Friday, April 21, 2017

Ah drinking babash in this Fo-Rum: Creative Enterprise We-Style For Sir Ken Robinson and the other imports

football and well-played alcohol
will break down every social wall
From WM Herbert, Handmade (for the World Summit of Arts and Culture,  Newcastle UK June 2006)

Dear Ken, Sir,
So a decade after we fo-rum together - because you know for sure we share more than the same initials and on the same programme at the World Summit of Arts and Culture in Newcastle when you got a taste of the stuff Trini creativity is made of - you coming for more, eh? On my home turf? Ah drinking babash, cause dey…
Sir Ken boy, ah hear they importing you to we soil – ‘cause nothing cyar hide in we choonkey lil island. Although we have no grapevine and grow no grapes, news, especially if iz some cochoor, spread like crop season bushfire.  The bacchanal and cankalang alone could drive ah woman to drink. Ah drinking babash, cause dey…
From the fire in meh wire ah hear they bringing you and some other boys, just like they bringing the IMF, to tell we about creativity and what to do with we education and how to do creative business and about creative enterprise. As if we don’t know how to do creative business. 
Ah drinking babash, cause dey…
Sir Ken boy, you think we Trinis don’t know creative business? You really don’t know how creative we could get with we rum! We could take next people rum and bottle it and say is we rum yes. A label over a label and look papaya - is your rum! That is how creative we could get, here, Sir Ken boy. You might want to use that in one of your speeches. 
Ah drinking babash, cause dey…
We have we own kind of creative economy too and creative accounting and management that is what they lorn in dem Institutes for higher, or hire, learning - I not sure which. They growing creative managers and we still hoping they go ripen into some leaders. Where else, eh, billions of dollars flowing in from oil, dey say, and all them oil business in billions of dollars debt and they not thinking bout diversifying they still waiting for the next oil boom, just like how as soon as Carnival done, they cyar wait fuh the next one.  Is like dat. That sounds like some creative sense to you? Oil tabanca to fill a tabantruck. And the lil artist and writer still balancing a budget and living without debt eh, so is tax and tax and tax we into debt and drink. Ah drinking babash, cause dey…
Sr Ken, I know you like to talk about enterprise. I could tell you about Enterprise. In fact I will show you, when you come.  In Enterprise dem boys know creative pursuits eh. Guns, drugs, murder and mayhem. Dey learn well. Wild wild west style just like in the movies they cyar practice they trigger-happiness in, cause we doh have ah movie industry. So is practice on the streets, day and night: bang! bang! Live movie action. Ah drinking babash, cause dey…
Sir Ken, remember the couple nail biting hours we shared watching the 2006 World Cup qualifiers in front of that screen in the Newcastle/Gateshead caterpillar they call the arts centre – we have one now too, we own arts centre that not only look like a caterpillar, it have caterpillars and other termites crawling all over too, right smack in front the Range as if to say is a bigger saga boy than the natural beauty of the Northern Range. Crumbling like all them institutions law, parliament, education, all crumbling at the beams from termites and parasites 'cause the centre cannot hold.  It open in 2009, three years after I return from the Summit, talk about cultural transference. You will see it when you come, if you get time to step out of the higher-at place they keeping you nah, I could take you on an eye-opening LiTTour - a Journey Through the Landscapes of Fiction - although it staring you in your face is all fiction eh, no truth in that at all at all.
Ah drinking babash, cause dey…
Sir Ken, boy, your visit really send me down memory lane. When we was watching that football match World Cup Qualifiers T&T vs UK 2006. I nearly chew-out the top of all meh fingers after that first goal, hoping that we boys would at least score one peeny-weeny goal against ye old Brits so I could ah tell the fo-rum the next day when I presenting on MAS Culture what mas do fuh we! Well-qualified to tell how we boys had some good babash that’s why they lick all-yuh good. Ah drinking babash, cause dey…
 But just how they rig the match and give we poor boys dat coonoomoonoo kindda liquor the Scots call ‘water of life’ ooskie, so the boys played like coonoomoonoos. Is no different nah, is just so they rig my presentation and I come with the best powerpoint with motion video of the winning 2006 most colourful wining Carnival girls inserted in powerpoint even before powerpoint had invented the movie insert feature – but the first world didn’t have the new software to run it, at least that is what they say, as if I could believe that the first world didn’t have the software and me from me from a teeny weeny backward banana boat island have this technology. Ah drinking babash, cause dey … 
Good thing I had a back-up plan and walk with me rum for the fo-rum in the NewCastle caterpillar, eh Sir Ken, boy. Because between you and me you never know how them boys would perform. But we could export real creative ways of managing football funds eh – arkse Jack, ah warn you, it go blow yuh mind. We creative fuh so. Ah drinking babash ‘cause dey…
That day at the summit when you and your boys stumbled out of the room, with two goals and well at least I scored with some ‘well-played alcohol’ – ask WM Herbert who made that poem for and on our fo-rum at the World Arts Summit where that line came from.
football and well-played alcohol
will break down every social wall
From WM Herbert, Handmade (for the World Summit of Arts and Culture,  Newcastle UK June 2006)
 Is we Trini rum he talking ‘bout! It is true we didn’t win the world football qualifying match, but we won the World Summit fete! Ah could tell you that because I had the creative intelligence to pack meh bottle ah rum for the fo-rum! You have to agree, that was pure genius to break down them social walls if not the glass ceiling, eh! And it look like I help T&T qualify too cause at last now we have you, Sir, come here and grace we with your knightly presence! After all the times I have to go to talk to fo-rums in all yuh first world, tho not here, eh, not here! But exchange is no robbery where creative enterprise is concerned eh. Now you understand? 
