BUST AND SCATTER:  AN EASTER EXTRAVAGANZA                   04 06 2012


Some forty years ago almost to the same date, SID AND THE SLICERS vs THE LITTLE JONES band was tearing up at a place called COX in a village named Brittania in West Berbice. That Easter Sunday night, for the first time in recorded history black out lasted more than six hours and really because a kite tie up the area but from then on black outs became a staple.

The Brittania party was nice, nice nice and hopping from start to finish until a blackout came and make everybody bust and scatter.  Up to now parties in Berbice and every other district does suffer the same fate but that don’t stop we.  GT posses do get concerned more when they see light…that mean either the President and or Babylon (police and soldier) in the area.  Light is not a right; light is a privilege that is distributed according to certain pre-set pre-qualifying principles.  GT folks, drunk or sober, know their number and do not get upset or hold grudges against nobody…at least not for light.  DJs, bands, ensembles and orchestras all have their own generator plus certain things don’t need light.  Hint to Baneba mek ….(fill in the blanks).

It was a beautiful Easter Sunday picnic and then is when for the first time in my life I experience a black out during cumfa in a public place and public space.  I will have to tell you more so that you can savor the flavor of a rural and rustic cumfa.  Brittania is half way between Hopetown to the East and Belladrum to the West.  After the blackout done the sport as if it was measured, an equal amount of people turned right and the same amount turned left in organized groups to avoid bripping.  There are codes of behavior after blackouts.  Everybody makes sure everybody from each village even though separate, are all equal and have to be taken care of.

Brittania is the kind of village where almost everybody come from some other place originally.  Brittania is also the kinda place where everybody mix with something else; nobody is straight Black, Indian, Chinee, Putagee or Buck.  There were no known whites in the community and if there was, as I said, h/she got displaced and misplaced in the mix.  Brittania was mix and mix and sometimes re-mix. Indian boys bo-peeping black girls and Indian girls wining outa-time and have they own version of fine wine under the circumstances.  A wine is a wine. And so when you want to fete and have a real good time, Cox was the place to go…the exact location is like if you going East after you pass Kingeley, you start counting out loud…Brand, Chester, Ross then ‘30’ and after the turn, immediately on your right hand side is  Cox.  Cox since time immemorial is painted in a shocking pink; you just can’t miss it.  It big enough to hold slightly over 400 peopole, standing and bracing down each other only.  The seats are affixed to the perimeter walls   and the tables are recycled cotton reels.  In the early 70s, there was an ambitious rural electrification program and the rolls of heavy duty wire, came coiled and rolled on a wooden roller; that was upturned and converted into tables…no chairs.

And so that Easter Sunday in 1972, the ten-piece Sid and the Sid and the Slickers was in full effect and LITTLE JONES was the adjunct band.

Brace yourself.  Sid played the first session around 7.00 pm and got done around 9.30.  They then positioned all their microphones so that the four piece JONESY can be heard.  And Jonesy tek over.

It was a Sunday night mass.  Man and woman, coolie and douglar; douglar and buck; Chinee and putagee everybody start getting it   Elsie Bastiani was there and she run in with a bottle a high wine and sprinkle the kittle and give the drummer some.  The high wine lock off he throat and befoe he spew it out  he start to head-butt the goat skin.  This shock the crowd a dancers who were half way up and another set half way going down.  Was drum.

And the drum as if it mimmick itself start to behave a lil ownway and the drummer try to right side the drum and get his balance and was more drum.  Drum in yuh kerreh.

And then the spirits start to annoy some of the younger folks.  It is a good thing they had on pants unlike the older women who wore flowing dresses and clean red panties.  The band break into the Negro spiritual….LOVE LIFTED ME.  I and all do a little do-dah but never ventured into the magnetic circle.  All this time, is kerchief waving in the air and wiping away on the ground the next spot on the ground to shelter the next anta-banta victim.

The GEC truck passed once and it passed twice and the drummer start to gallop.  Perhaps the JONES band heard something or felt something; the Easter revelers did not.  The police with a baton in he hand was slapping his assigned weapon louder and harder and if you see them not knowing the end is near and time to bust and scatter.

Brittania is now a war zone. Men have to take off their shirt and cover the women as they lie in spiritual pain heaving and bouncing up; jerking up and frothing at the mouth.   Pretty girls in mini-mini dress and abandoo.  Others well endowed, decorated and punctuated in gold jewelry and wuking up they self sometimes by they self and with they self to the drummer and multiples of others.  Big men too in shirt jacks and others in straight pants dancing and hopping with legs apart and bumping, jumping and the music and trying to keep up with them.  Some of the stronger men start clawing at the fence to get the nails to stick in the hair of the long hair, nappy hair, rasta hair and straioght hair women alike.

The musicians from Sid get confused and the horn section and percussionists join in and is more crum, more fun and nuff more throw down.  Bodies falling over bodies and buddies looking to see if the person that they bring can still stand and or focus.  It was a melee.

Midnight come and midnight gone and LITTLE JONES at ten to one, came to a sudden stop.  Blackout.  All the crazy folks, boys and girls, got a rude awakening.  They all bust and scatter in an orderly fashion.  There was a certain method to the madness the minute the music stopped.  Thank god for Jesus.


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