Along the railway tracks young people smart-casual queue for mini-vans. I ask a black man on the bridge what the biggest get-together in the country is, where I suppose these people are going. He takes me away from the queues, in the know, away through some esoteric channels. We arrive and it's yellow amusement arcades, toss-the-banana and jungle basketball, a definite 'Afro' vibe. A garish electronic enquiry croons around the festivities: "where is your love, Jamaica?" My friend leaves me in this alien environment with a chilled-out invitation, "there's some chicken'n'rice round the corner, bwoi". The dusk starts to take the yellow and turn it brown, the bananas mellowing to a fusty ripeness; already the vans, having taken control of the nation's tracks this one Special day of the year, are piling up off-loading steam-drunk revellers. One red-faced-slick-back-bloater opens his sack to a specky, naive passer-by and smirks, "look what I've got" --a tentative tense and wary peek yields a reciprocal chuckle, nervously lisping, "awhaha, oh, you carn't go wrong with BELLS!" --How did the crowd shift along the spectrum so swiftly from monochrome mostly black/occasionally white, against the lurid gorgeous yellows and greens, to this nauseous orangey brown sexless vomit stream of braindead natives? Perhaps it's the old-fashioned lamps, I vaguely propose, or perhaps it's this DRAGON STOUT, "original Jamaican since 1920" dustily wafting foreign clouds across my addled visage. Either way, the Gathering that had stopped the Nation for a day clearly drifted with the sun from global celebration to parochial inebriation, and the culture of love lost its way as the light shifted yellow to brown. Stranded away from the tracks, lost from my sensible black friend, the easiest option was to go with the flow, and so, never mind multiculturalism at this global gathering, we're pissed in England now. Like Captain Beefheart all those years ago, I woke up in vomit and beer, in a banana bin, with my pirate friend, and a soft lass with brown skin*...she sighed in her sleep, "where is your love, Jamaica?"
(*Orange Claw Hammer by Cap. B'fheart)
PS --this isn't supposed to be racist