Ah drinking babash, cause dey…
Sir Ken boy, to tell you the truth, I really thought when I see the invitation from the World Summit on Arts and Culture to talk, and me name list next to yours on the programme, I thought that is why I was invited you know, to bring some Trini rum for the fo-rum, so is the first thing I pack. And 9/11 rules didn’t kick in yet so I could walk through immigration with it so bold face holding it in front me, waving it like the national flag and all them immigration and customs people through the Brit airport nodding and smiling maybe hoping for a sip.
Ah drinking babash cause dey
I couldn’t bring babash though. It was not just because of the airline rules and ye olde mercantilist impulse to make everything indigenous like we own way of making we own rum illegal. It is really because as a true daughter of the soil - eating dirt, as they say, cause breaking that glass ceiling tough boy - I holding on to me secret knowledge of babash-making because we like to keep we real creative stuff hidden in the backyard nah. Ah drinking babash ‘cause dey
They importing you and the boys to tell them how to be creative without a mind about parting with their creatively-earned foreign exchange – easy come easy go. 
Ah drinking babash ‘cause dey
Who knows more than me about how they killing creativity, eh, about passion eh, about living yuh talent, about multiple intelligences eh? Ah drinking babash ‘cause dey
Now we boys don’t have not even a peeny eeny bit of curiosity to know the secret knowledge of creating babash, after they kill the industry dead dead to feed a few pipers to play some foreign tune for them. Those who have a lil curiosity want to know for free, ask Spree, and still they wouldn’t listen. Ah drinking babash ‘cause dey
If you want to know how to kill Trini creativity – Sir Ken boy – I know that is yur pet subject and you want some local insights, I sharing, for free because in T&T the arts is a freeco thing, only to laugh for an evening comedy show, not to use to make education and law and social reengineering and to mean something to we in we own image. Nah.  We have to hide it and practice it in secret – like drinking babash.
Is not just the education system, nah, is how they stomp out we homemade rum and make it illegal – the same way they make we marriage traditions and drum beating traditions illegal, and plenty plenty thing that good for the grass roots – if yuh catch me drift – everything grass roots illegal here, even grass. Dat’s why nobody take on the law. It illegal to get married, it illegal to have sex, it illegal to smoke weed and still everybody doing it. Just like we have laws against murders, laws against incest, laws against violence and child abuse, laws against thiefing, and laws against all kinds ah thing – and that eh stop nobody! Ah drinking babash, ‘cause dey…
Maybe they think that as a daughter I shudda be tie up and tie de knot not realizing that is one old law – and who take on the law here anyway eh – get married at 12, 14, 16 - not me. I keep my focus on the instructions to go forth and multiply which I really thought mean go fly off on this trip and dat trip and multiply intelligence, with this idea and that idea, and follow this dream and that dream to teach people about creativity and cultural industries and how to reengineer education for self-esteem and to think for themselves and to value what they know and what they have and appreciate they multiple intelligences – I really thought that is what that meant yes: go forth and multiply.  Ah drinking babash, ‘cause dey…
I fly out because I didn’t want to be stripped of me self-respect, left wandering in the street like the lil ex-Mayor of Chaguanas, nah. We filling them lil girls head with ambition that a Woman’s Place is in the House of Parliament and some of the women we put in the top there only want your head cause they head filled with being part of the old boys’ club. Sisterhood dead dead. That is what happen when you put yourself up for public office here. You could turn into a raving lunatic if you don’t have a stash ah babash, yes arkse ex-Mayor Natasha.
Ah drinking babash, ‘cause dey…
As she find out too, it turns out, I was wrong and I should ah stay home and mind baby and leave them ambitions to the boys, like you, who they importing through the creative cultural foreign stock exchange and stick with me home made backyard country brew.
Ah drinking babash, ‘cause dey…
Although I not from the Caroni, like everybody else who come here by boat my ancestors get rum before they get pay, so this fo-rum thing in meh blood and I still could knock back a good few like any of the boys at any fo-rum, mano-y-mano, shatter the glass bottles if not the glass ceiling – you want a list ah the fo-rums in which I scored fo-rum after fo-rum: Newcastle, South Africa, India, Malaysia, France, Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina, Belize, Jamaica, Colombia, Mexico, Barcelona, Scotland, Montreal … It reading like the World Cup qualifying list eh? 
Ah qualify for sure, drinking babash, ‘cause dey…
When you come ah go show you, Sir Ken, here at home we know where to find the real stuff. Is a small island, nah. Everybody know where to find babash or guns or drugs, or who kidnapping who for ransom and who planning to do for who, who doing prayers on who head, who is the boys dealing, and trading and stacking organs and orange juice in freezers – everybody and they lawyer know, but not the law – we call it creative blindness because if you know yuh could get you light out, just so just so. Ah drinking babash, ‘cause dey…
Sir Ken, you will find out for yourself, eh. Here, everybody done know everything ahready. All we want is a lil laugh and that’s why they invite you, so they could laugh a lil bit. They done know that culture is a song and a dance and a comedy show so everybody with a lil bit a creativity try to get into comedy because they have to eat. Plain and simple. Culture is not about intelligences and policy and curriculum development and conscience building, and social stability and inclusion and management, and business. You mad or what? And is best they hear it from you who doh really know dem so it could sound nice and distant and theoretical and academic. You would be fine. Dey wouldn’t cut the mike on you because you from foreign, as they do to me for talking the naked truth. Ah drinking Babash cause dey…

