came closest to evoking these concerns.

The audience, the public, everybody involved, must be directed by the artist to focus upon these central, sacred elements: instrument and craft. The body as sex object belongs to the profession of prostitution.

A singer’s instrument is the voice. A dancer’s instrument is the body and a body is filled with memories, personal and cultural and speaks many languages. The singer of popular music is usually a singer and a dancer, like Michael Jackson or Tina Turner and has therefore two instruments to perfect and to play.

Too often though, especially where popular culture is concerned, fascinated by the phenomenon of fame and fortune, out to exploit the public, persons take to the stage with a bit of talent and a little training, dreaming of being stars.

A large part of what we in our country call entertainment and culture is inspired by and is part of this crude phenomenon. I turn away from this. I turn my back upon it.

Many do attempt to disguise a lack of craft with what is gratuitous and cheap: gyrating, near-nudity; emphasizing what should not be emphasized, attempting to distract from what they have not had and have not got: training.

Abbie very rightly mentioned the need for a national theatre but what was not ever mentioned during this two hour show were institutions like factories, through which a Ford, Chrysler, Jaguar, BMW or a can of Campbell’s soup must pass before it is stamped with approval and placed in the public domain.

In our country, we seem to delight in yuckin up vee sef . Even our children, most recently, are mostly yucked up. Few seem to have the patience to place themselves in the knowing hands of long tradition for processing – for refinement.

I was one of 120 persons in Trinidad recently for Carifesta IX. Timothy Gibson’s grandson was there, a genius musician and an exquisite pianist. Chris Justillan who studied music in Boston and lectures in the Music Department at C.O.B. was there. He has trained hundred of Bahamians to play wind and other instruments. Senovia Pierre was there, without Coca-Cola bottle shape, singing “Imagine” divinely. She has a degree in Music and heads the Music department at L.W. Young.

The element in the debate about being born again or not born again, though interesting is a none-debate. Sweet Emily’s movement from pop music to gospel music, which is also pop music, has little to do with art. The training she lacked as a musician before, she lacks still. Her transition has not made her Jessye Norman.

I have a recording of negro spirituals, “Spirituals” by Jessye Norman, one of the finest sopranos on the planet. I’m in heaven when she sings these spirituals or Bartok or Schumann or when Leontyne Price sings Strauss Arias or Gershwin’s Porgy And Bess.

Our musicians, our artists, need to be trained. Without training, where can they transport us to. So-called artists, directing us to their bareness, their sexiness and taking us nowhere and in addition, complaining when, having nothing else to direct us to, they directed our eyes, our senses to what is earthy. Where are our institutions to train and to enlighten Bahamian artists to enable them to raise consciousness as art and artist should?

The Bahamian public needs to hear the voices and ideas of the true artists among us. Not surprisingly, quite a number of them are of Haitian descent: Poitier, LaFleur, Justilian, Pierre, Ferrier, Benjamin. Too often, the more indigenous among us, with lower standards, are settling for so much less with our eyes upon foolish, empty things like stardom and fame.

Invite the giants among our visual and literary artists as well to join this debate.

By Obediah Michael Smith, 2006
3:35 p.m. 13/oct/06

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

my ceiling's too low
for the height
of her stupidity

Sunday, October 01, 2006


call me happy
when you're up in me,
when you open me,
when your cock's up in me

when you're close me,
when you close me up
like Champagne, like wine,
call me happy

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2006