Sir Ken, you would have a great time. You go come; you go go back home and say what a nice people, who laugh plenty at all you jokes and make some ah they own jokes too, and the rum flow like water and the babash hiding in the back room and you get a nice bit a foreign exchange people here cyar even get to send they children who away to school. Ah drinking babash ‘cause dey
When you leave we could go back to blaming the old Brits for the mess we in although the Brits using we creativity to teach creativity, and we with we own independent institutions in we own self-determining nation – well is not we is dem to blame. Ah drinking babash, cause they…
If you want some fresh material, for Port of Spain or even for them TED Talks you know where to find me, eh Sir Ken, boy, and say how-do-you-do-to-me girl Lizzie eh, and me famalee, the royalings, and if you have luggage space take these letters I have for she, please 'cause ah cyar afford the postage stamps.
 Ah drinking babash, cause they…
If you want to know the rest of the refrain, arkse that Rumbunctious Rumraj.

World Summit repositions arts & culture
Clear role in governance and sustainability defined 
By Dr Kris Rampersad

football and well-played alcohol
will break down every social wall.
From WM Herbert, Handmade
(For the World Summit of Arts and Culture, June 2006)

If culture is to be defined as the product of human interactions,
the place of the human in a world traumatised by diminishing social, environmental, political and equitable economic relations was at the core of the World Summit on Arts and Culture.
Held in Newcastle/Gateshead, England from June 14 to 18, 2006 through sponsorship by the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies, the Arts Council of England and the Commonwealth Foundation, the Summit saw arts and culture practitioners and activists in dialogue with policy makers, planners and supporters.
In keeping with the theme “transforming people, transforming lives,” some 500 Summit participants grappled with challenges of helping Governments and decision makers to recognise the position of culture and the arts in regenerating societies’ physical and social environments and economies. Effectively, they invited revision in conceptualisation, approaches, and methods that have so far dominated decision-making, which, in the general division of labour functions and responsibilities, have left regeneration and sustenance to the sciences, economics, politics and the hard-core world of doers - not dreamers.
Skepticism that the arts has a place in this isn’t altogether unfounded, given that artistic development has traditionally leaned on philanthropy, the generosity of supporters, donors, endowments, and other the like - polar opposites, surely, to, notions of sustainability.
But some 30 presenters outlined working examples of how, when well-directed, the cultural industries can sustain societies: from use of architecture to reduce delinquency in a district in Houston, to development of a district in Ethiopia by indigenous craft, to how the Carnival festival from Trinidad and Tobago has evolved to global proportions represented in some 150 countries around the world and involving a range of artistic talents and skills.  Participants were also exposed to the UK’s Creative Partnerships that effected regeneration through art, architecture, music, design, theatre and film. In Kielder, for example, art and architecture such as the Belvedere and Skyspace combine with the local landscape, riverscape and skyscape to bring the natural environment into sharper human focus, while encouraging environmental protection and reviving the district’s tourist economy.
From an unchallenged premise that more people participate in culture, than vote, the Summit asserted the potential of culture and the arts in providing for basic human needs of food, shelter and clothing, while retaining its traditional role in nourishing minds. In its easy capacity to support co-existence and accommodate divergent views, polar opposites, diversity and difference through its metaphors and similes, borrowings and samplings, and general artistry, arts and culture were seen to hold key solutions to minimizing the negative impact of the conflicts between economic development and sustainability, technological advancement and traditional practices, nature and nurture that result in social and economic inequalities, disempowerment, and ethnic strife.
The exchange of project and ideas for processes of execution, as well as methods of quantifying input and outputs from arts and culture-based projects were stimulating and inspiring. NewcastleGateshead proved the ideal incubator for this global mishmash of thinkers and doers.  De-hyphenated and brought together to create one of the world’s most successful stories of the potential of arts and culture for not only economic regeneration but social cohesion of “rival districts”, these districts are now joined by the hip, as it were, in the Sage Centre where the Summit was located. In all of this, participants found time to create a World Choir and a Summit Song, A Poem - an extract from which is cited above - a drama; share nail-biting moments of the FIFA World Cup, and take a sneak peak into Hollywood’s Hogsworth, through the hospitality of the Duchess of Northumberland at Alnwick Castle where parts of the JK Rowling’s Harry Potter movies were filmed.

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